Campaign to exempt Mountain Rescue services from VAT

Liberal Democrat member of the European Parliament Chris Davies MEP is campaigning to persuade the Government to make our mountain rescue services exempt from paying VAT.

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 06.09.08

Tim Farron MP and Chris Davies MEP

Mountain rescue services provide an invaluable service to many people who find themselves in need on our nearby hills and mountains. In last year’s floods they played a crucial role in the emergency response. At present they have to pay VAT on supplies. Chris Davies is calling on the Government to support the service by taking the small step of exempting the service from VAT.

You can sign the petition here.

Liberal Democrats seek to protect rural refuse collections

Liberal Democrats on Calderdale Council’s Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel have successfully argued that people living in rural properties should still be able to get their rubbish and recycling collected.

The Council is currently in the process of reviewing its waste collection contract, and one of the options on the table for consideration was whether to force people living in rural properties to take their refuse to a road accessible by a larger vehicle.

Commenting Cllr James Baker (Warley) Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Economy and Environment said: “We hope the new contract can build on the recycling success that Calderdale achieves. We were, however, concerned that many people would struggle to take wheelie bins or refuse sacks great distances down country tracks to roads that a bigger vehicle could access. The proposals would also result on piles of rubbish being left scattered about country lanes whilst they waited for collections, this would be a blight on the landscape.”

The scrutiny panel agreed to recommend that these saving plans are dropped from plans for the new waste collection contract.

Liberal Democrats push to make flood recovery process more transparent

Calderdale Council is to look at making information easily available to local people so they can see what progress has been made on flood protection issues.

Over one year on from the floods and many people are concerned that Calderdale Council has not done enough to ensure we are resistant to future flooding problems. By publishing the recovery plan online in an easy accessible and simple format members of the public would be able to track some of the good work that has already happened and what is planned for the future.

Cllr Janet Battye (Calder), Leader of Calderdale Council Liberal Democrat Group said: “We suggested a simple traffic light system is published on the Council’s website, this would enable people to see where the Council has hit its targets for planned works and where problems have resulted in delays. By making the recovery process more transparent people will be kept better informed, and be better able to hold their Council to account.

The   Economy and Environment scrutiny panel agreed to recommend that the Council investigates implementing such as system.

Lib Dem motion to suspend Mytholmroyd car park fees defeated

Calderdale Liberal Democrats have called for a suspension of plans to introduce car parking fees in Mytholmroyd.  Deputy Group leader of the Liberal Democrats Councillor James Baker put forward a motion on the Economy and Environment Scrutiny panel asking that plans to introduce parking fees are shelved in light of the ongoing difficulties faced by businesses struggling to recover from the floods.

The move follows previous efforts by Luddendenfoot ward Councillor John Beacroft-Mitchell to get the charges suspended due to the exceptional economic circumstances faced by flood hit Mytholmroyd. Unfortunately though the Labour group who run Calderdale Council are seeking to push ahead with the plans. This has sparked outrage from local residents, and businesses who are opposed to the plan.

Commenting Councillor James Baker said

“Mytholmroyd has a set of exceptional circumstances, it has a small row of shops that were severely affected by the floods and a lack of any other free parking spaces. These charges will add to the cost of living for residents  and deter people from using local shops.”

Labour ward Councillor and Conservative Chair oppose the motion

The motion was opposed by Councillor Simon Young the Labour Councillor who is meant to stand up for people in Mytholmroyd, and the Conservative Chair of the committee. This was particularly disappointing following the Conservative’s previously expressed opposition to the parking plans. A motion from the panel would have helped the campaign to drop the charges.

Campaign against charges goes on

The Hebden Bridge Times has reported on the campaign against the charges. Liberal Democrats Councillors Tony Hodgins and Christine Bampton-Smith have been working with Royd regeneration in opposing the plans, and helping to inform local residents about them. They were successful in persuading Hebden Royd Town Council to oppose the plans, and write with their objections to Calderdale Council.

Councillor Tony Hodgins said:

“Royd Regeneration wants the best for the shops and it just seems like this is a backward step.”

Time for  a re-think

Calderdale Council needs to cover the costs of its car parks. However we must acknowledge the exceptional circumstances facing some areas  in Calderdale that have been affected by flooding. Shops in Mytholmroyd are really struggling, and desperately need our support to help build a stronger economy so they can get on in life. In light of  the ongoing flood recovery it’s simply not tenable to proceed with plans to impose car parking fees on these communities.

Halifax Happy Hounds

Calling all dogs and their humans. On Wednesday 31st July from 12-3pm Ling Bob playing fields will be the place to be when Halifax Happy Hounds takes place.

This event is all about promoting responsible dog ownership and is being held in response to the growing concern surrounding dog fouling and responsible owners. The event is being organized by Calderdale Council and promises to be full of fun with activities for all the family.

There will be a host of activities including free microchipping for dogs,  with fun sessions on dog handling, with displays, activities and information from the Council’s Dog Warden Service, RSPCA, Dogs Trust, Yorkshire Animal Ambulance, Positive Pooches and Yorkshire Rose Dog Rescue amongst others. For more information, call Customer First on 0845 245 6000

There will also be lots of useful information and advice available from our experts on a wide range of canine related subjects. The Calderdale Council Dog Wardens will also be on hand to explain about the new Dog Control Orders and what they mean for you. So bring your dog along to get pampered, learn a some new tricks and to meet other dog owners.

Councillor James Bakers said: “I suggested we put on this event to help encourage and reward responsible dog owners. It’s a great event for dogs to come along to and get pampered, they can bring their owners too!”

Councillor Ashley Evans added “We get complaints about dog fouling, and sometimes this is caused by people who struggle to look after a demanding dog.  Responsible dog owners can also feel prosecuted as well, so it’s nice to put on an event where people can get the latest advice, tips and share stories. This is a chance to pamper your pet and make it a happy hound.


Liberal Democrats launch ‘Save our Pubs’ Campaign

We are launching  a campaign to save Calderdale pubs from threats of closure. Research from CAMRA that shows across the country 26 pubs are closing every week and  if something isn’t done now we risk losing more of our cherished community pubs.

The Coalition government has introduced measures in the localism act to register community facilities such as local pubs as community assets. This power has already been used in Calderdale by campaigns to save the Fox & Goose in Hebden Bridge and the Holy Well Inn in Holywell Green. However we believe both the government and the local Council need to go further to protect our cherished pubs from closure.

FDFYL logo from site

The campaign is asking for a number of practical measures from Calderdale  Council and Government such as reforming large pub companies to giving pubs better protection under planning legislation. We have launched a campaign website and petition at which local residents are signing to demonstrate their support. We then intend to put forward a motion to Council calling for better protection of pubs. We hope this will receive cross-party support.

 Councillor Janet Battye leader of Calderdale Liberal Democrats said: “Local pubs are hubs of the community and are vitally important, especially in the villages that have lost their post officer or shop. We are running this campaign to get Calderdale Council to take action to protect pubs. ”

Cllr Baker & Battye supporting the Little Valley brewery based in Calderdale. Photograph by Jade Smith.

Cllr Baker & Battye supporting the Little Valley brewery based in Calderdale. Photograph by Jade Smith.

Councillor James Baker said “The coalition has helped reduce the cost of living by scrapping the beer duty escalator.  We think it should go further in lowering beer tax so people can afford to be social and visit their local, rather than having to buy cheap booze from a supermarket.

Demand for Calderdale Council to consider energy from waste on Cromwell Bottom landfill site

Liberal Democrat Councillors are concerned about the environment impact of the Council’s decision to burn off methane at the Cromwell Bottom former landfill site between Brighouse and Elland. They are asking the Economy and Environment scrutiny panel to consider whether the gas released at the site can be filtered to remove pollutants, and then put to use creating energy.

 “This is another of those problems that I had to make sure we sorted out when I became Leader of the Council in May 2010” said Cllr Janet Battye (Leader of the Liberal Democrat group and ward Councillor for Calder ward). I welcome the progress made in sorting out the old landfill site, but I want to be sure that everything possible is being done to use this landfill gas productively as a source of energy.”

“The Council should be taking a leading role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy, so we can’t let this opportunity go by.”



  Councillor James Baker the Deputy Chair of the Economy and Environment Scrutiny panel said “The proposal is to burn the gas off by ‘flaring’. I am concerned that this may create dioxins which could damage local people’s health. These dangerous chemicals are created by burning hydrocarbons such as methane with chlorine, which is present in landfill gas, in the presence of oxygen.”

“I want the panel to double-check this to ensure the gas will be properly filtered and then, if possible, is put to a productive use to power homes or heat water in boilers.”

This issue will be considered at an extra meeting of Calderdale Council’s Scrutiny Panel being called on Monday, June 17th at 6pm in Halifax Town Hall.