Category Archives: Your councillor

Pavement Parking – YOU can make sure it’s over!

Pavement parking benefits nobody but the parker, who gains a few seconds of their time which is clearly more valuable than anyone else’s.

Pavement parking: its selfish, its antisocial, it discriminates against so many people, and causes difficulties to their lives.

But sadly – except in London – its not illegal.

But now it can be.

Fill in the Government’s Consultation: Pavement Parking – options for change. I’ve filled it in as Woodbridge County Councillor but this is a case of the more responses the better. There is just one week left: the consultation finishes on 22 November.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/managing-pavement-parking/pavement-parking-options-for-change

PS I have gone for Option 3: NO parking on the pavement (except for necessary exceptions they list: ambulances, fire engines, etc )

Your voice matters! It doesn’t take very long.

And your voice might be the one that nakes the difference.

Suffolk County: LibDems and Greens lone voices against Sizewell

Conservative and Labour councillors at Suffolk County Council yesterday chose to not oppose the development of Sizewell C, despite acknowledging the irreparable harm it could cause to the Suffolk coastline and economy.

The Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group had proposed a motion asking Suffolk County Council to oppose the development of Sizewell C and set up a cross-party panel to consider whether the council should maintain its current ‘in-principle’ support for nuclear power.

However, the motion was lost after both the Conservative and Labour groups stated that they would not support it. There were just 12 votes in favour, 50 against and 4 abstentions.

The LDGI Stop Sizewellc speakers: Cllrs Caroline Page, David Wood (Proposer), Andrew Stringer (Seconder, replacing Elfrede Brambley Crawshaw), Penny Otton, Robert Lindsey, Inga Lockington Note their names & faces.Together with John Field  they made a stand for our future

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My speech:

Colleagues, we represent the people of Suffolk. But, in supporting Sizewell C it is as if their concerns and objections did not exist. 

Why would anyone support it?

Economic benefit?  We’re told Sizewell C will bring in £100m annually.  But the tourist benefit of the Suffolk Coastal AONB, coastal heaths – plus all  the natural environment around is £240m annually. Who will visit a building site?  Sizewell C will lose us money.

We’re told SIzewell will bring local jobs? Yet 75% of the workers will need purpose built accommodation. So, not very local.

Not forgetting Sizewell C will lose Suffolk Coastal  jobs by inflicting permanent damage to the tourist industry the Suffolk coast relies on – and for which it is famed.  Sizewell will trample over an AONB,  damaging a vital resource: the age-old countryside in which it sits.  What an own goal. 

As the sheriff says in Fargo: “All for a little bit of money.”

Our beautiful Suffolk coast is now rebranded the Energy coast. 7% of UK electricity will come from Sizewell. Yet the impact of building and running it will have a 100% impact on the Suffolk coast and its residents. And that impact is negative.

Do remember, the waste from Sizewell C will be stored “temporarily onsite” – just as the waste from Sizewell B is still being stored “temporarily onsite”. They’re still looking for solutions.  What will it cost? Who pays?

So, Suffolk gets to lose maybe £140million a year, for loss of AONB and ancient countryside, while gaining many years’ impact of building works, much additional traffic despite our green commitments, and the longterm problem of nuclear waste.

This is for a power plant that is already obsolete before it is built. With the advance of wind generated energy, the financial case for  nuclear power no longer adds up.

Sizewell does not make economic sense, environmental sense, common sense

Words like ‘mitigation,  compensation’ fall very short of addressing the destruction of an historic way of life for people and environment. When these words get used to describe the wholesale destruction of our countryside and way of life for no apparent gain whatsoever, it is time to halt this idiocy.

Colleagues, we all know Sizewell is a dinosaur. There is no need for us to play Jurassic Park.

Forget Carers Week – nobody cares

Last week  – National Carers Week – passed with even less than its usual muted tootle.

Not sure why. The pandemic has meant that unpaid carers are busier, lonelier, more stressed, less supported  than ever. Maybe everyone was clapped out for the ‘real’ carers – you know, the ones we pay.

Carers Week is generally when those lucky enough not to be carers briefly acknowledge their plight, and then forget it again. This year we didn’t even bother to remember.  The official hashtag #carersweek is matched by the unofficial #realcarersweek. Have a look: it is very illuminating. I’ve spent twenty years watching paint dry when it comes to raising awareness of the very existence of unpaid carers and their lives. It’s dispiriting.

Putting national apathy aside  (and it was total)  all I can imagine is that everybody in Britain  – including our Prime Minister – is unaware of the void of difference between care workers (staunch, hardworking, poorly paid – but, crucially, paid) and unpaid carers, whose invisible lives are defined by high levels of ill-health (both physical and mental), poverty, stress and isolation. Carers are seven times more likely to be really lonely compared with the general public.  Carers are in effect slaves, held hostage by love, saving the state billions. Many work 24/7 without a break for months, maybe years at a time. Unpaid carers have no pay, no sick leave (let alone sick pay), no holiday (let alone holiday pay), no employers pension contributions

Suffolk doesn’t even know how many unpaid carers it has – old couples locked behind doors, children worried sick that a parent may be collapsed when they get home, a sibling trying to keep a family  member safe.

We do know that we have about 100,000 of them, because unpaid carers make up 13% of the population.

This year, lockdown gave everyone a sudden taste of being shut up involuntarily, unable to get out, unable to contact friends, losing livelihoods, careers, opportunities, very stressed, very concerned, very worried. And, like becoming a carer, it happened in a flash.

I am calling on the people of Suffolk – and those who represent them – to think what it would be like being locked down for life – for love. Without all the food parcels, the zoom quizzes, the sudden support networks and all the initiatives that are on offer now that sudden loss of of so much has hit the zeitgeist.

Clap for the carers? “Oh, of course  we mean you you too.” Clap for no pay, no sick leave, no holiday, no work-related pension, no union representation – because you only work. You are not counted as workers.

Are the carers charities  finally going to lobby to make real improvements to unpaid carers lives?  Lobby for pay, sick leave, holiday entitlement, work-related pension contributions (because, sure as hell, carers work their socks off)? £67 Carers Allowance for the few, and a dismissive pat on the head for all is simply not enough!

This is the time to admit to and take responsibility for those hidden 100,000, many of whom – appallingly – we still can’t identify, still living lives of quiet desperation behind closed doors, whether the lockdown eases or not.

And having -finally – taken responsibility for them, we must be morally obliged to do something to make their lives better.