Monday, September 17, 2012

Liberal controlled Executive Members of Northumberland County Council could overturn the views of the Local South East Area Commttee Held at Newbiggan

Two sites put forward to house illegal travllers two sites have been identified in Northumberland’s biggest town as the preferred locations to help council bosses tackle the problem of illegal gypsy and traveller encampments.
Sites at Ennerdale Road and Coniston Road in Blyth – on the edge of the town’s industrial estates – have been earmarked as the best places to put the eight-pitch transit facility.
They have scored highest in terms of suitability after the county council examined a total of 14 potential locations for the site, which will be built using £311,000 in funding from the Government’s Homes and Communities Agency.
Executive members of the council will be asked to decide next month which of the two sites should be chosen for the submission of an application for planning permission.
The site will make it easier for the authority to act against unauthorised travellers’ encampments, set up in Northumberland.
Last year 700 people signed a petition after travellers were allowed by the council to temporarily move on to the caravan and camp site at Wansbeck Riverside Park, near Ashington.

It’s telling that of the five Tories who refused to vote in favour, one chairs the North Northumberland planning committee and another chairs the planning committee for the west of the county Tories refuse to support one of there own Coun Sanderson

Floodgates have opened for windfarms, warns councillor

Published on Monday 17 September 2012 11:03
A STREAM of wind turbine schemes is now on the way in Northumberland, says the man behind a failed attempt to curb them.
County councillors voted against Coun Glen Sanderson’s motion last Wednesday after a senior councillor condemned it as illegal.
But he stood by it afterwards and warned that the issue will not go away.
Executive member Tom Brechany said a planning policy change required evidence and public consultation.
Coun Sanderson told the meeting at County Hall: “I think virtually all of us are going to have a battle on our hands sooner or later.”
He said many places were in the firing line such as Berwick, Belford, Tranwell, Elsdon, Alnwick, Longhorsley and Chevington.
His motion called for the cumulative impact of the structures to be considered, a greater distance from homes imposed and called on the Government to slash drastically the subsidies to onshore wind turbines.
Labour and Liberal Democrats generally voted against, with Conservatives the main supporters. It was lost 40 to 13, with seven abstentions, including five from Tory councillors.
Labour Group Leader Grant Davey, who with local MPs had criticised the motion as undermining the renewables industry in the county’s south east, asked if the motion was illegal.
Chief Executive Steve Stewart replied: “It’s one thing to pass a motion, it’s another thing to implement it. Ultimately it would have to be decided by the courts.”
Coun Davey said the authority would then generate court costs which under the new Localism Act might fall on individual councillors. His motion that the question be put was passed and ended the debate.
Before that, Coun Sanderson had argued that the £400million national subsidy to turbines weighed most heavily on people with low incomes because their energy tariffs were high. And Northumberland suffered “the shame of some of the worst fuel poverty in the country”.
Coun Richard Dodd said: “We have a historic county –we’re destroying it.”
He said farmers were getting notes through their doors asking if they’d considered turbines, which brought laughter as it was said some take it up — a reference to Conservative Group Leader Peter Jackson, on whose farm a company sought planning permission for a turbine last year.
This year it was revealed he had been a party to talks about a turbine elsewhere on his land in 2010. He was absent from the council meeting.
Coun Sanderson said after the meeting: “Other councils are grasping the nettle on this issue and it’s high time that we did as well.
“We need to be more proactive and listen to what residents are telling us. New turbines should not be approved unless there is a stronger planning case than what is being used at the moment.
“I’m going to carry on the fight and I’ll continue to raise these important points.”
Coun Brechany said afterwards: “Coun Sanderson tried to make a political point and it was left to the Lib Dems on the executive – supported by some of his more sensible colleagues – to point out just how impractical, not to mention potentially illegal, his anti-wind power plans were.
“It’s telling that of the five Tories who refused to vote in favour, one chairs the North Northumberland planning committee and another chairs the planning committee for the west of the county.”

Its Children Not Schools We Care About in Northumberland

Northumberland Labour Group are incensed at the actions of the Coalition Government on the GCSE marking scandal. Government Officials took decisions to downgrade pupils who had passed GCSE's at Grade C down to D as in their words "too many students passed at level C." The Government press releases have concentrated on the fact that 140 schools missed their exam targets and may either be forced to close, set Interim Boards to improve things or transferred out of Local Authority control and steered to Academisation.
Grant Davey Northumberland Labour Group Leader said, "I think its disgraceful that the Coalition Government have spun this news towards Schools, We in Northumberland Labour Group are more concerned for the young people who have lost out in this disgraceful downgrading exercise." "Young people who are not the top 20% rely their whole lives on the pass rate, this downgrading of children from C to D spoils the life chances of so many and it appears this Government doesn't care."
"We demand a full report from the Director of Education on the numbers of young people affected and a plan to see how we can help those who need their Council at this time either to have their marks re-assessed honestly or be aided to resit."
" Northumberland has an average of 23% of all children in poverty, in some areas such as Croft Ward in Blyth its as high as 60%, children from the Blyth, Wansbeck and Rural Coalfield Wards who are not born with silver spoons in their mouths need the comfort of the pass rate as many are not from families that can afford or can give additional educational help. This stripping out of 10 Marks at GCSE through a Government whim to 'improve' is one of the worst examples of attacks on working families we have seen to date."

Labour calls county wide free car parking in Northumberland

Ian Swithenbank, Chairperson
Grant Davey, Leader
Val Tyler, Deputy
Robert Arckless, Secretary

County Hall
Northumberland NE61 2EF
Telephone (01670) 533000
Fax (01670) 533072

Press Release
Labour call for county wide free car parking
‘Economy needs a jump start and the council can help’ – Swithenbank
The Labour party are proposing to end car parking charges as the county economy struggles through the current recession after it emerged that the ruling Liberal Democrat group spent over £1.53m on consultants and interim managers.
Northumberland Labour Group are proposing to devise local ‘car parking plans’ with Town and Parish council’s across the county to come up with the short term aim of reducing and then eliminating car parking charges.
Labour group Chair Ian Swithenbank said
‘It’s our view that Northumberland can afford free parking and it’s a question of priorities. It will bring in a fair amount of shoppers and tourists and it will complement the ‘Buy Northumberland campaign’ launched with the Prime Minister last week at the House of Commons. It’s the Labour group view that by involving the Town and Parish council’s in devising local parking plans, we can enable localities to decide how they want to manage their own traffic. I’m afraid that in the current economic environment, we see car parking charges as a tax on motorists to park their vehicles on land they already own’.
The Labour group are confident that the revenue from car parking charges can be offset against drastically reduced costs of external consultants as the council ‘all party committee’ overseeing the Liberal proposals to outsource services prepares to encourage ‘in house expressions of interest’ to run various council services.
The move by Labour comes after Liberals and Tories welcomed a ‘buy Northumberland’ campaign launched by Tory MP Guy Opperman in Westminster attended by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Labour Group leader Grant Davey said
‘We welcome the recent launch of the ‘Buy Northumberland’ campaign but we think instead of standing on the sidelines the Liberal County Council should put their money where their mouth is. Our town centres are crying out for a helping hand and Labour is clear – the council must show where its priorities are – consultants or small businesses?’  

Coun Davey, also the council’s Labour group leader, added: “Instead of sending out negative messages to say Northumberland doesn’t want to work in this exciting industry, we need to rebrand Northumberland and North Tyneside as the place to manufacture all forms of renewables and become the technological base of this embryonic but steadily growing worldwide industry.

Stop biting hand that feeds us, opponents of wind farms urged

The new wind turbine which has been erected on Blyth Quayside dominates the town, as seen here from Waterloo Road. The new wind turbine which has been erected on Blyth Quayside dominates the town, as seen here from Waterloo Road.

OBJECTORS to plans for wind farms in south east Northumberland are being urged to stop biting the hand that feeds them for the sake of the county’s economy.

Blyth county councillor Grant Davey has hit out at opponents of wind farms accusing them of risking deterring further investment in towns such as Blyth, currently at the forefront of the renewable energy industry.
He believes that a boom in the green energy industry on the way for south east Northumberland could help fill the gap in the jobs market left by the closure of Lynemouth’s Rio Tinto Alcan plant earlier this year.
Coun Davey, of the Kitty Brewster ward in Blyth, said: “We are extremely concerned that negative talk in this field will be detrimental to the growth of our embryonic wind farm industry.
“We would like to see a more positive atttitude from councillors for onshore and offshore renewables, and we wholeheartedly support the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec) in Blyth.
“We see one of the largest manufacturing strands for the future of the councils situated north of the Tyne to be in the renewables sector.” South east Northumberland is seen as having significant wind energy resources, making it an attractive location for renewable energy schemes.
“It has already been identified for small to medium-scale wind farm development within a broad area of search of the region and in addition is largely within an identified wind area of search.
Last month, the first of seven new turbines lined up to replace the existing ones in Blyth was put in place on the pier.
The existing turbines will be taken down at the end of this month.
Developers say the new turbines are much more energy efficient and will keep Blyth at the forefront of the renewable energy industry.
“With the loss of both Alcan and Northumbria Foods at Amble, we now need a manufacturing base we can rely on,” added Coun Davey.
“The new growth industry is in the field of renewables, backed up by the use of carbon capture from undersea coal.
“By utilising our assets of a great workforce to build up the renewables industry and the natural resources lying just off our shores, the need to erect and manage the effects of traditional power stations can be diminished for ever.”
Work by Narec on part of a multi-million-pound wind turbine test site began last month off the coast at Blyth as part of a project estimated to be worth in excess of £300m.
The research facility will form part of the 100mw-capacity offshore wind demonstration site proposed for Blyth. It is due to begin measuring wind speeds next month to add to data collected over the last two years.
Coun Davey, also the council’s Labour group leader, added: “Instead of sending out negative messages to say Northumberland doesn’t want to work in this exciting industry, we need to rebrand Northumberland and North Tyneside as the place to manufacture all forms of renewables and become the technological base of this embryonic but steadily growing worldwide industry.
“The opportunity is almost within our grasp. Let’s make sure we don’t allow it to slip away through loose talk.”
News Post Leader

Action Stations for county farmers from Northumberland Labour Group

Monday 17 September 2012     Morpeth Herald

Action stations for county farmers

AN action plan to help Northumberland’s farming industry should be set up now, county councillors have said.

Members of the county’s Labour group are calling for more support for agriculture in light of failing harvests, squeezed price margins and uncertain economic conditions.
The calls come as harvests in many areas have been badly damaged by the wet summer and, by week seven in the British harvest season, only 45 per cent of combinable crops had been brought in, with machinery only able to work half the time it could normally due to the conditions.
Labour Group Leader Grant Davey said: “This is an uncertain time in the Northumberland economy with the loss of two major private sector employers in Alcan and Northumberland Foods so it’s important we make sure we protect as much as we can the farming industry during a time of economic strain.”