BathNES Liberal Democrats
Serving Bath and North East Somerset
Working For You - All Year Round
Your Liberal Democrat-run Council has been working to tackle nuisances caused by urban gulls. Every year we add new tools to our collection of measures to discourage and frustrate these birds.
To cut off the gulls’ food supply we have improved the way waste is managed. Tough reusable sacks for black bags and caddies for kitchen waste help stop the gulls scavenging household rubbish and making a mess. We have introduced closed litter bins in Bath (and soon in Keynsham), that the gulls can’t get into. Also, we are working closely with the Bath BID on business waste; commercial food waste recycling is in the pipeline!
Last year we held a successful trial of a new ‘fire’ gel which is applied to roofs and tricks gulls into believing the building is on fire, discouraging nesting. This trial will be continued this year, alongside the traditional egg replacement scheme. Some ward Councillors are using part of their Ward Councillor Initiative money to fund extra egg replacement.
The public also plays an important role. Residents can help stop scavenging by putting out their rubbish on the right day and in the right containers. Council officers have started going door-to-door in key areas to talk to residents about these issues. We have also been running a “Don’t feed the animals” campaign (www.bathnes.gov.uk/dontfeed) aimed at visitors.
Councillor Dave Dixon said: “These are just a sample of the many ways the Council is tackling the gull issue. We are also protecting street cleaning and street washing services.
“Conservatives in Bath have no clue about tackling gulls; they have proposed more throwing more money at the problem, but have no new ideas about what to do.”
To find out more about the Council’s anti-gull activities, please see http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/environment/pests-and-infestation/gulls
In recent years the Lib Dems have been introducing solar compacting bins to help keep the streets of Bath clean. There are now 55 bins in situ and the administration has just signed for 30 more for Bath and Keynsham.
Solar compacting bins have two main benefits compared to the traditional litter bin.
Firstly, they can hold more due to the solar-powered compacting mechanism. This prevents overflows and allows street cleaners to get on with street cleaning rather than being stuck on the merry-go-round of bin emptying. Secondly, the contents are enclosed and thus inaccessible to scavenging birds and animals, particularly gulls.
Councillor David Dixon, who is in charge of Neighbourhood services commented:
“A lot of people don’t realise that rubbish going into the solar compacting bins DOES get recycled. In fact, less than 5% of the contents go to landfill. The rest is recycled by our partners New Earth Solutions. Your Liberal Democrat Council is committed to improving recycling rates and keeping our streets clean.”
In this month’s budget, street cleaning services were protected with all our street cleaners being retained.
The Lib Dems are freezing council tax for the third year in a row following a vote by full Council this week to approve the Liberal Democrat budget proposals for 2014-15. The Liberal Democrat listening budget will also invest in jobs and homes for the future and protect essential services.
Speaking to a packed chamber, and over 1000 people watching on the internet, Councillor Paul Crossley (Leader of the Lib Dems in B&NES and Councillor for Southdown) said:
“This administration has worked with Communities across Bath & North East Somerset to produce this budget, which has been the most consultative budget process in the history of this Council.
“We’ve listened, we’ve worked and reworked our proposals, and what we’ve produced is a budget the freezes Council Tax, invests in jobs and growth, and protects the services that our residents care about the most.”
By contrast, Conservative Councillors came under fire for proposing a long series of last-minute amendments which totalled over £1m of unplanned expenditure.
Councillor Manda Rigby, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group and Councillor for Abbey, commented:
“It is completely irresponsible of the Conservative Group to go on a spending spree with the Council reserves. These prudential reserves have a purpose and that purpose is to give this Council some insurance against the next round of government grant cuts and to ensure the continuing Council Tax freeze that helps our hard-pressed residents.
“If these amendments were important, why is the first we hear of them an hour before the budget meeting? There has been no chance for scrutiny or consultation – a process which has been in train for the past 12 months to give a robust budget, not a wish list of un-researched political postures.”
If you would like to watch the Council meeting, the webcast has been archived and can be seen here: B&NES webcast.
The budget was approved by 30 votes in favour to 0 against and with 28 abstentions.
Have you ever noticed a missing drain cover or road sign in your street?
Metal theft costs the UK economy more than £700 million every year. Unscrupulous criminals are targeting churches, war memorials, street furniture and cabling (such as electric and communication wires). They even steal railway lines!
Your Liberal Democrat-run Council is taking action to stop the trade in stolen metal.
This week, we have adopted new regulations for scrap metal dealers. All dealers will have to obtain a licence to trade and the Council will be able to refuse or revoke licences. It will be illegal for anyone to buy or sell scrap metal with cash and the council will have powers to enter, inspect and shut down rogue dealers.
Responsible scrap metal dealers are keen to see rogue traders shut down, prosecuted and stopped from bringing their trade into disrepute.
Councillor Manda Rigby (Abbey ward) Chair of the Licensing Committee, said:
"Metal thefts are a huge problem. Take the example of stolen drain covers – not only does the Council have to pay to replace them, but there is a serious danger to pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles due to the hole left behind. Other thefts can cause power cuts, loss of telephone service and massive disruption to rail services as well as the distress caused by theft of metal from roofs and memorials.
"Much of these stolen goods were ending up in scrap yards and out-dated legislation left councils powerless to act and having to pick up the bill to replace them at a time when funding cuts are putting a strain on their ability to deliver vital services."
Councils have been empowered to take this action thanks to national legislation, which was enacted following strong lobbying from the Lib Dem Group in the Local Government Association and the LGA corporately.
Some interesting links: