More roads, less buses, millions wasted on consultants and residents deprived of vital services for want of a hundred thousand or so – despite declaring a climate emergency, County’s strangely dual attitude to money and transport continues this month..
Suffolk County Council announces funding cuts to subsidised bus routes Suffolk County Council has announced that 23 subsidised bus routes will no longer receive funding from the council, in a bid to save £340,000. This means that over a third of subsidised bus routes in the county will lose their funding. This will include the early morning 71 we can take from Woodbridge to Ipswich to get us there in time for work/college.
Suffolk County Council submitted a response to this Stage 3 consultation, as did Woodbridge’s Town Council. This is mine, written specifically as Woodbridge County Councillor – and as LibDem Green and Independent group county councillor representing a Suffolk Coastal division
My concerns are both general and specific.Putting to one side the question of whether the development of Sizewell is still desirable or economic, I wish to raise concerns about the following overarching issues about this Stage 3 pre-Application:
The inexplicable decision to favour a road-led strategy for development over both sea and rail. This change to the narrative of previous schemes is in no way explained or explicable. Indeed, the complete fatuity of plans which eschew a marine-led strategy because of “damage to the marine environment” yet which trample over an AONB takes some beating. Such a strategy is not green. It damages a vital resource for Suffolk Coastal – the age-old countryside it relies on for income. It is not convenient – for us, the residents of Suffolk Coastal. Using Suffolk roads is clearly the cheapest and most convenient option for the developers. What is in this for the people living in Suffolk Coastal?
The adverse impact of a road-led strategy is not only on the area around Sizewell, but on all the feeder roads in Suffolk Coastal, and the communities they serve. The impact of traffic displaced by significant HGV traffic on the A12 onto rural routes will affect all rural communities in the path. What is in this for the people living in Suffolk Coastal?
Despite the damage to the surrounding area – an area which brings Suffolk Coastal its most significant longterm income (from tourism) because of this choice of a road-led strategy – we gather it will still be necessary for you to build a jetty to bring heavy machinery in by sea. So what price “protecting the marine environment”?
All this being so, what we appear to see is the wanton destruction of countryside, habitat, environment and way of life for the people of Suffolk Coastal for the benefit of urban areas that want electricity without risk to themselves. Suffolk has 1.4% of the UK population. It will sustain 100% of the damage of this scheme. Words like ‘mitigation and compensation’ fall very short of addressing the destruction of an historic way of life for everything for the foreseeable future
Development plans for significant housing near Leiston suggests that many or most of the workers, even at the building stage, will not be sourced locally, but will be incomers to Suffolk. What is in this for the people living in Suffolk Coastal?
If rail is used it will involve apparently the destruction of many existing crossings and rights of way, at great detriment to residents and tourists, who come specifically to walk and enjoy the countryside. Trains, both for delivery of construction materials and for operational uses afterwards will be in excess of the current East Suffolk line usage and will have an impact in both noise and impact on other traffic for residents along the line. Again, what is in this for the people living in Suffolk Coastal?
Where is the acknowledgement of the impact of climate change on the coast of Suffolk? Suffolk County Council declared a climate emergency last week. Rising seas are predicted to put Sizewell under water within a relatively short space of time. What plans have been mafe to guard against this?
Why is there no marine strategy for the delivery of energy? The current scheme will have a massive impact on the people of Suffolk Coastal in order to benefit a large tranche of the UK population. If we in Britain can get our energy from France via undersea cables, surely London can get its energy from Suffolk by the same route?
Following International Women’s Day I put a motion at a full meeting of Suffolk County Council calling for a pdp* to be formed to improve outcomes for girls. The motion also called for more detailed data by gender. Suffolk has an embarrassing gender gap and much useful information is either not stored or not collated by sex.
The motion recognised IWD ‘s #BalanceforBetter campaign
Unfortunately Suffolk’s Tories – while claiming they backed the principal of the motion – voted against it on the specious grounds that “positive discrimination” would not help.
Er? Since when was “establishing facts” confused with “positive discrimination”? Only in the woolly minds of those predetermined to pretend such discrimination exists.
Suffolk County Council currently has 29% women councillors, less than the 33% national average. The percentage of Conservative women councillors – 22% – is smaller than the total average.
This off-beam decisionmaking above demonstrates in all its inglory Suffolk’s Tory party insistance on deciding – and whipping – their vote before listening to the argument. Since when was equality and balance the same as positive discrimination?
Failing to support this motion is a major step backwards for gender equality. During the meeting I said it was “disheartening and shameful” that the motion was voted down, and expressed my disappointment that my Tory colleagues opposite were so reluctant to look reality in the face.
The motion was talking about #BalanceforBetter which is a gender neutral term. Modern Suffolk has a high gender pay gap, high violence against women.
It seems that Suffolk’s Tories are yet to fully engage with women and what they have to offer
*Policy development panels (PDPs) are formed of a crossparty selectionof councillors who meet to examine data, and look at ideas and solutions to tackle a specific problem, and present recommendations to cabinet.
Caroline Page, LibDem County Councillor for Woodbridge