Nick Hollinghurst

Liberal Democracy – equal opportunity for all, freedom within a fair society, security in a greener world

Aldbury Gardeners Association Annual Show

September 14th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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AldburyGardenersShow 2014There was  good participation once again at the  Aldbury Gardeners Association Annual Show held on Sunday 7th September, 2014. There were exhibits both in the Memorial Hall by the Green and in the Aldbury Club House in Toms Hill Road, where teas and cakes were served and those skilled in the domestic and culinary arts displayed their entries – a delicious assortment of  prize-winning cakes, jams, chutnies and bread.

Borough Councillor, Rosemarie Hollinghurst, contributed and took a first prize for Six Fuchsias (admittedly the only entry!) and a first prize for a Single Rose, where there was the usual keen competition. She also gained some third prizes in the floral art  section, but the artistic talent in the village sets a very high standard here.

Her husband and County Councillor Nick Hollinghurst also took part, being rewarded with a first prize for his Three Courgettes and a third prize for his Six Tomatoes.

Floral Art  continues to thrive but it would be good to have more entries in the fruit and vegetable produce section. How about it?

There really is a friendly atmosphere among the gardeners and allotment holders in Aldbury. If you live in the village, why not contact the Parish Clerk to see if there is an allotment for you? The allotments are in a sheltered location in the centre of the village with the tree covered slopes of the Chilterns as a backdrop. The taste of homegrown produce is far superior to supermarket food and with fresh air, sun and gentle exercise, who needs to spend money going to a stuffy gym?

You can reach the Parish Clerk at [email protected]

LD Manifesto: Five New Laws for a Greener Britain

September 13th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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green_lawsThe Liberal Democrat manifesto will include plans for five new laws to protect the environment, it has been announced.

The manifesto plans include include legal targets for clean air and water, an end to dirty coal power stations and an ambitious decarbonisation target for the electricity sector.

Liberal Democrats in government have worked hard to keep the environment at the top of the agenda. The party wants to go further and build on their achievements in Government in areas including Britain’s rise in renewable energy, the Green Investment Bank and record investment in our railways.

The plans include new rights to access green space, new marine and coastal reserves, the roll out of an electric vehicle charging point network, ambitious waste reduction plans and new regulations to boost energy efficiency and renewable heat to cut energy bills.

The five green laws are:

  1. A Nature Bill: key measures include legal targets for biodiversity, clean air, clean water and access to green space, extending the Right to Roam and establishing new marine and coastal reserves.
  2. A Heating and Energy Efficiency Bill: key measures include building on the Green Deal with a national programme to raise the energy efficiency standards for all Britain’s households.  We will legislate to boost renewable and district heating programmes and heat saving standards.
  3. A Zero Waste Britain Bill: key measures include establishing a “Stern Report” on resource use, with binding targets and a clear action plan to reduce waste and end biodegradable landfill.
  4. A Zero Carbon Britain Bill: key measures include introducing a decarbonisation target for electricity generation, expanding the powers of the Green Investment Bank and banning electricity generated from unabated coal.
  5. A Green Transport Bill: key measures include establishing a full network of charging points for electric cars, only allowing low emission vehicles on the roads from 2040 and reforming planning law to ensure new developments are designed around walking, cycling and public transport.

Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey said: “The environment has always been a top priority for the Liberal Democrats and while we have achieved a huge amount on our green agenda in the Coalition, it’s hardly a secret that this has been one of the biggest areas of tension.

“And we want to make it as easy as possible to go green and by introducing higher new standards, industries from construction through to waste, heating and transport will have to help us all become more sustainable – as many leading, innovating firms are already doing.

“Between now and next May, the Liberal Democrats will be putting forward these new green ideas and asking people for their views so we can finalise them for our General Election manifesto.

“While everyone knows the Tories have been an obstacle to our greener vision, people have forgotten that Labour simply failed to deliver on these important areas when they were in government.

So the choice is clear: if you care about the environment and want to see a greener, cleaner Britain then only the Liberal Democrats can deliver this in Government for you.

Sutton Close, Tring – Verge Hardening

September 11th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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SuttonCloseSpacesToComeThree years ago Dacorum Borough Council announced a “Verge Hardening” Scheme to convert certain stretches of grass verge and parts of utility greens to extra car parking.

Hardening the verge is a means to protect, or restore, the appearance of unsightly vehicle damaged verges. Hardening part of a utility green, if it is large enough, can achieve the same effect. Both can make significant contributions to difficult parking situations.

The parking situation in at the end of Sutton Close, off Wingrave Road, Tring, has been difficult for a long time. Dacorum Borough councillor for the area, Nick Hollinghurst, said, “My thanks go to those local residents who have taken time and trouble over the years to organise petitions, contact the council, take photographs and generally kept in touch with both me and the Borough about this issue.

Community involvement like this helps greatly in persuading the council officers to take action. Now, after several years, there’s light at the end of the tunnel!

18 problem parking sites in Tring were originally suggested by Cllr Hollinghurst as part of his submission 3 years ago. Out of a list of 120 sites across the borough, DBC drew up a shortlist of only 20, none of which were in Tring.

DBC has now gained experience in carrying out this type of work and have revisited the original list. They have drawn up a new priority list of 50 more sites for work to be carried out during the current 2014/15 financial year.

Nick is delighted to be able to say this new list includes four of the Tring sites originally put forward – one of which is Sutton Close, Tring which is scored at number 38 out of the total of 50. This is relatively low down so Sutton Close may have to wait longer that some other sites. However, unlike them, over the past three years, Sutton Close has had the roadway to the garages repaired by the Borough Council, the footway down one side and the road itself have both been resurfaced - each time by the County Council. When the Borough Council verge hardening is completed then Sutton Close should be fully refurbished.

He said “I’m not sure how many additional parking spaces we’ll get, but I would hope we would get at least 6, with the remaining green space protected from further damage by some posts. We’re all very pleased that the work is now in the schedule for completion.

“It’s certainly been a long wait! Let’s hope nothing goes wrong and we get this badly needed scheme completed this financial year.”

Lib Dems Will Not Allow Schools To Run For Profit

September 11th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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cuttingsConservative Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has refused to rule out the idea of allowing schools to make a profit should the Conservatives win next year’s election. A policy that Liberal Democrats in Government are prepared to oppose every step of the way.

If you believe that schools should not be run for profit, sign our petition today.

Liberal Democrats are committed to narrowing the attainment gap between children form poorer and more affluent backgrounds, something that would be unachievable if the Conservatives allowed schools to run for profit.

Former Conservative Education Secretary Michael Gove previously said he said no objection to businesses making profits from free schools. Liberal Democrats firmly opposed this move and insisted that they would not support free schools unless they helped children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Liberal Democrats want to ensure all children to reach their full potential. In government, they have fought to set up a £2.5 billion Pupil Premium and introduced free school meals to all 5-7 year olds.

Only a vote for the Liberal Democrats can guarantee a stronger economy and a fairer society.

Boosting Paths and Parks So We Can All Enjoy Natural Britain

September 10th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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coastal_path_englandNick Clegg has announced that the Government is going to more than double the speed of building the Coastal Path, bringing completion of the project forward by ten years from 2030 to 2020.

Additional funding will be put in place to accelerate the delivery of the path, which will allow walkers and nature lovers to traverse the entire coastline of England.

Speaking at the RSPB’s State of Nature conference, Nick Clegg said: “At the current rate of progress, we will have built the UK’s first space port before our coastal path is completed. You’ll be able to fly in space before you can walk around our coast.

“I’ve been pushing for this process to be speeded up. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m pleased to announce today that the Government will be ensuring that the path is completed by 2020 by allocating extra funding.”

Nick Clegg also announced that people will be able to use an app to find the location of their nearest park instantly and without cost, which will be provided by the Ordnance Survey.

Nick added:  “Britain’s parks and countryside are the envy of the world, and I want to make sure everybody can use them.

“Sometimes we can live ten minutes’ walk from a park and not even realise it. Yet public bodies hold all of the data on where these green spaces are.  By opening up this data we can enable thousands of people to enjoy every inch of our green spaces at the swipe of a touchscreen.”

Protecting Your Privacy On-line With a Digital Bill of Rights

September 10th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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keyboardA Digital Bill of Rights to protect people’s privacy and give them more control over their data online would be introduced as part of a Liberal Democrat manifesto for the next election.

The plans also include outlawing ‘revenge porn’ and the posting of intimate or pornographic photographs of a person without their consent. 

What protections would you like to see in the Digital Bill of Rights?  Click here to have your say now.

The new policy will be voted on at the Liberal Democrats’ Autumn Conference and would establish rights for British residents in the digital environment.

The proposals include a ban on the mass collection of data from British residents by police and security services and ensure the authorities can only access personal data where an individual is suspected of taking part in illegal activity.

The Liberal Democrats’ plans would also ensure that powers of surveillance are not extended without Parliamentary approval.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman, Julian Huppert said:  The Liberal Democrats are committed to a free, fair, and open society where civil liberties are safeguarded as well as ensuring we protect our country.

“The Digital Bill of Rights we are proposing will protect our fundamental liberties online. They mean that British residents will be protected from unwarranted state surveillance, while still maintaining the ability for our security services to deal with serious threats.

“Protecting people’s privacy is an essential part of building the society we want to live in, and when people violate that, there have to be proportionate powers available to hold those responsible to account.”

Improved Waste Collection for Dacorum: 24 November

September 8th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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dacorum bins

 

From 24 November residents in Dacorum will be able to take advantage of a new and improved waste collection service which will make it easier to recycle without sorting and reduce waste sent to landfill.

Bins on Tour … Meantime, Dacorum waste advisors will be out and about over the next 6 weeks offering help and advice about the changes to the bin collections coming this autumn as part of the Bins on Tour roadshows

The new waste collection system called ‘Recycle for Dacorum’ will consist of:

  • A new blue lidded wheeled bin: All dry recycling (paper, glass, cans and plastics) and now cardboard will be collected together in on new wheeled bin every two weeks. Residents will be able to recycle food and drink cartons such as Tetra Pak for the first time.
  • A new food waste caddy: food waste will be collected every week in a larger caddy collected at the kerbside
  • Waste that cannot be recycled will be collected every two weeks in the grey wheeled bin as it is now.
  • Garden waste will be collected every two weeks between February and November in existing green wheeled bins.

These changes are being made because new quality composting regulations will no longer accept cardboard with the garden waste. Making this change with the cardboard will help to make more improvements elsewhere to the waste collection.

Flats with communal facilities are not affected by these changes and will be looked at next year.

To find your nearest roadshow venue, view the leaflet and see more information on Recycle for Dacorum, visit the website www.dacorum.gov.uk/recycling.
For dates and locations for the Roadshows click here

 

 

Liberal Democrats Win the Vote to Reform the ‘Bedroom Tax’

September 7th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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key_bedroom-tax-reformThe Liberal Democrats have taken the first step in reforming the ‘bedroom tax’ by winning a crucial vote in Parliament.

Under the proposals, which were passed in the House of Commons on 5th September, 2014,  existing tenants will not be penalised when they cannot move into smaller accommodation because this is not available or where there is a serious medical reason for an additional room.

Our plans mean that any financial penalty would go to the housing provider rather than the individual claimant. The new system would incentivise social landlords to reduce the number of tenants under-occupying their homes, freeing up bigger properties for larger families.

These proposed changes to the policy have been supported by a number of organisations including Shelter, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Crisis, Oxfam and the Disability Benefits Consortium

However, Conservatives have stated publicly that they oppose reforms to the  ‘bedroom tax’ and although Labour support the removal of the spare room subsidy, they have not indicated that they would also change the rules for the private sector.

The additional bedroom benefit disallowance – or ‘bedroom tax’ – was originally introduced by the Conservatives as long ago as 1989 when they brought in the Rent Officers (Additional Functions) Order 1989 as a needs-based restriction of benefits for claimants in privately rented housing. It was the more recent 2012 Act which extended this principle to claimants of working age (not OAPs) in social housing.

Now that we have the objective evidence of a year’s statistics, it is clear that the regulations need to be amended. We need to recognise the difficulties for tenants when the local authority has not provided sufficient smaller flats and houses to enable those who wish to downsize, to do so.

This move is to the credit of the Liberal Democrat Party’s pragmatism and sensitivity to an unfortunate social problem.

Labour on the other hand, have played a role of cynical hypocrisy throughout. There were no howls of protest from them in 1989 when the Benefit Reduction (which they now pretend is a “tax”) was first introduced – albeit only in the private rental sector.  Nor was there any sign of concern from Labour in 1997 when they took office.  As in the case of so many things they complain about now, they took no action about it during the 13 years from 1997 to 2010 when they were in government.

Successful Wigginton Gardeners Show Once Again

September 6th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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WiggintonShow14Once again the Village Hall in Wigginton hosted a successful Wigginton Gardeners Association Annual Show – and once again we thank Roger Wyborn, his team of organisers and the competitors for an inspiring show of imaginative flower arrangements, beautiful blooms, champion vegetables and an assortment of delicious and prize-winning  wines, cakes, jams, chutnies and bread.

Borough Councillor, Rosemarie Hollinghurst, contributed and took a second prize for a flower arrangement and third prize for a deep red rose. Her husband and County Councillor Nick Hollinghurst also took part, being rewarded with a first prize for his Three Courgettes, a second prize for the chard he entered in the Any Other Vegetable section (plenty of scope there!) and a third prize for his Six Tomatoes.

As usual the highlights were the tea with scones, cream and jam and above all the happy friendly atmosphere of friends and friendly competitors discussing gardening and cookery and life in the Chilterns.

Slow Boat to China – or a Rather Faster Train?

September 4th, 2014 by nickhollinghurst
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Dr Karl-Friedrich Rausch of DB Mobility Logistics and the Governor of Henan Province Xie Fuzhan flag off the first Hamburg–Zhengzou train (Photo: Michael Rauhe/DB)

Dr Karl-Friedrich Rausch of DB Mobility Logistics and the Governor of Henan Province Xie Fuzhan flag off the first Hamburg–Zhengzou train (Photo: Michael Rauhe/DB)

DB Schenker, the logistics arm of Deutsche Bahn, ran its first intercontinental freight train from Beijing to Hamburg in 2008. This developed into weekly freight train services from China to Germany in 2011 and a regular Zhengzhou to Hamburg railfreight service started in August 2013, serving mostly the electronics and automotive industries.

Now, on September 1st 2014, a weekly railfreight service in the other direction, from Hamburg to Zhengzhou has been inaugurated.

The train of 41 containers is carrying goods for several different exporters and includes such items as industrial robots. It will take 17 days to complete the 10,214 km journey via Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan. This is about 20 days faster than the same journey using conventional sea transport.

Inaugurating the service, Dr Bernd Egert (SPD), Staatsrat for the Business Affairs of the Economy, Transport and Innovation Section of the Hamburg Senate said, “We are proud that from today, Hamburg is not only a destination but also a starting point for goods exchange with China by rail”.

The economic logic behind intercontinental railfreight is that it reduces the financial cost of having expensive items unavailable during a 5 week transit time.

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