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  • The late Roy Birch with Peter Brown
    Article: Nov 14, 2021
    By Sue Henchley

    We were very sad to hear that Roy Birch has died. A gritty northerner, with a compassionate side, he represented Tidenham as a Liberal Democrat Councillor, on the County, District and local Parish Councils for many years. He was a stickler for detail, and chaired the Audit Committee on the Forest of Dean District Council for 8 years, where he was respected by members of all political parties. The first time I met him he was complaining about the use of percentages for very small numbers. When I asked at a meeting why percentages had been used to represent 9 people, he growled to me "you'll do!"

  • Article: Nov 13, 2021
    By Cllr Vilnis Vesma

    One of the first things an organisation can do when it sets a 'net zero' carbon emissions goal is work out, at least approximately, a year-by-year forward budget for emissions (based usually on a high-level action plan). This both cements its commitment and provides a way to gauge progress. In a formal question to the District Council's Cabinet on 11 November I asked whether Forest of Dean District Council (FoDDC) would set such a budget in relation to its own operational emissions. The responsible Cabinet member gave a rambling 300-word "answer" which can be paraphrased as "No" (his reason being that various factors "[make] potential year-on-year estimates very inaccurate").

  • 20 mph limit in Culver Street, Newent
    Article: Jul 5, 2021
    By Cllr Vilnis Vesma

    Newent already has a 20mph limit in the town centre but the conservative-led County Council has successfully opposed a motion to set the same safer limit in more town and village centres.

    Liberal Democrat councillors Gill Moseley and Roger Whyborn put forward a motion to introduce the reduced speed limit in streets and roads at Gloucestershire County Council's meeting on 30th June. They say their group wants to give control back to communities so that they can have their say over speed in their local neighbourhoods. They wanted the County Council to work with district councils, parish and town councils to identify all those roads which should adopt the new speed limits. Councillor Whyborn said it was about reclaiming the streets for those who own them so that they can live walk and cycle and feel that children are safe on the streets. "If you are hit at 20mph as a pedestrian you will probably survive, but that's much less likely at 30mph or 40mph," he said.

  • Article: Jun 30, 2021
    By Cllr Vilnis Vesma

    A resident on the outskirts of Newent complained to me that a green waste reccyling bin that he ordered in March still has not been delivered. I took this up with the relevant contracts manager and Cabinet member. Apparently the problem has arisen because Covid restrictions have prevented people collecting any kind of recycling container in person, so everything is now having to be delivered. This, together with increased demand because of lockdown, meant that the system could not cope with the March/April surge in green bin orders. However, they have finally "found the resources" to accelerate deliveries. I don't entirely buy the explanation: they have been working under Covid restrictions for over a year now and the contractor should have foreseen the surge. I'll be asking awkward questions on this and keeping an eye on performance.

  • Gill near lake balustrade
    Article: May 24, 2021

    Lib Dem elected for Newent Division … and Tories lose three seats in the Forest of Dean of the seven they previously held at the County Council.

    Gill Moseley took the Newent Division for the Liberal Democrats in a straight contest with the Tory candidate on May 6th in the local elections for the County Council.