Climate Change

Beyond our current policies – As minimum to mitigate climate change I would campaign for the extension of the climate change levy into a carbon tax and use it to meet a minimum aim of being a country in the better half of impactors on climate change rather than be one of the the 35rd worst countries (out of around 200) by 2030.

I would set up an organisation whose task is threefold:

  • One group of independent experts would estimate the likely production of climate change gas each country would be producing in 2030 and provide the data for a target for Britain.  This target to be set so that Britain is on the less polluting side of the median of countries in the world – in the better half.
  • A second group of independent experts would analyse the polluting factors involved in climate change and work out whether they are significant to bother counting, can be suitably measured and what the carbon tax figure would be appropriate for them.
  • A third group of independent experts would establish the carbon tax rate that would be needed to hit the target set by the first group using the figures produced by the second group.  This tax rate would always be set five years in advance.

The target will be dynamic as each country develops in its own way.  If other countries become more active in mitigating climate change then our task will be become harder. The carbon tax rate will rise faster.  If other countries are lax then our task will be easier and our carbon tax will rise more slowly.  However, as we are currently 35rd worst we have our work cut out in any case.

All this work would be public to allow for independent scrutiny.

In independent taxation system will provide a neutral way of nudging consumers into making decisions that favour the environment (often without consciously thinking about it because the cost is subsumed in the purchase price of what they are buying) and nudging industry to invest in more sustainable projects.  Because the taxation is set in an independent framework business would be able to rely on the direction of travel.  Although having the carbon tax set for five years hence can be quite short term for many industries such a move is far better than what we have now.

This tax would replace road fuel duty either partially or fully depending on whether or not road user charging was introduced.  It would also replace all the special charges, grants and funding that government currently undertake to clumsily attempt to influence the economy – picking winners as it is often called.  Government investment in research is fine as is investing in demonstration projects but subsidizing industries is counter productive.

The tax could either become part of general taxation to reduce other taxes – to raise the threshold for income tax higher for example and/or fund the insulation of homes and the general decarbonizing of commercial activities.

Morrison’s Monday Mayhem – Avoided?

Proposed view of Morrisons Small

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update.  As I said below we had to wait until the new year to find out how the traffic moved around the new store.  I have not seen any glitches in the traffic but I know that some people have found small hiccups on school days turning right into Thames Street. Also I have never seen the store car park full – the lowest being seven place left.

An exciting day on Monday as our illustrious mayor opens the new Weybridge Morrisons.

Not only is the store new but it is a flagship store and that means people will come to see the new features that no other Morrison store has.  I can smell the bakery from where I live.

Morrisons says that the first two weeks of a store opening draws many more people than usual so they will have extra staff in place to protect the car park from over filling.  These staff are intended to stay fro two weeks but if the problems persist then the staff will be kept on until the pressure dies down.

As the opening comes just before Christmas the extra traffic could last through Christmas and the sales into January.  By January we should see the normal flow.

It will be interesting to see where these extra cars will go. Contact me here if you have a problem.

Thames Flooding – More to come?

A new group has formed in Weybridge to highlight the risks to Weybridge by the Environment Agency plans for the Thames and Wey.

To help remove the flooding risks between Windsor and Weybridge a series of new works have been undertaken and more are planned.  Eventually they will enter the Thames as shown below.

Judging from the flows of the current river it will mean that there will be new pressure building up at the upper Desborough Bridge which is only 24m wide.  This pinch-point will cause the Thames to back-up and flood its banks (as happened in the recent flood). What makes matters worse is that the new cut from Chertsey will be up to 60m wide bringing even greater pressure on the Thames around its confluence with the Wey.

Thames Channel Map One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One option is to effectively continue the new cut through the north west corner of Desborough Island.  This would keep the flood flowing within the main channel of the Thames.

Thames Channel Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the advantages of this plan would be that a new pedestrian/cycling bridge could be constructed like those that Sustrans build across the country.

Quay Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For background information please click here.

Elmbridge wins at the British Noise Oscars

dont-suffer-it noiseThe annual awards, dubbed the “Noise Oscars”, are hosted by the Noise Abatement Society and Elmbridge collected the local government award for its out of hours enforcement service run in partnership with Surrey Police. The service is in its second year and is conducted during the summer months (April – September) dealing with noise, alcohol and taxi licensing issues. The service was judged a great success, combining innovation with partnership working as well as offering great customer service.

The John Connell Awards recognise organisations and individuals for their outstanding efforts to reduce the impact of noise nuisance and pioneer practical and innovative solutions to noise pollution.

Flight path trials and aircraft noise

AirplaneA number of people have mentioned the recent increase in aircraft noise around Weybridge.  This is do with the need to review the flight paths around Britain.  Such a review has not happened for over forty years despite a rapid increase in air travel.  Each airport has been asked to examine possible new routes.

For more information click here

Weybridge Town Centre Traffic

Baker Street websiteWeybridge town centre needs a comprehensive overhaul – from Balfour Road to Monument Hill and all points in between.   Last year I posted about what we could achieve for Weybridge.

What was lacking was not the ideas or the commitment but the availability of funds.  However, there are government funds especially in place for enabling extra investment in transport infrastructure of the M3/A3 corridor.

But we have to bid for these funds and for our bid to be successful we would have to detail why improving Weybridge would be a benefit of the M3/A3 corridor as a whole.  Not only has Weybridge one of the highest GVAs in the country based on the flagship companies located in the town but its transport infrastructure is restricting growth its further growth potential.  Weybridge is such a popular destination it is notoriously difficult to enter the town from any direction in the morning.

I believe that a case can be made for improving Weybridge’s infrastructure but such a case costs money to design.  We need to bid elsewhere for to the funds to develop a feasibility study.  Again this can be done.

Weybridge Point

River Grant for car park-01Elmbridge has received an application for a grant of £82,000 to change the layout of the path through the car park at the end of Thames Street with an aim to highlight the Thames Path and focus on the view of the Thames.

 

 

River View-01This bid is competing with many other bids from around the borough. What do you think? If you want to know more about it click on  Weybridge Point Car Park. The meeting to decide on this is being held on Monday, 29 September.

River Grant-02

Morrisons

Proposed view of Morrisons SmallThank you for all your questions and comments.  These are the answers that Morrison gave me today at our meeting.

When will Monument Hill be opened?  This afternoon.

Will all of the street work be complete?  No there will be short closures from time to time.  The pedestrian crossing is still to be finished and the landscaping will be completed in November – apparently the best time to plants trees.

What about the illumined sign at the rear of the store?  Morrisons says it will look again at the sign facing Baker Street.

What about the contractor parking problem?  Morrisons says that it has made park and ride facilities available to all contractors so if anyone finds any problem parking then call Simon Whittingham on 07964 245 239.

When will the store be opened? The intended day for the opening of the store will be Monday, 24 November. Morrisons invite ideas for the opening – any thoughts?

How will the store manage traffic after opening?  Morrisons expects a larger than usual number of visitors in the first few weeks so it has laid on extra resources to ensure that the flows are well managed.

What is the employment situation?  All the twenty or so departmental managers have been recruited and Morrisons is in the final placement stage for the general staff of 200. Most of which are very local. Morrisons has worked with the job centre next door to recruit long term unemployed people and the apprenticeships will be in place soon. further recruitment will begin soon to fill in any gaps.

Where will the staff park?  Morrisons says that in off-peak times those staff members who need to park wills use the under-croft parking at the store.  At peak times Morrisons says it will provide off-street parking (not Elmbridge public car parks).

Will there be trolley tokens to stop trolleys being left all over the place?  No there will not nor will there be any trolley mechanism to stop the trolleys leaving the store. However, Morrisons beleives that the design of the store is such that people will not take trolleys out of the store. That will be one to watch.

Will Morrison seek further planning change in the future?  Given that the Weybridge store is the only one in the country that does not have deliveries on all of its opening days, I expect Morrisons to apply again at some point in the future to have some of the delivery restrictions set aside.  Said the that I thought it would be unwise to pursue such a course until its stock with the burghers was considerably higher than it is at present. It would need to demonstrate that the local fears regarding noise were unfounded – if that be possible.

The roundabout looks awful – will Morrisons change it?  The roundabout is Surrey’s idea as is the chevron design. This is a matter that I will be taking up in due course.

Parking responsibility  On-street parking management is perversely Surrey’s responsibility (I think it should be Elmbridge’s but thee you go).  I have no doubt that a review of all local streets will have to take place once Morrisons opens.  Surrey has already said that, in Elmbridge, it will look at Walton first – there is no guarantee that Weybridge would be next – unless we all kick up a fuss.

Baker Street Traffic. This problem should abate now that the road works are almost complete.  As part of the planning application Morrisons has agreed to contribute to the traffic carming of Baker Street.  It is for Surrey to take this project forward.  I have a more radical solution – restrict motorised traffic (apart from buses and taxis) from passing in front of Lloyds Bank. That would remove through traffic completed and civilise the town.

Have I missed anything? Then please tell me.

 

Vandals Flooding

Weybridge VandalsWeybridge Vandal’s grounds were severely flooded and the borough hardship fund came to the rescue.

The borough continues support for flood victims.  Local businesses, community organisations and residents across Elmbridge have been receiving support from the borough to help with the damage caused by the flooding earlier this year. The borough is continuing to offer support through its hardship fund, and will welcome further applications from those still struggling to recover from the floods.

The hardship fund is able to compensate for uninsured loss as well as covering other costs caused by the severe flooding this year.

Weybridge Vandals is a community amateur sports club who suffered extraordinary damage to their grounds on Desborough Island. Their rugby and cricket pitches were submerged for most of January and February, and as the water began to recede the ground was left with debris and river silt and much of the grass had died off.  This meant that the pitches needed to be treated for contamination, vertically drained, top dressed and reseeded to get them back into playing order again.

John Sillwood, Secretary of Weybridge Vandals explained: “The storms and floods this winter were the worst in living memory. While we had insurance cover for the clubhouse, the grounds are not easy to insure. We were very grateful for the timely help from the Council’s Hardship Fund which gave us some cash to start the ball rolling.”

The Vandals also received emergency funding from Sport England and the English Cricket Board. As a result, the cricket season was able to start on schedule this May. The rugby season will also be returning as normal in September.

The borough encourages anyone that has suffered a loss like this to apply to the hardship fund.  You can find out more about the fund and how to apply here