News related to the area in which we live
COVID-19 If I can help
Please do give me a call if you need some help during this time. If I can't help myself I'll be sure to connect you to the right person or people who are offering assistance.
Even if it's just a chat feel free to call me on 07768998370.
Wishing you all the very best as the world faces this Pandemic.
Your ward councilor
Environmental Strategy Feedback
Our feedback and proposals are aimed at tackling the biggest issue, but also the ones we can do something about quickest. We are also urging West Berks Council (WBC) to do things in parallel, rather than the current approach which appears sequential. Our feedback covers Energy, Transport, Offsetting, Waste, Building (Planning), Speed of delivery and Finance. The full response and explanatory background can be found here.Summary of proposals
We urge and suggest West Berkshire Council adopt the following:-
- The Executive to work with all parties in order to define a clearer vision and allow us all to achieve the needed goals.
- Reworking of the whole strategy to embed the philosophy of o Use less o Increase efficiency o Find carbon-friendly alternatives o Offset what’s left
- Working cross-party and with the public to ensure improvements in the key targets area. We have provided some detail about how to ensure the correct energy requirement is calculated for instance.
- Take advantage of many of the concepts already provided to EAG by the Lib Dem Group.
- Alter strategies to focus on Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (RRR) in parallel with the longer lead time renewable generation projects.
- We propose again that the green bin charge is removed (as per our standard policy)
- That the recycling centres become non-permit centres, allowing a much wider range of recycling and possible reuse of products (as per our standard policy).
- To embed ethical finance sources for all environmental related funding.
- That the Council begins looking at employing parallel activities based on proposals already delivered to EAG for consideration from the Liberal Democrats and others.
- Move to ULEV as a minimum whenever a vehicle is replaced and beyond this to zero-emission as soon as lifetime costs become with 5% of each other (this should happen within 3 to 5 years).
- To ensure a parking strategy must be associated with any deployment of EV charge points, we propose that reserved bays are immediately created next to all existing EV charge points.
- Stopping any further cuts to transport and that an increased emphasis is placed on improving existing services to promote better use and therefore viability.
- That the council reinforces the need in planning to establish passive house standards for new builds and that commercial builds requirements be lifted to BREEAM Outstanding immediately.
- Identify land immediately for use as carbon sinks.
- Create EPC linkage to business rates – Incentivise landlords to improve the environmental credentials of existing properties and stop penalising them for making improvements that benefit the environment.
- Undertake a rapid expansion at all WBC buildings in their use of renewable energy.
- Undertake a rapid reduction of energy used by WBC buildings for lighting and heat.
- Undertake rapid improvements in the insulation of WBC buildings to promote more efficient heat energy use.
- Using near free renewable energy during the night by storing and time-shifting the energy to when needed during the day on WBC assets (schools, offices, etc).
- Working with the National Grid, Tesla and others to create a grid of batteries that can then time shift near free renewable energy at night for commercial and home use during the day.
- The promotion of concepts outlined in the Lib Dem SMATE (Save Money And The Environment) document.
- The promotion of concepts outlined in the Lib Dem SMATE-4Biz document.
- Launch a public information campaign highlighting the savings associated with reusable cups and the availability of free water.
HELAA Use your voice
West Berkshire HELAA Out
This is a very important piece of public information to review! It shows where new land for development is being considered.
HELAA stands for Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment
There are a significant number of sites coming forward that will impact Wash Common, so please look and get your feedback into the council asap!
This is not a consultation but the next steps will use this information to justify why certain sites are thought as as OK. NOTE the additions at Sandleford in particular!!
Tackling Climate Change
The Lib Dems are the first to provide a detailed and realistic plan to get the UK to carbon zero whilst influencing the rest of world to the same end game.
It's not easy and not as quick as some would want, but finally a major party has provided a how to guide to get there.
Environmental Impact Label
Environmental Impact Label Proposal
Understanding the impact on what you buy on the environment can help the UK influencve the world and how it produces goods. I'm proposing that the UK introduces a labeling scheme silimar to the food labeling scheme so that people can see at a glance 4 key criteria that will help environmental impact.
Coffee Bonanza Update
COFFEE SAVINGS! Update
I've added in another 4 Independent coffee shops in Newbury to the 5 that were in the original. The independents seem to focus on the environmental side of one use cups as well as allowing you to bring your own cup in.
Original Blog Post
It turns out one of the ways you can help the environment also helps your pocket. If like me you enjoy a coffee on the way to work, then you’re more than likely to have switched to using a reusable cup. The great news is that there's no extra reward for doing that from lots of coffee shops.
I conducted a quick survey of coffee shops on Newbury High Street last Friday (19th July 2019). I was staggered to find that one of the largest providers has no way for you to use a reusable cup! To name and shame them, it’s our ever-present McDonald’s. The reason they gave was safety, but it’s really because their machines can’t accept anything but their own sized cups. A bit lame if you ask me. The good news is that everyone else would at least let you use your reusable cup.
Out of the 14 places checked, here are the best and the worst in terms of coffee in a reusable cup (it’s probably similar throughout West Berkshire).
The cheapest coffee was from Greggs at £1.70.
Pret, Paul and Waterstones offer the best discount for a single cup at 50p off when using your own cup.
The best discount against an original price was with Café Nero, as combining a reusable cup with their stamping scheme means an effective 25% off your annual coffee bill – i.e. a saving of £150.
Greggs is also best overall, as long as you use their app-based loyalty scheme: this is £346 assuming 5 cups a week and 50 weeks a year.
The most expensive coffee was from Costa at £2.75. Also, given that their loyalty scheme is quite bad compared to others, that same per annum consumption is a whopping £600 vs £346.
My tip! Avoid coffee shops that won’t let you use your reusable cup, and don’t have a loyalty scheme.
FYI. The average saving per annum across all those I checked that had an offer was £79.65 – an improvement on the £65 noted in my SMATE document.
The survey criteria used a Latte as the drink, and assumed you are using a reusable cup at the same location each working day. All the loyalty schemes gave a stamp or points no matter what drink you purchased so the result should be similar for your favorite drink. I did not take into account the size of their standard Latte or the number of shots of coffee included.”
SMATE-4Biz Save Money and The Environment
Save Money and The Environment the business edition. To help West Berkshire business as a whole get started I've bought together some information on various ways business can save money whilst saving the environment and reaching the goals of carbon zero by 2030. You can download or read the document using the link below
West Berkshire DeFibs
West Berkshire DeFibs.
As a Trustee of Stroke Care Newbury & West Berkshire I'm aware of how life changing this event can be. I'm also well aware of how important it is to have access to a Defib as quickly as possible when the event occurs.
To that end, as a Greenham Parish councillor we started looking at this some months back (and are deploying Defibs shortly). Now as a Wash common District councillor I want to ensure there are no gaps for people in the ward.
I first needed to plot where all the current DeFibs are in West Berkshire and the NHS have made that data available to me. My colleague at TEEC (Dan Megarry) was kind enough to do the programming and now you can check whether one is near you yourself using the link below.
The circles show the 400M radius around each DeFib. You need to be within 400M of one to be directed there by he NHS. The colours tell you if it's 24X7, down for repair or only available during certain opening ours. Just click on a pin to get the location address and details.
Free Tap Water Survey
And Now the Good News!
Having just surveyed 14 cafes in the centre of Newbury its really great news. Every single place I asked confirmed that Free Tap Water was available and that anyone can pop in and fill up their water bottle. Even better, Coffee#1 in parkway provided iced water and Pret on Northbrook street offers Filtered water.
So, no need to buy bottled water and a very easy way for anyone to help the environment.
Of course, there are apps you can download that will give you official locations, but if my survey is anything to go buy, the whole of the business community in Newbury is already on board.
Top tip of the week to save money! Carry that reusable water bottle and use it
Save Money and The Enviroment
Save Money and The Environment. To help West Berkshire as a whole get started I've bought together some information on various ways we can all save ourselves money whilst saving the environment and reaching the goals of carbon zero by 2030. You can download or read the document using the link below
Climate Change Principles
Climate Change Principles.
I was asked to be the shadow spokesperson for climate change and wanted to share what I believe to be the guiding principles against which idea's, solutions and strategies can be measured to ensure success. These are:-
- First that all solutions should be carrot-based. They should deliver benefits to the people implementing them, be that Businesses, the Public or the Council.
- Second that the solutions take into account whole energy principles – i.e. They are carbon positive schemes that ensure a net benefit – We must avoid making things worse in the hope they will be better later.
- Third, that they are practical & cost efficient. So the Community, Business and Council can implement the ideas very quickly, with everyone saving themselves money whilst saving the planet.
I'm currently trying to persuade the council to adopt these principles.
Action and Appointments
We are off and running.
It's been a month since the election results and I'm pleased to say myself and my Liberal Democrat colleagues are up and running having done all the required induction training. I’ve been chosen for some additional roles which I’m really looking forward to helping with. Obviously my first duty is to you as the people who voted for me, however, I’m (as expected) on the Western Area Planning (WAP) Committee as well Licensing Committee and as a sub for District Planning (DP) Committee, Personnel, plus Governance & Ethics (G&E). Finally, I’m honored to have been selected as Shadow Portfolio holder for Climate Change and Public Protection. I gave my first speech on this at the Climate Emergency Petition extraordinary meeting on 30th May. Fingers crossed we can start to make a difference for Wash Common and the people of West Berkshire.
Thanks for Your votes
20 mph and idle-free zones
Having 20mph and idle-free zones outside schools to improve safety and air quality.
Anyone on the Andover road knows there's an issue with speeding outside of the schools. That's why I and the Lib Dems want to ensure a 20mph zone is created outside of them. We also want to encourage parents who collect kids from school by car to be “idle aware”. It's one of the simplest ways to improve air quality around schools and even saves money for parents.
Flawed LRIE project
£500,000 of taxpayers' money in flawed LRIE project.
For some years West Berks Council has been trying to regenerate Newbury’s London Road Industrial Estate (LRIE) and this month the council have finally revealed £5,665,181.08 of public money has been spent on the project to date. Investing in West Berkshire's towns to create new homes, and develop employment opportunities is a good thing, but the way this has been handled by the current council has meant all West Berks taxpayers have had to foot the bill.
The council claim most of the money has come from government grants and other contributors. However, it has now been revealed that, at the very least, £523,000 of West Berkshire taxpayers’ money has been thrown at the scheme.
This project has been full of calamity with £109,000 being spent on entering into an agreement with a private developer that has since been ruled unlawful and spending £363,545 on defending itself against a legal challenge that it has ultimately lost.
The Liberal Democrats have asked the Conservative-run Council to explain how it could spend over £350,000 on a legal case which it lost, especially in a year when it announced it is cutting funding to vital services for the elderly and vulnerable in a bid to save £295,000.
We are committed to finding out the truth behind the incompetent decisions that led to such a waste of money as we care about how our taxpayers’ money in being used, when there are so many other priorities that we could be investing in.
We want to know what you think the council should be funding, so please let us know using our contact page.
We look forward to hearing from you and we will, as always, report back in the regular Focus newsletter and here on our website.
Can You Help Us?
Can you help us?
As your Liberal Democrat candidates for the upcoming local council elections (May 2nd). Adrian Abbs & Tony Vickers need to ensure we get the message to as many people in the Wash Common Ward as possible. Are you available to help? Our intent is to ensure we restore some balance to West Berkshire Council by being elected and providing some due diligence on any proposals coming to and through the council. With 7255 people to talk to and 3624 doors to knock on any help would be most appreciated.
Call me on 07768998370.
As your Liberal Democrat candidates for the upcoming local council elections (May 2nd). Tony Vickers and myself would love your feedback on installing solar powered motion sensitive lighting using CIL (Community Infrastructure Levey). We have identified 3 paths in wash common. One between Newton Road and Paddock Road, a second that connects Andover Road with Culver Road and a 3rd that connects Andover Road with Sidestrand Road. Please drop us a note via the contact us form if you know anything about the ownership of the land
Scrap the Green Bin Tax
I’m totally against the Green Bin Tax. I really don’t see the sense in introducing green bins to encourage us to separate our waste and then slapping an aggressive charge on its use. The liberal Democrats have a campaign you can join to have this tax scrapped.
I believe that recycling shouldn't be a hassle or cost. It should be encouraged by our councillors in order to protect our green spaces
Speeding on the Andover Road
Whilst canvasing over the weekend it became very clear why residents are asking for the speed limit on the Andover road to be reduced to 30mph.If elected I will be pushing for this change on your behalf.
Deciding to run for the Wash Common Ward
I first joined Greenham Parish Council early in 2018 and it's become clear that there is a need for fresh thinking on the District council level given what appears to be some very poor decision making related to Sandleford Development by Bloor & Donnington New Homes.
So, I decided to run as a candidate for the Wash Common Ward which is most affected by this development and hope you will support me when it comes to the voting on 2nd May 2019.