A Clean Air Zone for Rayleigh?

Rayleigh has a cloudy history when it comes to Air Pollution and now the Government has been forced to up the ante to solve the increasing problem with Air Pollution across the UK. Whilst we all probably realise, London suffers with poor air quality, we are in fact (and have been for a long time) facing an illegal limit of NO2 right in our own town. 

You may have read my previous posts on air pollution or seen our campaign to increase the air quality monitoring across the district. Now, however the UK Government has launched another consultation on how to reduce the pollution in our towns and cities.

The highlights of the document are the ways in which this could be acheived

  • ​Exploring innovative retrofitting technologies and new fuels;
  • Buying ULEVs and encouraging local transport operators to do the same
  • Encouraging private uptake of ULEVs via ensuring adequate chargepoints
  • Encouraging use of public transport, cycling, walking, park and ride schemes, and car sharing
  • Improving road layouts and junctions to optimise traffic flow, for example by considering removal of road humps
  • Working with local businesses and neighbouring authorities to ensure a consistent approach
  • Charging certain types of vehicles to enter or move within the zone

Now I don't have any prior knowledge of what our local council could be doing about our particular problem (as that would be a Tory decision), other than the already published AQAP - but in the Government's consultation it's suggested that charging vehicles to enter a clean air zone (i.e Rayleigh Town Centre) would be the quickest way to get the problem under control.

On the basis of the failure to act and armed with the knowledge that even OUTSIDE of the AQMA, there are indications from our own sampling that there is more illegal pollution in our town, there is a possibility that we could see a clean air zone set up in Rayleigh with some of the dirtiest polluting vehicles being charged to pass through our town centre.

Watch this space for future developments or sign up below for future updates!

The Process and Cost of Consultation

Consultation with the residents is often said to be incredibly difficult. However, it’s no different to marketing a business. You want to tell the potential customers (audience) about what you are doing or selling. You want them to be interested (engaged) and ultimately you want them to buy (respond).

So just why do councils struggle with this process? Could it be the lack of trust in the first instance, or could it be the message they send out (telling not asking) and when they decide to buy they are sold the wrong thing!

Despite the fears of some councils, the easiest way to ‘engage’ and get the message out to the residents is often via social media. There are several community groups across the district which have good memberships. They rely purely on ‘shares’ to the groups to get important messages from the council. I don’t know why the council don’t or/and won’t engage with these community sites and post directly to them. Here’s a list of some sites they could consider.

I’m not suggesting that social media replaces the need for proper consultation but compliments the efforts to communications that are already in place. The council’s own social media page has a lowly 1k likes. The ‘tell me more’ is a step in the right direction but I think memberships such as the RAG group prove that the residents are interested. It might have cost Linda Kendall £55k, but she has built (with a little help from her supporters) an engaged and often responsive audience.

Some may think it’s money well spent with a new wave of Councillors elected and a reduced Tory majority, the Pandora’s box has well and truly been opened.



Is Item 6 About to Cost A Pretty Penny? (Public Toilets)

It might be that you have never been caught short whilst doing a bit of shopping on the High St in Rayleigh, but at some stage you might just have wished there were facilities nearby that you could use. The emotive issue of public toilets comes before Rayleigh Town Council on Monday. Public toilets have been closed across the country by other councils, as they have faced funding gaps and now it could well be down to the town council to keep these facilities in our High St.

Item 6 on Rayleigh Town Council, full council meeting (full details in the link) should raise some public interest.

Agenda Item 6

Feeling Conned by the Consultation?

Recently we’ve seen lots of consultations by Rochford District Council. First came the local plan workshops, which has been swiftly followed by a budget survey, followed by an air quality survey, only to be followed by a community safety partnership survey. Wow I’m feeling pretty consulted out…. it almost seems like the council are so ‘out of touch’ with the residents that they don’t really know what they should be doing or is it that there is a mandatory requirement to consult?

So is it worth your time and effort to respond to these surveys? Well judging by the responses so far I’d say most people think they’d rather not bother. I’ve heard all sorts of reasons why people don’t respond to these surveys, overwhelming I hear the same reason – the council don’t listen. Cllr Chris Black, recently commented on this at a planning sub committee meeting. Residents whom had come along to the local plan workshop had made suggestions and had ideas. What happened to these ideas and suggestions….. they got buried in this document! It wouldn’t have taken much to capture residents details and follow up with them on their ideas. Sorry RDC but if you really want this ‘relationship’ to work it can’t be one way!

If you have the urge to respond to the surveys the follow the links above or if you want to see my opinions here’s the posts I’ve written on a few of the consultations.

RDC Budget Consultation

The Consultation Process 

Rayleigh has an Unseen Killer on the Loose!

Rayleigh West Flood Alleviation Scheme Consultation

On the 19th October 2016, Essex County Council are holding a public consultation for residents in ‘Rayleigh West’. They are proposing changes to the bunds on Sweyne Park School’s playing fields and changes to the pond in Sweyne Park. There are hoping that this will help alleviate the risk of flooding downstream. So if you’ve been flooded or think your property is at risk then please go along and see what the proposals are.

Rayleigh West Flood Alleviation Consultation

Rayleigh West Flood Alleviation Consultation