"The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and
open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values
of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall
be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity."
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Refreshed and ready for action - Harlow's Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrat campaigners have returned to Harlow from the party's conference in Brighton with a spring in their step. And they are already taking their message to the people of Harlow with a campaign of door knocking and Focus newsletter delivery. Local party chairman David Wright says:
"Liberal Democrats had a great conference. We have agreed policies that put the Liberal Democrats way ahead of the other parties on the environment. We voted for radical changes to the tax system to cut national income tax for hard working people.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Greener and fairer
Liberal Democrats at their conference in Brighton in September agreed policies that would see a 4p cut in income tax, paid for by increasing the tax burden on those who cause the most pollution.
With the most radical green policies of the three main parties, Liberal Democrats aim to cut the tax burden on people on low and middle incomes, encourage people to change towards cleaner, greener ways of living and reverse the widening gap between rich and poor. Under Gordon Brown, that gap is now wider than it was under Margaret Thatcher.
Liberal Democrat leader Ming Campbell closed the conference with a powerful and passionate speech attacking the 'cosy consensus' between Labour and the Conservatives that has seen both parties saying the same things on the environment, taxes, pensions, nuclear power, tuition fees and Iraq.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Council wins housing and regeneration award
Liberal Democrat councillors Eleanor Macy and Lesley Rideout were part of a Harlow Council team at Gateshead International Stadium to receive the APSE Service Award 2007 for the best housing and regeneration initiative.
The council won the award for Mia Court, the self-build scheme on the former Ryecroft garage site run by the Community Self Build agency, and funded in part by the European Social Fund.
During the project, people aged from 17 to 50 learned construction skills to enable them to build ten one-bedroom flats which they now live in on a reduced rent.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Lib Dems 'three times as green' as other parties
The Liberal Democrats have been voted the greenest of the three main political parties in an audit by Britain's environmental groups published today, the Independent newspaper has reported.
The Liberal Democrats, regarded as the party with the most long-standing commitment to the environment, came out on top despite efforts by the two biggest parties to catch up.
But today's report is bad news for David Cameron, who has made the environment a symbol of his attempt to change the image of the Conservative Party. Despite his efforts, the Tories are rated behind the two other parties.
The report scored the parties on a traffic light system. The results were:
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Climate change action
Harlow Council's Lib Dem led Environment & Community Committee has agreed a sixteen-point action plan to tackle climate change locally. The move follows the decision by the Council to sign up to the Nottingham Declaration on climate change, when local Liberal Democrats put the matter on the council's agenda.
The action plan includes funding a one year full time member of staff to provide expertise and achieve savings in the council's energy budget; identifying practical ways of measuring and reporting local 'carbon footprint'; prioritising projects to improve energy efficiency; exploring opportunities for partnership with local businesses; and educating council staff in energy efficiency issues. Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Cllr Eleanor Macy says:
"Liberal Democrats take energy efficiency and the threat of climate change very seriously, and are determined to see this translated to effective local action on Harlow Council."
Traffic and parking consultations get the go-ahead
A series of consultations on parking and road safety in various parts of the town is set to kick off. Harlow Council's Environment & Community Committee, chaired by Cllr Eleanor Macy, has agreed to consult residents on parking restrictions
The Committee also agreed to consult with Essex County Council on the possibility of introducing a one-way system in Longbanks, following receipt of a petition from residents of the estate collected by local Liberal Democrat councillors.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Council turns down Tye Green Village planning application
Harlow Council's planning committee has turned down an application to build two new properties in the grounds of Fairfield in Tye Green Village.
Cllr Lorna Spenceley spoke against the application, which planning officers had recommended for consent. She pointed out that council planning policy H10 allowed infill developments to be refused if they would be detrimental to the character and appearance of the area, and that listed building and conservation experts at County Hall had advised against giving planning permission for this reason. Other planning committee members agreed, and the application was refused.
Meanwhile, an application for two new dwellings at East Park was agreed, as was a temporary modular construction style hall for New Life Christian Fellowship behind Manor Hatch at Purford Green.
An application for development at Walfords Close in Old Harlow was deferred to allow the council to consult with residents at Brummell Place.
Both Lorna and Cllr Eleanor Macy had to withdraw from consideration of the planning application for the new skateboard park, as they had been members of the Environment & Community Committee when the proposal was discussed there, but the application was approved with only one change - floodlighting would be allowed between three o'clock and ten o'clock, not eleven o'clock as in the application.
Essex Lib Dems demand action on media freedom in China
Liberal Democrats at Essex County Council are demanding that the Chinese government be pressured over the lack of media freedom currently allowed in China - and it also has concerns about the 30,000 foreign journalists who will be in China to report on the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The group is urging the county's administration to use its links with Jiangsu Province in China to press for increased freedom of expression in the Chinese media. Cllr Mike Mackrory, Liberal Democrats deputy leader on Essex County Council, said:
"We know from recent reports from China that the new Olympic regulations introduced by the Chinese government, giving expanded freedoms to foreign journalists, have considerably improved the situation for foreign correspondents working in the country. However, these regulations are temporary and do not apply to domestic journalists; we would like to see these regulations as a permanent part of Chinese law with the same freedoms extended to domestic journalists.The Liberal Democrat group has submitted a motion to be debated by Essex County Council on Tuesday 11 September.
Monday, September 03, 2007
Harlow Liberal Democrats seek extended flood warning system
Liberal Democrats in Harlow are backing calls for better warning systems for intense rainfall, to help avoid the damage caused by heavy rains in Harlow last year, and in other parts of the country this year.
The Environment Agency currently runs a Floodline system, which gives warnings of river and tidal flooding - even sending alerts by text message to subscribers' mobile phones. However, the system does not cover the threat of flooding from sudden heavy rainfall - the cause of last summer's flooding problems in parts of the town, and the subject of a recent council scrutiny inquiry initiated by the Liberal Democrats.
Harlow's Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Chris Millington says:
"Many local families were very badly affected by the floods of June and July 2006. An early warning system for heavy rain, similar to that promoted by the Environment Agency for river and tidal flooding, could have helped prepare residents and emergency services, and reduced the damage. The independent review body considering the impact of this summer's flooding in Hull also recommended this as a way forward.