Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Euro MP visits Pathhead

Liberal Democrat MEP for the North East of England, Fiona Hall, met local councillors and residents outside the Pathhead landfill site on Saturday 20th December. She discussed her hopes that the Chairman of the European Parliament's Petitions Committee will be able to visit the site soon, following the submission of a petition raising concerns about the waste dump.

Friday, December 12, 2008

High Spen field to be cleared

A field next to Howard Terrace in High Spen, Gateshead, is to be cleared and the fence repaired after complaints from residents and local Liberal Democrat councillors.

After residents asked Councillors Andrew Graham, Elaine Earl and Brenda Osborne to look into the condition of the field next to their homes, Council officers were asked to investigate how the site could be tidied up.

Councillors asked for a bid for funding from the Neighbourhood Pride scheme to cover the costs and this bid has now been agreed.

“We are pleased this bid has been agreed and work should take place shortly,” said Councillor Graham.

Greener driving will save you cash – Gateshead Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats in Gateshead have given the thumbs up to a ten point plan which could save motorists a large amount of cash and help save the planet.

The Energy Saving Trust’s scheme lists ten easy steps to using less fuel whilst driving. Sticking to it would allow a vehicle to go 15% further on the same amount of fuel.

It would also mean that much less pollution and carbon dioxide would be produced. If every driver in Gateshead were to follow the 10 point plan, the borough would pump out up to 31,000 tonnes of CO2 less each year.

The Trust is a joint venture between Government and top private companies including BP and EDF. It has found that simple measures such as inflating tyres properly can have a dramatic impact on your wallet, health and local environment.

The Trust also recommends driving away immediately, rather than idling, to let the engine warm up, and turning your engine off in a traffic jam as practical everyday ways to reap the benefits of lower fuel consumption.

Councillor Jonathan Wallace said, “The Energy Savings Trust’s list has some great ideas for saving money and the environment. They are simple ideas that can make a big difference to the pockets of Gateshead residents and to local air quality.

“If we all made small changes to the way we do things, we can make big savings that benefit both Gateshead and the planet.

Commenting, Norman Baker MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, said: “Spending less on filling up the car would be a bonus for everyone this Christmas, but it is not only our wallets that should feel better if we all become energy-efficient drivers.

“The local benefits of following these simple rules can be huge, making a valuable difference to the environment and helping to reduce the impact on health from noxious exhaust fumes.”

The list of greener driving ideas includes:
1. Check your revs - change up before 2,500rpm (petrol) and 2,000rpm (diesel).
2. Anticipate road conditions and drive smoothly, avoiding sharp acceleration and heavy braking. This saves fuel and reduces accident rates.
3. Use air conditioning sparingly as it significantly increases fuel consumption.
4. The most efficient speed depends upon the car in question but is typically around 45 - 50mph. Faster speed will greatly increase your fuel consumption.
5. Drive away immediately when starting from cold - idling to heat the engine wastes fuel and causes rapid engine wear.
6. Accessories such as roof racks, bike carriers, and roof boxes significantly affect your car's aerodynamics and reduce fuel efficiency, so remember to remove them when not in use.
7. Avoid short journeys - a cold engine uses almost twice as much fuel and catalytic converters can take five miles to become effective.
8. Plan your journeys to avoid congestion, road works and getting lost.
9. Check your tyre pressure regularly - under-inflated tyres are dangerous and can increase fuel consumption by up to 3%.
10. If you're stuck in a jam, switch the engine off if you expect to be there for more than a minute or two. Cutting the engine will save fuel and reduce emissions.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Queen's Speech “won’t help families in Gateshead” – Liberal Democrats

The Government’s plans for new laws will do little to help hard-pressed families in Gateshead, claims a leading local Liberal Democrat.

The plans were outlined in the Queen’s Speech but disappointed Liberal Democrats say that the Government’s announcements will do very little to help people Gateshead cope with the recession.

"The measures in the Queen's Speech are not enough to help people with the real problems we are now facing,” said Dr Jonathan Wallace, Councillor for Whickham and Sunniside.

“We need legislation to change the way energy tariffs work to make sure people get the cheapest prices for their essential fuel and power and changes to taxes to put money back in people's pockets.

"With the massive discounts on offer in the shops at the moment, the short term trimming of VAT will make little difference and what we need is income tax cuts targeted at low earners and paid for through closing loopholes.

“Residents of Gateshead who are worried by the economic situation will find little comfort in this programme.

“We need action to force the banks to lend money on fair terms to small businesses and families – and make it quite clear that if the banks cannot be made to act, the government will lend directly itself.

"The Government wasted the opportunity to help people in last week's Pre-Budget Report and now with the Queen's Speech they are wasting it again."