Category Archives: Environment

Richard Moore criticises Council’s “Attack on Recycling”

Arbroath West, Letham, & Friockheim candidate Richard Moore is committed to protecting the environment for future generations and has criticised the recent cuts to recycling.
“The attack on recycling is counter-productive,” he said. “If recycling centres are only open when people are at work, the centres will be less used and more recyclables will go into landfill. Has the charge for green bin emptying covered the cost of the service? Or are we in for another service reduction this summer?”

“The council has to pay £86 for every tonne that goes to landfill,” he added. “Collecting recyclate and garden waste is the sensible way to reduce that cost. I hope the administration has learned from the monumental blooper last July, when thousands of households opted out of the garden waste collections. Or must the taxpayer continue to pay for dumping recyclable material at the tip?”

“The council has chosen to reduce the number of household amenity sites, creating less opportunity to recycle. Did the administration not realise that it has to work with residents to improve recycling rates? People need to be able to access the site in the evenings, longer at weekends, and in locations that are local and sensible.”

Angus Sewage Power, Don’t Waste our Waste!

Protecting our environment has always been a priority for me and as part of this I have always been an advocate for renewable energy.
There are however many people who don’t share my enthusiasm for renewable energy as to them this usually means wind turbines causing an eyesore in the local environment or having to fork up for costly solar panels. These aren’t our only options though!
Something often overlooked by local authorities is sewage energy.
In 2012 Thames Water generated 14% of its annual energy from sewage, saving £15 million from its power bills.
Thermal hydrolysis process plants (THP) are pressure cookers which heat leftovers from wastewater treatment and aid in breaking down waste and producing energy.
Thermal hydrolysis produces 20% more biogas than anaerobic digestion alone.

Currently, there are plans to form an anaerobic digestor plant in Angus, near Caroustie. Upon inspection of a recent report from the Council’s Development Standards Committee I have seen no mention of thermal hydrolysis.
In light of this I have written to the convener of the committee Rob Murray as well as Craig Fotheringham (another member of the committee and councillor for Monifieth and Sidlaw) asking whether the plant will incorporate Thermal Hydrolysis and if not then why not.
Protecting our environment depends on action at all level of government whether its local or international and the formation of the anaerobic digestor plant in Angus presents us with an excellent opportunity to stop wasting our waste!

Ben Lawrie to Angus Council: “Don’t close the Monifieth Recycling Centre.”

LibDem candidate ofr Monifieth & Sidlaw Ben Lawrie has criticised Angus Council's plan to axe the Monifieth recycling centre.

With the announcement that the council will be closing several recycling centres around Angus, Liberal Democrat council candidate Ben Lawrie has raised concerns surrounding the proposed closure of the Monifieth Recycling Centre.

“There are several reasons why I believe that closing this centre is a bad idea. Our environment is of the utmost importance yet we’re failing to incentivise people to recycle by making them travel longer distances to use recycling facilities. Not only will longer journeys to these facilities impact our carbon footprint, people will also be less likely to make the effort at all, instead opting to fly-tip at the council’s expense.”
“The closure of the recycling centre, paired with the new garden waste collection charges are a double whammy of bad news for the residents of Monifieth as well as the local environment and I hope that the Council will soon see sense.”

Changes to recycling facilities in Angus are projected to save £246,500 – falling short of planned savings.

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Ben Lawrie slams garden waste collection charges

Monifieth & Sidlaw candidate Ben Lawrie has recently spoken out on the new garden waste collection charges introduced by Angus Council labelling them “unfair and ineffective”.
The charges, introduced last month were initially intended to deal with “severe budgetary constraints”, however since their introduction only 1/3 of households have signed up for the service.
Commenting on the lack of uptake, Mr Lawrie said: “With only a third of households in Angus signing up for the new garden waste collection charges it is now clear that this charge is not only unpopular, it’s not working either.”bins

“I fear that the failure of this scheme will lead to a rise in fly-tipping, which will need to be dealt with at a cost to the council, this seems to me a very counter-intuitive result for what was originally supposed to be a money-saver.”

“Talking to people around Angus, the common message I’m getting is that people feel that their council tax should be paying for waste collection and that these new charges are just a back-door tax  imposed by the SNP administration in Angus.”

Recycling Facilities in Monifieth

recyclingI have just sent an email to the Councillors for the Monifieth and Sidlaws Ward raising my concerns surrounding proposals to close recycling centres in Angus.
The message reads as follows:

“Dear Rob Murray JP, Sheila Hands, Craig Fotheringham and Margaret Thomson,

I am writing to you in regards to the Council’s proposed closure of
recycling centres across Angus, particularly the one in Monifieth.
The closure of Monifieth’s recycling facilities concerns me for a
number of reasons.
If the proposed closures go ahead, that will leave the centre in
Arbroath as the nearest recycling centre for people in Monifieth.
Having to travel to Arbroath to make use of these facilities will be
largely inconvenient and will increase our carbon emissions.
I’m also concerned that this will lead to an increase in fly-tipping
which will need to be dealt with at the councils expense, this seems counter-intuitive as the proposals are being made as a cost-saving measure in the first place.
I am also deeply concerned at the impact that closing the Monifieth recycling centre will have on jobs. Workers at the recycling centre work hard to provide us with a good service and I’d hate to see those jobs lost.

I’d also like to raise my concerns with the Council’s alternative
proposal to charge people for using recycling centres. This is what we pay council tax for and to double-charge us to use these facilities is unfair and could also lead to an increase in fly-tipping.
I believe that this problem stems from the council being critically
underfunded due to the Scottish Government’s freeze in council tax for the past decade and that the best solution can only come from the Scottish Government recognising the need to properly fund our local authorities.

Yours sincerely,
Ben Lawrie.

P.S. I have attached a link to a petition highlighting just under 3,000 people who share similar views, I hope that their concerns are duly noted.
https://www.change.org/p/angus-council-don-t-close-angus-re…

Lib Dem Achievements in Government

Over the last few weeks, I have been disappointed to hear fellow Liberal Democrats repeat the accusations of our opposition, and in particular certain portions of the national media who have been desperately trying to portray Lib Dems in a negative light.  There is a continuing misconception that the Liberal Democrats sacrificed too much to the Conservatives during coalition negotiations. Here’s the real story of what we have achieved in Government.

This document is already 3 months old, so the list has grown since then, but it is a good starting point.

Lib Dem Achievements in Government

 

After the first TV debate during the General Election campaign, our opponents recognised that Nick Clegg was our strongest asset.  Since the morning of the second debate, there has been a sustained attack on him personally and on the reputation of the party as a whole.  Even Ed Milliband has resorted to personal attacks on Nick Clegg.  It is disgraceful, gutter politics.  Unfortunately, if you throw enough mud, it will eventually stick.

Nick Clegg is the antithesis of Teflon Tony Blair.  His record, as demonstrated above, is one to be proud of.  I for one, do not think I could cope with excrement posted through my door, my effigy being burnt, being called a traitor and receiving death threats and still come out fighting the way that Nick Clegg did at the Sheffield Lib Dem Conference.

I cannot agree with those in the party that take the attitude that they are in politics to fight Conservatism as a result of Thatcher’s legacy.  Saying that we would only go into a coalition with a discredited, illiberal, economically incompetent Labour Party would doom our party into subservience.

I came into politics and joined the Lib dems to make a difference on issue that I cared about, whether it was the environment, children’s welfare or civil liberties.  I believe in the values of the party, that local people know best about their area, that solutions should last and that everyone deserves a fair chance.

Those values, issues and policies are now being successfully implemented in Government, and it is a record that we should all be proud of.

 

Everyone should be working together towards a solution for Bervie Braes


I am deeply concerned that a divide is forming between Aberdeenshire Council and Bervie Braes residents, and I have called on all those involved to work together for a resolution.  I sought to remind all concerned that they are working towards the same goal, to secure the Braes and ensure there are no further landslips.

Everyone involved, the residents, the Community Council, Aberdeenshire Council and local Councillors all want the work to secure the Braes to go ahead as quickly as possible.

Having visited Bervie Braes with David Fleming, chair of the Community Council and discussed the issue at length with Aberdeenshire Councillors, particularly Stonehaven Cllr Peter Bellarby, it is striking that they have far more in common, than they have differences of opinion.

Residents, having narrowly escaped earlier this year, and having been promised a resolution by the Council, will be worried about going through the winter without the Braes being secured.  Clearly, residents want to ensure that their future insurance coverage is not affected by the waivers which they have been asked to sign.  Their concerns are understandable and the council should take note.

It is therefore heartening to learn that the Council, having tried several times to visit all the residents to discuss the waivers face-to-face, is open to changing the wording in response to their worries.  When I have discussed the issue with Peter Bellarby and other Aberdeenshire Councillors, it was clear that they felt very, very strongly that the Council should undertake the effort, even though it has no responsibility to do so.

Aberdeenshire Council have had a major success in securing £2m from the Scottish Government towards the cost of the scheme and should be commended for their effort.  Understandably, the council has a responsibility to all other Aberdeenshire residents to ensure they do not incur a future liability, beyond the proposed scheme.  The contractors insurance will cover the work that they do, so this should be straightforward.

I would urge all those involved to put themselves in each others’ shoes.  They would then understand that it is in everyone’s interest to work together towards a mutually satisfactory outcome.

Sanjay Samani visiting Bervie Braes

Angus Lib Dems renew calls for Government support to halt coastal erosion in Montrose

Following the recent bad weather, Angus Liberal Democrats have renewed their calls for the Scottish Government to do more to help protect Montrose from coastal erosion.  There has been further erosion at Montrose Golf Course, which is the 5th oldest in the world and will celebrate its 450th year in just two years time.

Reacting to news of further erosion at the Golf Course and along the coast, Sanjay Samani, Lib Dem campaigner for Angus and Mearns said:

“I was shocked to hear from Montrose Cllr David May this morning that there has been further erosion at Montrose Golf Course.  I visited the course with Alison McInnes, Lib Dem MSP for the North East, just three weeks ago to inspect the damage.”

“The SNP have scrapped a special flood funding scheme introduced by the previous Lib Dem / Labour administration.  They have largely left Councils to fund such schemes from their own budgets.”

“With both coastal erosion and flooding, the SNP Government have focussed on funding warning systems.  While the new warning systems are worthwhile, they do not replace the need for investment to protect our coastline”

“The SNP have not allocated enough money to properly tackle coastal erosion and so risk losing an important part of Scotland’s sporting heritage.  The golf course is all that stands between Montrose and the risk of damage to the town.”

Montrose Cllr David May commented, “This morning, I inspected the impact of the recent bad weather on the coastline at Montrose Golf Course. There has been further erosion, especially at some of the more vulnerable holes.”

“I call on the Scottish SNP Government for help, so that hard cash is allocated to help deal with coastal erosion.  And furthermore, the SNP needs to change policy on the way it allocates funding.”

“With more bad weather forecast for the coming weekend, there are obviously concerns about the impact on the course if there is further erosion.”

Sanjay visiting Montrose Beach with Alison McInnes MSP