Liberal Democrat Councillors secure more ambitious Climate Change target

Bury’s team of Liberal Democrat councillors have been successful in getting Bury Council to sign up to a ambitious target of 2030 to be a carbon neutral Council and borough, as our part in tackling the climate emergency.

The agreement came as a Liberal Democrat Group amendment to a Labour Group motion on climate change, which had proposed a more modest target of 2038. The Liberal Democrat proposal was accepted and is now the policy of Bury Council.

Liberal Democrat Council Group Leader Tim Pickstone said:

“2038 is not ambitious enough. This is an emergency because we have not done anything about it.

In 1979 this might have been a worry. In 2019 it is an emergency. In 2030 it is game over because this is when scientists tell us that climate change is irreversible damage. It is ridiculous to think that people not even born yet have to wait to be adults before we can achieve this.

What do you do in an emergency? Greta Thunberg tells us that we need to act like our house is on fire. What you don’t do in an emergency is set up a Working Gropu! We are making decisions every day that affect our climate and we need to change policies immediately.

You can see Councillor Pickstone making the proposals here.

Plan to Tackle Knife Crime

Ahead of his debate on 27 June 2019 in Parliament, Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson in the Lords, has launched a five-point plan to tackle the knife crime epidemic.

His public health approach which he has called on the Conservative Government to enact is outlined below:

  1. Enabling parents to be there for their children by tackling in-work poverty & providing the support parents and their children need.
  2. Safe and healthy alternatives to gangs: providing a positive safety net for those whose parents can’t provide the support their children need.
  3. Healing the damage caused by Adverse Childhood Experiences by addressing the psychological impact with intervention at ‘teachable moments’ and countering the normalisation of violence through compulsory sex and relationship education.
  4. Inclusive education: fewer excluded pupils, adaptable education that addresses every pupil’s needs, including teaching the realities of criminal gangs.
  5. United against knife crime: restoring community policing so police and communities can work on the same side against the knife carriers.

Following the launch of the plan, Brian Paddick said:

“Knife crime claims a new life almost every day but the Conservatives are not taking the crisis seriously. We have witnessed devastating cuts to our police force as well as a piecemeal approach which fails to make any impact.

Knife crime is a public health emergency and therefore demands a public health response. Government departments should be working together to enact the changes we need to get a grip of this rise in violent crime.

The knife crime epidemic needs a cohesive and joined-up approach which is what the Liberal Democrats have put forward. Not only must we address the decimation of community policing, but we must tackle other factors driving knife crime such as in work poverty and school exclusions.

So tomorrow I will call on the Government to enact our plan. By doing so, we can move towards a society where young people are safe on our streets.”

Updated Bee Network Cycle Map

Greater Manchester’s councils have published an update map of the ‘Bee Network’ a proposed network of cycle and pedestrian-friendly routes and areas, as well as announcing a number of new schemes across the city region.

The revised map shows the proposed network of cycle friendly routes, as well as the ‘busy bee’ routes earmarked as major cycle friendly routes in the future.

The new map can be accessed here. A a change from the previous map published last year a section of Bury Old Road and Heywood Road has been included as a ‘Busy Bee’ route as an alternative to coming through Prestwich village.

Also announced yesterday is a new set of infrastructure projects across Greater Manchester to begin to implement this strategy. When the first set of projects were announced Bury failed to have a single scheme included.

In the new proposals there is a cycle friendly scheme proposed around Fishpool, just south of Bury town centre, at a total cost of £3.6 million, which is welcome. Bury remains the ‘poor relation’ with schemes every other Borough included in the scheme getting more money – in Salford and Wigan’s case £30 and £32 million respectively.

A full list of the current proposed schemes is here.

Meet new MEP Jane Brophy

Newly elected MEP for the North West will be speaking at an event in Prestwich on Saturday 6 July 2019 at Our Lady of Grace Church Hall, Fairfax Road Prestwich. 


The event has been organised by Bury Liberal Democrats, but is open to all supporters and friends. Jane will be joined by member of the House of Lords Lord Andrew Stunell, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Manchester Council Councillor John Leech and the writer and presenter Graham Hughes. 


Stop Brexit in Bury 
6 July 2019, Our Lady of Grace Church Hall, Fairfax Road, Prestwich. 4.45-8.00pm

Speakers:
Jane Brophy MEP
Cllr John Leech (Manchester)
Lord Andrew Stunell

Moderator:
Graham Hughes, writer and activist

The event will be held on Saturday 6th July at:
Our Lady of Grace Parish Hall
11 Fairfax Rd
Prestwich
M25 1AS

16:45 Doors
17:00 Welcome (Alcoholic/soft drinks can be purchased at the bar)
17:15 Speakers
18:00 Q&A
18:45 Raffle (Alcoholic/soft drinks can be purchased at the bar)
19:55 Conclusions

Tickets:
Tickets are free but please register for your free admission ticket on Eventbrite
http://tiny.cc/pzle8y

Consultation on GM Clean Air Zone closes 30 June 2019

The current public consultation phase on Greater Manchester’s proposals for Clean Air Zone’s closes on 30 June 2019.

The proposals are for daily charges in Greater Manchester for lorries, buses, taxes and vans that do not meet strict emissions regulations – these would be £100 per day for lorries and buses, and £7.50 per day for taxis and vans.

Before proposals are taken further, members of the public are being asked for our views. Take part in the consultation here.

To find out more about our Clean Air proposals visit: https://cleanairgm.com/

Other Councillors not spending money allocated to them

Investigations by Bury’s Liberal Democrat councillors has revealed that Labour and Conservative councillors have not allocated around half of the money allocated to them for their local communities.

Only two areas – the Liberal Democrat councillors in Holyrood Ward and also the councillors in Tottington – have allocated the total of £4,500 allocated under the Elected Member Discretionary Budgets during that period.

The scheme was set up in December 2017 for councillors to support local projects and initiatives within their ward and wider township at their discretion.

More information was provided in an investigation by the Bury Times, reveal that only £41,801.96 was spent by councillors in their communities out of a possible £76,500.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Tim Pickstone said: “We welcomed the decision to provide councillors with small delegated budgets to spend on priorities in their own wards. Liberal Democrat councillors in Holyrood ward have had no difficulty making sure all of that money has gone to the right place supporting a whole variety of community groups and initiatives.”

“There are so many good causes that need our support so I am amazed that only two of the 17 wards in Bury have spent the money that has been allocated to them.”

Councillors in Radcliffe West spent the least money at £312 out of a possible £4,5000 while Besses and St Mary’s wards spent around £700 each.

Here is how Liberal Democrat Councillors spent the budget in Holyrood Ward.

Here is the full spend / underspend for each ward:

Bury East AvailableSpendEMDB allocated per ward
Moorside 2105.002395.004500
Redvales Ward 1300.003200.004500
East Ward 2966.761533.244500
6371.767128.24
Bury West AvailableSpendEMDB allocated per ward
Elton Ward 871.703628.304500
Church Ward 234921514500
3220.705779.30
RTNMavailableSpendEMDB allocated per ward 
Ramsbottom 267218284500 
 North Manor291.204208.804500 
 Tottington045004500 
2963.206036.80 
 
Radcliffe availablespendEMDB allocated per ward 
North1719.482780.524500  
West4188312 4500 
East1226.533273.474500  
 71346365.99 
     
Whitefield & UnsworthavailablespendEMDB allocated per ward 
Pilkington Park28701630 4500 
Besses3772.19727.81 4500 
Unsworth3100 14004500 
 9742.193757.81 
 PrestwichavailablespendEMDB allocated per ward 
St Marys 38116894500 
Sedgley 1454.803045.204500 
Holyrood 0.38 4499.624500 
  5266.188233.82 

Thank you for your Support

A huge thank you from the Liberal Democrat team here in Bury for your support in the local elections.

The Liberal Democrats had our best result in Bury for almost a decade:

– holding Holyrood Ward, with an increased majority (986 votes over Labour) electing our new Councillor Cristina Tegolo

– gaining St Mary’s Ward, by 942 votes over Labour, electing our youngest ever Councillor, Michael Powell.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Tim Pickstone said:
“This is the first time in a decade that the Liberal Democrats have won so many seats in Bury. Not only that but we also got significantly more votes than Labour across the three Prestwich seats.

Local people are sending a clear message that Labour’s policies around building on our green belt land, and their failure to tackle congestion and air pollution need to change”.

Full results here.

Government must be more ambitious than a 2050 Greenhouse Gas target

Responding to the expected announcement that the Climate Change Committee has recommended 2050 as the date the UK becomes a net-zero greenhouse gas emitter:

Liberal Democrat Climate Change Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP said:

“This report tells us the very minimum we need to do to cut our greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero, but this Tory Government must be more ambitious. We have a responsibility as a country in the face of a climate emergency facing the entire world.

“We saw only last week that some in the cabinet are refusing to say they accept the scientific consensus on climate change which is incredibly alarming. Liberal Democrats demand better. Climate change is scientific fact, not an opinion to be debate – that time has passed.

“That’s why Liberal Democrats are calling on a net-zero target of 2045. This will focus minds and make the United Kingdom a world leader in cutting emissions, while also taking responsibility for the damage our country has caused over the last century.”

Former Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said:

“Climate change should be at the heart of Government – as Liberal Democrats successfully worked for during the Coalition.

“Climate action by Liberal Democrat ministers saw a huge expansion in renewable power, the setting up of the Green Investment Bank and Britain leading key international climate negotiations at the EU and UN, winning new more ambitious targets. 

“In contrast, the Tory record by themselves since 2015 has been appalling: scrapping our zero carbon homes law, dramatically slowing down green energy investment, privatising of the Green Investment Bank and refocusing of energy policy away from renewables on to fracking and nuclear.

“Liberal Democrats would declare a climate crisis and introduce a radical new programme to decarbonise capitalism, forcing investments to consider climate risk, shifting them into clean, green technologies.”

(Graph from Carbon Brief)

55% drop in Library usage since closures

Investigations by Bury’s Liberal Democrat Councillors have reveals that uses of Bury’s libraries have dropped a shocking 55% since the review of libraries in 2016.

At the start of 2017 Bury Council’s Labour leadership concluded a ‘consultation’ of Bury library users and decided to close 10 of the 14 libraries. During the consultation, many people, including us, raised significant concerns that people would be excluded from the library service as it was not feasible to travel. Since then the library service has also slashed the opening hours of the libraries – for example Prestwich Library had a 40% reduction in opening hours (47 hours to 29.5 a week).

Not surprisingly this has resulted in a massive drop in library usage.

In 2018, there were 323,100 visits reflecting the first full year with four libraries. This compares with 681,350 visits in 2017 when the closures began to be introduced, 725,520 in 2016, and 795,200 in 2015. That is a 55% drop in library use from before the changes.

This is a real shame. Although most people in Bury do not use Libraries, for many people that do they are an important facility, providing access to facilities that wouldn’t otherwise be available and also helping reduce isolation and loneliness.

At the time of the review we proposed alternative models, for example using volunteers to help keep smaller libraries open and other libraries open for longer. We even proposed money to pay for this (proper volunteer management and training) in a fully-funded budget amendment at the time.

Greater Manchester Fire Consults on Changes

Residents are being asked for our views on significant changes to the way the Fire Service runs. The public consultation on the GMFRS Programme for Change Outline Business will run until May 31.

You can give your views on the plan at www.gmconsult.org.

The public are being consulted with on two specific areas, these are:

  • Proposal to merge six fire stations into three new ones (in Bolton, Manchester and Stockport).
  • Proposal to remove the ‘second fire engine’ from 8 Fire Stations. (None of which are in Bury, or the Broughton Fire station which serves Prestwich.)

Like all fire services, Greater Manchester is continuing to have make savings because of financial pressures. These proposals will ensure that the service is on the right financial footing to be able to continue to serve the people of Greater Manchester.

The recommended option would reduce the fire service as follows

NOW
41 Fire Stations
56 Fire Engines
1246 Firefighter posts

IN THREE YEARS
– 38 Fire Stations
– 47 Fire Engines
– 1052 Firefighter posts

To find out more about the proposals and read the full Outline Business Case, click here. The press release announcing the proposals can be found here

Please do also let us know what you think about these changes so we can represent you best at a Greater Manchester level.