Category Archives: Uncategorized

Solar panels on the P&Rs? Lib Dems propose sensible approach to solar energy 

Wayne National Forest Solar Panel ConstructionYes, of course the LibDems are fully behind solar energy – but not at the expense of valuable arable land!  What is needed is a sensible approach.

So if we could find a place that delivers this energy and has a positive impact on 8 other issues then it could be considered a real winner.

Well, Dave Busby – LibDem councillor for Belstead Brook – may have just had that ‘eureka’ moment. He is proposing that we should cover the Copdock Park & Ride with solar panels.

Apart from the obvious benefit of additional power what else would this proposal give us?

“Generating income for the site would mean that
– Fares could be reduced –  resulting in increased numbers using the service increasing, meaning less traffic jams and less pollution in Ipswich;
– The future viability of the site would be guaranteed;
– Students from Suffolk One could be offered cheap parking – eliminating the continuing thorny problem of them needing  to park in surrounding residential areas,”  Dave points out.

Additional benefits would be that

  • Traffic flow into town is reduced;
  • Agricultural land is retained for food production;
  • The Suffolk landscape is not blighted;
  • The site could provide a point for charging electric  cars;
  • It means a double use for an asset

Solar panels could also be added at the Martlesham P&R site to provide similar benefits on the other side of Ipswich.

So will it happen?

“Watch this space,” says Dave Busby.

Suffolk County Council Budget 2014

Suffolk County Council agreed its Budget at full council today. The LibDems had a free vote, but most – if not all – voted against the Administration’s proposals. As Leader, Dave Wood said:

bank-england_£Our group fully understands the financial needs of the County  – and the absolute requirement the Council has  to raise efficiency and to give good value for money. So of course, we fully support the proposed 0% increase in Council Tax.

However, we sincerely believe that the Pickles Bribe (eg central government’s council tax freeze deal) should actually be used, rather than placed in the reserves as seems to have become Tory practice. This money should be given back to the people of Suffolk – from whom it was extracted via their taxes – and used to support some of the services you are proposing to cut.

We are concerned – most particularly with Adult and Continuing Services – that apparent efficiencies are masking significant service resuctions. We have anecdotal evidence that this is the case.

It is a different case with Childrens and Young Peoples’ services. League tables show clearly that we are still performing badly, and yet we see substantial budget cuts. This just cannot be right. The  future of Suffolk depends on the aspirations of its young people.

We welcome the gains you propose to make from the moving of CSD  inhouse- but surely there has been a very hard lesson to be learned here.  This project has been very badly managed for years now. It is proof, if proof was needed that outsourcing services doesn’t always make savings and is not always best.. SO surely the savings made from this and the Energy from Waste project should be employed to rectify the problems I have quoted.

On a personal level I’m deeply disappointed that the Council has decided to cut their contribution to Suffolk’s magnificent AONBs  by 20%  – especially as it is on the back of them being forward-looking and restructuring I know it is only a small sumof money in the grand scheme of things – but what sort of message is it going to send out to our other contributing partners, considering AONBs  importance, and the contribution they make to the Suffolk economy? I wish that the reduction could have been phased in with a full consultation. As it is there  in black and white in today’s budget, I hope the Portfolio holder will reassure us that he will take no more from the AONBs for the duration of this administration.

Severe weather warning: midnight 23 Dec – 6am 24th Dec

The Met Office have issued an Amber Warning of Windvalid from 00:05 on Tue, 24th Dec 2013 until 06:00 on Tue, 24th Dec 2013.

“Southwesterly gales and locally severe gales will continue across southern and eastern parts of England during Monday night, but are expected to strengthen further across parts of southeast England, including SUFFOLK, in the Amber warning area, during the early hours of Tuesday, with gusts of 65-75 mph inland and 75-85 mph along exposed eastern coasts. The winds will ease from the west by morning.”
Note – Friday 27th sees return of gales and rain.

Heavy rain is anticipated although it is considered that this will only have the potential for localised surface water flooding with up to 20-25mm of rain across the county.  There may be other incidents of flooding in areas susceptible to flooding from fast reacting rivers – Rattlesden, Stowmarket  and possibly to Needham Market.

Widespread messages are being circulated to the public through the media – that “ the Public should be prepared for disruption, particularly to travel and for interruptions to power supplies.”

TRAVEL

Road:  The Highways Agency has closed the QEII Bridge at Dartford until further notice with traffic being diverted through the tunnels.  It is anticipated that the Orwell Bridge will be closed later this evening- based upon the wind limits, but hopefully after this evening’s homeward commute to ease congestion problems in Ipswich.

Suffolk Highways are activating their Highways Hub overnight to deal with expected road disruption.  However, crews will not carry out chainsaw clearances during darkness hours, but will make situations safe and put diversions in place.  Additional crews will commence shifts earlier tomorrow morning.

Rail: Anglia Rail tell us  50 mph speed restriction will be imposed across the Route network from 6pm this evening until first thing tomorrow morning. As a consequence there will be some cancellations and alterations to services.

Services in Anglia are not expected to resume until after 10am tomorrow morning, to be in position to clear the debris, etc. and also allow for “route proving trains” to check the lines before re-opened to services. If possible they will restore services before 10am but the advice to the public is not to look to travel tomorrow until after 1000 hrs.

POWER OUTAGES

It is anticipated that there will be power outages, especially along the coast.  UK Power Networks have initiated their emergency procedures.

GENERAL

Warnings are being sent regarding open areas, public spaces and parks and Right of Way regarding the hazards.

There may be loss of power affecting care homes and vulnerable people

Probable closure of Port of Felixstowe,  and increased congestion if Orwell Bridge closed.

Caroline Page

LibDem Spokesperson for Transport