Tag Archives: environment

What the LibDems want for Suffolk

Over the last eight years the Conservatives at Suffolk County Council have made massive increases to care charges, whilst cutting many services. Schools, care homes, public transport and libraries have all suffered.  Costs have still increased and efficiency has stagnated. 

At the same time they have built up the County’s reserves to a massive £150m – a THIRD of their annual budget –  stashing our cash despite historically low interest rates and falling confidence in the banking sector.

The Lib Dems say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH – Suffolk deserves better! We want to:

1.       Bring back Quality Education    Eight years ago, Suffolk had an enviable education system.  After eight years of Tory mismanagement the County is almost bottom of the English league table.

2.       Offer appropriate Care provision  for all who need it  ‘Care’ has been the Cinderella service of this Tory council

3.       Recognise transport  as a human right  Neither Labour nor Tory party has demonstrated  active support for the public transport network – particularly in rural areas.  Yet reliable travel  is essential for work, health, socialising and education.

4.       More and better-focused environmental action ‘Greenest County?  What a lot of Greenwash! The Tories have Talked the Talk – but don’t Walk the Walk. (And they are only seen near a cycle if its a photo-opportunity)

5.       Safety for all our Library service   Under the Tories the situation of Suffolk Libraries has been perilous.

6.       Create a thriving local economy More and more local businesses are feeling the crunch – or even closing.  Our high streets  are becoming less vibrant. The Tories have failed to drive economic development and oppose much of the green economy

7.       More streamlined services Under the Tories services have been “externalised” and service efficiency has stagnated – yet contract management has been woefully inadequate

So, not a big ask, surely? But the Tories haven’t managed it!

Details of what we intend are can be found on my Suffolk Liberal Democrat County Council policy page or on the Suffolk County Council Lib Dem site

EA One Offshore Windfarm – grave implications for local countryside

This is just a brief post to alert people that the East Anglia ONE consultation concerning the proposed onshore cabling from the proposed offshore windfarm  finishes on 6 March. Please respond with your concerns.

The proposal is for buried cabling – which many consider more aesthetic than  pylons, but which will be cutting a 55metre-wide swathe across a significant distance of unspoiled Suffolk coastal countryside:  from Bawdsey, across the Deben estuary, travelling north past  Newbourne, Waldringfield, tunnelling under across Martlesham creek, and turning west  on our very own Sandy Lane, where there will be a ‘Primary construction consolidation site’ whatever that might be. It will then tunnel under the A12 and travel the length of the  Finn Valley, past Little Bealings, Playford, Tuddenham St Martin, and Akenham, before  turning south to Bramford.

THis is the proposed rout of the  windfarm cabling from Bawdsey along the west side of the Deben and down the Fynn Valley. Click for larger view
The proposed route of EA One windfarm cabling from Bawdsey along the west side of the Deben and down the Fynn Valley. Click for larger view

May I repeat that this will cut a swathe 55m wide for most of the distance between Bawdsey and Bramford, with a temporary access road along the  whole length; that it will remove ancient trees (particularly, East Anglia ONE acknowledge, in Newbourne and Martlesham) and there can be no tree replanting over the top.

It may be that this will have a greater impact on portions of the route than pylons. We know of no pylon that is more than a few decades old – some of the trees what will go may have lived for centuries.

The planned works will take place over a  couple of years, from, I think, 2015. During the time there will be a considerable impact both on– and off-road. I’m not talking only of the valued  footpath infrastructure, but the fact tht these works will cross-over with the proposed Sizewell C building – and the proposed large-scale housing development at Martlesham. Rather a triple whammy, tourism-wise.

I will be responding on behalf of the people of Woodbridge as a whole. My interest will be in stressing the need for adequate mitigation (to put it mildly) and preventing as far as possible, negative impacts.  As with the SIzewell consultation, my underlying feeling is that we should not be bearing the brunt of development for the good of the nation as a whole, without the nation recognising this, putting time and effort  into ensuring minimum impact, and compensating us adequately for our kindness!

 

 the cable at Woodbridge
the cable at Woodbridge

Do contact me if there are issues you wish me to raise on your behalf.

 

The BMA and Passive Driving

I see the BMA have put their mighty muscle behind preventing passive smoking in cars.

As a reformed Fag-ash Lil – now 8 years smoke free – I have a lot of sympathy for the plight of the in-car non-smoker. But come on, BMA,  put your money where your mouths are and admit it -it’s not just the cigarettes,  its the people we should be getting out of  cars!

Why not collate all the damage done to people by passive and active driving?

I’ll make a start. Let’s see, there’s: the breathing difficulties  and chemical inhalation we get from exhaust fumes; the damage to life and limb from crashes and collisions  (drivers,  passengers, pedestrians and cyclists); other health risks to car drivers and passengers of hours of inactivity:  things like  obesity, heartdisease, back problems ,  family arguments;  the environmental impact of air pollution, CO2 emission, oil spills and  and diminishing public transport;  and above all,  the complete perversion of our infrastructure because people need to be near roads rather than services, have hard standing rather than gardens, and car-accessible supermarkets and shopping malls rather than local shops.

Like passive smoking, all these have an  undue impact on the ‘innocent’ :  the children,  the non-driver, the passenger,  the cyclist, all those nationally or internationally  who don’t partake but who suffer from the effects of those who do. And it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to assert that there are many many in the middle east who are currently passive victims of our horrible driving habit.

If you cost up the impact of all of these ills  it will be many many many times  higher in both human and financial terms than the damage done specifically by in-car passive smoking.

Legislation against the car itself would be a infringement of the right to choose  -but one that would  bring far greater benefits than the infringement caused by legislating against in-car cigarettes.

So why has the BMA not gone down this route? Cynically I imagine that the number of car-reliant  BMA members far outweighs the number who smoke. It is always easier to object to other peoples‘ vices, isn’t it? That’s why so many people are ambivalent about speeding.

So come on BMA. Come on everyone. Lets stop being so partial  and protectionist in our health messages, and tackle head-on the health damaging behaviours of  the majority –  that is,  ourselves  – the damaging behaviours that we contribute to and enjoy as well as those done by  ‘other people’.

You know it makes sense!