Lib Dem success as 20mph consultation launched in Haringey

Lynne Featherstone MP with a 20mph sign on a street in HornseyLynne Featherstone MP has welcomed the consultation on a Borough-wide 20mph speed limit for Haringey.

The MP for Hornsey and Wood Green and the Haringey Liberal Democrats have campaigned for residents to have their say on the introduction of a borough wide 20mph limit since 2010.

Hundreds of local residents have also signed a Lib Dem petition calling for the introduction of a 20mph zone, and others have filled in a survey with their views on the proposal.

The launch of the consultation represents a u-turn by the Labour-run Council, who have previously refused to consult on a 20mph limit – rejecting the proposal outright as recently as October 2012.

Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone commented:

“I am glad that the Council have finally caved in to pressure and agreed to consult on whether Haringey should become a 20mph borough.

“It is vital that residents get to have their say – and this is what the local Lib Dems and I have campaigned for since 2010. Thank you to all who took part in our campaign and have helped us get this far.

“I must say, it seems bizarre – and dare I say cynical – that Haringey Labour are only now campaigning for a speed limit – having rejected and delayed the proposal for years to date!”

Haringey Lib Dems set out budget plans to build more council homes, introduce free parking and increase recycling

The Haringey Liberal Democrats have set out ambitious budget plans to build 100 more council homes, introduce 30 minutes of free parking in town centres and increase recycling.

The opposition politicians have submitted amendments to the Labour run council’s budget, which is due to be decided at a council meeting tomorrow evening (27th) at the Civic Centre in Wood Green.

The Lib Dems have criticised the Labour leadership and said the budget put forward for the council by Labour lacks ambition and innovation. They have also criticised the Labour council for spending massive amounts of taxpayer’s money on agency staff, compensation claims and glossy publicity.

The Lib Dems are proposing to spend more money on recycling and replace old street lighting with new energy efficient street lights that will reduce the council’s energy bill and save carbon.

They also want to reverse some proposals put forward by Labour, including their planned cuts to mobile library services and their proposal to increase the number of big commercial concerts in Finsbury Park.

The Lib Dems also plan to introduce a hardship fund to help local residents who are struggling financially and particularly those who have been hit by the changes to council tax benefit.

The Lib Dem proposals will be paid for in full by:

  • Cutting the communications budget
  • Reducing the number of council managers
  • Sharing services with other councils or other public bodies like the NHS
  • Reducing the amount spent on agency staff
  • End the automatic re-filling of council job vacancies

Cllr Richard Wilson, Lib Dem Leader, comments:

“Times are tough, but Labour is failing to use what they have been given properly. Our budget proposals show that it is possible to protect some of the most vulnerable people in Haringey even in these difficult times.

“Because the Labour leadership have failed to go out there and learn from other councils, because they have failed to cut waste and reduce unnecessary spending, they have proposed cuts to services like the mobile library that actually don’t need to be made.

“Labour can’t be trusted to run council services properly and they can’t be trusted with the councils’ finances. Time and time again we have seen them caught out because they haven’t done things properly, like the last minute filing of the council’s accounts which cost taxpayers £30,000.

“In contrast we would cut the wastefully spending on agency staff and communications whilst providing a new hardship fund, protecting the environment, supporting our local high streets and building new council homes.”

Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, comments:

“The Haringey Liberal Democrats have set out their alternate vision for how money should be spent and saved in the borough, and it puts the Labour-run council’s plans to shame.

“Despite the tough economic times, Haringey Labour has continued to waste taxpayers’ money on publicity and on covering their own incompetence. We need to protect our key services, to build more homes and to support our retailers – and the Lib Dems have worked out a way to do this without passing the cost on to residents.

“I wish the Haringey Liberal Democrats the best of luck in securing these crucial amendments to this year’s council budget.”

Lynne Featherstone MP concerned as allotment fees set to double

Lynne Featherstone MP previously visiting Alexandra Palace Allotment to support lottery winning project.Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone has today expressed concern over Haringey Council’s proposal to increase allotment fees in the Borough.

The Hornsey and Wood Green MP recently contacted Haringey Council on the matter on behalf of a number of constituents. In a response dated 9th January, a Council official confirmed that a proposal to increase allotment fees by 100% from 2013/14 was being considered.

This proposed rise has been criticised by the Haringey Allotments Forum, and comes on top of a recent 40% increase in allotment fees.

The final decision on allotment fees will be made at the full Haringey Council meeting on the 25th February.

Paul Hamilton, Haringey Allotments Forum representative, said:

“The Haringey Allotments Forum is very concerned about plans to increase allotment fees by 100%. This will generate a £60,000 annual surplus, of which only £30,000 might be reinvested in the allotment’s service in 2013/14.

“The Forum strongly opposes the proposal to increase allotments fees above the rate of inflation to make a profit out of allotments, and we have written to the Council to this effect. I am glad that Lynne Featherstone MP has stepped in and shown support for our submission.”

Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“Allotments are vital community resource – preserving green space, benefiting the environment and encouraging healthy eating. Under no circumstances should they be used solely as a revenue generator.

“Haringey Council should be encouraging residents to use allotments, and making them accessible to everyone. It’s hard to see how doubling fees will achieve this.

“If the proposal is pushed through by the Labour Council, I call on them to ensure that the money is reinvested in the allotments, and that allotment holders have a say on what the money is spent on.”

Lynne Featherstone MP addresses AGM of Crouch End Open Spaces (CREOS)

CREOSLynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament, will speak to members of the Crouch End Open Spaces campaign group tonight (24th May).

The MP for Hornsey & Wood Green will tell members of the group that London’s green spaces are vitally important and that Liberal Democrats in the coalition government have won new powers for local people to shape their local community.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“CREOS has done a fantastic job over more than twenty five years, helping to protect and improve open spaces in Crouch End and Muswell Hill. They have shown what can be achieved when people come together to work for their own local community.

“Our green spaces are hugely valued and vitally important parts of our communities. In London, over 50 hectares of protected open space – equivalent to more than twice the size of St James’s Park – has been lost in planning approvals since 2008 when Boris Johnson became mayor.

“The new Localism Act will give people the power to nominate community assets that can then be given extra protection from the threat of development. Crouch End playing field is one of the places that people have told the local Liberal Democrat team should be included as a community asset. Councillors will be pressing Haringey Borough Council to include it in the list for extra protection.”

Council admits to no consultation on fortnightly collections

Haringey Council did not consult local people on a fundamental change to the way in which rubbish will be collected in the borough, it has emerged. Last week senior officers addressing the Muswell Hill Area Forum admitted that residents were not asked during a borough-wide consultation on the Council’s waste contract whether they wanted the Council to move to fortnightly non-recyclable waste collections.

Liberal Democrats who, at the Committee section of meeting, voiced their current opposition to the change to fortnightly collections, say that the lack of consultation shows that Labour have failed to get the buy-in of local residents on a change to a basic Council service.

In another development, that Liberal Democrats believe shows the Labour-run Council’s lack of consideration for residents, local people will not have a say on the size of the new wheelie bin for recyclable waste. Instead the Council will provide the largest 240 litre bin to all designated households in the new scheme.

Cllr Jim Jenks, Haringey Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson, comments:

“The Council have finally admitted that residents in Haringey were not given the opportunity to have a say on this fundamental change to rubbish collection.

“Liberal Democrats are 100% committed to increasing recycling but a change on this scale without consultation is unacceptable.”

Lynne Featherstone MP, adds:

“Not only are the Labour Council ignoring the views of local residents on the service but they are also failing to give local people any say on what size of bin they can have. Some households do not need a large 240 litre bin yet Labour are giving them no choice.”

Lynne on special tour of super-green low carbon house in the heart of Hornsey

Lynne at the Passivhaus in HornseyTo see the future of low carbon housing, Lynne Featherstone MP on Friday visited a super–green refurbished Victorian terrace in the heart of Hornsey.

The previously fire-damaged property on Hawthorn Road, owned by Metropolitan Housing Trust, has been done up according to the Passivhaus model. With high levels of insulation, air-tightness and triple-glazing, the house will drastically cut its carbon footprint by using 80% less energy than its neighbours.

The home will need almost no extra heating, using solar gain from windows, people themselves, and their electrical goods, to keep warm. The house also has a heat-recovery system for fresh air in the winter without opening windows, and solar panels to heat 60% of the hot water.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“This warm, comfortable house has been done up beautifully, and is a great example of what can be done to cut energy in Haringey’s many Victorian properties.

“Many local residents really want to be green and cut their carbon-footprint, but don’t know where to start. I’m delighted that the Hawthorn Road house will stand as a shining example of how it can be done.

“I’m sure that Angela, the new tenant, will be very happy here. Well done to Metropolitan Housing and Anne Thorne, the architect, for doing such an amazing job!”

Better battery recycling in Haringey

Here’s my latest column for the Muswell Hill Flyer and the Highgate Handbook:

Recycling batteriesI try to be good with recycling – but when it comes to batteries it is sometimes quite difficult because there isn’t an easy and convenient place to put them locally.

We have battery recycling bins at Parliament – so that makes it easy for me. But how many of us do bother to take batteries to the recycling centres? I don’t know – but I suspect the odd one or two just gets put in the normal rubbish.

So – I just wanted to tell you about a success my Liberal Democrat colleagues on Haringey Council had in the budget debate. Haringey Council agreed to implement Liberal Democrats plans that will provide new green incentives and better recycling in the borough.

My LibDem colleagues proposed that Haringey Council provide new battery recycling services in libraries, community buildings and schools, and new green incentives for local traders and residents to move to ‘greener’ vehicles by reducing parking fees for the least polluting cars.

Even better – the new measures will be paid for by freezing allowances for councillors to the tune of £14,000!

This follows fast on the heals of the new rules passed by the European Union which mean that as of February 2010 shops must have battery recycling bins for residents to use if they sell the equivalent of 1 pack a day. It makes it so much easier to be good – if there is a facility for us to recycle things like batteries easily available. I went to a Tesco local next to my office in Hornsey High Street to celebrate their new battery recycling facilities installed to meet the EU rules.

Until now, people who wanted to do the right thing had to make their way to one of Haringey’s two recycling centres – and that’s not the best way to encourage recycling of some of our most hazardous waste. Batteries are so bad for the environment, and most people do want to do their bit for our planet – it’s only right to make it as easy as possible for people to do just that.

As an added bonus: in terms of encouraging greener vehicles – Haringey Council agreed to the LibDem proposals that there would be free parking for the greenest business vehicles and free parking for the greenest residents’ vehicles.