EDDC: “Relocation cost, No Deal Brexit, electric charging points and climate change motions rejected from being discussed”

Owl says: remember, the Chief executive, Mark Williams, is supposed to be a NEUTRAL civil servant and yet ALL of the refused motions are from ALL the minority groups ONLY……!

“Motions to support recycling, to call for a new property ombudsman to streamline complaints against shoddy builders, and for East Devon to get its fair share of the police precept rise will be discussed at next Wednesday’s full council meeting.

But motions over the full relocation costs of the move from Sidmouth to Honiton, to put electric charging points in all car parks, what to prioritise in a ‘No Deal’ Brexit and on climate change will not be discussed.

Various motions that councillors had put forward for debate at East Devon District Council’s full council meeting on Wednesday, February, were rejected by the council’s chief executive, as either the agenda already provides the opportunity for debate or the wording of the motions were inaccurate.

RELOCATION

Cllr Cathy Gardner had proposed a motion calling for the council to commit to publish an annual ‘summary of accounts’ for the relocation project until break-even is reached as relocation from Sidmouth to Honiton was proposed and predicated on the basis that the project would breakeven within 20 years and deliver cost-savings to the council tax payers of East Devon.

Cllr Gardner said: “Whilst some of this information is already available we feel it is vital for the ongoing costs to be published to show confidence that this project will breakeven. A majority of Councillors voted for relocation on the basis that money would be saved on energy bills. We are left unsure of whether breakeven will ever be proven.”

But an EDDC spokesman said: “The rejected motion contained inaccuracies and omissions that had the potential to mislead councillors and it was also premature. It is however proposed to bring a report to the next meeting of the Cabinet that will summarise the position reached with regard to the sale of the Knowle and the relocation. Cllr Gardner can raise the matters she is concerned about as part of the debate into that report.”

The motion would have called for the accounts to include

energy costs for the Knowle for the past 20 years (for comparison);

energy costs for both Blackdown House and Exmouth Town Hall per year;
the capital receipt for the sale of the Knowle;

a Red Book valuation of Blackdown House as of 1 March 2019;

the full costs for the relocation project since its inception, including: project management; removal, furnishing and equipment;

staff retraining and travel expenses;

new-build costs for Blackdown House; refurbishment costs for Exmouth Town Hall; and any other associated costs.”

CLIMATE CHANGE

Cllr Matthew Booth’s motion had called for the council to recognise that Climate Change and Global Warming are the key issues of our time, to acknowledge the strong concerns of young people in particular the recent walk out of school children and for the council to commit to introducing a policy of carbon measurement and reduction within all aspects of its own activity.

He said: “I personally do not care how we begin to do this, or who does it, but that we act now not wait for some planned strategy in the future.”

An EDDC spokesman said that the issue of climate change emergency is acknowledged to be of critical importance but that it would be appropriate to wait to see what Devon County Council decides. They added: “Currently, however, the County Council is considering its position and will shortly debate the matter. As we are in a two tier area it is appropriate for the District Council to assess the position taken by the upper tier authority and then respond accordingly. The public would expect us to work in partnership with the County Council rather than unilaterally.”

ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING

Cllr Eleanor Rylance had submitted a motion calling for the council to plan for and implement over the next five years a full rolling renovation programme of its car parks estates to fit and bring into operation electrical charging points at every space for domestic cars, and cycle parks with charging points for all types of cycle and that there should be mandatory EV charging points for the parking spaces of every new-built house in East Devon.

She added: “This council should approach the future of electrically-powered domestic vehicles with enthusiasm and proactivity, play a positive role in helping develop the use of electrical and should make this infrastructure, that will be a necessity within the next ten years, available in advance of full electrification of domestic vehicles in 2042.

But an EDDC spokesman said: ““The agenda already provides an opportunity for this issue to be raised so this motion was inappropriate.”

BREXIT

Cllr Rylance had also submitted a motion that said in the event of a No Deal Brexit or a version of Brexit that causes significant disruption, the council should approach this event as a situation of emergency in respect of its most vulnerable residents, dedicating any available human, material and financial resources required to palliate any negative outcomes for these groups, but the motion was rejected.

Talking about all the motions, a council spokesman said: “The council agenda for February contains the most important annual decision, namely the setting of the budget and the approval of the Council Tax for the forthcoming year. The process leading to this meeting has included several meetings where members were encouraged to raise all items of future relevance so these could be assessed as part of our service planning process and for assessment as part of the budget.

“It is unfortunate that some members did not take these opportunities and have chosen instead to submit their proposed motions.

“It is also noted that the wording of the motions was not checked in advance with relevant officers who would have been able to give timely advice as to their wording.”

But motions on the police precept, protection for new home owners and supporting recycling will be discussed.

POLICING

Cllr Tom Wright’s motion says: “In view of the £24 per band D property increase in policing precept, this council urges the Chief Constable to recognise the needs of East Devon when deciding how to allocate extra resources. East Devon residents are the biggest contributors to the police budget in Devon, other than Plymouth. It is only fair that we should get a fair share of the larger cake.”

NEW HOMES

Cllr Douglas Hull’s motion says: “The Government has stated that it would therefore be introducing as a priority a new property ombudsman to streamline complaints against shoddy builders. As a council that not only provides an excellent and highly regarded building control service but also has seen significant levels of new building in its district, we call on the government to fulfil its pledge to provide this much needed remedy for homeowners as a matter of the highest priority.”

RECYCLING

Cllr Peter Burrows’ motion says: “This Council continues to support the fine work done by the EDDC Recycling team in achieving the best results in Devon and to support and encourage local Organisations and voluntary groups who are involved in trying to reduce the amount of single use plastics used in their communities & beaches by making resources and expertise available, where appropriate. The order of priority should be – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. To actively help promote such activities through the Councils social media platforms.”

The full council meeting will be held at East Devon District Council’s new Honiton Heathpark HQ on February 27 at 6pm.”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/relocation-cost-no-deal-brexit-2557565

Radical thoughts on buses

Corbyn notes that profits come before people:

“Jeremy Corbyn has taken aim at bus companies for raking in £3.3bn in profits since 2010 while slashing key routes. …”

https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/transport/buses/news/101497/jeremy-corbyn-blasts-soaring-bus-fares-operators-bank-£33bn

and Friends of the Earth call for all bus travel to be free:

“Friends of the Earth said there needed to be a “radical reimagining of transport” to bring about a 20% reduction in car journeys, even with a faster switch to electric cars, to meet climate change targets.

The group said free bus travel, costing £3bn a year, would also help address public health concerns around air quality and obesity.

Mike Childs, the head of research at Friends of the Earth, said the outlay was a fraction of road spending. He said: “Dozens of cities across the world offer some form of free public transport. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/05/campaigners-call-for-transport-overhaul-to-tackle-pollution

What happens when you don’t invest in renewable energy?

“Britain’s nuclear power stations recorded a 12% decline in their contributions to the country’s energy system over the past month, as outages raised concerns over how long the ageing plants will be able to keep operating.

A temporary closure of two of the country’s eight nuclear plants resulted in a double-digit drop in nuclear generation in January, compared to the same period last year.

Prospects for new nuclear projects have commanded headlines and government attention in recent weeks, with Hitachi and Toshiba scrapping their plans for major new plants.

But the fate of the existing plants, which usually provide about a fifth of the UK’s electricity supplies, has been pulled into focus by outages due to safety checks and engineering works running over schedule. Nuclear outages also push up carbon emissions because any capacity shortfall will typically be replaced by fossil fuel power stations.

Seven of the power stations use an advanced gas reactor (AGR) design, the oldest of which is 43 years old and the youngest 30 years.

Most were built with a lifetime of about 35 years in mind. All are due to be closed in the 2020s after owner EDF Energy extended their lives, but there are now fears that ageing infrastructure may reduce their output or even lead them to shut early.

Iain Staffell, lecturer in sustainable energy at Imperial College, which compiled the nuclear output data, said: “Just as Toshiba and Hitachi have pulled out of building new reactors, we have one third of the existing nuclear capacity unavailable either for maintenance or because their maximum power has been reduced as they get older.

“Many of our reactors were built in the late 70s, and like your typical 40-year-old they aren’t in peak physical condition anymore.” …

Martin Freer, head of nuclear physics at the University of Birmingham and director of the Birmingham Energy Institute, said: “It is clear they are showing their age. When they were originally built they weren’t built to operate as long as they will.”

The issue is not one of safety because of tight regulation of the plants, he said, but it showed the UK’s need to get on and build new nuclear power stations.

By the time Dungeness is hoped to return, another old plant, Hinkley B in Somerset, will have been taken offline for graphite inspections. Any unexpected rate of cracking found there could lead to a longer outage.

Francis Livens, director at the University of Manchester’s Dalton Institute, said the struggle to green-light new nuclear projects had made the need to keep the old ones on more acute.

Freer said he hoped the plants would make it to their planned closure dates rather than retiring early – Hunterston is officially meant to last until 2023 – but feared some would not. “It may just be a run of unfortunate incidents, or it might be a trend of reducing reliability,” he said. “My suspicion is not all of them will make it through to the end.”

EDF said its investments meant the old plants were performing well and it had spent more than £100m over the past six years on the issue of graphite cracking. The company’s figures show generation from the company’s eight plants, including the newer one at Sizewell, growing after it bought them in 2008 before peaking in 2016 and declining since.

Brian Cowell, managing director of generation, said: “EDF Energy’s seven advanced gas-cooled and one pressurised water nuclear power stations [Sizewell C] are delivering at ever better levels thanks to sustained investment and the expertise accumulated over more than 40 years of operation.”

Several of the old plants are also undergoing safety reviews by the Office for Nuclear Regulation. Heysham 1 and Hartlepool both had a periodic safety review in January, with Heysham 2 and Torness to follow next January.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/feb/03/fate-of-uks-nuclear-power-stations-in-doubt-over-ageing-infrastructure

“85 Million Fewer Bus Journeys Last Year Amid ‘Devastating’ Cuts”

“”Cutting and withdrawing services is worsening congestion, air pollution and our impact on climate change.”

“The number of passenger journeys made by bus in England fell by 85 million last year, amid “devastating” cuts on local services.

Passenger journeys declined by 3.2% outside London, continuing a decade-long trend, while bus use in the capital fell by 0.7%, according to the latest figures from the Department for Transport.

Out of 88 local authorities in England outside London, 70 saw a fall in bus use since 2009/10.

Labour said the new figures underlined the impact of Conservative policies, and underlined “the devastating impact of Tory cuts on local bus services”.

Andy McDonald, shadow transport secretary, said: “These figures underline the People are being denied opportunities in work and education and are cut off from friends and family, particularly those in rural areas or from low income backgrounds.”

These figures underline the devastating impact of Tory cuts on local bus servicesAndy McDonald, Shadow Transport Secretary
MacDonald added: “At the same time, cutting and withdrawing services is worsening congestion, air pollution and our impact on climate change.

“A Labour government will act in the interest of the many by putting investment back into bus services, protecting pensioners’ bus passes and introducing a new free pass for under 25s.” …”

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/85-million-fewer-bus-journeys-made-by-passengers-last-year-amid-devastating-cuts_uk_5c518a4ce4b0f43e410cceaa

“Luxembourg to become first country to make all public transport free”

“Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free.

Fares on trains, trams and buses will be lifted next summer under the plans of the re-elected coalition government led by Xavier Bettel, who was sworn in for a second term as prime minister on Wednesday.

Bettel, whose Democratic party will form a government with the leftwing Socialist Workers’ party and the Greens, had vowed to prioritise the environment during the recent election campaign.

On top of the transport pledge, the new government is also considering legalising cannabis, and introducing two new public holidays.

Luxembourg City, the capital of the small Grand Duchy, suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world.

It is home to about 110,000 people, but a further 400,000 commute into the city to work. A study suggested that drivers in the capital spent an average of 33 hours in traffic jams in 2016.

While the country as a whole has 600,000 inhabitants, nearly 200,000 people living in France, Belgium and Germany cross the border every day to work in Luxembourg.

Luxembourg has increasingly shown a progressive attitude to transport. This summer, the government brought in free transport for every child and young person under the age of 20. Secondary school students can use free shuttles between their institution and their home. Commuters need only pay €2 (£1.78) for up to two hours of travel, which in a country of just 999 sq miles (2,590 sq km) covers almost all journeys.

Now, from the start of 2020 all tickets will be abolished, saving on the collection of fares and the policing of ticket purchases. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/05/luxembourg-to-become-first-country-to-make-all-public-transport-free

Sidford Business Park: Traffic action group to reveal survey results at public meetings on 21 November 2018

Sidbury Traffic Action Group (STAG) is hosting a meeting in which the results of a traffic survey will be announced.

The survey focused on electronic speed and traffic movement and was part of ongoing concerns over drivers not sticking to the enforced speed limits.

Also at the meeting, the group will discuss the establishment of a speed watch group that will work in conjunction with the police.

There will be information about the group’s recent discussions with Devon County Council.

Finally, the group will reveal where it will go next in their pursuit for 20mph flashing signs.

The group launched a campaign in April urging people to ‘kill their speed and not villagers’.

Members of the group have concerns with cars breaking the speed limits in the town.

The meeting will take place in Sidbury Village Hall on November 21 at 2 and 7pm.”

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/sidbury-traffic-action-group-to-reveal-survey-results-at-public-meeting-1-5781477