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The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

Recent updates

  • iPort Rail (Verdion)
    Article: Sep 24, 2020

    Freight being in the news at the moment, Cllr Nick Hollinghurst, County Councillor for Tring, remembering that the County Council is a Transport Authority, thought he should pay some attention to the publicity around the much vaunted iPort in Doncaster, of which iPort Rail forms an important part.

    iPort is the name of a very large warehousing and logistics estate (800 acres) build on the site of the former Rossington Colliery. iPort Rail is a 30 acre road/rail intermodal terminal with one 770 m train reception bay and two handling bays. It can handle 8 trains a day and receives trainloads of containers from Southampton, Felixstowe, Teesport, Immingham and Thamesport. At present, two years after it opened it is already up to capacity. However the facilities are able to comply with the requirements of international freight and there is a longterm plan to double capacity to match that of its rival. Let us hope that is going to be possible, because the iPort is connected by a single-track spur off an old single-track freight line which has to be used to reach the main line and the rest of the UK network.

    So it's just as well that there's also an existing railfreight terminal, the Doncaster International Railport, operated by Freightliner (now owned by Genesee & Wyoming Inc) which has been quietly handling container traffic since 1995 without the fanfares associated with the new arrival in Rossington. This older terminal handles has a container handling capacity double that of iPort Rail plus specialised facilities for handling motor vehicles and enjoys a direct connection to the main line. It was designed and intended to receive freight trains direct from Europe but due to technical and financial issues (the Channel Tunnel freight tariffs among them), together with a lack of political will to resolve matters this never happened. Now it probably never will.

    This just underlines the chronic neglect of railfreight in general in the UK and of trans-Tunnel freight in particular. But more topically, as we read in the papers and see on the television the construction of vast lorry parks in Kent for expected delayed HGVs, there are 35 - 40 vacant freight train slots through the Channel Tunnel per day that are never taken up. That could have been over 2,500 HGVs per day taken off our motorways, with customs clearance being carried out at the destination, in places like Doncaster, far from the crowded ports.

  • Lib Dem MPs 2020
    Article: Sep 23, 2020

    Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey has announced a new team of spokespeople who will hold the Government to account and rebuild our party.

    Christine Jardine

    Spokesperson for Treasury, Brexit, Europe & Trade
    Liberal Democrat Leader, Ed Davey, announcing the Party's new Leadership Team on August 31st said,

    "The formidable Christine Jardine will be Treasury Spokesperson and put forward the case for a greener, fairer UK. Christine will show that now is the time to build back better.

    Christine will also speak for us and the country on the other key issues of Brexit, Europe and Trade. On these she will hold the Conservative government to account."

    In accepting this responsibility, Christine responded,

    "I am delighted to take on these important role in Ed's team for the Liberal Democrats and I am looking forward to getting to work on that greener, fairer UK."

  • Nick Hollinghurst's Nissan Leaf
    Article: Sep 20, 2020

    The Department for Transport recently ran a consultation exercise starting on 8th July and closing on 31st August, 2020. This was open to the public and we were asked to submit our ideas for and about the steps we should take to reduce emissions from transport. THis was to assist the government in creating a plan to ensure the UK transport is net zero in emissions by 2050.

    Cllr Nick Hollinghurst, who represents the Tring Division on Hertfordshire County Council and who was an early adopter of all-electric motoring, overcame any feelings of cynicism about government consultations and decided to make a full and positive response, uploading his completed questionnaire his responses in the final quarter of an hour!

    These are the answers he gave to the more specific and detailed questions.

  • Housing ()
    Article: Sep 17, 2020

    There has been widespread concern among Planning Authorities about several of the proposals in the Government's recently published White Paper, Planning for the Future. The matter was raised and discussed at a meeting of Dacorum Liberal Democrat Councillors and researched by Cllr Liz Uttley and Cllr Nick Hollinghurst. Cllr Uttley found that the Local Government Association, a government supported body which represents all councils and councillors, including of course those that are, like Dacorum Borough Council, Planning Authorities, had produced its own guidelines on this matter and drawn up suggested motions to be put to councils. She then used this as a model to produce a motion to be put to the Council Meeting held on 16th September, 2020.

    Following discussions between Councillor Ron Tindall, Leader of the Opposition on the Council and Cllr Andrew Williams, Leader of the Council an amendment was agreed upon which was acceptable to both and which would enable cross-party support for a demonstration of disquiet at some of the Government's proposals and the possible consequences.

    (Amended) Motion proposed by Councillor Ron Tindall and Seconded by Cllr Andrew Williams

  • Daisy Cooper MP Deputy Leader of Lib Dems
    Article: Sep 13, 2020

    Announcing this news, Daisy Cooper said,

    "I'm proud to have been elected, by my fellow MPs, as Deputy Leader of the

    Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons.

    Using my experience of winning St Albans, we can start now to become a lightning rod for those who share our values, to build a campaigning force and to stop Johnson's Tories."

    Liberal Democrat Members and Councillors throughout Hertfordshire, many of whom had helped in St Albans during the recent General Election, were delighted that Daisy had been elected to this post.
  • Lib Dem MPs 2020
    Article: Sep 12, 2020

    Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey has announced a new team of spokespeople who will hold the Government to account and rebuild our party.

    Layla Moran

    Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs & International Development

    Liberal Democrat Leader, Ed Davey, announcing the Party's new Leadership Team on August 31st said,

    "I am delighted to announce the Liberal Democrat spokespeople for the great offices of state: My friend Layla Moran has agreed to take a role in my top team.

    As Foreign Affairs Spokesperson she will bring the energy and enthusiasm she brings to all her work & hold Dominic Raab to account."

    In accepting this responsibility, Layla responded,

    "I am very pleased to have accepted the role of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats.

    I look forward to speaking up for marginalised groups, human rights and Britain's place in the world - and to holding this Government to account at a time when we need to be building bridges."

  • Ellen All-Electric Ferry in Denmark
    Article: Sep 9, 2020

    Launched last August using a grants from E-Ferry, an EU-backed innovation fund, Ellen is Denmark's first electric ferry to dispense with diesel back-up generators.

    It was built in the Ridzon shipyard in Szczecin in Poland and power is provided from large-format lithium ion batteries specially developed by the Swiss compant, Leclanché. At €30 million it cost 40% more than a convention diesel-powered vessel, but the running costs are 75% less and the pollution is negligeable by comparison.

    The Ellen can carry 30 vehicles and 200 passengers and is being used on the Fynshav - Søby and the Fåborg - Søby routes, each a distance of about 10 nautical miles with a journey time of just under an hour. It is designed to make 7 trips a day during the summer season and can travel 22 nautical miles on a full charge. It is owned and operated by the local council.

  • Electric Bus Charging
    Article: Sep 5, 2020

    In July 2018, Busselskabet Aarhus Sporveje, the public-transport provider in Aarhus, Jutland's largest town placed an order with Volvo for the supply, service and maintenance for four Volvo 7900 Electric buses. A year later in mid-August 2019 they entered traffic on the Aarhus Central Route 13 , covering 15 kilometres each way between the city centre and the suburb of Frydenlund. It is the very first time that all-electric buses operate in the city. Project Manager Gustav Friis stated, "This is a good first step towards a robust, emission-free mobility system in our town".

  • Freightliner Electric Locomotive (Genesee and Wyoming)
    Article: Sep 5, 2020

    Freightliner, a railfreight company that specialises in regular scheduled trains of a standard length between dedicated freight terminals, is now owned by Genesee & Wyoming Inc, an American rail holding company operating on 116 owned or leased rail lines in the US and Canada and national rail networks in Europe and the UK. Freightliner UK has recently acquired 13 Class 90 locomotives from Porterbrook Leasing to complement its existing 10 locomotives and 90014 is the second such locomotive to be repainted in the G&W livery.

    Some of these will replace their ageing fleet of Class 86 electric locomotives which date from the 1960s. They will be retired from service until they can be overhauled and re-introduced as Freightliner continues expands its electrically hauled services.

    They operate using the 25kV overhead line supply, reducing the dependency on diesel traction, increasing efficiency and cutting costs and CO2 emissions. Rail freight is already produces 76% less carbon per gross tonne mile than road freight, and moving from diesel to electric traction will improve on that reduction even more.

    Freightliner is the already the largest user in the UK of electric locomotives to haul freight. In terms of kilometres moved, Freightliner and Freightliner Heavy Haul are the second largest railfreight operator in the UK , just after market leader, Deutsche Bahn.

  • 80k housing
    Article: Sep 3, 2020

    Draft Strategic Design Guide SPD

    Comment by Cllr Nick Hollinghurst (1250019)

    Comment ID DSDG39

    Response Date 16/08/20 23:50

    Question 1 - Part 1: Design Process

    Do you consider that the documents have identified the key characteristics of Dacorum and its wider Hertfordshire context?


    If no, please explain your reasons along with any suggestions for changes or additions to the key characteristics.

    It is a thorough and impressive document and I note that it is written on the basis that
    "DBC has declared a Climate Emergency and is committed to fostering genuinely sustainable communities that support a zero-carbon future."

    This I agree with but feel this should have been more explicitly stated at appropriate points in Parts 2 and 3.

    The following sentence is
    "Sustainability needs to come in the form of technology"

    This is obviously true, but rather more important is the need for this to be firmly underpinned by changes in social, institutional and political attitudes that lead to fundamental changes both in perceptions of the global situation and in everybody's behaviour.

    Furthermore it refers to national-level planning policies and guidance without describing in any way what those might be and in particular not outlining the statistical and evidential basis of the quantities of housing with which we might be expected to have to deal.

    Question 2 - Part 2: Design Principles

Nick Hollinghurst