Southend Liberal Democrats and photographs of Southend
Working For You Across Southend

Whether you are new to Southend or have lived here for some time, you can always get in touch with us or your local Liberal Democrat contact

at the_team@southendlibdems.org.uk

Your Ward contacts

 

   
Belfairs STEPHEN CUMMINS Southchurch BILLY BOULTON
Blenheim Park PAM AUSTIN St Laurence KEV MALONE
Chalkwell CHRIS HIND St Luke's SARA BOULTON
Eastwood Park DAVE POULTON Thorpe KATIE KURILECZ 
Kursaal ALAN CRYSTALL   Victoria PHILIP EDEY 
Leigh JEAN DE TOURTOULON Westborough SUZANNA EDEY
Milton BOB HOWES West Leigh PETER WEXHAM
Prittlewell PIERRE CRADDOCK West Shoebury GRANVILLE STRIDE 
Shoeburyness CHRIS BAILEY  
Map of Southend City Council Wards
The City of Southend-on-Sea

The Liberal Democrat manifesto for 2024

includes plans for a £27bn annual spending increase by 2029, funded by higher taxes on banks, capital gains, aviation, and fossil fuels, along with a crackdown on tax avoidance. Key policies include new National Parks, free personal care, abolishing the two-child benefit limit, enhancing maternity pay, adding 8,000 GPs, achieving net zero by 2045, and reforming immigration and welfare. Education reforms focus on increased funding and maintenance grants, while justice system improvements aim for quicker court cases. The manifesto also pledges to recognize non-binary identities and ban conversion therapy.

Click here to read the full manifesto.

Billy Boulton is the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Kursaal ward by-election.

Billy was born and brought up in Southend. Having recently lived in Victoria Road, on the edge ofthe ward, he knows the area well.

Billy says, “In many ways the Kursaal ward is a fantastic place to be, with so much to see in do in and close to the ward. But there are many challenges too. What to do with the iconic Kursaal itself. Crime and anti-social behaviour. Littering and fly-tipping. Sewage in our sea. Whoever wins these problems will not be solved overnight. I promise that if elected I will do all I can to work with local residents and businesses, and organisations like Project Southchurch, to make the Kursaal ward a better place to live.

My overall goal is to have less people thinking that ‘the Council does things to us’ and more people thinking that ‘our council does things for us, with us’. I think the Liberal Democrat group on the Council has made a good start towards this goal, working with Labour and “independent” councillors to deliver the services that are important to Southend people and moving on from the failure of the previous Conservative administration.

Please vote for me in the Southend Council by-election on July 4 th . I also urge Kursaal residents to vote for the excellent Liberal Democrat candidate James Allen in the General Election – a local resident with wide-ranging life experiences that will enable him to be a superb MP for our area from day one.”

Meet Our Parliamentary Candidates

Click the pictures below to meet our two Parliamentary candidates for the July 4th 2024 General Election - James Allen for Southend East and Rochford; and Stephen Cummins for Southend West and Leigh

James Allen
More About James Allen - Parliamentary Candidate for Southend East and Rochford
Southend East and Rochford
Stephen Cummins
More About Stephen Cummins - Parliamentary Candidate for Southend West and Leigh
Stephen Cummins

LABOUR, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT, and INDEPENDENT GROUP COUNCILLORS ANNOUNCE PLAN TO FORM A NEW JOINT ADMINISTRATION TO RUN SOUTHEND COUNCIL

Joint Administration to provide stability to Southend Council

Southend Labour, Liberal Democrat and Independent councillors have announced their intention to form a joint administration following the results of the local elections in May which saw the Conservatives lose four seats and lose their position as the largest group.
 
A vote of no confidence in the current administration has been called for Monday 20th May where a new leader will be voted in, and the joint administration will take executive control of the council.

Cllr Daniel Cowan, Leader of the Labour Group, said “I am delighted to confirm that an agreement has been reached with two other groups to form the stable administration the council and city needs moving forward. The council has significant challenges ahead including managing the waste contract which the Conservatives agreed would change to fortnightly collection, taking Fossetts Farm forward to secure the future of the football club, and the budget strain we will inherit. These issues will require cross-party working and to give the city stability and security; it is importantly we do that officially. I look forward to working closely with colleagues from across the chamber to deliver on our agreed priorities for the city.”

Cllr Paul Collins, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said “I am grateful for the opportunity to create a difference for the people of Southend. We must make the most of our time in administration to repay the collective trust placed in our groups. We have a big job in front of us but I am confident we will rise to the challenge with a cabinet that draws on the strengths and experience of a broad coalition. We will operate in a fair, transparent manner that enhances our services and protects our finances.”

Cllr Steve Wakefield, Independent Group Spokesperson, said “The outcome of these elections were clear, the electorate has spoken with their votes and voted the Conservatives out. Southend voted for a mix of political ideas and therefore the right thing to do is work collaboratively with other groups to deliver on shared values and make a difference to the people we’re elected to represent. This is a strong arrangement that protects our values and ability to represent the interests of our residents whilst ensuring the stability the council needs. We will work well together and get on with the business of delivering for our city.”

Cllr Daniel Cowan is the Leader of the Labour Group in Southend
Cllr Paul Collins is the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group in Southend
Cllr Steve Wakefield is the Southend Independent Group Spokesperson

 

JOINT ADMINISTRATION AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE LABOUR, INDEPENDENT AND LIBERAL DEMOCRAT GROUPS OF SOUTHEND-ON-SEA CITY COUNCIL

Preamble

Following the local elections held on 2 May 2024 no party or group achieved an overall majority on the Southend-on-Sea City Council (“the Council”). 
The challenges facing Southend-on-Sea and the Council require the Council to have strong leadership and a stable political environment to ensure that we:
•    secure the council’s long-term financial future with a priority on transformation;
•    invest in a safer Southend with better roads, pavements, street cleaning and policing;
•    improve Southend’s environment and biodiversity;
•    provide the best adults and children’s services possible;
•    promote fairness for all residents and reduce inequalities;
•    provide opportunities for economic growth, culture and tourism;
•    respect the diversity, culture and heritage of our city
The “Signatories” to this Agreement comprise the Labour, Independent and Liberal Democrat Groups on the Council and includes all those who have appended their signatures hereto. 
This Agreement sets out broad agreement reached between the Signatories and will form the basis of the Joint Administration and will enable the Signatories to work together as a strong and stable local government administration for Southend-on-Sea City.

Terms of Agreement

Terms of this Agreement. The Signatories agree:
•    To form a Joint Administration with a Cabinet of 9 members, which is reduced from the previous Administration’s 10 members, comprising:
•    7 Labour
•    1 Liberal Democrat
•    1 Independent
•    That the statutory role of Leader of the Council will be taken by the Leader of the Labour Group, who will provide regular briefings to the Mayor as per Article 5 of the constitution.
•    That major decisions within the Joint Administration will be made collaboratively with Cabinet and Signatories to this Agreement.
•    To respect each other's commitment to the principles under which they respectively operate. 
•    To support the Joint Administration on votes of confidence and votes to ensure that a balanced budget is passed.
•    To support all nominations submitted by the Joint Administration for appropriate appointments to Council bodies and outside bodies.
•    To work together on the basis of the principles of honesty, openness and transparency and in collaboration.
•    To promote strong working relationships with Council Officers based on mutual trust and respect and delivery of operational objectives.
•    To act in the best interests of the City of Southend-on-Sea and its residents and businesses reflecting their views and with the aim of building a city we can all be proud of. 
•    To focus on outcome and performance delivery, and progressing the Joint Administration’s policy objectives where practicable, affordable, and in the best interests of the City and to plan accordingly.
 

Policy Development and Strategic Objectives:

Infrastructure and Corporate Strategy

•    Deliver an ambitious programme of investment in improving the safety of our pavements and roads.
•    Investigate and progress safety and air quality improvements at Cuckoo Corner.
•    Explore traffic calming measures around schools and residential areas such as 20MPH zones, where supported by results of a consultation, looking at known hotspots to include, but not be limited to, the area around Southchurch Park, Burges Estate, and Canewdon Road.
•    Progress School Streets from the last tranche at Eastwood Primary, Prince Avenue Academy, and Bournemouth Park Academy where practicable and develop new tranches where practicable to include, but not be limited to, Edwards Hall School, Heycroft School, Darlinghurst School and Eastwood Academy.
•    Investigate safety improvements to known hotspots to include, but not be limited to, Whitehouse Road, Elm Road, Wakering Road, Bellhouse Road, Marine Parade, and Cliff Parade. 
•    Review the parking arrangements across strategic shopping, tourist, and commuter locations to combat parking stress to include, but not be limited to, investigating the addition of a deck at Elm Road, Leigh, Car Park, implementing, seeking additional paid for parking spaces along the Sea Front and progressing sensible parking policies that work for Southend to protect and expand free parking along Eastern Esplanade and Leigh Broadway.
•    Seek to enhance or introduce resident parking zones in known stress areas, and improve consultation with residents on parking matters to include the completion of partial Controlled Parking Zones and review of the Educational Permit within these Zones.
•    Enhance the Southend Pass offer and proactively promote and advertise its uses and benefits.
•    Explore affordable commuter parking along Belton Way (East and West) as part of the expansion of the Southend Pass offer.
•    Introduce off-season parking charges and re-evaluate the parking zones to better delineate areas of high visitor demand and areas used more by residents.
•    To progress the proposed bus route from Airport Business Park to Leigh following the route agreed by group leaders, portfolio holders, members, and officers.
•    To progress Transformation, drive operational performance improvement, and modernise our services to realise savings, increase productivity, and improve the customer experience.
•    Progress the CIL upgrade and refurbishment of cycle network as part of the capital programme.
•    Progress the rollout of Electric Vehicle charging points in appropriate locations.

Planning and Housing 

•    Progress the development of a Local Plan with adequate infrastructure.
•    Maximise the delivery of genuinely affordable housing.
•    Foster community-led regeneration and reduce homelessness numbers.
•    Develop a policy to uphold covenants and prevent development in parks without consultation. Removal/ relocation of any unauthorised installation such as at Southchurch Park East.
•    Implement a ‘majority’ process for using CIL money to end the undemocratic process of vetoing.

Children, Young People and SEND

•    Drive improvements in Children’s services in a family centred way.
•    Maintain our commitment to school improvement.
•    Explore the creation of a fully accessible playground and continue the upgrade and expansion of accessible play equipment in all parks and play area.

Regeneration, Major Projects, and Regulatory Services

•    Progress the Fossetts Farm development in a way that protects the council’s long-term financial interests whilst delivering much needed new homes.
•    Progress a workable plan for the Better Queensway regeneration scheme. This is to include all Council owned neighbouring sites.
•    Deliver on major regeneration projects to support jobs, growth and opportunity.
•    Progress a constitutional review to align with modern authorities and remove conflicts and contradictions to ensure effective and efficient governance.

Culture, Tourism, and Business

•    Promote the cultural and tourism life of the City, developing an events programme with an objective of reaching 20 weeks of events on the pier each year and at least 6 major events across the city, beaches, and parks each year.
•    Explore the possibility of a seafront outdoor gym.
•    Promote the use of commercial spaces for community benefit such as Age Concern’s bid to purchase Havens and community interest company ventures such as the Ironworks.
•    Work towards the reopening of the Kursaal and a sustainable future for the building.
•    Work towards reintroducing modern versions of permanent attractions such as the Illuminations and seasonal events such as Southend in Bloom, and increase support for business-led events such as the Fireworks and council-led events such as the park concerts.
•    Support and sustain the Museum Service, to realise its potential as a regional centre.

Climate, Environment, and Waste

•    Introduce a free bulky waste collection service, looking to authorities like Medway for examples.
•    Resolve the inherited waste contract issues to ensure an effective, efficient, and quality service.
•    Introduce and expand on a ‘cut and collect’ method of verge management.
•    Explore better uses of the Parks Nursery site.
•    Deliver on the aims of the Better Play Motion (2022) to improve play equipment across parks and play areas across the city, including those on the foreshore such as East Beach.
•    Complete the overdue upgrade of parks and play areas such as, but not limited to, Milton Gardens with a view to making spaces dual purpose for multi-sports.
•    Explore alternatives to the use of herbicides in public spaces as soon as possible.

Social Care and Healthier Communities

•    To provide an integrated and efficient, caring, safe and collaborative social service, accessible to all.
•    Prioritise and deliver the long-awaited Health Centre in Shoebury.
Finance, Assets, and Investments
•    Introduce zero-based budgeting and make this standard practice within the organisation.
•    Explore investment opportunities to enhance public assets such as Gypsy Bridge, Belvedere Shelter, and Sun Shelter in Leigh-on-Sea.
•    Explore the potential for the development of a multi-use community space on the site of the demolished cricket pavilion in Southchurch Park and future community use of the former Leigh Police Station.
•    Guarantee the retention of Southend-on-Sea City Council ownership of Leigh Library and Gardens, and Leigh Community Centre.
•    Seek to increase grants awarded to Southend.

Community Safety

•    Improve delivery of CCTV, increase investment in the Community Safety Team, and to continue to press for greater policing resources in the City.
•    Explore the potential to increase public toilet provision around Southend, including along Eastern Esplanade and the Sea Front.

3.1 It is agreed by the Signatories that:
(a) they will support all nominations submitted by the Joint Administration for appointments to Council bodies and outside bodies
(b) they will support the Joint Administration in respect of its Budget proposals and on any confidence motion
(c) this Agreement shall constitute the whole agreement between the Signatories and will form and be informed by the Council’s strategic plans and objectives
(d) this Agreement shall be reviewed on an annual basis
(e) this Agreement will allow other Signatories to join the Agreement, if the majority of the then current Signatories agree.  Should this be a tied decision, the then current Leader will have a casting vote.
This Agreement has been signed by all individual members of the Signatories to confirm their agreement, this  17th day of May 2024.

Why we need a Fair Deal for Farming

Farmers play a crucial role in our economy, national well-being, and environment.

But the Conservative government's neglect has put farmers under significant strain, leading to business closures and uncertainty.

The government's botched transition from the Basic Payment Scheme has threatened farmers' livelihoods with old payments cut before new payment mechanisms were put in place. Farmers also contend with increases in energy, fertiliser and feed stock prices.

The Government is also mishandling trade - the deals they have negotiated limit farmers' access to the EU market, increase costs and undercut British agricultural standards on animal welfare and environmental protection.

Farmers are key allies in the fight to tackle climate change, to enhance our natural environment, and to feed our country.

It's vital farmers get the fair deal they need to continue to produce high quality food for our tables while protecting and enhancing our natural environment.

Fixing agricultural policy

We must transform agricultural policy so farmers get the resources and support to grow their businesses, reduce food prices, and protect the environment.

We will:

✅ Increase the farming Environmental Land Management (ELM) budget by £1 billion a year to support farmers’ incomes and ensure they’re properly rewarded and supported to transition to environmentally sustainable farming.

✅ Fully fund and resource the Agricultural Development & Advisory Service (ADAS) so all farmers get the support and training they need.

✅ Support farmers to restore woodland and peatland, create natural flood protections and manage land to encourage species recovery and carbon storage.

✅ Introduce a Research and Innovation Fund to support new and emerging agricultural technologies, such as alternative proteins.

Fixing botched trade deals

As liberals, we support free trade, but it must also be fair.

We need trade deals which prevent the undercutting of our high standards, while also boosting exports.

We will:

✅ Ensure all future trade deals maintain high health, environmental and animal welfare standards, so Britain’s farmers and food producers are not disadvantaged. Trade negotiations will have proper democratic scrutiny and accountability.

✅ Renegotiate the Australia and New Zealand trade agreements to meet these objectives, and withdraw from them if they can’t be met.

To ensure seamless trade with the EU, we will:

✅ Ensure mutual recognition and alignment on standards and quality.

✅ Negotiate veterinary and plant health agreements with the EU.

✅ Rebuild trust and cooperation with Europe by following the four-stage roadmap.

To further support farmers and boost food security, we will:

✅ Introduce a proper visa and seasonal worker system so farmers and fishers can access the workforce they need.

✅ Restore the International Development Budget and use the money to invest and support sustainable farming overseas.

Why we need a Fair Deal for Crime and Policing

Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own homes and walking down their own streets, but that’s not the reality for many people in the UK today.

Police officers up and down the country do a great job every day, but the Conservatives have failed our communities with their ineffective resourcing of frontline police, leaving them overstretched and under-resourced.

Burglaries go unsolved, while rates of fraud, anti-social behaviour, and violence against women and girls remain alarmingly high.

Victims of crime are left waiting hours for the police to show up and investigate - that is, if they show up at all.

Court backlogs prolong the agony for victims seeking justice, and prisons are overcrowded, understaffed, and ineffective at rehabilitating offenders.

Unsolved crime and a weak justice system only emboldens criminals to commit more crime. We will restore community policing and fix the justice system to make our streets safe again.

An effective police force

To enhance law enforcement and public safety, we will:

Restore proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and focused on preventing and solving crimes – especially rape and other violent crime. We will work with the police to identify tasks that use a disproportionate amount of their time and help boost efficiency.

Create a statutory guarantee that all burglaries will be attended by the police and properly investigated.

Establish a national Online Crime Agency to combat online crime, allowing frontline police officers to focus on local crime instead.

Replace Police and Crime Commissioners with Police Boards made up of local councillors and community representatives, and invest the savings in frontline policing.

Draw up a national recruitment, training and retention strategy to tackle detective shortages.

Enforce youth diversion programs as a statutory duty nationwide, offering pre-charge alternatives for young people up to age 25. Youth diversion addresses low-level crime without going through the formal justice system, improving outcomes for young people and reducing the strain on police resources.

We will also ensure the police are held to the highest standards, so that public trust is restored and victims are properly supported.

We will:

Rebuild public trust in policing by ending the disproportionate use of Stop and Search, repealing the Public Order Act 2023 and improving access to restorative justice.

✅ Require the Home Secretary, Mayor of London and Metropolitan Police Commissioner to implement the recommendations of the Baroness Casey Review and revamp vetting and misconduct procedures. This review, prompted by the tragic case of Sarah Everard and other incidents involving Met officers, scrutinises the culture and standards within the Met.

Introduce mandatory training for police on supporting victims of violence against women and girls, helping victims and restoring trust in the police.

Restoring the justice system

Urgent action is needed across all elements of the justice system, including the courts and prisons.

We will:

✅ Invest in the criminal justice system to tackle court case backlogs and ensure swift justice for victims and offenders.

✅ Break the cycle of reoffending by improving rehabilitation in prisons and on release, and strengthening the supervision of offenders in the community.

The downgrading of the Southend Hospital Neonatal designation proposed by the Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust

The Southend-on-Sea Liberal Democrat Group stand with other political groups that scrutinised the Southend Neonatal Unit Designation Report from the Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust of 12 March 2024.

This report proposes to reduce the level of neonatal care at Southend Hospital. They further propose to send babies that are deemed ‘Level 1 babies’ who are born at 30 weeks’ gestation or more and less than 1000g birthweight who require only special care or short-term high dependency care to be transferred to Basildon or Broomfield Hospitals.

The Scrutiny committee rejected these proposals, as not being safe for vulnerable babies and their families. The report optimistically stated that an urgent transfer from Southend to Basildon would only be 27 minutes, which strikes us as not realistic. Further, no plans are in place to support families that would have to travel from Southend to Basildon or Broomfield Hospitals, as that is not their concern.

The message from Southend-on-Sea Councillors is clear to the Hospital Trust: go back and rethink these risky proposals and come back to us with a better plan that looks after Southend residents better.

Councillor Paul Collins
Eastwood Park Ward
Liberal Democrat Group Leader
Southend on Sea City Council

Stop the Lorries!

The local Lib Dems are raising a petition to 'Stop the Lorries'. The petition strongly objects to the planned transport of earth by tens of thousands of lorries driving through Southend, Southchurch, Thorpe Bay and Shoeburyness to the flood plain at the Shoebury Gunners Park Site. There the plan is to build up the land level with this material and build 214 houses on top.  Unfortunately the Planning Permission was granted so we cannot stop the building if it is commenced within the permitted period. Our petition demands that this material not be transported by road through our area, instead we think it is essential to arrange river transportation (the Gunners Park site is on the coast), or possibly train transport but that could be more complicated.  When complete our petition will be sent to the Developer, the City Council and the Housing Minister.

Below is the link to the online petition. Hopefully you will be able to simply click onto the link, but you may need to cut and paste it into the address box of Google (not the search box). One final thing, please can you tick the box for email updates on the petition site? We would like to keep everyone informed of our progress, but we need your permission in line with GDPR rules.

https://www.southendlibdems.org.uk/stop-the-lorries

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at email address: info@southendlibdems.org.uk

 

Many thanks & kind regards

James Allen

Local Lib Dems

Local Lib Dems gathering signatures for the Stop The Trucks petition

Why we need a Fair Deal for Education

Education is key to unlocking the potential of every child, but it has faced enormous strain in recent years.

The Covid pandemic did huge damage to children’s learning and mental health. Schools are crumbling and pupils' learning is being disrupted.

The Conservatives have neglected schools. Their reckless cuts and teacher shortages have let children and parents down.

We will invest in education through childhood and beyond, to give everyone the skills and confidence they need to thrive.

Giving children the best start in life


We have a comprehensive plan to restore the education system, ensuring it works for both children and parents.

We will:

Increase per-pupil school and college funding above the rate of inflation every year.

Invest in new school and college buildings and clear the backlog of repairs.

Extend free school meals to all children in poverty.

Put a dedicated, qualified mental health professional in every school so all children and parents can access support. We’ve already taken steps to achieve this, with Munira Wilson MP submitting her Schools’ Mental Health Bill in January.

Tackle the crisis in special educational needs provision by giving additional funding to local authorities, reducing the amount schools pay towards a child’s Education Health and Care Plan.

Appoint a Cabinet Minister for Children and Young People so they are made a government priority.

To truly support children, we must also support parents by offering flexible working to balance work and home life. We will:

Ensure that all parents can access childcare that is flexible, affordable and fair. To do so, we will review the rates paid to providers for free hours, ensuring they cover the actual costs of high quality childcare and early years education.

Lifelong learning

Our education reforms go beyond school, to include higher education and beyond. Education and training should not be confined to young people; it should be a lifelong pursuit so everyone can reach their full potential.

We will:

Reinstate maintenance grants for disadvantaged students so living costs can never be a barrier to studying at university.

Create new ‘Skills Wallets’, giving all adults £10,000 to spend on education and training throughout their lives.

✅ Expand opportunities for young people to study, teach and volunteer abroad by rejoining the Erasmus Plus programme as an associated country.

Why we need a Fair Deal for Equality

The term ‘liberal’ is in our name because we exist to champion an open and free society.

We believe everyone should be able to live their lives as who they are, free from judgement and persecution, and with the ability to realise their full potential. Diversity is one of the UK’s greatest strengths and should be celebrated.

But in the past few years, progress has stalled. The Government has yet to ban conversion “therapy” practices, it flirts with tearing up the Human Rights Act, and it openly challenges international norms with legislation like the Rwanda Bill on asylum seekers. Too often, their language divides rather than unites.

We cannot let progress backslide. We must confront prejudice and discrimination wherever it exists.

 

Promoting equality

We will stand up for people of all backgrounds and walks of life. To advance equality, we will:

✅ Develop and implement a comprehensive Race Equality Strategy.

✅ Tackle institutional biases, ensuring that diversity is reflected throughout public life.

✅ Respect and defend the rights and identities of all LGBT+ people, including trans and non-binary people.

✅ Ban all forms of Conversion Practices.

Empowering all

Everyone deserves to be able to live to their full potential. To these ends, people must have full control over their lives, able to make the decisions which work best for them.

We will:

✅ Give everyone the right to flexible working and every person with disabilities the right to work from home if they want to, unless significant business reasons prevent it.

✅ Protect everyone’s right to make independent decisions over their reproductive health without interference by the state, and ensure access to high-quality reproductive healthcare.

 

Legislative protections

We must defend existing laws which offer us fundamental protections and pursue new laws to cover areas where policy is lacking.

We will:

✅ Champion the Human Rights Act and resist any attempts to weaken or repeal it.

✅ Scrap the Conservatives’ draconian anti-protest laws, restoring pre-existing protections for peaceful assembly and public safety.

✅ Make misogyny a hate crime and give police and prosecutors the resources and training to prevent and prosecute all hate crimes while supporting survivors.

✅ Place a statutory duty of care on all social media platforms to prevent well-defined harms, based on clear evidence, and introduce a Digital Bill of Rights to protect everyone’s rights online, including the rights to privacy, free expression, and participation without being subjected to harassment and abuse.

A Fair Deal For The Environment - The Sewage Crisis

We’re incredibly proud of our country’s natural beauty. From rivers to lakes, beaches to forests, our precious environment must be protected for future generations.

But the natural environment is suffering. The UK is failing to meet 17 of its 20 biodiversity targets.

The Conservatives’ neglect is evident in the sewage crisis, marked by a million sewage discharges into rivers, lakes and coastal areas in the last three years, lasting over 7.5 million hours. Meanwhile, water company executives awarded themselves £51 million in 2020 and 2021, including £30 million in bonuses and benefits.

This is a rotten deal - urgent action is needed to end nature’s decline.

We’re fighting for a Fair Deal that will deliver protections and end the sewage crisis for good.

We will:

✅ Set meaningful and binding targets to stop the decline of our natural environment and double nature by 2050: doubling the size of the Protected Area Network, the area of vital wildlife habitats and species abundance.

✅ Strengthen the Office for Environmental Protection and increase funding for the Environment Agency and Natural England.

✅ End sewage discharges by transforming water companies into public benefit companies, ban bonuses for water bosses until discharges and leaks end, and replace Ofwat with a tough new regulator with new powers to prevent sewage dumps.

A Fair Deal For The Environment - Tackling The Climate Crisis

Protecting the environment goes hand-in-hand with tackling the biggest threat to human existence - climate change.

We must limit temperature rises to 1.5°C to prevent catastrophic land loss and stop parts of our planet from becoming inhabitable. Millions already suffer from increased wildfires, floods, heatwaves, droughts and sea level rises.

The Conservative Government’s net zero strategy is failing - they’ve supported greater oil and gas production, approved a new coal mine, and failed to boost home insulation effectively.

We must get back on track and address the climate crisis as an urgent priority.

We will:

✅ Cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045.

✅ Invest in renewable power to generate 80% of the UK’s electricity from renewables by 2030.

✅ Provide free retrofits for low-income homes and tax incentives for other households to reduce energy consumption, emissions, fuel bills and reliance on gas.

✅ Create a Net Zero Delivery Authority, strengthen local authorities to cut emissions and promote community energy and ensure all new homes have solar panels.

✅ Plant at least 60 million trees a year and increase the use of sustainable wood in construction.

✅ Ensure net zero commitments are central to any international trade agreement.

By doing so, we can save our environment, save lives, and transform our economy, creating tens of thousands of jobs.

Cllr Peter Wexham

New Tory Administration Mess - Political Viewpoint from Cllr Peter Wexham in the Leigh News

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Cllr Carole Mulroney

Leigh Town Council Must Work Together - View From Cllr Carole Mulroney in the Leigh News

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Cllr Carole Mulroney

Political Viewpoint from Cllr Carole Mulroney in the Leigh News

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Cllr Carole Mulroney

Letter about Leigh Town Council from Cllr Carole Mulroney to the Leigh News

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Cllr Peter Wexham warns that since the by elections both the main parties are now ditching the environmental targets to try to get more MPs elected

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To introduce myself, I am the newly elected Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group of Councillors on Southend City Council.

I first wish to put on record my thanks to the previous leader, Leigh Councillor, Coun Carole Mulroney, who led our Group splendidly and I have a big job on my hands to follow her.

Following the nationwide local elections, I am pleased to report that Liberal Democrats have a stronger voice in local government by gaining over 400 councillors, bringing our total to just under 3,000 councillors on principal authorities.

We have 12 new majority Liberal Democrat councils elected and kept control of 17 authorities. In total 75 Councils in England and Wales have a Liberal Democrat Leader or Deputy Leader.

We also share the leadership in other cross-party joint administrations. This includes the recent good elections results in our neighbouring authority, Rochford District Council, with the Liberal Democrats gaining seats in Rayleigh and they have joined a coalition of other parties to form a new administration in place of the Conservatives.

Turning to Southend, I am proud to be re-elected as a Liberal Democrat Councillor in Eastwood, although we are part of Leigh, we still feel we are a ‘village’, and it is an honour to be allowed to continue to work for my fellow residents in our part of our City.

However, it is a shame that public transport from Eastwood / Belfairs to Leigh is so poor, and I still remain committed to bringing better connections across our part of the City. This would help employment, our community and reconnect families, who struggle to keep in touch.

There are a number of issues that families are facing in 2023, and I regard my role as a civic leader to try and promote all parts of Southend and work to bring opportunities and support to all of our residents.

In the last year I was proud to lead the opening of the Launchpad. This is a place where new businesses may start and collaborate, within the Council’s owned Airport Business Park.  The Council has insisted on the best environmentally friendly building, ensuring it meets to top rated BREEAM requirements.

I was pleased to help to lead a change to the City’s waste disposal contract earlier this year – this is different to the waste collection contract – where we are now sending our non-recyclable waste to Energy for Waste at two sites in the region.

This waste is incinerated at these sites,  cleanly and safely, to create electricity by way of turbines. The residue from this process is then collected to be used in building materials.

This change gives us two great advantages, one being that it is no longer going into Landfill, the second being that it is saving the City’s budget £2m over the next 5 years.

All the financial pressures that we feel at home, are also felt by the City Council. The Council and Councillors need to be more honest with our fellow residents and businesses and must be clear about the pressures that we are under and how we are going to cope with them.

I called on many people up to the May elections, and we were often asked, what do I pay my Council Tax for?

Well, the Council has a statutory duty to look after vulnerable adults and looked after children in our care and this takes close to 66 pence of every £1 collected in Council Tax.  Added to this, since 2010, the start of ‘austerity’,  local authorities only now receive close to 15% from Government today, compared to the grants received then.

The City Council is starting a transformation project, to bring the future budgets in line with all these pressures, and undoubtedly communities will be asked to step forward to help each other, more than they do already.

As a Liberal Democrat, I will be working and supporting our communities, as this is what we do and have done so for decades, and I offer my hand to anyone who wants to join us to help others.

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Originally published in Leigh-on-Sea Times July 11, 2023

Paul Collins
Political Viewpoint by Southend Council’s Liberal Democrat Group Leader and Councillor for Eastwood Park Ward, Coun Paul Collins

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