Jeremy Hilton welcomes £15million roof repair scheme for places of worship

Jeremy Hilton, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Gloucester has urged places of worship, serving Gloucester to apply for a new £15million fund available for the repair of roofs and guttering. The fund is available for churches, mosques, temples, gurdwaras and synagogues.

The Coalition government announced the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund in the Autumn Statement and grants between £10,000 and £100,000 will be available to listed places of worship of all faiths and denominations across the UK, where roof repairs are deemed to be urgent and necessary.

Jeremy Hilton said: “Places of worship play a huge part in many people’s lives in Gloucester and this fund will help ensure some of our most significant buildings remain open as safe and sustainable places in our communities.

“I hope that places of worship in Gloucester will take advantage of the extra money available to keep the roof of their building in good condition. The deadline to apply is the 30th of January.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Applications for a grant must be made by midday on 30 January 2015, with awards to be allocated by the end of March 2015. Enquiries can be made by email to enquiries@lpowroof.org.uk or telephone 01392 223 979.

Further information about the scheme is available online by visiting www.nhmf.org.uk and clicking on the link to the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund.

Flood defences to be improved at Alney Island says Jeremy Hilton

Liberal Democrats have welcomed the £2.3bn investment into flood defences announced this month as part of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. There are 15 schemes earmarked in Gloucestershire with an estimated total cost of £7.5million.

Jeremy Hilton behind the flood wall at Alney Terrace

Jeremy Hilton behind the flood wall at Alney Terrace

In Gloucester, four schemes will benefit from this money, including a scheme to improve the flood defences at Alney Island. The work will be led by the Environment Agency and cost £400,000. The start date is 2019.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Gloucester, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said:

“This investment is welcome news for a lot of residents in the county who know what it is like to have their property damaged by flood water. I hope these schemes will give some comfort and reassurance to residents whose homes are most at-risk.

“Being prepared for future severe weather will undoubtedly bring a lot of security to those who every year face uncertainly over whether or not their home will be flooded.

“I am particular pleased about the four schemes that are being funded to protect homes in Gloucester. At Alney Island 59 properties will receive added flood protection from the River Severn as the Environment Agency improves the flood protection to the island. This year the floodwaters came within a two inches of breaching the floodwall at Alney Terrace.

River Severn rising February 2014 it came within two inches of the top of the flood wall

River Severn rising February 2014 it came within two inches of the top of the flood wall

“Three other schemes are being funded at The Rea in Hempsted, Deans Walk in Kingsholm and Tewkesbury Road at Longford. We have seen how the investment in flood protection following 2007 has worked. We must continue to invest in flood protection. I applaud the new money being provided by the coalition government in Gloucester and the rest of the county.”

Four schemes in Gloucester are

· Tewkesbury Road, Longford, Gloucester. Individual property level protection measures to reduce flood risk for up to 6 properties. Currently £30,000 has been allocated for measures to be implemented in 2018. . Scheme to be led by Gloucester City Council.

· Deans Walk, Gloucester. Individual property level protection measures to reduce flood risk for up to 46 properties. Currently £230,000 has been allocated for measures to be implemented in 2020. Scheme to be led by Gloucester City Council.

· River Severn, Hempsted and Rea, Gloucester. Currently local levy funding has been allocated to develop a scheme to improve the existing defences to reduce flood risk to 132 properties and businesses. The earliest expected construction start date is 2021, subject to approval of a full business case and securing other funding contributions. This is to be led by the Environment Agency.

· Alney Island Improvements, River Severn. A project to improve the standard of protection offered by the existing defences at Alney Island, Gloucester to 59 properties. £400,000 has been provisionally allocated towards a scheme. As the options develop the scheme costs are likely to increase. Currently construction estimated to start 2019, subject to approval of a full business case and the securing of any other funding contributions needed. This scheme will be led by the Environment Agency.

 

“Give votes to 16 year olds” – Jeremy Hilton

The government should introduce voting for 16 year olds in time for the General Election, says Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Gloucester, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton.

Mr Hilton said: “It would be great if legislation could be passed by parliament to enable 16 and 17 year olds to vote on the 7th of May next year, but unfortunately the Tories are against, they want to keep the voting age at 18.

“I am delighted that the Liberal Democrat manifesto will give a commitment to introduce legislation to allow 16 year olds to vote.

“The evidence from the Scottish referendum clearly showed that 16 and 17 year olds engaged in the political process in a mature way, with a turnout in this age group of 75%.

“David Cameron has agreed to fast-track new powers through parliament to give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in the 2016 elections to the Scottish Parliament. He should now do the same for all elections in the United Kingdom.”

Ends…

“Time for Free Wi-Fi at Gloucester Library” – Jeremy Hilton

Jeremy Hilton ready to use his tablet computer at Gloucester Library

Jeremy Hilton ready to use his tablet computer at Gloucester Library

  Follow Jeremy Hilton on Twitter @jeremy4glos

Gloucester’s main library in Brunswick Road is to get free public access Wi-Fi in the New Year, says Cllr. Jeremy Hilton the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Gloucester. It is anticipated that free Wi-Fi should be operational by the middle of January.

Jeremy Hilton said: “I have made enquiries at the county council about the lack of free Wi-Fi in Gloucester’s central library.

“It is unfair that this service is provided at Cheltenham central library, but not in Gloucester. The quality of service provision in both central libraries should be comparable.

“There are free internet access desk top computers in all libraries, which the Lib Dems introduced when I was the cabinet member. It is time that free Wi-Fi is also available.

“The good news is that the county council has recently gone out to tender to install public Wi-Fi provision in Gloucester Library. The county council tell me that it should be operational by the middle of January. I hope they meet this deadline.

“Many people now have a tablet computer. Being able to use such a device in Gloucester Library would be a welcomed additional service.”

Currently two other libraries in Gloucestershire have public Wi-Fi, they are Cheltenham and Cirencester libraries. Jeremy Hilton has requested that Hucclecote and Longlevens libraries should be next on the list for free public Wi-Fi, once it is operational in Gloucester Library.

Ends…

 

Denmark Road grassed central reservation – This is not a carpark!

Jeremy Hilton at the grassed central reservation along Denmark Road

Jeremy Hilton at the grassed central reservation along Denmark Road

Liberal Democrat councillor for Kingsholm & Wotton, Jeremy Hilton has called on rugby fans to stop using the grassed central reservation along Denmark Road (dual carriageway section) as a carpark. The next home match for Gloucester Rugby is on the 20th December when the Cherry & Whites take on Bath.

Jeremy Hilton said: “The grass central reservation along Denmark Road is not a carpark. I ask rugby fans to park elsewhere, otherwise they will get a parking ticket.

Rugby Fans Parking Illegally 19th Sept 2014

Cars parked up during match on the 19th September

“Often it is latecomers who use this open space to park up their cars in their rush to get to the game. The next match against Bath will draw the crowds and it is important that the traffic enforcement officers are on patrol until well after the game starts.

 “The club contributes financially to the cost patrolling the streets of Kingsholm during match days. I have asked the parking enforcement team to patrol local roads and book those who park illegally. It is not just in Denmark Road that there is a problem. You can see cars parked up on double yellow lines in other streets in Kingsholm.

 “It is great that Gloucester will be a venue for the Rugby World Cup next year. However, the problem of illegal parking must be resolved. The RWC will be good for local businesses, but fans to need to park their cars legally and with consideration to local residents.”

 Ends…

Alternative plans instead of waste incinerator announced

A long-awaited report into what should be done with Gloucestershire’s rubbish should a controversial plan to build an incinerator at Javelin Park be thrown out by the Government gives the county three alternatives.

The report has been produced by an all party working group of county councillors set up following a motion put to the county council by the Liberal Democrat immediately after the county elections in 2013. Lib councillors on the Plan B working group were Simon Wheeler and Bill Whelan.

Build another incinerator, build a Mechanical Biological Treatment facility to turn trash into fuel and ship it out of the county, or don’t build anything and just send all of Gloucestershire’s rubbish elsewhere to be dealt with.

Here’s what the Tories and Liberal Democrat think of the plans:

Conservative

Councillor Ray Theodoulou (C, Fairford and Lechlade), Conservative deputy leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “This report demonstrates what we’ve been saying all along – that an energy from waste plant like we propose is a clean, safe and efficient way of getting rid of Gloucestershire’s waste which we can’t recycle.

“The report is clear that it won’t stop us recycling, and that, thanks to decisions taken when Labour and the Lib Dems ran this council, Javelin Park is one of the only realistic sites. It’s great that so many opposition councillors have put party politics aside to say that.”

Liberal Democrat

Councillor Jeremy Hilton (LD, Kingsholm and Wotton), the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “I’m delighted that this report is now in the public domain.

“In the event that the council’s current controversial contract proposal for an incinerator is rejected by the Secretary of the State we now at least have a ‘Plan B’.

“The Liberal Democrats have always opposed the building of a mass burning waste incinerator and have continually called for alternative technologies.

“It is good to see that Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) may be back on the table of possible options.

“We now wait upon the decision of Eric Pickles in determining the county’s future waste disposal.”

“No Place for Local Council Leader to have Pro-Whitehall Attitude” say Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats on Gloucestershire County Council have asked the Leader of the Council, Cllr. Mark Hawthorne, the reason why he’s not joined 119 other leaders of English councils in signing a letter calling for greater devolution and an end to financial cuts imposed by the centre.
The Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton (LD: Kingsholm and Wotton) said that: “I am disappointed that other Tory controlled regions in England have joined forces in signing this letter, but  the Leader of Gloucestershire County Council has decided not to sign.
“In the wake of the Scottish referendum we have the perfect opportunity for power to be devolved from London to this county. An opportunity that Mr. Hawthorne doesn’t appear to want to take.
“I would like to hear publicly from Mr. Hawthorne why he felt this was a letter that his Tory colleague on Gloucester City Council could sign i.e. Cllr. Paul James, but that he could not.
“Is it not the case that Mr. Hawthorne is quite happy being dictated to by a distant Whitehall?”
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cllr. Iain Dobie (LD: Leckhampton and Warden Hill) also said that: “The question of devolution was debated last week at Shire Hall. Here, Mr. Hawthorne voted against a joint Lib Dem/Labour amendment asking him to write to the Prime Minister in encouraging more power to county and city regions.
“The very fact that Mr. Hawthorne has not signed this letter gives me further reasons to believe that the Leader of Gloucestershire County Council does not want to seize this opportunity in taking greater local responsibility.
“Taking power back from Whitehall is a good thing for the county, but needs the support from everyone – not least the Leader of the County Council. It would be good if the Leader of the Council speaks up for Gloucestershire.”
ENDS

A417 upgrade good for road safety and reducing congestion

01_12_2014 E01 10-GEC Echo GECH2S2

Today the coalition government has reserved millions of pounds towards improvements along the A417 at the Air Balloon. These improvements will see the road converted to a dual carraigeway from Brockworth to Cowley roundabout. The estimated cost is £255m.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Gloucester, Jeremy Hilton has welcomed the government announcement.

Jeremy Hilton said: “The A147 along the missing link is congested and dangerous. Upgrading it to a dual carriageway will improve road safety and reduce congestion. Pollution levels will go down. Connectivity will get better, enhancing travel times from Gloucester to London and the South East This should boost the economy in Gloucestershire and create new jobs.

“I now call on all of the county’s MPs and councillors to work together to back this scheme which will make this road safer and less congested.”

Five Questions to cabinet member for the fire & rescue service

The Tory cabinet member for the fire and rescue service is Will Windsor-Clive. I have asked him these written questions for council on Wednesday (26 Nov). He needs to be challenged regularly over what seems to be the Tory administration’s cavalier attitude towards this important emergency service. His answers will be published on this website when I have them.

Q1.

Could you please provide me with the number of incidents that each of these stations were called out to in 2013/14 and the revenue cost of running each station?

· Gloucester South

· Gloucester North

· Cheltenham West

· Cheltenham East

Q2.

Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service bid for funds available from the government’s £75 million Transformation scheme, to upgrade Tewkesbury Fire Station to improve water rescue facilities. Why did your bid fail?

Q3.

What financial savings do you plan to make on the fire and rescue budget between now and 2018?

Q4.

How many times has Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service been called out to deal with a fire started by an e-cigarette?

Q5.

On the 17th October, the new fire minister, Penny Mordaunt MP attended the LGA Fire Commission to answer questions from portfolio holders and chairs of local fire authorities. You are this council’s appointed member of the LGA Fire Commission, why did you not attend this meeting to ask a question yourself and listen to what she had to say about the future direction of the fire and rescue service?

Fire safety of e-cigarettes warning by Jeremy Hilton

Graphic safety messages should be displayed on all e-cigarette chargers say fire authorities, after shock new statistics show a surge in fires connected to the devices.

Latest reported figures from fire services up and down the country reveal that since 2012 they have attended 113 calls to e-cigarette-related blazes. There were just eight call-outs in 2012 but this soared to 43 last year and there have been at least 62 so far this year. This means firefighters are now dealing with e-cigarette related incidents at more than one a week.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents all 46 fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales, fears that these are the “tip of the iceberg” and many cases go unreported. The warning comes during national Electrical Fire Safety Week, which is run by the Electrical Safety Council charity. E-cigarettes have rocketed in popularity and are now used by an estimated 2.1 million Britons each year.

These latest statistics come just weeks after a 62-year-old man died when an e-cigarette battery on charge exploded and ignited oxygen equipment he was believed to have been using.
Fire chiefs say many blazes are taking place because smokers are not using compatible chargers. This means too much current goes into the batteries and they overheat and eventually explode. Battery material shoots out – up to two to three metres in distance – and can cause a fire if it lands on anything combustible.

Now the LGA is calling for e-cigarette manufacturers to do more to warn of the dangers. This includes displaying prominent safety warnings, highlighting this issue, on e-cigarette kits and chargers.

Cllr Jeremy Hilton, Chair of the LGA’s Fire Services Management Committee, said: “The spiralling upward trend of fires connected with e-cigarettes is a major cause for concern and much more needs to be done to combat it. We expect this to continue to rise as more smokers switch to e-cigarettes. Alarmingly, there is no way of knowing the true figure as we understand many cases are going unreported.

“We are urging e-cigarette manufacturers to introduce clear, prominent and graphic new warnings spelling out to users the dangers of using incompatible chargers with e-cigarette batteries.

“Tragically, at least one life has been claimed and more fatalities could follow unless this issue is addressed rigorously and robustly.

“We are warning users that it is simply not worth risking their lives to save a few pounds by buying dodgy, dangerous or incompatible chargers”
Ends…

E-CIGARETTE SAFETY TIPS

E-cigarette users are advised to follow these safety tips when charging:

* Always use the correct charger and follow the manufacturer’s instructions
* Never charge a battery that has signs of damage, that has been dropped, or has been subjected to impact
* Never plug a charger into a non-approved mains power transformer
* Check that your e-cigarette battery has overcharge or overheat protection
* Remove the battery from charge when complete – don’t over charge
* Never leave a battery on charge unattended
* Don’t use if wet or exposed to water
* Do not over tighten the atomiser or when connecting to charger
* Ensure that you dispose of batteries correctly.