Bucks joins national campaign to cut plastic waste

Single-use plastic bottles are a massive cause of plastic waste and pollution, with an estimated 7.7 billion plastic water bottles used each year in the UK. That’s why Buckinghamshire County Council is joining the national call to reduce this largely avoidable problem by supporting National Refill Day on 19 June.

But National Refill Day isn’t just for one day – we’re asking people to use the day to make the switch permanently to using a refillable bottle for their water on the go.

As well as a call to action on using reusable bottles, Refill Day is part of the wider Refill campaign, which seeks to make tap water available in more places so that when you’re out and about, it’s always easy to refill your bottle for free.

There are already about 100 Refill Stations in Buckinghamshire already, and the best way to find one that’s convenient for you is to download the app to your mobile phone. Participating premises will also display a Refill window sticker.

But it isn’t only businesses that are joining the Refill revolution. Beaconsfield is soon to install a new public water fountain after the project – championed by the Women’s Institute and the ‘Plastic-Free Beaconsfield’ campaign – won the Beaconsfield Decides local funding ballot.

The County Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Planning & Environment Clive Harriss said: “It’s really important that we all recycle our waste plastic properly, taking care that it doesn’t contaminate the environment. But it’s better still if we avoid creating plastic waste in the first place – and using a refillable water bottle is an excellent way of doing this.

“The UK has some of the best-quality tap water in the world, so why not seize the moment and do your bit to reduce plastic waste by switching to a refillable water bottle?”

Facts and stats

  • A million plastic bottles are sold every minute around the world – a figure that’s expected to grow by 20% by 2021 (source: Euromonitor International’s global packaging trends report).
  • Of the 13 billion plastic bottles used in the UK each year – an estimated 7.7 billion, or nearly 60% are plastic water bottles (source: RECOUP (RECycling of Used Plastics Limited) cited in: House of Commons, ‘Plastic bottles: Turning Back the Plastic Tide’).

Police & Crime Bulletin May 2019

Calls to the police 101 non-emergency number to become free by April 2020

From April 2020 calls to the 101 police non-emergency number will be free of charge. At present, callers are charged 15p a time. The Home Secretary has announced that he will invest £5 million a year to fund the service, which receives around 30 million calls each year nationally.

Thames Valley Police’s website has been operating on the Single Online Home platform since July 2018 and the public are already able to contact the force and report crimes online. The Single Online Home (SOH), is being launched in full in the summer to reflect changes in how the public are interacting with the police.

The PCC for Thames Valley has been ensuring that the Force focuses on improving the performance of 101. The time taken to answer calls has been steadily falling since a spike during the football world cup and the heightened terrorist threat. Performance is being closely monitored and additional investment is being made in increasing staff, improving training and upgrading technology to make it easier for the public to get the help they need.

Calls to 999 are always prioritised and continue to be free. In an emergency, always call 999.

A change in the law is needed to tackle illegal encampments

As we enter spring we are also entering the seasons for the increase in unauthorised encampments. It is almost universally the case that the public expectation of action by the police in dealing with illegal traveller encampments is not matched by legislation. The limited powers that the police have, especially when an encampment is on private land, is a frustration to the landowners, local communities and indeed many police officers. I fear it can also damage wider confidence in policing as the public do not necessarily understand the limited powers the police have.

Last year the Government consulted on the powers to tackle unauthorised encampments and it has now indicated it’s intention to change the law to give greater powers to the police and local authorities. This is welcomed but the details will need to be scrutinised. There is an indication of some of the areas that will be considered, such as changing the threshold number of vehicles that constitutes an unauthorised encampment and extending the period before anyone can return. The devil will be in the detail however and if meaningful changes are to be brought about it will need changes in the law and a different approach from the police and local authorities.

I have written to all twenty-one of the MPs across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire asking them to meet collectively to discuss the problem of unauthorised encampments once the government proposals have been published.

In the meantime Thames Valley Police have made significant progress with local authorities in establishing a joint protocol to better coordinate the response to unauthorised encampments. The lack of transit sites in the Thames Valley is one of the issues that limits the powers that the police have at their disposal and one of the issues that I believe needs to be addressed.

I will continue to encourage the police to do everything they can to use their powers within the existing system in order to limit the harm to communities from unauthorised encampments, but the system is flawed and I welcome the opportunity being offered by the government to change it.
Read more on my website at www.matthewbarber.co.uk

Collaborating with other Emergency Services

Collaboration makes a real difference in keeping the public safe. Earlier this month I attended the ground breaking ceremony for the new Tri-Service Station at Crowthorne. This is just the latest collaborations between Thames Valley Polie and the three Fire and Rescue Services across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Once completed the new building will provide a base for Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service, Thames Valley Police and South Central Ambulance Service. Not only is it more cost effective to share premises, but it also fosters the ever closer working relationship between the emergency services.

Councils call on Government to delay advanced HS2 works

Councils across Buckinghamshire are piling pressure on the Government to stop all current HS2 preparation work until the detailed design has been properly approved and full cost of the scheme made clear.

As part of the collective action, Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern District Councils have already debated and agreed a special motion at their full council meetings last week, calling on the Government to pause all current site work until the ‘Notice to Proceed’ has been approved. South Bucks District Council has also agreed to write to HS2 to express the same concerns.

And tomorrow (April 25), Buckinghamshire County Council will debate the same motion at their full council meeting.

As required by the Department of Transport, a Notice to Proceed should not be given until the management capability, affordability of contracts and robustness of the revised business case have all been fully proven and approved.

The early HS2 works are already causing devastation across the county from Calvert in the north, through Great Missenden and down into the Colne Valley. There are major utilities works, roadworks, ground investigation, vegetation removal and netting of hedgerows all happening now.  This is all in spite of it being widely reported that the official Notice to Proceed for the project has been pushed back towards the end of the year.

In a joint statement, Council Leaders said there was absolutely no justification why the County’s residents should suffer significant disruption and long term environmental destruction while things remain so unclear.

They say it’s massively disruptive to have HS2 contractors trampling all over the County doing preparatory work without the final scheme details even being known. Some of the current work is also extremely controversial and is creating significant issues locally. As a result, Councils also want HS2 Ltd to significantly improve the effectiveness of its community engagement with all those impacted by the line.

The Leaders add that if the Crossrail scheme is anything to go by, then it is clear that HS2 is definitely far from on time and on budget. As a result, the councils will be asking for a proper review to be undertaken before any further taxpayer funding is committed.

The Annual Town Meeting

All residents, organisations and businesses are invited to attend.

The Annual Town Meeting

On

Thursday 25th April at 7.30pm

In the Winslow Public Hall

Come along and have your input to Council’s future agenda

The Chairman will present the annual report.

Grant cheques will be presented to organizations.

Winslow Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year 2019 will be announced.

Councillors and Committee Chairs will be on hand to answer questions and receive your suggestions and requests.

If you can’t be there but would like to ask a question or make a suggestion:

email the Clerk on clerk@winslowtowncouncil.gov.uk  

or telephone 01296 712448

Furze Lane – Temporary Road Closure

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has made an Order, which will temporarily prohibit any vehicle from proceeding, except for access, in that length of Furze Lane, Winslow, which continuing for a distance of approximately 100 metres.
The alternative route for vehicles affected by the closure will be via Verney Road, Vicarage Road, High Street, Buckingham Road, Furze Lane.
The closure is required whilst Western Power Distribution works take place and it is anticipated that the works will commence on 15 April 2019 and will take approximately 4 days between 00:00 and 23:59 each day to complete.
The Order will come into operation on 15 April 2019 when the appropriate signs are lawfully displayed and will continue for a period not exceeding
eighteen months or until the said works have been completed whichever is the earlier.
Penalties for not observing these restrictions will be as prescribed by the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the Road Traffic Act 1991.

Buckinghamshire councils to share legal resources on path to unitary

The county and district councils in Buckinghamshire have started the process of sharing legal resources from the autumn, part of the first steps to joining up support services for the new Buckinghamshire Council.

Under the plans, the legal team at Wycombe District Council and joint legal service at Chiltern and South Bucks District Councils, will provide some key elements of the County Council’s legal work such as property, contracts and employment work from October 1.

An in-house team at Buckinghamshire County Council will provide its children’s and adults services legal work, since this is not replicated at district level, until all legal teams transfer to the new unitary council in April 2020.

Officers from all five district and county councils worked together to develop the plans and will put forward proposals for a fully integrated legal service for the new Council in due course.

John Chilver, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “I welcome this decision, working with our district colleagues to get on with the business of moving towards the new council. Sharing key elements of our legal work paves the way for fully joining up support services as early as possible and will mean that experienced staff are in place to take on future legal service responsibilities.”

Dominic Barnes, Wycombe District Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Engagement and Strategy, said: “By combining the legal work of our councils during the transition period, this service-led initiative is paving the way towards integrated legal provision in the new unitary council. This is a really positive step which will make the most of the existing talent and expertise across our local councils.”

Howard Mordue, Aylesbury Vale District Council Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said: “This is a positive first step in starting to look at how we can join up support services locally in Buckinghamshire in the run-up to the formal creation of the new council in 2020.”

Street Associations win national recognition

Buckinghamshire Street Associations win national recognition

 

A good neighbour scheme that tackles loneliness, social isolation and doorstep crime across Buckinghamshire, has won national acclaim.

Buckinghamshire County Council’s Street Associations scheme was named as one of nine leading community projects at the prestigious Local Government Chronicle Awards, presented by broadcaster Hugh Dennis at London’s Grosvenor House.

The scheme aims to recruit people in every road and provide them with resources and free workshops to heighten awareness of issues such as doorstep crime, scams, dementia awareness and domestic abuse, to increase the wellbeing and safety of the community.

A delighted Noel Brown, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health, said that being a national finalist was tribute to the commitment of almost 300 residents who have become actively involved in six pilot Street Associations across the county, and to the untiring work of Helen Cavill, who leads the project.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of residents who have become involved in these six Street Association pilots,” said Noel. “The success is down to their commitment to restore community spirit: making their communities places where neighbours look out for each other, and where those who are vulnerable feel safe.”

The six pilots – in Hughenden, Aylesbury, Princes Risborough, Chesham and Burnham –  have been going for more than 18 months, set up and run solely by neighbours, with pump priming from the County Council.  Now another 13 communities have asked for information about how to start a Street Association.

Helen Cavill, Street Associations’ Project Lead, said during the past 18 months 200 streets had become involved in the six pilot schemes, and 225 residents had received  awareness training in doorstep crime, scams, domestic abuse and the effects of dementia. Encouragingly, she said, 75 local businesses had given their backing.

“Apart from the 13 communities that have shown interest, we’ve had enquiries from two other county councils, which is great news for the cause of good neighbourliness,” she said.

Since the pilots launched there has been on average a 40% increase in the number of referrals to the County Council’s preventative services, where Street Association members have identified vulnerable people who need extra support, and who might have slipped under the radar.

Also, members have made 30 referrals to the Trading Standards team about doorstep and general scams, which would not normally have been expected.

Helen said it was easy to start a Street Association: with one simple information pack, a desire to know your neighbours are safe and well, and a healthy dose of enthusiasm.

People wanting to start a Street Association in their community can ask Helen for a starter pack, which comes with signposting materials: a directory of local organisations and the authorities they are most likely to get help from, tips on organising community get-togethers, plus guidance on trouble signs to watch for.

Noel Brown said: “This is such a simple ‘win-win’ formula. By tackling the problem of social isolation, rediscovering the culture of neighbourliness, we’re making it much easier to reduce doorstep crime.”

How to start a Street Association: https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/community/helping-your-community/street-associations/ 

Street Lights

Lighting our way by night – the Bucks Street Lighting Team

 

Transport for Buckinghamshire’s (TfB) Street Lighting Team looks after the 29,000 streetlights and 6,000 illuminated bollards we rely on across the county to illuminate our roads and pathways by night.

This is an update on their current work.

 

LED Replacement Programme

 

Over the course of 2018/19, the Street Lighting Team has been replacing 3,295 ‘old style’ lanterns with LED equipment. These old style lanterns have an orange light, whilst the new lanterns produce a white light. The programme will be complete by the end of March 2019.

 

However, a small number of the old style lanterns will temporarily remain due to issues such as the need for the entire column to be changed or the column base being sited on private land.

 

In addition to this, the team has also completely replaced 344 lanterns which were mounted on wooden electricity poles.

 

Night Scouting

 

Whilst you can report street lights that are damaged or broken on Fix My Street, TfB also has a Night Scouting programme. Members of the Street Lighting Team check for outages along the strategic routes across the county, making note of lights that need any work doing to them. Six routes are covered over a three month period, and the scouting occurs on a quarterly basis.

 

However, if you do spot a damaged or broken street light, please do report it using Fix My Street (https://www.fixmystreet.buckscc.gov.uk/).

Use the search bar to find the road the street light is on, use the marker to pinpoint the area it is in and select the number of the street light that you are reporting. This should be used for faults that do not present an immediate risk, for example, street lights that aren’t working. In an emergency, please call 01296 382416 to report.

 

Solar-powered bollards

 

TfB’s Street Lighting Team has been working with manufacturing partners NAL Ltd and Traffic Management Products (TMP) to roll out a new and innovative bollard programme across the county, and have installed over 100 bollards to date. These new bollards are solar powered and have a number of benefits, including reduced energy costs and no need of underground cables, meaning they cannot be affected by power outages or damaged cables.

 

Another advantage of these new bollards is that they are also easier to repair – the solar powered bollards use socket mounted equipment. Currently, if a bollard is damaged or broken, it can be complicated to repair or replace as there has to be traffic management, sometimes even a road closure. However, if one of the new style bollards is damaged or needs replacing, the equipment can be changed quickly and easily. It also removes the possibility of live wires being exposed in the event of a road traffic collision.

 

Sometimes the problem lies with the electricity supplier

 

Sometimes members of the public report failed lights to us that have stopped working due to an underground electricity supply fault. If this is the case, TfB is not able to repair the fault, because the cables are owned and maintained by the electricity companies for the area, and only they are allowed to carry out repairs to their networks.

 

TfB works closely with the three electricity companies who have equipment within the county to resolve these issues when they’re discovered, but the repairs can take some time and be complex in nature. This is why there can sometimes be a delay in repairing a reported failed light.

 

Whose light is it?

 

The County Council are not the only ones who maintain lights within the county. Some are maintained by parish and town councils, district councils, or housing associations, and others are on privately-maintained roads. In those cases TfB will advise who can help with repairs.

Only County Council lights currently appear on the Fix My Street website – if there is no light option available on the map for the location that you are trying to report, then the light will not be ours. However, we are working with the other organisations to allow us to show their assets on our map, so that the system will then tell you who owns or maintains the light if it is not ours.

Note however that you cannot report failed lights that are privately owned, for example in gardens, on driveways or lighting commercial premises. You’ll need to contact the landowner.

Deputy Leader and Transport Cabinet Member Mark Shaw said:

 

“The Street Lighting Team has been working incredibly hard on several programmes which will be so beneficial to the county when they’re complete. I understand the public’s frustration when it comes to broken lights but we work very closely with the electricity companies to make sure any issues can be resolved as soon as possible. I’m impressed with the work I’ve seen from the Street Lighting Team in the last year and know the public will reap the benefits of this.”

 

Plane and Patch Programme

TfB’s Plane and Patch programme gets off to a great start!

Following a successful 2018 programme, Transport for Buckinghamshire’s (TfB) 2019 Plane and Patch programme began on 4 March 2019. Since then, 13 roads have already undergone treatment across the county, including areas in Wendover, Aylesbury and High Wycombe.

Plane and Patch work is carried out on areas of road which have encountered significant damage or deterioration to the road surface. The damaged road surface patch is cut out and completely resurfaced with new material rather than repairing individual potholes. Areas receiving Plane and Patch treatment vary from sites as small as 20 square metres to much larger areas, some as big as 1,500 square metres.

The Plane and Patch treatment programme is defined and prioritised by:

  • TfB Local Area Technicians (LATs) who have a detailed knowledge of the roads in their local areas.
  • Locations showing large numbers of defects/potholes in one area, found upon inspection by TfB and
  • Areas identified from reports of potholes and other defects which come in from Fix My Street (the online reporting tool). https://www.fixmystreet.buckscc.gov.uk/

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Transportation, Mark Shaw, Deputy Cabinet Member, Paul Irwin and Buckinghamshire County Council Chief Executive Rachael Shimmin have been taking a keen interest in this essential programme of work.

Mark Shaw explained: “Plane and Patch is a great way to address pothole ‘farms’, providing focus on those roads which cause the greatest concern for members of the public and local residents. Approximately £4 million is being spent on Plane and Patch this year, in addition to the £15 million being spent on capital resurfacing schemes. The Plane and Patch programme is covering more than 150 different schemes across Buckinghamshire. Whilst all this is going on, individual repairs continue to be made to priority defects, including reported potholes, to keep the highway safe.

“I’m sure that our residents will appreciate that whilst we’d like to treat all roads, our budget doesn’t stretch that far – but I am confident that they will soon start to notice the difference”.

Rights of Way – Reporting

Buckinghamshire County Council is about to launch a new Rights of Way reporting system which will allow members of the public to log and track their Rights of Way problems online.

Using the new online system, path volunteers can also sign up to carry out minor Rights of Way tasks and agree to undertake path surveys.

At the launch of the new system the old Rights of Way ‘Report It’ pages will be removed and will no longer be available.

If you do use this link or wish to provide details on how to report a Rights of Way Problem to the County Council on your Parish Council web pages, then please add/amend to the follow website address:-

https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/environment/public-rights-of-way/report-a-rights-of-way-issue/

 

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