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  • UK - Europe
    Article: Sep 27, 2020

    The Liberal Democrats fought long and hard to Stop Brexit.

    And our values have not changed. At every step of the Brexit process, we have been clear and outspoken in our position that Britain is better off within the EU. We will always stand firm in our pro-European, internationalist values because we know, we are so much better off together than we will ever be alone.

  • Article: Sep 27, 2020

    Yesterday, Liberal Democrat proposals urging the Government to recognise and commission research into 'Long Covid', and develop a rehabilitation strategy to increase services to help people recover from the virus, passed at the Party's Autumn conference.

    • As we enter into a second wave, it's essential that the Government learns the necessary lessons from the first wave of the pandemic and steps up support for all those who need it. In particular, it is crucial the Government puts in place a rehabilitation strategy for all those who have fallen seriously ill from the virus.
    • Ministers cannot pretend that everyone bounces back after 14 days - there will be thousands of people recovering from coronavirus who will need further support after being discharged from hospital for example.
    • This not only means the Government needs to commission research into 'Long Covid' so that we can understand more about the long term impact of the virus, but people also desperately need personalised rehabilitation with additional support from community services, and the Government must work with the NHS and royal colleges to make sure that happens.
    • The NHS is about to be put under a huge amount of pressure once again as we head into this second wave and it's vital this Government scales up provision so that whether its coronavirus or not, people get the care they need.
  • Affirming commitment to a Federal UK ()
    Article: Sep 26, 2020

    Our union is under threat.

    Nationalism is a dangerous force, fuelled by a sense of alienation and powerlessness. Brexit has forced divides between our four nations.

    Coronavirus and Brexit, two of the biggest issues facing the UK, have demonstrated the inadequacies of our current constitutional arrangements. With growing support for reform across our nations and regions, it's time to act. It's time we created a truly federal UK.

  • Article: Sep 24, 2020
    In New Valley News

    It is "really disappointing" that the current Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner is opposed to the rolling technology which tackles speeding head on, according to Liz Webster.

    Wiltshire's Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner has said: "I fully support anything we can do…. to make our roads a safer place for everyone". He also conceded that speeding is the third largest cause of fatal accidents, said the Lib Dem prospective candidate for the Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner post.

    "Speeding tends to be habitual and there are now new technological solutions which can make our communities safer. The Wiltshire Council Malmesbury Area Board, where I live, took the progressive decision to install four Auto Speed Watch cameras on rural roads notorious for speeding. These cameras automatically record number plates, times and dates, and, most importantly, the speed of vehicles passing them.

    "In the 30 mph zones where the cameras have been placed, dozens of vehicles have been recorded repeatedly breaching 60mph, with many repeat offenders. In fact, the threshold of the speed being recorded by the cameras had to be raised from 35 mph to 40 mph because there were far too many instances of excessive speed for local community speed watch volunteers to keep up with.

    "Speeding impacts communities risking the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and other motorists and is the cause of over a quarter of driving offences.

    "Modern cameras are significantly cheaper to deploy and ensure more accurate data recording, identifying specific and repeat offenders who use our rural and village roads as racetracks. Some of these are clearly identified as commercial drivers.

    "These systems provide a wealth of information and intelligence; one parish council is writing to the firms concerned and publishing the number plates of the worst offenders in an attempt to encourage people to change their ways," Liz said.

    She believes the Police can and should make use of the insightful information from the cameras, to warn the worst and most persistent offenders.

    "It will make our communities safer. They can organise their own resources to be present at the times and locations where these offences take place repeatedly, and enforce the speed limit rather than the current random approach that delivers little change."

    She accused the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner, and Conservative-controlled Wiltshire Council of 'ignoring the opportunity to make our rural road and communities safer'.

    "If I and my Lib Dem colleagues are elected next May, we will take real action to embrace effective technology that delivers safety and enhances communities," she promised.

  • Article: Sep 24, 2020
    By Ed Sawyer
    Leading Wiltshire Lib Dems are calling for a planning application from Northacre Energy to build a Waste Incinerator near Westbury to be withdrawn or thrown out and the Council to back green technology to boost recycling instead.

    Wiltshire Lib Dems Environment and Climate Emergency spokesperson, Councillor Dr Brian Mathew is calling on Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd to withdraw their application to build a waste incinerator near Westbury.

    The call comes as part of the Lib Dem campaign for a green economic recovery plan to help the County bounce back from the Covid 19 crisis.

    "I proposed the resolution that was adopted by Wiltshire Council to recognise the climate emergency. It committed our County to being carbon neutral by 2030.

    "Its beggar's belief that the current Council's Conservative leadership now seem be backing Northacre Energy's plans to build a massive waste incinerator at Westbury.

    "This is out of date and polluting technology. It would generate in the region of a quarter of a million tonnes of CO₂ each year and lock the County into it for the next 25 years. More than 60% of the waste material burnt by this incinerator will be transported into Wiltshire by road and rail creating more congestion, pollution and environmental damage.

    "This incinerator and the transportation it needs to bring in waste, will blow a huge hole in the Wiltshire Council aspiration of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

    Indeed, all of Wiltshire's current solar farms displace around 236,000 tonnes of CO₂ annually. That means they will not even equal the damage of this incinerator."

    "And it is not just the climate and environment that will be hit by the emissions from this incinerator if it goes ahead.

    "Incinerators like this push into the air tonnes of very small highly toxic particles that drift on the wind for miles. They are a real threat to air quality and are a growing cause for concern to scientists, doctors and public health specialists alike as to their impact on human health." said Dr Mathew

    "Yet there is an environmentally sound alternative right on our own doorstep that can deal effectively with non-recyclable plastics which make up much of the waste. The Swindon based firm Recycling Technologies Ltd are just installing their first local authority sized commercial plant. This takes waste plastics such as film, crisp packets, plastics with food waste, coloured plastics, laminates and much more and returns it back to the valuable oils they were made from. This is done without any significant CO₂ emissions or pollution.

    "A Recycling Technologies plant like the first one going up in Scotland, should be being built in Wiltshire. It could take pretty much all of the plastics that are currently unable to be mechanically recycled. Taking these out of the local waste stream would make total recycling possible in Wiltshire" said Dr Mathew.

    Two years ago, Dr Mathew and his fellow Wiltshire Councillors Gavin Grant and Ross Henning visited Recycling Technologies to see their prototype plant in Swindon.

    Lib Dem shadow Wiltshire Council spokesperson on Finance and Economic Development Gavin Grant commented:

    "To see Wiltshire effectively lock itself into an out of date, climate damaging and polluting technology for the next 25 years, with all the CO₂ and poor air quality resulting, makes absolutely no sense. We need to see a green economic recovery and investment in sustainable technology and green jobs, not this abomination.

    I seconded Dr Mathew's resolution in February 2019 to acknowledge the Climate Emergency and to take effective action to avert it.

    Backing this incinerator and failing to support Recycling Technologies Ltd are both an abdication of responsibility. This plan must be dropped and replaced by a serious commitment to responding to the climate emergency, total recycling and clean air in our County."

    Wiltshire Lib Dem Councillor for Westbury Gordon King also opposes the incinerator. He added "The building of this incinerator and its operation will clog local roads, pollute our air and damage the environment we all enjoy in and around Westbury and right across Wiltshire. If the company will not withdraw their plan, then I trust our Councillor colleagues will have the good sense to throw it out. Westbury deserves better than this incinerator."

  • No to Westbury Incinerator ()
    Article: Sep 23, 2020
    By Ellen Nicholson
    Alongside the food giant having questions about the planned incinerator waste treatment plant in Westbury, hundreds (if not thousands) of residents have submitted objections to Wiltshire Council, alongside both Trowbridge and Frome Town Councils.
    SW Wilts Liberal Democrats spokesperson Ellen Nicholson summariesed the following points in the objection Planning Number: 20/06775/WCM to Wiltshire Council .
  • Article: Sep 22, 2020

    Speaking after tonight's votes on the Internal Market Bill, where 255 MPs voted against the Government breaking international law.

    Amendment 41 tabled in the name of Stephen Farry MP (Alliance) sought to provide a safeguard so that any actions with respect to the Bill are consistent with existing international and domestic law, including the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol.

    It received 255 votes for and 346 against.

    Liberal Democrat Business Spokesperson Sarah Olney Said:

    "Liberal Democrat and Alliance MPs took a clear stand for the rule of law and for stability in Northern Ireland against Boris Johnson's tactics to violate the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

    "With members across the house joining to stand for what's right and voting against the Government, Boris Johnson must take this as a clear message: there is no consensus in Parliament about his disregard for the rule of law and the UK's international standing.

    "Liberal Democrats will continue to hold the Government to account and work across party lines to protect the UK's interests."

  • Article: Sep 21, 2020

    Responding to the news that the Covid19 threat level has gone from three to four, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

    "The Coronavirus crisis is taking an enormous toll on people. People are rightly concerned about their loved ones. Thousands of families are facing financial hardship. We all want life to get back to normal as soon as possible.

    "The collapse of the Test and Trace system is utterly inexcusable, and the first objective of the Government must be to fix it. Ministers should have done more to ensure resilience in the system given the inevitable increase in demand when people returned to schools, workplaces, universities and social settings.

    "As the situation changes there must be crystal clear guidance so that people know the best ways to protect themselves and their loved ones. Ministers must also ensure that our hospitals, care homes and schools have all the equipment and resources they need to reduce the risk of transmission going forward.

    "Lastly, Boris Johnson must take all steps to avoid a second national lockdown which will be incredibly damaging to jobs and livelihoods across our communities."

  • Article: Sep 21, 2020
    By Munira Wilson

    On May 20th, Boris Johnson declared that the UK would have a 'world-beating' coronavirus test, track and trace system in place by June 1st. Instead, four months later the UK is facing a testing crisis.

    The British public are confronting the reality that we may be facing a second wave of coronavirus with a test and trace system that is just inadequate. It is unacceptable.

  • Article: Sep 20, 2020
    By WC

    ...actually applies to homes of any colour. Homeowners and landlords can now get funding to pay for energy saving measures and businesses are being encouraged to register their services.

    The scheme means homeowners can obtain up to two-thirds of the cost of energy saving measures - up to £5000. Lower-income households could be entitled to claim as much as £10,000 to cover the cost.