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.
 

Liberal Democrats created 1,190 new apprentices in Gloucester last year – Jeremy Hilton

New figures from the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills show 1,190 people started an apprenticeship in Gloucester in the last 12 months.
Liberal Democrats in Government have led the apprentice drive and are on course to deliver two million apprenticeships in Britain by the end of this parliament.
Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Gloucester, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said:
“Gone are the days when a vocational education was seen as the poor relation when it came to choosing a career path. Apprenticeships offer young people an opportunity to earn a living while they learn their vocation.
“We are seeing more young people choosing apprenticeships while hearing from businesses in Gloucester who say they simply couldn’t function without the talent and ambition they bring. The recent Grow Gloucestershire Showcase Awards held at Cheltenham Racecourse, which I attended, showed how important apprenticeships are to young people starting out on their careers and to their employers.
“All young people in Gloucester should have an opportunity to get on in life and apprenticeships are a great way to deliver that.
“Vince Cable the Business Secretary and Liberal Democrats have pushed this policy in Government and made sure apprentice programmes are rigorous, responsive and meet the changing needs of the future economy.
“Delivering on apprenticeships helps build the stronger economy and fairer society Britain needs.”

Disadvantaged Gloucestershire primary school pupils to receive £18.27 million boost

Disadvantaged primary school pupils in Gloucestershire are set to receive £18.27 million to boost attainment, the Liberal Democrats have announced. The pupil premium funding for 2015/16 will help teachers support those children at most risk of falling behind their colleagues. It means primary schools will receive £1,320 for every pupil who has registered for free school meals at any time in the last six years. Evidence shows raising the attainment of pupils by the end of primary schools has a direct impact on future exam results.
Liberal Democrat county group leader, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said:
“Every child should be able to reach their full potential, whatever their background. The pupil premium will get extra money to schools in Gloucestershire, targeted at the children who need it most. The whole class benefits when fewer children are struggling. Teachers in Gloucestershire do a great job, and I can’t wait to see how they use this additional funding to help all our children and young people succeed.”
Liberal Democrat Schools Minister David Laws said:
“In government, Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy and a fairer society, with opportunity for everyone. We have already protected school budgets, introduced the pupil premium and expanded early years education for the very youngest children. This additional funding is another boost for schools in Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats are determined that teachers will continue to have the resources they need to give all pupils the best possible start in life, regardless of their background.”
ENDS…

Born and Bred in Gloucester – Jeremy Hilton will fight to become Gloucester’s MP

Jeremy Hilton - Wotton Pitch

Jeremy Hilton, a well-known figure in Gloucester has been selected by the Liberal Democrats as their parliamentary candidate. He has fought the Gloucester seat three times before in 1987, 2005 and 2010. Mr Hilton currently serves as local councillor.

Jeremy Hilton was born and bred in Gloucester. He lives in the heart of the city close to the cathedral and vows that his fight is for a stronger and fairer Gloucester.

Cllr. Hilton has an excellent track record of public service, representing Kingsholm on both the city and county councils, where he is also the Liberal Democrat group leader. With over 22 years experience as a councillor, Jeremy is a local person ideally qualified to become Gloucester’s next MP.

As the current chairperson of the Local Government Association’s, Fire Service Management Committee, Jeremy is experienced in parliamentary matters. He has given verbal evidence to a House of Commons Select Committee.

As the Next MP for Gloucester, Jeremy Hilton will work hard for a strong economy and fairer society, by:-

• campaigning for good education for all Gloucester children and free school meals for everyone at primary school

• delivering better rail connections to Gloucester and a new central bus station

• raising the income tax free allowance to £12,500 and securing the triple lock, in law, for state pensions

• securing Gloucester’s regeneration with UNESCO World Heritage Site status for the cathedral, whilst building more affordable homes for young families

• increasing the number apprenticeships for young people and ensuring a diverse and growing economy in Gloucester

• guaranteeing equal care and waiting times for mental health as for physical health, by increasing spending on the NHS

Tory MP challenged over Europe

Here is my letter to Richard Graham the Tory MP for Gloucester over his suggestion we have a referendum on Europe

Dear Richard

I see from your email to me that you want a referendum on Europe, even though the coalition has passed legislation for this to happen if there are further transfers of power.

Why would you want to hold and in out referendum just for fun? The uncertainty would create instability in the economy and discourage inward investment. Many jobs in Gloucester could be put at risk.

Membership of the European Union is good for Britain. It is good for jobs and business. Good for international co-operation. In my lifetime, it has helped democratise many European countries. Membership of the European Union helps to protect the human rights of millions of people in Britain and across the continent.

If there is a referendum on Europe I shall be campaigning and voting to stay in. You may willing to appease UKIP, but I am not. Britain must retain its membership of the European Union. Why would you want to put our membership at risk!

The public in Gloucester need to know. If there was a referendum on the European Union, would you vote to stay in or get out?

Cllr. Jeremy Hilton
Kingsholm & Wotton

Liberal Democrats Conference report – day four

On the day that Gloucester City Football Club secured planning permission for a new stadium at Meadow Park, Liberal Democrats were debating the future of football at our Glasgow conference. It was good to listen to my old friend Paul Baker, the chairman of Cheltenham Town FC, who has kindly provided the Tigers with a home in the last few years. The Tigers have been homeless for the last few years since the old ground was flooded back in 2007.

Following on from this debate, delegates debated and voted on the party’s pre-manifesto policy paper “A Stronger Economy and a Fairer Society”. The debate was introduced by the Schools Minister, David Laws MP, who is also in charge of writing the party’s manifesto. He has been consulting members widely on what we want to do if in government again for the next 5 years.

David Laws is the minster responsible for introducing Free School Meals for year one and two infant school children in September this year, saving a family £420 a year for every child in this age group. Liberal Democrats will extend free school meals to all children in primary education, as resources allow.