Statement by Liberal Democrat leader Cllr. Jeremy Hilton – Waste Incinerator Planning Refusal

 Yesterday, Gloucestershire County Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to refuse a planning application to build a £500m waste incinerator at Javelin Park, Gloucester.

Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said: “I welcome the decision of the planning committee to unanimously refuse the planning application for a massive waste incinerator at Javelin Park. Liberal Democrats have opposed the project from the beginning.

“We have tried to stop this project a number of times in the last few years by proposing motions at council and formal challenges to cabinet decisions to end the project.

“On every occasion the Tories refused to listen to us. Under the reckless leadership of Mark Hawthorne the Tories just arrogantly pressed on with the waste incinerator project. They even agreed to sign a £500m contract with Urbaser Balfour Beatty ahead of the planning decision, leaving the council contractually committed to millions of pounds of costs in compensation if the project is cancelled.

“It is quite clear from the decision of the planning committee that the incinerator project should be dead. The Tories cannot be trusted to sort out alternative plans. Mark Hawthorne should apologise to the people of Gloucestershire. It is clear that we now need a new leader of the county council to take us forward into the future.”

Ends…

Liberal Democrats launch 2013 manifesto – Caring for Gloucestershire

 

Lib Dem Manifesto Launch 2 web

The Liberal Democrats have today officially launched their full Manifesto entitled ‘Caring for Gloucestershire’.

The manifesto, which is split into nine key areas include money, jobs, people, environment, transport, safety, communities and countryside. The launch took place on the steps of Shire Hall amidst a number of key Liberal Democrat activists.

In speaking about the manifesto, Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said: “Our manifesto shows that a Liberal Democrat run council would care about what is important to the people of this county. It is our plan to make Gloucestershire a better place to live.

“We believe that more can be done to improve the quality of services provided by Gloucestershire County Council. Ours is a plan that will help people across the county understand who we are, what we represent and what is important.

“This manifesto spells out our county policies taking us up to the County Elections and beyond. Our manifesto confirms that a Liberal Democrat run-council will not cut corners. A Liberal Democrat run-council will commit to delivering a better future for everyone in Gloucestershire.”

Link to manifesto: Manifesto 2013 Final

Liberal Democrats Announce Top Six County Priorities

The Liberal Democrats have today announced their top six priorities that will take them through to this year’s County Council Elections in May. The official launch of their full Manifesto will take place early next week.

The top six priorities that the Liberal Democrats have coined ‘six-to-fix’ are listed as follows:

1.    Repairing our roads, filling in potholes

2.    Growing our economy, investing in jobs

3.    Opposing a waste incinerator, protecting the environment

4.    Freezing on-street parking charges, cutting the price of residents’ parking permits

5.    Making sure we can trust what we eat, protecting trading standards

6.    Creating a new joint fire and ambulance service, for a safer county

 Further details of these and other policy areas will be published in the Gloucestershire Liberal Democrat 2013 Manifesto entitled ‘Caring for Gloucestershire’. The launch of this manifesto will take place on the steps of Shire Hall at 10am on Monday 11 March.

 Speaking in advance of the full manifesto publication, Leader Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said:

“Our ‘six-to-fix’ priorities will benefit all those who live and work in Gloucestershire not just a select few. These top priorities along with our other plans included in the manifesto have been brought together by listening to the people of this county.

“We believe that more can be done to improve the quality of services provided by Gloucestershire County Council.  Our manifesto to be launched on Monday is a plan that will help people across the county understand who we are, what we represent and what is important.

“This manifesto spells out our county policies taking us up to the County Elections and beyond. We believe our manifesto highlights that a Liberal Democrat run-council will not cut corners. A Liberal Democrat run-council will commit to delivering a better future for everyone in Gloucestershire.”

ENDS…

Notes:

The Liberal Democrat top six priorities with commentary as follows:

1. Repairing our roads, filling in potholes

Liberal Democrats will invest in additional repairs to our roads and footways to repair the damage left after eight years of Tory neglect. We will release £5 million worth of surplus funds in the council’s reserves to help fix the enormous number of potholes on the county’s roads.

2. Growing our economy, investing in jobs

 The county council will work with the Local Enterprise Partnership to create more private sector jobs and apprenticeships. Liberal Democrats will support growing businesses to achieve their goals and will also work to establish new businesses in manufacturing, advanced technologies and the green economy.

 3. Opposing a waste incinerator, protecting the environment

 We have strongly opposed the building of a £500m waste incinerator at Javelin Park on environmental and economic grounds.  We will seek to use more environmentally friendly technology to dispose of the residual household waste.

 4. Freezing on-street parking charges, cutting the price of residents’ parking permits

 A Liberal Democrat council will freeze on-street car parking charges across Gloucestershire. In residents’ parking permit zones Liberal Democrats will reduce the annual fee from £80 to £50.

 5. Making sure we can trust what we eat, protecting trading standards

 The Tories have slashed spending on Trading Standards by 50% at a time when the service is under greatly increased pressure with the controversy over horse meat in beef products. It needs to be in the forefront of testing food products on sale locally. There will be no further cuts in Trading Standards under the Liberal Democrats.

 6. Creating a new joint fire and ambulance service, for a safer county

 We will lobby the government to establish a pathfinder project for a joint Gloucestershire fire and ambulance service under the control of the county council.

‘Mass Burning Incinerator Not Needed’ says Lib Dems

 Liberal Democrats on Gloucestershire County Council will at February’s full council meeting call on the Tory cabinet to cancel the massive incinerator project due to evidence of over-capacity.

A report published in November last year by Eunomia Research shows that many regions of the UK may reach over-capacity of residual waste treatment by 2018.

The proposer of the motion, Liberal Democrat leader Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said: “Eunomia’s research is alarming in that since the last report undertaken six months ago there has been a significant rise in applications for additional tonnage of waste treatment capacity.

“Such a position means that the UK now has 7 million tonnes more consented residual waste treatment capacity than is requiring treatment.  

“By steadfastly pursuing this project the Tory-controlled council is not only going against public opinion, but is also contributing to an over-capacity crisis. This is madness.

Cllr. Hilton continued by saying that: “We will continue to insist that there is an alternative to the building of a ‘mass burning’ incinerator at Javelin Park such as Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT).   

“The evidence is clear an incinerator is not needed, not now and not in the future.”

Also commenting, Cllr. Mike Collins (LD, Brockworth) said: “I will be seconding this motion next month in order to stop the futility of such a project going ahead.

“When will the Tories on this council start listening to the people that they represent and those several hundreds who have already signed the online Government petition asking national politicians to challenge the incinerator’s planning application.

“I simply don’t understand why the Tories are ploughing ahead with their crackpot idea to build such a facility.”

The motion will be debated and voted upon at the next full council meeting in Shire Hall on Wednesday 20th February 2013 at 10am.  

ENDS

 

Notes:

1.       Eunomia Research and Consulting Ltd – This company has experience of assessing the need for new infrastructure development in the energy and waste sectors. For further information see –

http://www.eunomia.co.uk/product.php/165/0/29_11_12_eunomia_

publishes_update_to_residual_waste_infrastructure_review

2.       The motion submitted to council on Wednesday 20th February reads: –

“This council notes the report on residual waste capacity published by Eunomia on the 30th November 2012.

The report indicates that the UK now has 7 million tonnes more consented residual waste treatment capacity than there is residual waste requiring treatment.

This council, therefore calls on the cabinet to cancel the project to build a massive waste incinerator in Gloucestershire. Noting that the proposed incinerator has surplus capacity for the county’s own residual household waste treatment requirement.”

Proposed: Cllr. Jeremy Hilton

Seconded: Cllr. Mike Collins

‘Quarter of a Million Pounds Library Shambles’ says Lib Dems

Liberal Democrats on Gloucestershire County Council have come out condemning the Tory administration after it has been revealed that the total costs of the Judicial Review held in September 2011 was not far short of a quarter of a million pounds.   

A High Court Judge back in November 2011 halted Gloucestershire County Council’s proposals for failure to undertake a proper Equalities Impact Assessment. The Tory-controlled council went back to the drawing-board in January 2012 with new proposals to cut funding to seven Gloucestershire libraries.

The total cost of the legal challenge amounted to £238, 317.61, which included both in house and external legal costs for the council.

 Liberal Democrat group leader, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said: “During a time of great austerity, the costs that have been incurred through this legal challenge was needless, wasteful and nothing short of reckless.

 “If the job of reviewing the county’s libraries had been done properly from the start and not on the back-of-a-fag-packet then this money could have been better spent on new books for our existing libraries.”

 ENDS

 Notes:

  •  The breakdown of costs are as follows: –
  •  Costs for Judicial Review, Library Proposals (Legal ref 47504) in House Legal Costs £36,947.07
  •  External Legal costs (for GCC) £59,233.83
  •  External Legal Costs (PIL) £141,234.42
  •  Other Expenses (Couriers, transcriptions, court fees) £902.29

 TOTAL: £  238,317.61