Wednesday, 27 November 2013

TARA on Radio Bristol

On Monday our chairman appeared on BBC Radio Bristol's breakfast show talking about the results of the Council's Alcohol Harm Review and questioning whether it would lead to effective action, particularly in terms of BANES providing much needed leadership in the critical area of multi-agency working.

Never mind action count the post-it notes

Today's Gull Seminar is the latest in a series of events run by  BANES which seem to be more aimed at publicity than problem solving.

BANES council has had large amounts of information about urban gulls and the problems of and options for controlling them for some time. TARA recently ran a conference to bring together experts and major commercial landlords to discuss the problem. We have attended at least three other information gathering  events involving BANES staff.

None of this analysis has suggested that what is really needed to address the problem is a very expensive brainstorming event at the Guildhall.

What was needed was leadership. BANES should have taken the information and expertise it had and used it to implement a well thought through plan plan to address the issue.

The money spent at the Guildhall today could have gone some way to replacing the Pest Control Officer posts that BANES has cut or used to continue the subsidies that BANES used to provide to support residents in implementing anti-gull measures but has now withdrawn.

Yet again we seem to be seeming a preference for form over substance.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Reply to a question at BANES budget fair

At the BANES budget fair we asked about plans to fund the much postponed implementation of the Air Quality Management Plan a plan which statute requires the council to maintain because of the high levels of pollutant concentrations across most of central Bath.

At the time the question seemed to cause some confusion with both Councillors and Senior Officer appearing to know little about this important issue.

We have since received a slightly more detailed explanation as follows:

"Thank you for raising the issue of funding for the Air Quality Action Plan.    We work closely with the Transport teams and many of the measures in the AQAP are being progressed by them, eg. the Freight Transhipment Scheme and Bath Transport Package measures including the expansion of park and rides and installation of variable message signing on approaches to the city.   

Two of the main measures in the action plan are the Low Emission Zone Feasibility Study and the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure.  We successfully bid for DEFRA funding for the Low Emission Zone Study which we are now in the process of writing up following an extensive traffic and air pollution dispersion modelling exercise.  We will inform you when the study is available and this will be presented at an event TBC.

We were also successful with the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure element of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) and have installed charging points at Charlotte Street car park, with 8 further sockets being installed early December at Odd Down and Lansdown Park and Ride.   We have also provided charging points to employers and have a programme for further charging points across the area paid for by the LSTF.  The network which we have helped set up is here :

We will be reviewing the Air Quality Action Plan for Bath and the available funding streams from central government and other existing related council budgets in the new year.

In summary, we do currently have financial resource through central government grants for the completion of key elements of the action plan and work with Transport Planning and their budget on measures which also work towards improving air quality."