Electric vans hit the road in East Devon in council’s carbon-neutral drive

A fleet of environmentally-friendly electric vans have hit the road in East Devon as part of the district council’s drive to become carbon-neutral by 2040.

East Devon Reporter eastdevonnews.co.uk 

The authority is one of the first in the country to trial the seven specially-modified vehicles – each kitted out with a custom-made caged tipping body.

Their rechargeable batteries have a range of between 124 and 187 miles.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) is leasing the lower-emission Nissan ENV200 vans which will be used daily to help keep parks and public areas ‘clean and green’.

And plans are in place to convert more of its vehicles to electric in the future as part of a £100,000 programme.

East Devon District Council StreetScene deputy operations manager Tom Wood. Picture: EDDC

East Devon District Council StreetScene deputy operations manager Tom Wood. Picture: EDDC

Councillor Marianne Rixson, portfolio holder for climate action, said: “I am very encouraged by our greener fleet and I’m excited to see how this area of our work will progress in the future.

“Each and every one of us faces an enormous environmental challenge and any changes that we can make to reduce our footprint is a positive step forward.”

EDDC, which has been using electric vehicles since 2012, signed up to a Devon-wide climate change emergency declaration last year.

Its climate change action plan includes earmarking £100,000 towards the electrification of its fleet of vans and cars.

The ‘associated infrastructure’ of the environmentally-friendly motors initially costs more to buy than standard diesel or petrol vehicles.

The East Devon District Council vans have a bespoke caged tipping body. Picture: EDDC

The East Devon District Council vans have a bespoke caged tipping body. Picture: EDDC

EDDC has also been working ‘smart’ electric vehicle charging equipment installer Elmtronics, which has supplied four stations in Sidmouth.

The charge facilities can be increased ‘as more vehicles come on-stream’, says the council.

Appeal to catch Devon asbestos dumpers

Two builders’ bags full of asbestos sheets were found in the Mill Leat, on the River Clyst, near Sowton Village, East Devon. It is thought the illegal dumping happened on or near 20 November 2020.

Mirage News www.miragenews.com 

Fly-tipping is not a victimless crime. The cost of clearing up falls on the landowner. But in limited circumstances the Environment Agency can step in. The asbestos is now being removed and disposed of safely.

Dave Brogden of the Environment Agency said:

The burden of investigating and clearing waste from fly-tipping often falls on local councils and we get involved if the amount and type of waste is so bad it can only be classified as illegal dumping.

On this occasion we have stepped in to sort out this problem, the result of someone showing a complete disregard to the safety of the public and the environment and for the time and resources of local services such as ours, which are already under extreme pressure.

Everyone who produces waste has a duty of care to make sure it does not cause harm to human health or pollute the environment and that it goes to the right place for disposal. On this occasion there were at least three sites within a few miles of the location permitted to accept this sort of hazardous waste.

If the cost of any work being carried out is unusually low, the contractor may not have a permit to carry waste nor any intention of paying for its proper disposal. You can check their waste-carrying credentials at https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-carriers-brokers.

Dave Brogden said:

If you use someone to take away waste, we want you to take 3 steps: check if they if they have a permit, ask where the rubbish will end up, then record the details of the vehicle used to take the rubbish away. Never pay cash and insist upon a receipt.

If you have any information about who is responsible for this waste crime, contact the Environment Agency’s 24/7 hotline 0800 807060 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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While Exmouth residents agree on parking, Budleigh residents fail to reach consensus on safety

A Town council survey has revealed that there is ‘no consensus’ over the future of Budleigh Salterton’s high street to make the town centre safer.

[Exmouth story here]

Daniel Wilkins www.exmouthjournal.co.uk

High Street, Budleigh Salterton. Picture: Google

High Street, Budleigh Salterton. Picture: Google

Budleigh Salterton Town Council had agreed to undertake the survey after proposals for temporary alterations to the town centre to help with social distancing were criticised by traders and residents.

The results of the survey, which closed at the beginning of October, were presented to the town council on Monday, November 23.

The main conclusion of the summary report is that there is no consensus amongst local people about the way forward for the High Street.

A spokesman for the town council said: “Responses presented a really mixed picture, and it became quite apparent there was no one scheme which the majority of respondents wished to be carried out.”

The survey, which asked for opinions and ideas relating to the safety of the High Street in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, received 371 responses – 333 of which were completed via an online form.

More than 85 per cent of those who took the survey lived in Budleigh and the same figure said Budleigh high street was important to them.

Around half of those who took part in the survey said designated disabled parking bays are needed, with 21 per cent saying they were not.

Earlier this year the town council proposed to widen the pavements in Budleigh to make it easier for shoppers and 75 per cent of those taking the survey said the pavements are currently too narrow.

At the council Meeting, councillors thanked local residents and businesses who had made their voices heard through the survey and agreed that this had been a ‘huge learning curve’ for all involved as all the comments were ‘really valuable’ in gauging the wide variety of local opinion.

The Town Council is publishing a summary of the results, so that people can see the breadth of views expressed.

It will continue to monitor issues, for both pedestrians and drivers, in the High Street and will continue to review the many positive suggestions for improvement to see if an obvious solution becomes apparent which it can then bring it to fruition.

Residents parking plans for large parts of seaside town – Exmouth

Residents parking restrictions are set to be introduced across large areas of Exmouth.

Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com 

Councillors on the East Devon Highways and Traffic Orders Committee on Friday unanimously agreed to advertise the traffic regulation orders that would enable the parking restrictions to be put in place.

It followed a consultation back in October 2019 which received over 1,200 responses from around 1,000 address in Exmouth, which saw more than 60 per cent of the respondents in the areas affected back proposals to introduce a residents’ parking scheme.

The East Devon HATOC heard that as a result, it was proposed that restrictions are progressed in the zones where the majority of responses are in favour of a scheme.

Residents Parking sign

The report of Meg Booth, chief officer for highways, said: “It should be noted that this may include some roads where residents may be opposed to a scheme, but it is not practical or appropriate to exclude that road from the proposals being developed. A number of residents from Bicton Place have submitted comments as part of the consultation to request that they be included in a scheme and it is recommended that the proposals be amended to include this road.”

Restrictions will be introduced in five Zones:

· Zone A – Colonies Area

· Zone B – Withycombe Road Area

· Zone C – St Andrews Road Area

· Zone D – Albion Street Area

· Zone E – Carter Avenue Area

But she added that a sixth zone around the town centre area (EX6) saw a very low response rate of just 6.2 per cent, and as those responding had mixed views, but slightly more were opposed to a scheme, it is recommended that the proposed restrictions are not progressed in this area.

Following discussions with the local members, it is proposed that the residents parking scheme apply 8am to 8pm on all days to maximise the benefits of a scheme at times it can be enforced.

The consultation responses saw that the times that most people found difficult to park outside their homes were either after 4pm in the evening, or at weekends

Cllr Richard Scott, who represents Exmouth, backed the proposals which were ‘a massive piece of work to try and solve the problem of parking’. He added: “I hope the members can see the detail and I ask that you support the largest change in parking restrictions in Exmouth.”

His fellow ward member, Cllr Jeff Trail added: “This is a massive change for the residents who have faced parking issues and a lack of residents unable to park near their homes.”

The proposals were unanimously supported by the East Devon HATOC, and subject to no objections being received to the traffic regulation order process, will then come into force, at a date yet to be determined.

Exmouth & Exeter recycling centres start selling discarded electrical items

Thrown-away flatscreen televisions and vacuum cleaners are among electrical items now being sold at recycling centres in Exmouth and Exeter for the first time.

eastdevonnews.co.uk 

Safety-checked and function-tested devices have been added to the re-conditioned stock of low-cost shops at some tips – and even come with a 30-day guarantee.

The new scheme to give the discarded products a fresh lease of life comes following public demand for the popular ‘re-sale’ outlets to expand their offering.

Knowle Hill Recycling Centre in Exmouth and Pinbrook Recycling Centre in Exeter are among five across the county taking part in the initiative.

High case rates expected to prevent Devon from moving into Tier 1

Concerns over the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has prompted Devon County Council’s leader to warn the county may not drop down to Tier 1 when the grades are reassessed.

[Isn’t a couple of weeks too soon after the transition from lockdown 2 to Tier2* to make any “meaningful” case? – Owl]

Anita Merritt www.devonlive.com

When the current tiered system is reviewed next Wednesday, December 16, some areas could move into a lower tier – while others may move up.

Authorities have a week to make their case for moving down a tier. The review will consider the opinions of local public health directors, with a final decision on whether any changes will take place being made at a cabinet committee.

Areas which are approved for tier changes will see the switch take place on December 19.

Devon County Council leader John Hart has shared concerns about the number of people still being tested positive for coronavirus in Devon, which is currently in Tier 2.

Yesterday, Devon Live reported the latest Covid figures for Devon show the total number of infections in Exeter over the past seven days now stands at 130 – continuing a steady downward trend in the city.

A total of 10 people tested positive, according to the latest data from Public Health England.

The ward with the highest infection rate in the city is Wonford and St Loyes, which has an infection rate of 253 per 100,000 people. Its 21 cases was unchanged on Monday.

Areas seeing an increase include St Leonard’s; Heavitree East & Whipton South; Central Exeter; and Exwick and Foxhayes.

It now means there have been 2,777 Covid-19 cases in Exeter since the pandemic started.

Exeter’s coronavirus case rate per 100,000 is currently 98.9. That is above the Devon county rate of 76.6.

The highest infection rate can currently be found in East Devon. Honiton North & East has 16 cases and a rolling rate of 264.6.

In North Devon all the wards have less than 10 cases. Figures in Torbay remain low. In Torridge, Holsworthy, Bradworthy and Welcome has seen nine new cases, taking the total to 21.

Cllr Hart said: “As much as I would like to see restrictions lifted a little in order to support our local tourism and hospitality industry, I fear case numbers are not yet coming down sufficiently to warrant a move to Tier 1.

“In particular, there is still real concern about positivity rates among older people and the pressure this could put on local hospitals.

“I fully recognise that there is a very fine and difficult balance to strike between lives and livelihoods here in Devon.

“If we are to stay in Tier 2 then I would like to see more support from the government for our hard pressed local businesses, and the hospitality trade in particular.

“While there will be the relaxation of tier restrictions between December 23 and 27 to enable families to get together for Christmas, we must all make sure we continue to make the right choices and do not drop our guard otherwise we will pay a heavy price in January with the inevitable prospect of tighter restrictions needed if numbers start to rise again.”