Protecting the environment by extending the plastic bag charge

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced plans to remove all exemptions for single use bags in the next parliament through a new Nature Bill to reduce the levels of litter in our cities and countryside.

The exemptions could raise significant money for good causes and reduce the costs of cleaning up litter.

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Under the plans, Liberal Democrats aim to take an extra 3.5 billion single-use plastic bags and 328 million paper bags out of circulation each year, in a bid to protect the environment for our future generations.

Over the course of 10 years, removing exemptions will also deliver overall net benefits for SMEs of £300m and overall net benefits to consumers of almost £100m.

Liberal Democrats in government are delivering a 5p plastic bag charge which is due to take effect in October and is expected to raise £730m for good causes and £60m savings a year in litter clean-up costs.

Restrictions on plastic bag charges were imposed by Conservatives in coalition, despite backing from NGOs, consumers and some business groups to remove all exemptions.

The Liberal Democrat Nature Bill also includes:

  • Ambitious proposals for two further tranches of Marine Conservations Zones in English seas by 2015-2016.
  • Creating a million square km ‘Shackleton Marine Reserve’ in the south Atlantic, dedicated to the famous British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, buried in the South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands that forms part of the reserve.
  • Publishing a 25-year ‘Nature of Britain’ plan with clear recommendations for reversing the decline of species and their habitats like bees and other insects which pollinate crops.

Commenting on the proposed Bill, Nick said:

“Whilst some people have gone suspiciously quiet on the need to tackle climate change, the Liberal Democrats have never pulled our punches to safeguard the environment. It is so important that we stop polluting our country and protect our natural spaces and wildlife. We cannot allow environmental issues to be ignored.

“The facts are simple; single use bags blight our towns and countryside, they trap and suffocate wildlife, and plastic bags take hundreds of years to degrade.

“The countdown to charging has begun, and by the time it arrives this autumn, reusable bags should increasingly be commonplace. As we get used to it, the hundreds of millions raised from the charge will go to charities.

“But we need to do much more. We need to go further and faster. This is why the Liberal Democrats will remove all single use bag exemptions, benefitting consumers, charities, small businesses, and the millions of families who enjoy our wildlife and countryside.”

Creating a fairer society where no voice goes unheard

 

Liberal Democrat health minister Norman Lamb has launched the “No voice unheard, no right ignored” programme to strengthen the rights of people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions and ensure that they get the best care possible.

“No voice unheard, no right ignored” will ask for people’s views on a rage of proposed measures, such as the right to challenge decisions about their care, the right to be treated close to their home and family and the right to design and control their care and support.

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The consultation which will run for 12 weeks, aims to help people to live independently with greater input, more rights and more control over their own lives.

The measures up for discussion include:

  • Having a named professional in charge of sharing information with an individual and their family or carers, including information about their rights to challenge decisions about them and about their care.
  • Ensuring that local authorities and clinical commissioning groups provide enough community-based support and treatment services to keep people with autism and learning disabilities out of institutions.
  • Requiring a care plan, including a plan for discharge, within a number of weeks of admission to hospital.
  • Preventing people from falling through the gaps between services offered by the health system, for example, by making mental health hospitals responsible for patients’ physical health as well.
  • Potential changes to the way the Mental Health Act applies to people with learning disabilities and autism.
  • Establishing shared funding to help people get out of the hospital system and expanding rights to personal health budgets to more people with learning disabilities or autism.

Liberal Democrats are committed to ensuring a high standard of health and social care for those who need it. This new consultation process follows a recent announcement of up to £155m to develop homes for adults who require support to live independently.

Norman Lamb said:

“Everyone must have access to the right care in the right place, in or close to their community. They must be involved in the decisions affecting them and not “prisoners” of a system, as they so often feel they are.

That is why I have launched No voice unheard, no right ignored to look at what legislative changes are needed to make sure people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions are listened to and treated fairly.”

Liberal Democrats launch Zero Waste Bill to safeguard the environment

Liberal Democrats have announced plans to tackle industrial fly tipping and protect the environment for future generations.

As part of our plans to introduce Five Green Laws in the next Parliament, Liberal DemocratsLib Dem 5 green laws
have unveiled proposals for a Zero Waste Bill.

The Bill is intended to boost the number of organisations prosecuted for illegal dumping while also introducing a higher, more consistent level of fines for fly-tippers who damage Britain’s environment.

As well as causing severe damage to Britain’s environment and wildlife, illegal waste sites, fly-tipping and landfill tax evasion costs the UK taxpayer on average £500m a year in lost revenue.

Under the proposal, organisations caught fly-tipping on an industrial scale to deliberately evade tax could face up to £9m in fines.

Currently only a small number of prosecutions are successful, ranging between 171-197 a year. The value of fines imposed varies considerably between courts, but averages only £7,000. This is despite the large-scale dumping operations conducted by some companies.

The Liberal Democrats plan is to create a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to UK waste, one which combines a Stern Review style action plan that turns waste into an economic asset but comes down hard on industrial fly tippers through larger penalties and fines.litter waste rubbish

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

“Commercial fly-tipping and illegal dumping of waste not only harms British wildlife and the environment, but also means the taxpayer loses out.

“Our Zero Waste Bill not only ensures a fairer society by giving companies who use illegal dumping to shirk their tax responsibilities their comeuppance; but also creates a stronger economy, turning waste on its head to make it a beneficial resource for the country”

Liberal Democrat Environment Minister Dan Rogerson added:

“Environmentalism has been at the core of our party’s DNA long before it fell in and out of fashion with other parties.

“This is why we have such a strong environmental record in government, from planting a million trees and protecting our national forests to introducing a 5p charge on throwaway plastic bags.

“Our five green laws take this even further. We will make Britain’s waste pay – trebling fines for industrial scale fly-tipping, and establishing a ‘Stern Report’ to end the practice of needlessly sending waste to landfill.”

Humberside Police issue urgent warning following multiple fraud reports

Humberside Police want to make people aware of an attempted fraud that has been brought to the attention of officers in the last 24 hours.

The scam involves people receiving a telephone call from someone claiming to be a police officer informing them they have been victims of a theft from their bank account and asking that they provide their bank details over the telephone.

The common thread between all of the incidents, of which so far approximately seven have been reported to the police across Hull and East Yorkshire, is that the number ringing the potential victim is withheld. The caller has claimed to be a Chief Inspector from Driffield Police Station and state they have the lodger of the victim in police custody. They explain that the lodger has a copy of the victim’s bank card and that funds have been withdrawn from their accounts. The caller has then asked for full bank details so that they can check if any funds have been withdrawn.

In all cases so far the targets of this attempt fraud have been elderly people.

In one of the cases reported yesterday (Wednesday 04 March) the call was marginally different, with the caller again claiming to be a Chief Inspector but this time they stated their bank account had been compromised and that the person needed to withdraw all of their funds in cash.

It is not believed that anyone has yet fallen for this scam or handed over any money but police are keen to ensure people are aware of it and remain vigilant.

Detective Inspector Matthew Peach said: “These incidents would appear to be linked and on each occasion so far the person being targeted is elderly.

“I would like to advise residents to be wary of anyone calling them regarding bank details that all might not be as is suggested.

“Nobody should ever give out any bank details or personal details over the telephone and nor should anybody transfer any money to anyone unless it is a transaction they are absolutely sure of.

“The police would absolutely never request bank details from a member of the public.

“I want people to be aware of this latest scam and I would ask that family and friends of any elderly or particularly vulnerable people to make sure they are made aware of this and check they have not already been contacted.”

Anyone who thinks they may have received a call along these lines or anyone who thinks they may know anything about who is responsible is urged to report it to police on the non-emergency number 101 referring to log 369 of 05 March 2015.

Protecting the environment by extending the plastic bag charge

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced plans to remove all exemptions for single use bags in the next parliament through a new Nature Bill to reduce the levels of litter in our cities and countryside.

The exemptions could raise significant money for good causes and reduce the costs of cleaning up litter.

key_Plastic_bags.jpg

Under the plans, Liberal Democrats aim to take an extra 3.5 billion single-use plastic bags and 328 million paper bags out of circulation each year, in a bid to protect the environment for our future generations.

Over the course of 10 years, removing exemptions will also deliver overall net benefits for SMEs of £300m and overall net benefits to consumers of almost £100m.

Liberal Democrats in government are delivering a 5p plastic bag charge which is due to take effect in October and is expected to raise £730m for good causes and £60m savings a year in litter clean-up costs.

Restrictions on plastic bag charges were imposed by Conservatives in coalition, despite backing from NGOs, consumers and some business groups to remove all exemptions.

The Liberal Democrat Nature Bill also includes:

  • Ambitious proposals for two further tranches of Marine Conservations Zones in English seas by 2015-2016.
  • Creating a million square km ‘Shackleton Marine Reserve’ in the south Atlantic, dedicated to the famous British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, buried in the South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands that forms part of the reserve.
  • Publishing a 25-year ‘Nature of Britain’ plan with clear recommendations for reversing the decline of species and their habitats like bees and other insects which pollinate crops.

Commenting on the proposed Bill, Nick said:

“Whilst some people have gone suspiciously quiet on the need to tackle climate change, the Liberal Democrats have never pulled our punches to safeguard the environment. It is so important that we stop polluting our country and protect our natural spaces and wildlife. We cannot allow environmental issues to be ignored.

“The facts are simple; single use bags blight our towns and countryside, they trap and suffocate wildlife, and plastic bags take hundreds of years to degrade.

“The countdown to charging has begun, and by the time it arrives this autumn, reusable bags should increasingly be commonplace. As we get used to it, the hundreds of millions raised from the charge will go to charities.

“But we need to do much more. We need to go further and faster. This is why the Liberal Democrats will remove all single use bag exemptions, benefitting consumers, charities, small businesses, and the millions of families who enjoy our wildlife and countryside.”

Get active with the opening of N E Lincs gym crèches

Customers of leisure centres in North East Lincolnshire can now enjoy some leisure or workout time while their children are being cared for in on-site crèche facilities

Lincs Inspire’s Cleethorpes and Grimsby Leisure Centres have joined forces with North East Lincolnshire Council’s Community Learning Services (CLS) in a bid to make it easier for parents to attend exercise classes, workout in their gyms or indeed enjoy some relaxation time in their pools.

The crèche facilities are currently in a trial period and are open from 8:45am to 11:45am on Thursdays at Cleethorpes Leisure Centre and at the same time on Fridays at Grimsby Leisure Centre.

Children aged 3 months to five years are welcome to attend the crèches so long as a parent or guardian is making use of the on-site leisure facilities. CLS staff are fully qualified and their services are OFSTED registered.

Cleethorpes Leisure Centre’s crèche facilities can be booked for a minimum of one hour at a cost of £4 per hour. On Thursday mornings parents can make use of the fitness suite, health suite, play badminton or squash or enjoy a swim. Exercise classes during the crèche’s opening hours are deep water aqua from 9:30am to 10:15am, yoga from 9:30am to 10:30am and salsa aerobics from 10:30am to 11:25am.

Grimsby Leisure Centre’s crèche facilities can be booked in half-hour slots at a cost of £2 per half hour. Those making use of the service on Fridays can use the gym, book a badminton court or swim from 11am.

An hour’s 20/20/20 exercise class from 9:30am consists of 20 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes resistance training and finally 20 minutes of strength. Other classes taking place during the morning, specifically arranged for those making use of the crèche, are a twenty-minute interval training session at 9:50am and a stretching and toning class from 10:20am to 10:40am.

To secure a place in the crèches or to register for any of the exercise classes, talk to a member of staff at the centres or call Cleethorpes Leisure Centre on (01472) 323200 or Grimsby Leisure Centre on (01472) 323100. For non-members, prices for fitness or leisure activities can also be supplied by the centres.

David Ward: The time for action on drugs reform is now

war on drugs not working lib dems manifestoNick Clegg has today confirmed the Liberal Democrat manifesto will contain the most far-reaching drug reform policies ever put forward by a major political party ahead of an election.

He made the announcement at an event at Chatham House alongside entrepreneur Richard Branson, a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

Speaking at the event, Nick said:

“Drugs reform, like prison reform, is one of those issues that political parties always talk big about in opposition, only to fall silent and do nothing in Government. Not the Liberal Democrats.

“As part of the Coalition Government, we’ve continued to fight for change. We believe the time for action on drugs reform is now.

“I’m incredibly frustrated that, after five years in Coalition, we cannot take our work to its logical conclusion – just because the Tories are scared of being branded soft on drugs.

“It’s time for the Conservatives and Labour to realise that the world has moved on, reform is no longer a taboo subject and voters expect politicians to deliver results based on solid evidence, not overblown rhetoric.”

The plans include:

  • Adopting the approach used in Portugal, where those arrested for possession of drugs for personal use are diverted into treatment, education or civil penalties that do not attract a criminal record.
  • Legislating to end the use of imprisonment for possession of drugs for personal use, diverting resources towards tackling organised drug crime instead, as a first step towards reforming the system.
  • Continuing to apply severe penalties to those who manufacture, import or deal in illegal drugs, and clamp down on those who produce and sell unregulated chemical highs.
  • Establishing a review to assess the effectiveness of the cannabis legalisation experiments in the United States and Uruguay, in relation to public health and criminal activity.
  • Legislating to make the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs independent in setting the classification of drugs, while remaining accountable to Parliament and the wider public.
  • Enabling doctors to prescribe cannabis for medicinal use.
  • Putting the Department of Health rather than the Home Office in charge of drug policy.

Nick added:

“The first step is to recognise that drug use is primarily a health issue. That’s why, in our manifesto, the Liberal Democrats will commit to move the responsibility for drug policy from the Home Office to the Department of Health. Tackling supply is a matter for the police so that will stay with the Home Office. But reducing demand and minimising harm are questions of public health.

“Secondly, we will re-focus resources away from prosecuting people whose only crime is that they have used drugs, or are addicted to drugs. The international evidence very clearly shows that handing out criminal records to users does nothing to reduce overall levels of drugs use.

“We know that around one third of British adults have taken illegal drugs in their lifetime, with approximately one in five 16-24 year olds taking drugs in the last year alone. For many, it’s something you try when you’re young then grow out of.

“But, in this country, if you’re a young person – say out at a club with friends – and you get arrested for possession of a small amount of drugs, it’s likely you’ll end up with a criminal record. That means this stupid youthful mistake could damage your whole future – possibly stopping you from getting the job you want, whether it’s as a doctor, nurse, teacher or even taxi-driver.

“What would you do? If this was your child and you found those drugs would you go to a doctor or police officer to help them? I think nearly all of us would call the health expert. And, in the same way, I just don’t think it’s right for us as a society to write off these young people who haven’t hurt anyone else, just made the wrong choice, so early. We need to put an end to this ludicrous situation. Our focus should be on getting them the help they need, not punishment, so they can go on to realise their ambitions and make a positive contribution to society.

“That’s why the Lib-Dems believe these resources should instead be ploughed into smarter enforcement and greater availability of treatment.

“So we will develop diversionary programmes to take users out of the criminal justice system altogether, ensure that those who need treatment get it, and find more effective ways to reduce or end their drug use.

“I want a see a system where anyone who is arrested for possession of drugs for their own personal use gets either treatment (if they need it), education, or a civil fine.”

David Ward supports WWF campaign to protect the world’s Forests by marking Earth Hour

Bradford MP, David Wardhas signed up to support this year’s Earth Hour by making a special pledge by backing Green Laws Forest Environmentprotection of the world’s forests.

David Ward joined other Parliamentarians in attending a WWF-UK reception in Parliament to show their support for a responsible trade in sustainably-sourced forest products and to support WWF’s Earth Hour, which takes place on Saturday 28th March at 8:30pm.

Earth Houris WWF’s annual global grassroots movement where millions of people around the world come together to switch off their lights for one hour in a symbolic act of support to show they care about our brilliant planet. To find out more and register to take part please go to: wwf.org.uk/earthhour and join millions of people who are signing up to the big switch off.

WWF-UK’s forest campaign highlights the issue of illegally sourced timber and unsustainable forest management, and aims to make responsible forest trade the norm. WWF-UK is challenging business and the government to commit to responsible trade in wood and paper to help end deforestation around the world. Deforestation is having a devastating effect on the world’s last remaining natural forests, for example, in Indonesia, Central Africa and Far East Russia. The world has lost nearly half its forests, and only a tenth of what remains is protected. And global demand for wood for timber, paper and fuel is set to triple by 2050. For more information on WWF’s Forest Campaign visit wwf.org.uk/saveforests

Commenting David Ward said:

“Our planet is under pressure and we are facing huge environmental challenges includingillegal logging and unsustainable management of forests. Earth Hour is a chance for everyone to show the environment matters and help make a difference and it’s great that millions of people across the globe will come together on Saturday 28th March at 8.30pm and take positive action to protect our natural world.”

“For the same reasons, this is why the Liberal Democrats created The Big Tree Plant, the first government tree planting initiative since the 1970s, which has now planted more than a million trees since 2010.”

Commenting further Shareen Brown, Head of WWF-UK’s Earth Hour, said:

“Our natural resources are running out. We are already living beyond the limits of one planet, but by making small changes our daily lives can become more sustainable. Politicians play a vital part in helping to tackle the major conservation issues such as deforestation, so it’s great to have their support for Earth Hour. It’s a timely reminder that we all need to be doing more to protect some of our planet’s most precious wildlife and places.”

Additional information on Earth Hour

Last year over 9 million people in the UK took part in #EarthHourUK and 85% of those that signed up said they felt inspired to go on to live more sustainably beyond the hour (nfpSynergy 2014). Globally, the world’s first Earth Hour forest was created in Uganda and more than 100,000 people supported a petition on forest legislation in Russia.

Earth Hour, organised by WWF, is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet. 2014’s Earth Hour was the biggest yet, with hundreds of millions of people taking part across a record 162 countries and 7,000 towns and cities alongside world famous landmarks from the Sydney Opera House to Times Square in New York. Earth Hour continues to have a real and lasting impact beyond the hour, from crowdfunding to help protect critically endangered species, to campaigns to protect The Great Barrier Reef. In 2015 Earth Hour will be held on 28th March 2015 between 8.30pm and 9.30pm.

Additional information related to the UK’s impact on forest trade and the EUTR

Being the fifth-largest importer of timber and wood-based products in the world consuming materials valued at over £14.4 billion in 2013, the UK is an important player in global markets for forest products. Forests are disappearing at a rate of one football pitch every two seconds, yet here in the UK we can still buy furniture, books, cards and other products made from illegally or unsustainably sourced wood.

In 2013, the EU introduced a Timber Regulation to prevent illegally logged wood being imported into Europe. However, due to some inconsistent and illogical loopholes, only half the value of all timber and wood-based products imported is covered. Fortunately there is an opportunity for change. In 2015 the regulation is being reviewed. WWF is seizing this opportunity to work to prevent all illegally-logged timber entering the EU by ensuring the loopholes in the current EU Timber Regulation are closed At the same time we are working with business, government and civil society to find and push for mechanisms to enable a market in 100% sustainably-sourced timber by 2020.

Delivering differently in N E Lincs

Last year North East Lincolnshire Council was one of 10 local authorities who were successful in securing support from the government’s Cabinet Office, through their Delivering Differently programme

The government office provided expert advice on the potential for services to move from local authority control into a mutual-type organisation, like a social enterprise.

The council already has a number of services delivered in a similar way by alternative providers, including Care Plus Group, Navigo, Focus and Lincs Inspire.

The Delivering Differently work has identified the potential to create a new organisation, which would provide affordable funeral services, linking the council’s cemeteries and crematorium service with a commercial funeral company, to create a combined service.

The council’s cabinet met today to consider the possible creation of this new organisation which could provide a full funeral director service as well as burial or cremation. These services are currently provided separately.

Take your next career step: Careers sessions at N E Lincs libraries

Regular careers sessions have been launched across all of Lincs Inspire libraries to coincide with National Careers Week (March 2 – March 6).

Advisors are on-hand weekly or fortnightly to help customers in searching and applying for jobs, writing CVs, interview techniques as well as further training opportunities and general careers advice.
Sessions are held from 9:30am to 11:30am at:

Grimsby Central Library every Wednesday;

Waltham Library fortnightly on Fridays (next session – Friday, March 13);
Cleethorpes Library fortnightly on Fridays (next session – Friday, March 6); and
Immingham Library fortnightly on Mondays (next session -Monday, March 9).

There is no need to book to see an adviser during these times, however if you would prefer to make an appointment contact the career team on (01472) 324587.

Help is also available via the National Careers Website at www.nationalcareerservice.direct.gov.uk. Alternatively call 0800 100900 between 8am to 10pm.

The National Careers Service is available free to every adult in England and has already helped millions of people improve their working lives.