Cllr Gareth Epps, Lib Dem Environment Spokesperson and Cllr Kirsten Bayes, Redlands ward Councillor piled pressure on the Labour Council last night to do more to tackle illegal dumping in Reading.
Questions tabled by the Lib Dems to the Reading Borough Council meeting last night (29 January) revealed that nobody has been prosecuted for flytipping in the last 12 months – despite recent legislation to make it easier to penalise offenders.
Gareth Epps said: “Labour’s record on dealing with flytipping is scandalous. It must clean up its act and develop more effective strategies for reducing dumping. This is an issue we shall be taking very seriously in our programme put before the people of Reading this May.”
Kirsten Bayes added: “Flytipping blights local communities. Often the same sites are used repeatedly by flytippers, forcing local residents to arrange clean-ups week after week. The Council needs to use the powers available to all local authorities to clamp down on this practice.”
- Fly-tipping is “the illegal deposit of any waste onto land i.e. waste dumped or tipped on a site with no license accept waste”. Fly-tipped waste generally consists of large items of rubbish that are dumped illegally on land instead of being disposed of properly at a landfill site tip, often referred to as “dumping”.
- Fly-tipping, is a group of offences under Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act (1990), carries severe maximum penalties (Unlimited fine, 5 years imprisonment at Crown Court)
Cllr Daisy Benson and the Reading Lib Dems have launched a campaign in conjunction with Reading University Students Union to encourage more students to register to vote in time for the local elections in May.
Daisy will be pressing the Deputy Leader of the Council at a meeting of the Council on Tuesday to do more to get students onto the electoral roll.
The Lib Dems will also be going door to door in the University area to remind students that they CAN vote in local elections in Reading (even if they are registered at home)
“The number of Reading students who register to vote is still too low. The Council must do more to encourage students to register.
“Students sometimes forget to re-register when they leave halls and move into student houses off campus.”
“Students living out use local services just like other residents and it is vital that their voices are heard. They have until 11 April to register in time for the May elections.
Issues like recycling, bus services, streetlighting and policing really matter to students living in Reading and this is their chance to vote for more progressive policies and influence the Council’s decisions”
Sally Pearman, President of Reading University Student’s Union said:
“Many students are dealing with a lot of responsibility for the first time. The Council should be making the election process as easy as possible and using innovative campaigns to get more students voting.“
“If our Council does not engage these young minds then they will become increasingly marginalised in our community as local politicians won’t consider their unique perspective.”
Editor’s Notes –
- Residents have until 11 April to register for May’s local elections
- Daisy will be asking her question on at a Council meeting at the Civic Centre on Tuesday 29 January at 6.30pm
- A recent report by Reading Borough Council showed that voter registration in student areas of Reading is significantly lower than the rest of town
- The St Lukes Church (Erleigh Road area) polling station in Redlands has a registration rate of 69.5% (the Reading Borough average is 80.68%)
- This is the third year running the Lib Dems have run a ‘door to door’ campaign to encourage voter registration in Reading
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary campaigner and Environment spokesperson on the Council, Gareth Epps, is pressing for Reading Borough Council to make it easier to set up a full-scale car club scheme, as it emerges that the company CarPlus is workking to reopen the service based at Cemetery Junction which closed down earlier in January.
Gareth has asked the Council to look at a number of ways to make it easier for car clubs to be run in Reading, including:
- Provision of car club bases on all new town centre developments, in part to reduce the demand for parking;
- Providing residents’ parking permits for car club vehicles, something not provided for by current policy;
- Investigating making the Council’s car pool available as part of the car club fleet, as pioneered in Bristol under Liberal Democrat control.
Gareth will discuss these at a meeting with Council officials in February. This follows on from previous campaigning and pressure on the Council to promote car clubs. Gareth has also been in touch with CarPlus to encourage them and offer help. CarPlus have held meetings with car club users and the Council, and hope to be able to offer a service from the end of February.
Car clubs offer a number of advantages:
- Reduced car mileage: between 25% and 45% reduction for individual drivers.
- Each car club car typically replaces 6 private cars.
- Typical car and typical useage: cost saving over fully owned vehicle up to £2000 per year.
“Car Clubs are a win-win-win for people in built-up areas. They let people have a car when they need them, saving car club members money, saving unnecessary road trips and freeing up space on our streets and roads. It is high time Reading’s Labour Council took serious action to encourage them – if they are committed to taking real green action.”
The contact at Carplus looking to set up a facility in Reading is Philip Igoe. He can be contacted on 0113 234 9299 or by email at Philip Igoe. CarPlus’ website is at Carplus
Reading Lib Dem Transport Spokesperson, Cllr Ricky Duveen, has submitted his party’s ideas to the Transport Commission looking into congestion in Reading – as official figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats showed that the number of vehicles on local roads has increased since the Labour Government came to power.
The key Lib Dem proposal is to introduce a charge for lorries using Reading town centre as a north-south through route instead of the A34 or A404. Cllr Duveen said “I am not a great fan of individual authorities all setting different road charges but the case for charging lorries running through Reading is very strong. We want lorries to avoid our congested town centre and use the perfectly good alternatives that are already available. Charging lorries for passing through Reading will hopefully make them avoid the town and lessen congestion. It is not a money-making scheme as the whole idea of charging is to keep this unwanted through traffic out of our town.”
Lorry charging was among more than 20 ideas put forward for discussion by the Lib Dems, including:
- Support for a Third Thames Bridge, with Reading Bridge becoming a public transport corridor once the new bridge is constructed;
- More Park and Ride schemes serving Reading.
- A major investment in better pedestrian routes and a cycle network;
- Safeguarding enough land for a better bus station by Reading Station during and after the redevelopment;
- Investigation into reducing the number of car journeys needed inside the IDR, and rejection of turning the ring road one-way (a point on which Lib Dems have taken the lead).
Lib Dems also want to see more done to support car clubs where people give up their private car and belong to a club that retains a fleet of cars that can be booked for use by members as and when they need.
Figures uncovered this week by the Liberal Democrats in Parliament show that over the past decade, the number of vehicles on roads in Berkshire has increased by 9% since 1997. Whilst this figure has now stabilised, it means that congestion on local roads has gone up since Labour came to power in 1997, despite promises to reduce the number of people relying on cars to get about.
Cllr Duveen commented that: “When Labour came to power in 1997, John Prescott, who was then deputy Prime Minister, said, ‘I will have failed if in five years’ time there are not many more people using public transport and far fewer journeys by car. It’s a tall order but I urge you to hold me to it.”
“We are still waiting for Mr Prescott’s apology.”
“The rise in traffic across England generally is clearly a huge failure by the Government who promised so much but have delivered more congestion, pollution and more expensive buses and trains. Knowing the effects of large numbers of car journeys, why do we insist in making public transport so expensive ?”
Editor’s Notes -
- The full Lib Dem Submission to the Transport Commission can be found at Transport Commission Submission
- Figures for traffic levels on English roads can be found at the following link Traffic Levels