Lib Dems: Insulating up to 10 million homes by 2025

Liberal Democrats have announced plans to introduce a new Green Homes Bill which would insulate up to 10 million homes by 2025.

Under the plans set out for the next Parliament, homeowners would also be offered a Council Tax discount of at least £100 a year for ten years for making their homes greener.

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These measures would improve energy efficiency, promote renewable heat and help people benefit from warmer homes and cheaper energy bills.

The Green Homes Bill would build on the success of Liberal Democrat policies delivered in government to make homes warmer and more energy efficient.

These include legislating for Zero Carbon Homes in new build developments, introducing regulations to ban landlords from renting out energy inefficient homes from 2018, passing a new fuel strategy and making more than one million homes more energy efficient in two years thanks to ECO and the Green Deal.

The Bill would build on these achievements and incentivise people to insulate their homes by:

  • Offering at least £100 each year Council Tax discount for 10 years, when making significant changes to make a home more energy efficient.
  • Reforming the Green Deal ‘pay as you save’ scheme into a new ‘Green Homes Loan Scheme’ which would extend the current scheme to include renewable heat and electricity.
  • A new ‘Feed out Tariff’ for investment in Solid Wall Insulation, the most expensive and disruptive type of energy efficiency measure.

Liberal Democrats have set an ambition that every home should reach a high standard of energy efficiency by 2035.

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg and Deputy Prime Minister said:

“We relentlessly pushed the green agenda over the last five years in government, in the face of strong resistance from the Conservatives.

“Yet despite much needed progress, people particularly from vulnerable households still suffer from homes that are too cold and bills that are too high.

“Energy efficiency is the most important fuel we didn’t know we had. Insulating millions of homes will significantly improve the cost of living and quality of life of people across the UK.”

Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey added:

“Lib Dems in Government have a proud record of improving the nation’s leaky housing stock resulting in permanently warmer homes and cheaper bills, including beating our own target of getting one million homes more energy efficient through ECO and the Green Deal in the past two years.

“This is a solid start but I now want to see nothing less than a Green Homes revolution, delivering 10 million energy efficient homes by 2025 through ambitious targets and generous incentives for people who carry out work to make their homes warmer, cheaper and greener.”

Liberal Democrats unveil Race Equality Plan

Liberal Democrats have set out 17 policies designed to tackle inequalities faced by Britain’s ethnic minorities.

The proposals formed under five key themes covering social and economic issues are collectively called the Liberal Democrat Race Equality Plan. They are designed to sit alongside the party’s existing policies to tackle race inequalities.

These themes are:

  • Representation in public life – The role of government and civil society
  • Creating a modern, diverse and flexible workforce – Barriers to employment
  • Equality before the law – Crime, justice and civil liberties
  • Opportunity and freedom – Lifelong education
  • Equality of access to healthcare

Announcing the proposals Liberal Democrat Race Equality Champion Ibrahim Taguri said:

“The time has come for race equality to be placed at the centre of the political agenda and at the heart of government.

“These seventeen policies are designed to address some of the fundamental obstacles to creating a fairer society and a stronger economy.

“I want to ensure that no future generation endures the poverty, injustices and hardships that I faced growing up.

“My door is open to anyone who wishes to discuss these proposals.”

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg added:

“Government must strive to level the playing field so that everyone can look to the future and have an equal opportunity to get on in life.

“If this parliament was about reviving the economy, the next will be about rewiring the economy so that it embodies the values of fairness and opportunity, making Britain a place where every person really can get ahead.

“The Race Equality Plan is a significant step towards that and I look forward to its implementation in full.”

THINK! cycle safety campaign expanded

A campaign designed to improve safety for cyclists will be extended to 7 new cities, Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill announced today (2 March 2015).

The campaign uses a series of practical tips to remind motorists and cyclists of the rules of the road and the actions they can take to help reduce collisions.

Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill said:

We have some of the safest roads in the world but 1 cyclist’s death is 1 too many and we are determined to make our roads safer.

This poster campaign will build on the success of last year’s work to remind drivers to take care around cyclists and remind cyclists of the actions they can take to stay safe on the road. This message is especially important as the weather improves and more people take to their bikes.

The campaign will run for a third time in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds and Manchester, where statistics show the highest rates of traffic collisions involving cyclists compared to the population.

This year’s campaign will now also be extended to include a further 7 cities with high cyclist casualties figures – Bradford, Brighton and Hove, Kingston upon Hull, Newcastle, Portsmouth and Southampton.

Analysis of last year’s campaign showed that more than three quarters of drivers agreed the adverts reminded them about the importance of looking out for cyclists.

More than £374 million has been made available by the government to support safer cycling, including £35 million to tackle dangerous junctions, while nearly all of the projects being funded by the department’s £600 million Local Sustainable Transport Fund contain a cycling element.

Spend on cycling is currently around £6 per person each year across England, and over £10 per person in London and the 8 Cycling Ambition Cities – Manchester, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford, Newcastle, Norwich, Leeds, Birmingham – which have received extra cash for cycling infrastructure.

Meanwhile, councils have been challenged to ‘cycle-proof’ their existing roads and plan for cyclists when designing new road infrastructure. Local authorities are also able to spend a portion of £1.89 billion they receive for roads to improve provision for cyclists.

The government has also made it simpler for councils to introduce 20 miles per hour zones and limits and install mirrors at junctions to help eliminate blind spots for drivers of heavy goods vehicles and ensure better visibility of cyclists.

Images from the campaign are available on THINK! website.

Liberal Democrats set out ambition to double the UK’s production of renewable energy by 2020

renewable energy wind turbine double by 2020Liberal Democrats have set out plans to double the UK’s production of renewable electricity by 2020 and make Britain zero carbon by 2050.

This would end the UK’s adverse impact on climate change for good.

In government the Liberal Democrats have already more than doubled the amount of electricity from renewables.

We have overseen the single biggest reform of the UK’s energy infrastructure since privatisation, created a low-carbon, pro-renewable, and energy secure nation less reliant on unstable regimes for energy needs.

Liberal Democrats have also led the way in boosting Europe’s energy security through creating a fully functioning European Energy Market.

Liberal Democrats are prioritising the environment in the next election by putting green issues at the front of our election manifesto.

Under Liberal Democrat plans, the production of renewable electricity will be doubled by the end of the next Parliament.

If in government after the General Election, the party wants to take the fight against climate change further by introducing a Zero Carbon Britain Bill in the next Parliament.

Measures within the Zero Carbon Bill include:

  • A new legally binding target for Zero Carbon Britain by 2050.
  • A new legally binding decarbonisation target for the power sector by 2030 to support investment in all forms of low carbon electricity.
  • Establishing an Office for Accelerated Low Carbon Innovation to fast-track new green tech including tidal power, renewable heat, ultra-low emission vehicles, energy storage and CCS.
  • Applying Emissions Performance Standards (EPS) to existing coal plants from 2025 to end use of unabated coal generation
  • Full borrowing powers to the Green Investment Bank, to further boost investment in low carbon technology

Green Energy renewable energy Government

Commenting on the plans for a Zero Carbon Bill, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg said:

“It’s no exaggeration to say our future, and that of our children, depends upon us tackling climate change head on. The more we delay, the more we are at threat from this ticking time bomb.

“This is why if in government again we will set about making Britain zero carbon, securing more home grown renewable energy whilst also reducing our reliance on regimes who use western energy needs as a blunt foreign policy tool.”

“Our plans are a bold ambition to end Britain’s adverse impact on climate change completely, but I believe it can be done within my lifetime.

Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey added:

“Lib Dems in government have already more than doubled the amount of renewable electricity in the UK and on Thursday I announced a host of green energy projects had won contracts from Government which together could power the equivalent of all households in Wales. Our plans for the future take this to a whole new level.

“Our Zero Carbon Bill will make a huge contribution to creating a stronger economy and a fairer society. A stronger economy means a quarter of a million new green jobs over the next 5 years, and establishing Britain as a world leader in renewable technology.

“A fairer society means not mortgaging the futures of our children and grandchildren by acting now to end the adverse impact of climate change and protect the British landscape and wildlife.”

“The five green laws are nailed to the front page of our manifesto and over the coming days we will flesh our plans to deliver this ambition.”

One step closer to enshrining international aid spending in law

Liberal Democrat Peer Jeremy Purvis has welcomed the successful progress though the House of Lords of the Lib Dem Bill to enshrine the UK’s aid spending target in law.

The Bill, which was proposed in the Commons by Michael Moore MP and which would ensure 0.7% of the UK’s Gross National Income is spend on international aid, cleared its Report Stage despite sustained pressure from a small minority of Peers set on derailing the proposals.

The Bill will now be scheduled for its Third Reading – the final test it must overcome before being signed into law.

International Aid - Africa

Commenting, Jeremy said:

“Michael Moore’s Bill is now just one step away for becoming law. I am hugely grateful to all those, from all sides of the House of Lords and particularly my Liberal Democrat colleagues, who came out in force to support the Bill and vote down amendments designed to wreck it.

“I am also grateful to the many people outside Parliament who have made clear their support for this vital legislation. We have overcome a crucial stage of the process and now it is important we do all we can do finish the Bill’s passage before the election.

“UK aid has the capacity to change lives, by passing this Bill we can move the debate on from how much support we give to how we ensure our support goes to those who need it most. I look forward to making sure the Bill overcomes its final hurdle and gets onto the statue book.”

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Have your say on pharmacy services in North East Lincolnshire

Time is running out for people in North East Lincolnshire Council to give their views on the current provision of pharmaceutical services across the area and how this meets the needs of the population

The authority is consulting on the draft pharmaceutical needs assessment (PNA) 2015-2018 for North East Lincolnshire. The Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA) looks at current provision and also identifies any potential gaps in service delivery. The PNA will be used by NHS England to help decide whether to approve applications for new pharmacies.

PNAs are used by the NHS to make decisions on which NHS funded services need to be provided by local community pharmacies. The PNA will help NHS England when making decisions on whether to approve applications to open new pharmacies and will help to gauge the adequacy of current services and what future needs there might be.

The consultation asks people if the draft PNA clearly explains what pharmaceutical services are currently available in North East Lincolnshire, and whether the pharmaceutical needs of the North East Lincolnshire population are reflected appropriately.

Using the findings from this consultation and from other feedback, a final PNA for North East Lincolnshire will be published April 2015.

The consultation, which began in January, runs until March 12 and the draft PNA along with a corresponding questionnaire can be found and completed online via the North East Lincolnshire Council website www.nelincs.gov.uk/pna

For more information or to request a paper copy please email: nel.phintelligence@nhs.net or call 07768 688900.

Cycling receives multi-million pound investment across the nation

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced £115m in funding for cycling projects across the UK.

The money will be split between eight major cities, with each using the money to improve the safety and accessibility of their cycle routes.

key_cycling_invest.gif

This covers:

  • £22m for Birmingham, with plans to build the infrastructure needed to double the number of cycling journeys made there by 2023.
  • £19m for Bristol, with a proposal to improve the city’s cycling network and routes across urban areas and Bath.
  • £6m for Cambridge, with plans for new bridge over the River Cam, segregated cycling routes in the city and more links in South Cambridgeshire.
  • £22m for Leeds, with plans to expand its current cycle superhighway and improve links to Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield and York.
  • £22m for Manchester, with plans to develop more than 45km of new or improved cycle routes as phase two of its Cycle City plan.
  • £10.6m for Newcastle, intended to make it easier for cyclists to get to work from in and around the city.
  • £8.4m for Norwich, with plans to redesign 31km of key cycle routes.
  • £3.m for Oxford, intended to provide better links between the city centre and south east of the city.

In government, the Liberal Democrats have worked to boost cycling infrastructure. Following Nick’s announcement last year of £100m for improving cyclist and pedestrian access along key roads in Britain, the government’s total investment in cycling was brought up to £588m.

Nick said:

“We are in the midst of a cycling revolution in the UK but we need to make sure we’re in the right gear to see it through. That’s why I’m so pleased to announce this investment for these major cities to make it easier for people to get around on two wheels.

“With the legacy of the 2012 Olympics and the Tour de France in Yorkshire last year still fresh in our minds, this money can help Britain become a cycling nation to rival the likes of Denmark and the Netherlands.

“Research shows us that boosting cycling could save billions of pounds otherwise spent on the NHS, reduce pollution and congestion, and create a happier and safer population.”

Grimsby and Cleethorpes Lions helping to bridge generations and bring community together

North East Lincolnshire Council

This month the Grimsby and Cleethorpes Lions are launching two community projects which they hope will help to close the generational gap and support elderly and isolated residents in North East Lincolnshire.

Terry Brown, president of Grimsby and Cleethorpes Lions said:

“Our club is dedicated to helping to improve the lives of residents within our local community and has a proud record of achievement in this regard. In these projects we wish to address the issue of loneliness and isolation of some of our more mature population, especially during the long dark winter months.”

Working alongside North East Lincolnshire Council, the first of the latest Lions community projects sees them contacting local secondary academies with a request to “twin” with a local care home or sheltered scheme.

Terry added:

“Many elderly people, some of whom, but not all, live in care homes or sheltered accommodation, have very limited contact with the outside world and in particular with young people. Examples of what could be provided might include regular contact by the school choir or musicians, cooking meals or purely groups of older pupils just chatting to the residents and giving them company. We of course welcome suggestions as to other activities. We really hope that all of our secondary academies agree to take part.”

The Lions will bring schools and the appropriate homes together with the support of the council who are giving the project full support at cabinet level and are assisting with mapping the location of care homes.

The second of the projects, a pensioner’s shindig, will take place in the community room at Freeman Street Market on March 27 at 3pm.

60 local older people will be transported to the event where they will receive a buffet and refreshments, entertainment in the form of the GI girls and a gift of an Easter Egg before their carriages arrive at 6pm.

Humberside Police: Drug Drive campaign 2015

Today (2 March 2015) a new drug drive law will come into force in England and Wales. The new law will make it illegal to drive with a specific controlled drug in the body above the accepted limit for that drug. This new law will provide a more effective tool for police officers when dealing with the danger posed by drug drivers.

Casualty Reduction Officer Barry Gardner; “All Roads Policing officers are also trained to detect drivers who are under the influence of drugs, there are a worryingly number of drivers now caught drug driving.
“This new law will help reduce the time, expense and effort involved for the police and the courts when prosecutions fail because of the difficulty of proving that a driver is impaired by a particular drug under current legislation.“
What is it all about?
  • The law is changing in England and Wales to make it easier for the Police to catch and convict drug drivers.
  • A drug drive conviction will have a serious effect on your life including a criminal record, a minimum 12 month driving ban and a fine of up to £5,000. It could also cost you your job.
  • Drugs impair your driving and driving under the influence of drugs is unacceptable. Get caught and you will have to suffer the shame of your family, friends and colleagues knowing you’re a drug driver.
  • THINK! don’t take drugs and drive.
  • It will be illegal to drive with certain drugs above specified blood levels in the body.
  • Limits will be set at very low levels for eight illegal drugs such as cannabis and cocaine.
  • Some medicines will also be included in the new law but if you are taking medicines as directed and your driving is not impaired, then you are not breaking the law. To find out more, ask your doctor or a member of the pharmacy team.
  • The new legislation will make it easier for the police to tackle drug drivers.
What will it mean for prescription drug users?
  • The new legislation covers both illegal drugs and prescription drugs. The Department for Transport (DfT) will therefore run communications to reassure those patients who may be affected by the change in legislation because of the medicines they take.
DfT is working in partnership with healthcare professionals including GPs and pharmacists to help prepare patients for the change in the law and raise awareness once it comes into force.
  • Certain medicines may affect your ability to drive.
  • This new law states that it is an offence to drive with certain drugs above specified blood levels in the body, whether your driving is impaired or not. This will make it easier for the police to tackle drug drivers.
  • The new law sets limits at very low levels for eight drugs commonly associated with illegal drug use, such as cannabis and cocaine, to tackle illegal drug use and driving.
  • The law also includes eight medicines that are sometimes abused that have been set at higher limits to reflect their use as medicines, with limits based on the available evidence of the road safety risk. These medicines are:

– morphine used to treat pain – opiate/opioid based medication will metabolise (chemically change) into morphine and show in a blood result.

– diazepam, clonazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, oxazepam, temazepam used to treat anxiety or inability to sleep

– methadone used to treat drug addiction

– Amphetamine used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Parkinson’s disease are also planned to be included.

If you are taking your medicine as directed and your driving is not impaired then you are not breaking the law 
The majority of patients that are fit to drive and are taking medicines as directed are unlikely to be above the specified limit and therefore would not be committing the new offence.
Even if you are above the specified limit but your driving is not impaired and you are taking your medicine in accordance with the advice of a healthcare professional and/or as printed in the accompanying leaflet you will also be within the law.
It will remain an offence to drive whilst impaired by drugs and, if in doubt, you should not drive.
The new law provides a medical defence if you are taking medicine in accordance with the advice of a healthcare professional – provided you are not impaired.
  • Always take your medicine in accordance with the advice of a healthcare professional or printed in the accompanying leaflet.
  • To find out more ask your doctor or a member of the pharmacy team. www.gov.uk/drug-driving-law
Drink or Drug Driving – the consequences are the same
The penalties for drink or drug driving are the same.
If you are convicted you will receive:
  • A minimum 12 month driving ban
  • A criminal record
  • A fine of up to £5,000 or up to six months in prison or both
The consequences of a drug drive conviction are far reaching and can include:
  • Job loss
  • Loss of independence
  • The shame of having a criminal record
  • Increase in car insurance costs
  • Trouble getting in to countries like the USA
Barry Gardner says, “The public can help us too, if you suspect someone is going to take drugs and drive you can phone the police on the non-emergency number 101.  We will act on information received by members of the public so I would encourage people to report any such incident to us immediately.”
You can also phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report anonymously on the Crimestoppers website www.crimestopppers-uk.org.

Liberal Democrats aim to double UK production of renewable energy by 2020

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Liberal Democrats have set out plans to double the UK’s production of renewable electricity by the end of the next parliament and make Britain zero carbon by 2050.

This would end the UK’s adverse impact on climate change for good.

key_wind_turbine.jpg

In government the Liberal Democrats have already more than doubled the amount of electricity from renewables.

We have overseen the single biggest reform of the UK’s energy infrastructure since privatisation, created a low-carbon, pro-renewable, and energy secure nation less reliant on unstable regimes for energy needs.

Liberal Democrats have also led the way in boosting Europe’s energy security through creating a fully functioning European Energy Market.

Liberal Democrats are prioritising the environment in the next election by putting green issues at the front of our election manifesto.

Under Liberal Democrat plans, the production of renewable electricity will be doubled by the end of the next Parliament.

If in government after the General Election, the party wants to take the fight against climate change further by introducing a Zero Carbon Britain Bill in the next parliament.

This would form part of five green laws to end Britain’s adverse impact on climate change for good by 2050.

Other measures within the Zero Carbon Bill include:

  • A new legally binding target for Zero Carbon Britain by 2050.
  • A new legally binding decarbonisation target for the power sector  by 2030 to support investment in all forms of low carbon electricity.
  • Establishing an Office for Accelerated Low Carbon Innovation to fast-track new green tech including tidal power, renewable heat, ultra-low emission vehicles, energy storage and CCS.
  • Applying Emissions Performance Standards (EPS) to existing coal plants from 2025 to end use of unabated coal generation
  • Full borrowing powers to the Green Investment Bank, to further boost investment in low carbon technology

Commenting on the launch of Lib Dem manifesto plans for a Zero Carbon Bill, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg said:

“It’s no exaggeration to say our future, and that of our children, depends upon us tackling climate change head on. The more we delay, the more we are at threat from this ticking time bomb.

“This is why if in government again we will set about making Britain zero carbon, securing more home grown renewable energy whilst also reducing our reliance on regimes who use western energy needs as a blunt foreign policy tool.”

“Our plans are a bold ambition to end Britain’s adverse impact on climate change completely, but I believe it can be done within my lifetime.

Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said:

“Lib Dems in government have already more than doubled the amount of renewable electricity in the UK and on Thursday I announced a host of green energy projects had won contracts from Government which together could power the equivalent of all households in Wales. Our plans for the future take this to a whole new level.

“Our Zero Carbon Bill will make a huge contribution to creating a stronger economy and a fairer society. A stronger economy means a quarter of a million new green jobs over the next 5 years, and establishing Britain as a world leader in renewable technology.

“A fairer society means not mortgaging the futures of our children and grandchildren by acting now to end the adverse impact of climate change and protect the British landscape and wildlife.”

“The five green laws are nailed to the front page of our manifesto and over the coming days we will flesh our plans to deliver this ambition.”