Air Pollution report published

Tackling air pollution in Gloucestershire from vehicle emissions is set to be an important priority for Gloucestershire County Council. Today the report of the air pollution task group, chaired by Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (Lib Dem Kingsholm & Wotton), is published.

According to Public Health England, poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK, and the Royal College of Physicians has estimated that poor air quality is responsible for 40,000 premature deaths in the UK annually.

Exposure to air pollution can affect health by contributing to the development of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases, and can limit an individual’s quality of life.

Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said: “Public bodies in Gloucestershire need to do much more to reduce vehicle air pollution. We have a number of poor air quality hot spots in the county. Nitrogen Dioxides and particulate matter from vehicle emissions is a hazard to everyone’s health in the county. We have to take action to reduce these pollutants.

“I shall be taking the report of the air pollution task group to the Environment & Community Scrutiny Committee next week, where I hope it is approved, before it is sent on to the county cabinet on the 6th of June.”

The report has a dozen recommendations that include the establishment of a Gloucestershire Air Quality Partnership to oversee future work. This will be helped by better air quality monitoring with a focus on particulate matter. Changes to planning policies are suggested. Highway interventions are recommended to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.

The task group wishes to encourage the greater use of electric vehicles and also to set stronger targets to increase journeys by bicycle, on foot and public transport. It wants to see the use low emissions buses etc.

Cllr Hilton concluded: “This report is just a start. I would like to that everyone who came along to the workshop we held in January and to the members of the air pollution task group that helped draft the report.”

Refuse lorry driver shortagethreat waste collections – Gloucestert

The Lib Dems are demanding answers over a shortage of refuse lorry drivers in Gloucester.

Drivers of the bin trucks are leaving to get better paid jobs elsewhere – meaning the city’s residents are getting a worse service.

Local residents are complaining about missed collections as waste contractor Amey struggles to cope with demand.

A recent council report floated the idea of black bin collections going from every two weeks to every three weeks.

But this was rejected for now by the Conservative cabinet because recycling rates are not high enough – although has not been ruled out in the future.

The Lib Dems understand that the city council has asked Amey to review pay structures and give the drivers more money to stop them leaving.

Councillors have asked a series of questions to city council bosses about waste services in Gloucester.

Cllr. Howard Hyman (Lib Dem – Elmbridge) said:

“The last thing we want is Gloucester turning into Birmingham with Amey in dispute with its own staff, piles of uncollected black bags lining the streets and residents forced to take their rubbish to the tip.

“The Conservatives on the city council need to get a grip of this problem. We’ve been raising problems about the bin collections across Gloucester for some time now.”

Group leader Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (Lib Dem – Kingsholm & Wotton) agreed:

“The city council and Amey need to sit down together and sort this mess out.

“The Tory council needs to stop trying to extract every pound from the waste contract while Amey should pay the refuse lorry drivers a decent wage for what is a hard job otherwise the only winners here will be the rats, not the residents of Gloucester.”

Richard Graham challenged over axing of school lunches

GLOUCESTER Conservative candidate Richard Graham is being challenged to say whether he backs his leader Theresa May’s plans to scrap free school lunches.

Jeremy Hilton – his Liberal Democrat opponent in the General Election on June 8 – is challenging Mr Graham to say whether he will vote to take away lunches from hard-pressed families should he be re-elected to Parliament.

Mrs May’s plan to scrap free school lunches could hit children’s health by depriving hundreds of thousands of pupils of their five-a-day, according to the Liberal Democrats.

Unlike school lunches, there are no nutritional guidelines or minimum portions for breakfasts.

This means while pupils currently get at least two to three of their five a day with free lunches, with free breakfasts they could potentially get none.

Current standards would allow school breakfasts to consist mainly of processed breakfast cereals, toast with sweetened spreads, and there would be no limit on the total amount of sugar children can consume.

Mr Hilton, a well-known local councillor in Gloucester, is the main challenger to Mr Graham, who is seeking re-election as city MP.

In May’s county council elections, the Liberal Democrats came second in total number of votes cast in Gloucester. Labour finished third.

“Theresa May’s plans would hit children’s health by depriving them of a free nutritional meal at school,” Mr Hilton said.

“This is particularly short-sighted when we are struggling with soaring levels of childhood obesity.

“The Liberal Democrats will protect free school lunches for infants and ensure all primary school children can get a healthy, free lunch a day.

“The Liberal Democrat manifesto commits to extending free school meals to all children in primary education. We will also promote school breakfast clubs.

“Richard Graham must make it clear whether he will vote in the House of Commons to take away lunches from hard-pressed families or stand up to Theresa May for the sake of the education and good health of our children.

“Theresa May should take her inspiration from Jamie Oliver not Oliver Twist.”

NHS Digital figures from November 2016 show over a fifth of reception children were overweight or obese. In Year 6 over a third of children were overweight or obese.

Ends…

Lib Dem success – Hyde Lane is made safe as road is resurfaced

Jeremy Hilton celebrates the resurfacing of Hyde Lane with Kingsholm resident Sue Tomlins

It has taken a long time, but at last Hyde Lane has been resurfaced, thanks to the single-minded determination of Lib Dem county councillor, Jeremy Hilton (Kingsholm & Wotton). His persistence has paid off.

The top end of Hyde Lane is currently a private road, but it is also a signposted pedestrian route to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. Following the resurfacing, the road will be adopted by the county council.

Jeremy Hilton said: “I finally secured funding from the county council for the road to be repaired last year. The road was resurfaced the week of 6th March.

“Hyde Lane was full of potholes and unsafe for pedestrians to use. In particular, for elderly or disabled patents using this route to get to a hospital appointment.

“We must remember that besides residents of Kingsholm using this way to get to the hospital, people arriving on the No. 10 or No. 94 bus do so as well.

“I am pleased that after such a long time I finally got the lane resurfaced.”