County Council Elections 2022 – Questionnaire

Ahead of the 4th May County Council election all six candidates for Llangollen were invited to complete our election questionnaire.

We asked the following questions, with a word limit of 200 words on each answer;

Question 1: Please provide a personal statement. Hint: Perhaps include your background, skills or your motivations.

Question 2: How would you like to see the council do more to tackle ecological collapse?

Question 3: How would you like to see council do more to address the climate emergency?

Question 4: Can you suggest how the council might address local air pollution issues?

Question 5: Thinking broadly if you wish, please list your top 3 priorities should you become elected.

Candidate responses have been re-produced below as closely matched to the format received as possible. 4 responses have been collected as of 02/05/2022, listed in alphabetical order;

Candidate manifestos can be seen on Llanblogger here.

Davies, Stuart

https://m.facebook.com/CllrDavies/

Please see my reply below along with my attached manifesto [see link above].

I refer you to my manifesto for my aims and aspirations for the town. I was instrumental in obtaining £3k for your organisation a few years back to buy the first tranche of re useable Llangollen shopping bags. 

Moving on, when the Wenffrwyd project was first put forward by myself, I met with some of your members at their request, who wanted to set up a wild flower garden there. I agreed with their aims  and introduced them to the officers who were moving forward with the project with instructions to help with this.

I spoke to one of the trio a little while back and this person said that unfortunately they had other things on and didn’t move with the project. A great shame really. 

I believe in alternative energy sources and the transition to them. Unlike some of our European friends, I believe that we should be using the least polluting hydrocarbons while we transit. Self sufficiency in these least polluting transition hydro carbons is key given what is happening in Europe at the moment.

I was instrumental in kickstarting the Green Dee Valley water powered electricity project as mentioned in my manifesto. 

Would you be so kind as to copy me in with your email to members so that I am aware of your recommendations. 

Many thanks 


Edwards, Karen

As set out in my manifesto, I grew up in Llangollen and I am therefore very familiar with the area and the issues affecting the town, its nearby rural communities and the surrounding environment.
Denbighshire County Council as a Local Authority declared a climate and ecological emergency in July 2019 and formally adopted their Climate and Ecological Strategy 2021-22 to 2029-30 in February 2021. In this the Council states that by 2030 it aims to become a net zero Council and an ecologically positive Council. Please use the following link to view this https://www.denbighshire.gov.uk/en/documents/your-council/strategies-plans-and-policies/strategies/climate-ecological-change-strategy-v2.pdf
I believe that in terms of climate change whilst we can’t all do everything, we can all do something to make a difference.
My priorities should I become an elected representative for the Llangollen Ward are set out in my manifesto.


Keddie, Paul

Question 1: Please provide a personal statement. Hint: Perhaps include your background, skills or your motivations.

Firstly, I’d like to thank the dozens of residents who have been in touch to wish me well since I announced I was standing for County as well as Town Council. 

I have always been a keen fly fisher and nature lover and support the aims and objectives of Friends of the Earth and other environmental groups.

I have a strong track record of putting our community first.  I am a Director of the Llangollen Fringe Festival, I volunteer as a Stage Manager at the Eisteddfod, I organise the monthly Comedy Nights and am a member of Llangollen Town Council, delivering safer, greener, cleaner and stronger communities.

I have never been a member of a political party and I strongly believe that politics should play no part in decision making.  I will always fight to improve our town and villages, to keep Council Tax as low as possible and for our fair share. 

Question 2: How would you like to see the council do more to tackle ecological collapse?

I fully support Denbighshire County Council’s declaration of a Climate and Ecological Emergency in July 2019 and will work hard with the plans to become a net carbon zero and ecologically positive council by 2030.  Actions speak louder than words however, and the current issues with our recycling centre that serve the Llangollen area flies in the face of any action to combat climate change.  Put simply, unless this is resolved it would be impossible to become Net Zero by 2030. 

Residents currently face a 2 hour round trip to Ruthin Recycling Centre as successive administrations who run Denbighshire County Council have failed to get a grip of the problems.   This has led to an increase in fly-tipping and I am the only candidate with a positive plan to sort this out once and for all. 

I plan to resolve the scandal of local residents not being able to use Plas Madoc Recycling Centre. Our rubbish doesn’t understand boundaries.  On Day 1 as a County Councillor, I will ask the Welsh Senedd to intervene. I will fight to introduce fortnightly ‘Flying Skips’ on a Saturday morning. These will tour our streets and allow residents to get rid of extra rubbish.

Question 3: How would you like to see council do more to address the climate emergency?

Denbighshire County Council has an important role in delivering carbon emission reductions, particularly in transport but also in other areas such as buildings – are they doing enough?

The biggest obstacle to climate change action is austerity and financial cuts.  In the 2012 report on Local Authority Action, the Committee on Climate Change said, “There is currently a significant risk that local authorities will not develop and implement sufficiently ambitious low-carbon plans … given the highly constrained fiscal situation. In order to mitigate this, and the associated risk for meeting national carbon budgets, the Government should seriously consider providing additional funding … and/or introducing a statutory duty for local authorities to develop and implement low-carbon plans.”

I will fight for additional funding to implement an ambitious low-carbon plan.  It is important that any action they take is beyond simply improving their buildings and instead encompasses all the areas where they have powers and responsibilities.  I would like to see environmental impact reports to be produced for every single decision made.

Question 4: Can you suggest how the council might address local air pollution issues?

Local authorities can have a strong influence over emissions, research shows one-third of all UK emissions are dependent on sectors influenced by local government policies or partnerships. 

The solutions to tackling climate change are largely the same ones required to improve air quality, including transitioning from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles, public transport, walking and cycling. DEFRA Air Quality Expert Group’s analysis found that reaching Net Zero emissions would likely lead to a significant improvement in air quality.  

Local authorities have a statutory duty to improve the health of their local population and air pollution is a public health emergency requiring urgent action. Toxic air is linked to one in every nineteen deaths in the UK. Research has shown that air pollution may be damaging every organ in our bodies, including increasing risk of heart and lung diseases, diabetes and dementia, as well as having negative impacts on the development of children including reduced cognition and leading to babies being born with impaired lungs. 

Local authority action to encourage usage of public and active transport also reduces congestion, which has significant economic benefits.

Question 5: Thinking broadly if you wish, please list your top 3 priorities should you become elected;

  1. Fight to improve recycling rates across Llangollen and our villages linked to the campaign for access to Plas Madoc Recycling Centre.  For too long, the Council have prevaricated and a TWO HOUR round trip to the Ruthin Tip is unacceptable.  Until this is done, it will lead to lower recycling rates and higher emissions. 
  2. Accelerate the transition to all the council’s fleet including bin wagons and school buses becoming electric as soon as possible.  Improve public transport including ending the scandal of no disabled access at Ruabon Railway Station and look for more park and ride opportunities.
  3. Accelerate social housing decarbonisation which will reduce bills for our poorest amid a cost of living crisis and lead the fight against any over development of our green spaces.   The built environment is responsible for a huge 40% of all global carbon emissions, which is far higher than any other individual sector.  I will also propose that any planning application for over 5 houses have an environmental audit and associated developer funded green improvements to our infrastructure.

Marshall, Sarah

  1. Please provide a personal statement (background/skills/motivation).

I have three decades experience working in Public Sector services (NHS, Local Authority and Public Health), much at strategic commissioning and regional levels. This included involvement with Scrutiny Committees, Cross Party working groups, Council Executives and Regional Directors of Public Health. I have been consistently committed to working for public interest and improving quality of life, particularly for disadvantaged groups. My interest in outdoor pursuits brought me to Llangollen for the first time over thirty years ago and I have loved the area ever since. In the 1990s I was secretary to the Llangollen group who campaigned hard to protect the Youth Club Field from housing development. Currently I am looking into ways to protect access to Pump Field on the edge of town for future generations. In 2021 I achieved an MSc (Distinction) in Sustainability and Behaviour Change, bringing together my interests in working with people and protecting the environment. I want to use my knowledge, background and skills to address the climate emergency in my locality. The collaborative responses to COVID demonstrated our community’s potential to work together to support each other and overcome challenges that are faced globally. (191)

  1. How would you like to see the council do more to tackle ecological collapse?

Improving biodiversity is essential to mitigating ecological collapse and it would be great to have more initiatives such as the rewilding at Wenffrwd on brownfield sites. I will be pressing for improved biodiversity on Council owned land especially, reducing pesticide use, encouraging wildflowers wherever possible on verges and public spaces, and tree planting in both town and rural areas, whilst effectively issuing and enforcing Tree Protection Orders, particularly for the rare Llangollen Whitebeam. Within an AONB there is current funding available for local biodiversity projects which need to be encouraged. Raising community awareness will also be key to encourage biodiversity in private spaces.

I am keen to support the Riverside Park proposals and funding applications. Recent surveys show that there is community support for environmental sustainability as part of the improvements, which include the green infrastructure such as sensory garden, planting and flowers as well as seating and benches.

The Council should also be supporting initiatives to produce food locally (such as Grow Llangollen) and in an environmentally sensitive way. Promoting local engagement with the Sustainable Farming scheme, which prioritises biodiversity in land management, would increase a sense of ownership of the intended outcomes. (194)

  1. How would you like to see council do more to address the climate emergency?

The Council have good policy intentions in their Net Zero strategy, and I intend to hold the Council to account for delivering.

The Council need to encourage a community of businesses who are working towards sustainable practices and promote leaders in their localities. Support for initiatives and businesses that encourage a circular and repair economy should be prioritised. Avoiding waste should have a greater focus than recycling. I want to build on the work of Plastic Free Llangollen to work with local businesses and highlight good practice in reducing plastic use. Council plans for household collections must assess whether recycling has been improved by any changes. I would like the Council to consider separated bins in public spaces for recycling.

The Council should accelerate efforts to procure local and sustainable food wherever possible and encourage supporting producers and growers to sell more locally and to link with procurement opportunities for local public services.

Measures to reduce energy consumption must be prioritised and supported. Local energy generation (e.g., community cooperatives) needs to be explored. There are also viable innovative options from anaerobic digestion of agricultural waste. This is especially important with rising fuel prices and increasing fuel poverty. (197)

  1. Can you suggest how the council might address local air pollution issues?

Air pollution approaches unacceptable levels especially in high traffic areas such as the town centre and around school drop-offs. The changes to the town centre road layout and the situation need reviewing to assess the impact on air-pollution compared to previous levels.

The Council should support community transport options such as Dial-a-Ride type schemes, Flexi-Bus, and exploring car-share and car club options in the town. The Council should promote non-carbon vehicles in any services they provide or procure (e.g., School transport). Transport companies that serve the local area also need to be encouraged to decarbonise their fleets where feasible and to link effectively across bus and rail services to support local people who make regular short journeys, as well as visitors to the area. This will become especially pertinent under National Park proposals.

Vehicle charging points at diverse “public” spaces should be explored, (e.g., Health Centre, Pavilion Car Park, Leisure Centre, Youth Club, schools).

The Council should work with schools to encourage active travel, children and young people need to see this as a viable and safe option for getting around town. Road layout is not consistently conducive to this, but improvements could be made, and pedestrians/cyclists given greater priority. (200)

  1. Thinking broadly if you wish, please list your top three priorities should you become elected.

Previous responses were structured in the way the questions were asked but are interlinked. Ecological collapse and climate emergency are inseparable, and we must consider systems long-term, rather than single issues and quick fixes, to ensure our actions have the best effect. I have focussed on local issues but of course we are part of wider communities.

My top three initial priorities would be:

• Establishing relationships with local groups and interest communities and making myself available to hear local people’s concerns and issues. I am representing the Green Party agenda but also am committed to reaching out beyond my existing networks.
• Building a collaborative approach with local groups, businesses, services and institutions who want to address the climate emergency and encourage leading by example and showcasing good practice. This would raise awareness of environmental issues and demonstrate what positive progress can look like, providing role models that motivate and inspire.
• Prioritising climate and environmental impact and keeping this at the top of Council agendas without fail from day one. This is the greatest challenge currently facing us all and we must step up our efforts if we want a secure future for our community, our families and ultimately humanity. (199)

Feeling the cold? Want to save energy?

Our Heat Seeker team want to help you SEE where you are losing heat from your house!

Llangollen & District Friends of the Earth are offering free thermal imaging surveys in Llangollen between November and February!

We’ll take thermal images of the outside of your house on evenings when the weather conditions are dry and cold and either email you the images or invite you to a feedback session.

Click here to find out more

Recycling facilities in Llangollen

Llangollen Friends of the Earth support Phil Jones’ campaign for Dee Valley residents to be allowed to use Plas Madoc recycling centre.
We believe that waste reduction is most important, and that retailers and manufacturers have a key role to play in reducing waste. However in Llangollen and the Dee Valley we have a situation where people are currently driving a distance three times that of the distance to the nearest facility in Plas Madoc. That is inconvenient, wasteful and bad for the environment.

We understand that some negotiation has taken place over the years between Denbighshire and Wrexham councils over this issue. Concerns about cost and usage monitoring have been mentioned as possible stumbling blocks. However recent developments could help move past those blockages. For example Denbighshire’s new online booking system could be expanded to include the Plas Madoc facility for Dee Valley postcodes. The exact usage can then be monitored, and Denbighshire could then be billed using those figures.

It is clear that other towns in Denbighshire have much better levels of service, and we would encourage Denbighshire council to re-deploy resources more evenly. This could be achieved by increasing the number of days on which the pop-up facility operates. If the hours could be increased for the pop-up facility, then this would become a more convenient service, and could be especially useful to those who do not have access to a vehicle, or those who would prefer not to travel out of town to dispose of waste.

We would encourage members of the public to write to their councillors regarding this issue. But also to consider the source of the problem, and to contact retailers about the amount of packaging they receive with goods. If members of the public would like more information or to take things further locally, then there are a number of groups in the area campaigning on waste issues.

Link to Phil Jones’ campaign petition page: https://www.change.org/p/denbighshire-county-council-return-of-recycling-in-llangollen-and-the-dee-valley

Councillor details can be found here: https://moderngov.denbighshire.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1&LLL=0

Surfers against sewage campaign group: https://www.sas.org.uk/communities-near-me/

Llangollen & District Friends of the Earth: www.llangollenfoe.org.uk

Plastic Free Llangollen: www.facebook.com/PlasticFreeLlangollen

Have your say on Llangollen Covid-19 proposals

Click here to access the consultation

Denbighshire council have obtained funding to modify roads and pavements in Llangollen to allow people to move around town more safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

They have made a number of proposals. You can see the details of the proposals and have your say on the proposals here.

Our thoughts;

  • Wider pavements and space for cycling are welcome.
  • Assisting cafes moving into the road space is welcome and will create a more human friendly town.
  • The link between Hall Street and Berwyn Street (A5) should remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Reversing the direction of flow of vehicles on Church Street will eliminate the use of this route as a rat-run. It would be useful if it was made two way for cyclists. Also, to avoid diverting more traffic into the town centre, it may be better to start the one way from the junction with Llys-Y-Barcty.
  • Turning all one way roads into two way for cycling should be considered.
  • The routes to the town’s schools should be considered and improved. Improvements could include wider pavements outside the primary school, a school street scheme at drop off / pick up times and improved safety at the Brook street – A5 junction.
  • Bicycle parking could be distributed around the town centre and should ideally be covered where possible.

Click here to access the consultation?

LDP Candidate Sites

The LDP will steer development within Llangollen and the whole of Denbighshire over the next 15 years. This is an important chance for you to influence how that development takes place.

A number of sites in Llangollen have been submitted as ‘Candidate Sites’ for development. Here is a guide to the sites…

Llangollen Youth Club Site site
Site ref: CS-03E-170

Youth Club Playing Field

Some thoughts on the youth club playing field site;

  • This land is a vital resource for the youth club, kids, adults, families and sports teams.
  • This green space should be retained as a playing field to support the health and well-being of Llangollen residents.
  • Increased vehicle traffic.
  • Increased demand on local services.

Site Name: Land off Maesmawr Road, Llangollen – Option 1
Site Ref: CS-03E-107

Maesmawr Road – Option 1

Site Name: Land off Maesmawr Road, Llangollen – Option 2
Site ref: CS-03E-108

Maesmawr Road – Option 2. Includes Option 1 and the field next door. This is a much bigger site than Option 1.

Site Name: Maesmawr Road, adjacent to Tyn Y Wern, Llangollen
Site Ref: CS-03E-077

Land off Maesmawr road adjacent to Tyn y Wern

Some thoughts that apply to all 3 of the Maesmawr road sites;

  • The site is large and so development would significantly alter the character of the town, and local services would struggle to cope.
  • Employment within the town cannot support a site of this size, meaning increased commuting out of the town.
  • The site is on the edge of town, and would pushing out the development boundary.
  • The site has poor transport links. Birch Hill is a narrow and already busy road and would form the main access to amenities from the site.
  • The site is too far out of the centre of town for Active Travel to be realistic.
  • Development of the site would have significant negative visual impact on the valley.
  • Development of the site would mean that the valley would lose important agricultural land, reducing potential for the agricultural industry.

Have your say

To have your say either…

Click here to visit the council’s consultation page. This contains lots of background information and a link to the consultation form.

OR

Complete the Consultation Response Form and return it by emailing: planningpolicy@denbighshire.gov.uk or
posting it to: Strategic Planning and Housing, Denbighshire County Council, PO Box 62,Ruthin, LL15 9AZ

The deadline for submissions is 30th August 2019.

Playing field on list of ‘candidate sites’ for development

Playing field and youth club off Vicarage Road

Denbighshire’s LDP is considering a number of candidate sites for development, and the playing fields off Vicarage road is one of them.

Have your say

To have your say either…

Click here to visit the council’s consultation page. This contains lots of background information and a link to the consultation form.

OR

Complete the Consultation Response Form and return it by emailing: planningpolicy@denbighshire.gov.uk or
posting it to: Strategic Planning and Housing, Denbighshire County Council, PO Box 62,Ruthin, LL15 9AZ

The deadline for responses is 30th August 2019. For information, the playing field site has reference CS-03E-170. You can see the full list of Llangollen sites here.

Ask Denbighshire Council to declare a Climate Emergency

Llangollen Friends of the Earth and XR Rebellion NE Wales are asking Denbighshire County Council to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency at their meeting on 2nd July.

Please take two minutes to contact your county councillor using our easy to use form, and ask them to support Denbighshire declaring a climate emergency. CLICK HERE or above to access the form.

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/ask-denbighshire-council-to-declare-a-climate-emergency/

Big Bike Ride to School on ITV

The Big Bike Ride event was organised by Llangollen Friends of the Earth, and was part of the Sustrans ‘Big Pedal’, a national event involving over 2,000 schools. More than 70% of pupils from both the English and Welsh medium primary schools decided to cycle, scoot, or walk to school that day instead of travelling by car.

The event in Llangollen was covered by ITV Cymru/Wales as well as BBC Radio Wales. You can read more about the event here.

Say NO to a new M4!

A new M4 will affect ALL of Wales. By spending over £1.5 of borrowed money on 14 miles of motorway in the South, Active Travel and Public Transport all over Wales will suffer. The new road will…

  • Fuel dangerous climate change.
  • Cost around 2 Billion pounds; starving sustainable alternatives of funding.
  • Increase traffic levels and pollution in South Wales.
  • Devastate important wildlife sites including six Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
  • Shatter the ideals of the Well-being of Future Generations Act.

Please click here to take our online action.

Brynglas Tunnels – Removing a bottleneck just moves the bottleneck.

If the Welsh Government go ahead with this road, the ideals of the Well-being of Future Generations Act will be in tatters.

This fight is not just about the road, it is about our ability to tackle climate change and the future Wales we want to see.

240 children take part in Llangollen’s Big Pedal

In Llangollen 240 children got together on Friday 29th March to cycle to school.

The event was organised by Friends of the Earth Llangollen, and was part of ‘The Big Pedal’, a national event involving over 2,000 schools More than 70% of pupils from both the English and Welsh medium primary schools decided to cycle, scoot, or walk to school that day instead of travelling by car.

Elin aged 7 said “It was really fun to cycle to school with my friends. Usually there are lots of cars at school which makes it difficult to cycle, but today there were hardly any cars and it was a lot better. I wish it could happen every day.”

Friends of the Earth Llangollen group coordinator Warren Davies said “Today has shown how easy and fun cycling can be. It wakes you up, it’s better for your health, and it’s just fun being outside in the fresh air. I have two young children and we would prefer to cycle to school every day. When they’re a bit older I’d like them to be able to cycle on their own, but the number of cars and lack of safe routes makes this very difficult.”

A stream of students on their way to school up Brook Street in Llangollen.

“We know cycling or walking is better for climate change and air pollution compared to driving. We also know that children are more at risk from the effects of pollution, so it’s important that we do more to improve air quality. The Welsh Government launched the Active Travel Act in 2013. To make progress we need the Welsh Government to provide more funding and clear leadership to councils in Wales.”

Headteacher of Bryn Collen, Lisa Howden said “Our learners love a challenge and we’re delighted to have taken part in the Big Pedal. We’ve been focusing on physical well being this year, taking part in Fitness Frenzy each break and the Daily Mile, so encouraging everyone to be active on their journey to school really complements that. We’re proud that our learners are aware of, and want to learn about, environmental and social issues. One of our year groups has recently chosen to learn about air pollution, so this event is also a practical response to that!”

Headteacher of Ysgol y Gwernant, Bethan Jones said “It’s great to be encouraging pupils and parents to walk, cycle and scoot to school. We have a responsibility to teach our pupils how to develop healthy lifestyles. It also links in with our Eco school initiatives and reduced traffic and pollution outside the school.”

Without any traffic the journey was safe and pollution free.

In the UK 2,091 schools, nurseries, further education centres and after-school clubs are within 150 metres of a road with illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide.1 Air pollution costs lives and billions of pounds. It is one of the UK’s biggest killers, causing up to 36,000 early deaths in the UK every year, more than obesity or alcohol. Dirty air leads to worsening asthma symptoms, heart disease and even lung cancer. Air pollution has even been associated with changes in the brain linked to dementia and can lead to children growing up with smaller lungs.

The event organised by Llangollen Friends of the Earth aimed to encourage children and parents to consider cycling or walking to school instead of driving, showing how fun and beneficial it can be.

Overflowing bike rack at school.