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  • Article: Apr 19, 2021
    By Peter Dobbs

    Earth Day 2021Earth.

    April 22nd is the 51st Earth Day - an annual event designed to drive action on the environment and climate crisis around the world.

    This year's theme is "Restore Our Earth", with all of us urged to focus not only on how we can reduce our impact on the planet - but also on how we might actively repair the world's ecosystems.

  • n88c (Photo by Salahuddin Apu on Unsplash)
    Article: Apr 19, 2021

    Back in the late 1990s, after 15 years in government the Conservative government led by John Major was subsumed by an avalanche of allegations of sleaze. There were a number of financial issues in these but most of the allegations related to sexual impropriety much of which today is no longer considered worthy of comment.

  • NOx tube at Windmill lane (Peter Dobbs)
    Article: Apr 18, 2021
    By Peter Dobbs

    Derbyshire Dales District Council have been trying really hard to make it seem that they have not been dilatory in declaring an Air Quality Management Area for Buxton Road and St John's Street in Ashbourne. Head of Regulatory Services, Tim Braund, is quoted in the Ashbourne News Telegraph as saying that 'a key issue during the council's investigation of pollution in Ashbourne Town Centre has been the repeated theft of the diffusion tubes used to monitor air quality'.

  • Article: Apr 12, 2021

    On behalf of her family, it is with great sadness that we announce that Shirley Williams, Baroness Williams of Crosby, died peacefully in the early hours of Monday April 12th.

    Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

    This is heartbreaking for me and for our whole Liberal Democrat family.

    Shirley has been an inspiration to millions, a Liberal lion and a true trailblazer. I feel privileged to have known her, listened to her and worked with her. Like so many others, I will miss her terribly.

  • Article: Apr 9, 2021

    "Prince Philip dedicated his life to our country. We will always be grateful for his amazing service, not least the powerful legacy he leaves to millions of young people who have taken part in his unique Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

    "His quiet and steadfast counsel and support of The Queen, is perhaps his greatest if unquantifiable contribution to our nation's history.

    "At this sad time for millions, we should never forget Prince Philip was a much-loved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. So our thoughts must be with the whole Royal Family, but in particular with The Queen at this difficult time."

  • Article: Apr 4, 2021
    By Mary Reid in Liberal Democrat Voice

    During the pandemic local Councils have been permitted to hold formal meetings online, and this has enabled them to carry on Council business through lockdowns and other restrictions. The Government has now announced that this ruling will be withdrawn after 7th May and Councils will have to meet in person after that date.

    This is quite bizarre in the short term because meetings are not permitted under current Covid rules. According to the roadmap, from 17th May groups of 30 will be allowed to meet outdoors, but only 6 indoors. The earliest date at which meetings could be held indoors would be 21st June. In stark contrast, Parliament will continue to allow remote attendance until 21st June.

    But it is also worrying in the long term, since the current practice has made it possible for councillors and members of the public to attend meetings even when they could not physically attend easily for reasons of health or disability.

    Some 90 Lib Dem Council Leaders and Opposition Leaders have signed an open letter to Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and to Luke Hall MP, Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government. Here is the text of their letter:

    Dear Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP & Rt Hon Luke Hall MP

    We write to you as Liberal Democrat Leaders and Group Leaders on councils across England. The government's decision not to extend legislation allowing councils to meet flexibly after May 7th 2021 is wrong and should be reversed as a matter of urgency.

    Local councils across the country have worked hard to ensure that virtual meetings are accessible and inclusive, with many examples of increased public participation since their inception. We take the public health of our residents, employees, and elected members very seriously, and have grave concerns over the practical and health implications of what the government is proposing. Praising the work of local councils in your letter as "magnificent" is meaningless if poorly thought-through decisions such as these are dictated to local authorities, with zero consultation or input.

    And we know this opposition extends beyond our party - we agree with the Conservative Chair of the LGA who has been very clear in his statement: "This decision is extremely disappointing. The Government's own roadmap out of lockdown states that indoor gatherings or events - organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation - cannot be organised until May 17 at the earliest. Yet councils will be unable to hold remote meetings from May 7. MPs will retain the right to participate remotely until at least June 21 but the powers-that-be in the House of Commons will not make time available to legislate for councillors to do the same."

    We call on you to allow councils to choose on this matter and are happy to meet with you or your officials to discuss how this can be done.


    (90 signatories)

    We have also been sent a quote from Cllr Howard Sykes, who is the Leader of the Lib Dem group on the Local Government Association. He writes:

    In February we saw the Tories say that it was too dangerous for Councillors to deliver a leaflet outside, despite being masked up and following COVID safety rules in the fresh air, but it's now ok to cram councillors into a hot crowded council chambers - this decision is absolute madness.

    * Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

  • Traffic on St John's St Ashbourne (Peter Dobbs)
    Article: Mar 31, 2021
    By Peter Dobbs

    After more than three years a situation that was first recorded in autumn 2017 is finally being officially acknowledged; air quality on Buxton Road Ashbourne does not meet national standards.

    The Officer Report for the Community and Environment Meeting on April 7th recommends that Derbyshire Dales Distrcit Council declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) for a significant part of the centre of Ashbourne.

  • 667bm (Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash)
    Article: Mar 29, 2021

    Regular readers of this site will know we have shown a healthy scepticism about the governments commitment to carbon reduction. We would summarise our position by saying the high rhetoric and targets are rarely supported by concrete actions and underpinned investments.

    Only recently we drew attention to the shambles surrounding the implementation of the Green Homes Grants ( see With 17% of the UKs carbon emissions coming from domestic emissions this is a critical issue for the UKs bid to become carbon neutral by 2050

  • 45vvf (Photo by Henley Design Studio on Unsplash)
    Article: Mar 25, 2021

    Back in the 1980s the Conservative Party under Mrs Thatcher famously said there was no such thing as society, it was all about individual achievement and consumption. If you were less able or fortunate then tough. It famously led to Mrs May describing the Tory Party as the " nasty party" and Mr Cameron to sledge with huskies all in an attempt to de-toxify the parties image

    In a private meeting with back bench MPs this week Boris Johnson said "The reason we have the vaccine success is because of capitalism, because of greed, my friends." Leaving aside the tastelessness of the comment around the first anniversary of the lock-down and after 125000 deaths from covid the statement is simply not true.

    The facts say something very different. We have a vaccine because of massive public investment and the remarkable work of scientists at publicly-funded universities. The state helped fund the the construction of manufacturing facilities and roll out of vaccines was managed by the publicly funded and incredible National Health Service. Astra Zeneca have also agreed to supply developing countries with vaccine at cost

  • Sir Ed Davey (UK Lib Dems)
    Article: Mar 21, 2021

    At our Liberal Democrat Spring Conference today, I outlined my vision for building a Fairer, Greener and More Caring country by putting recovery first. Take a look at my commitments here:

    An Inquiry into Covid-19

    In my speech, I called on Boris Johnson to set up the independent inquiry he promised me in the House of Commons last June. No more excuses. No more delays. The British people deserve answers.

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The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the individual authors and do not represent the position of Derbyshire Dales Liberal Democrats.