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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

  • Little Tring Car Park Finished
    Article: Feb 13, 2020

    AN EASY WALK IN THE COUNTRY NEAR TRING - now Even Easier to get to and the car park resurfaced with a smooth dog-friendly finish.

    With better public health and improved quality of life in mind, Tring County Councillor, Nick Hollinghurst, has arranged a couple of simple improvements to the local road and footpath network between Dundale Road and Little Tring.

  • Tringford Road 30 mph Speed Limit Extension
    Article: Feb 12, 2020

    30 mph SPEED LIMIT EXTENSION in TRINGFORD RD near New Mill, Tring.

    At one time I has an aspiration to install traffic lights on the canal bridge, but it turned out to be very expensive and a lot of people were against it.

    So that was that - and money was freed up for more offroad parking, footway repairs, resurfacing work etc.

  • CCUSIEA (Pictutre from IEA)
    Article: Feb 6, 2020

    Carbon capture has actually been around for a long time. In the late 1930s it was used to remove carbon dioxide from town case to improve its calorific value - but not for long.

    Carbon capture will cost a significant amount in terms of finance and energy - electricity production costs will go up and the energy available to consumers will go down. There will be net and not inconsiderable reduction in capacity.

    Then there's the problem that toxic chemicals and solvents are used to treat the flue gas.

    And once the carbon dioxide is captured then there is additional cost of getting it to the storage site and them forcing the stuff down into geological receptacle of choice.

    None of this is impossible, and improved methods of capture are being tested right now, but I think it is fair to say that this will be a transition technology to avoid waste of the investment already made in power stations still with decades of useful productive life.

  • Freight Train at Felixstowe
    Article: Feb 2, 2020

    In the battle to save the planet, there are many fronts - and rail can play its part too.
    Over the last 10 years or so a lot of EU and UK money went into improving the rail line from Felixstowe to Nuneaton to take the new higher and longer sea containers. The final stage was commissioned last summer and the maximum number of container trains between Felixstowe Docks and Nuneaton has now been increased from 33 to 47 journeys in each direction.

    Some of these trains go cross-country to the Midlands, the North West and to Scotland now no longer need to use the West Coast Main Line between North London and Nuneaton. This improves rail capacities for us locally and all along the line from Euston to Birmingham. Other trains go north through the East Midlands and the East Coast and these rail improvements have enabled the Doncaster Railfreight Interchange, which opened only 18 months ago, now to be served by a fifth container train per day from Felixstowe. These extra trains to Doncaster take lorry traffic off the A14, A5, A120 and the M1, A1(M) and the M11.

    When you consider that the average freight train replaces 76 lorries (which is equivalent to over 300 cars), you can see that not only is road traffic and air pollution significantly reduced, but road safety is also improved.

  • Acorn CCUS (Pic from Acorn and Energy Voice)
    Article: Jan 31, 2020

    Last summer (26/06/19) the UK Government announced an award of £4.8 million to Acorn, for its Pale Blue Dot project involving carbon capture and underground storage (CCUS).

    The project, which will use the St Fergus gas plant near Peterhead and a number of existing pipelines will bring carbon dioxide as gas from Grangemouth near Edinburgh. The Grangemouth Refinery and Petrochemicals complex has been contracting spasmodically since 2005 and currently unused plant and equipment there can be used to handle carbon dioxide captured at English and Scottish power stations, e.g. Drax.

    Carbon dioxide can be transported either as a gas or liquid under pressure but in the quantites likely to be produced it is likely that it would reach Grangemouth by pipeline, rail or sea.

    The Pale Blue Dot project was originally funded by the EU and the Scottish government but now the UK contribution will go a long way towards meeting the £11 million cost of the next stage of working the project up to a commericial operation. This will last until early 2021 and Acorn hope to have the project working at planned capacity by 2024.

    The carbon dioxide is to be injected into depleted oil fields and into a geological reservoir of saline water deep underground.

  • Aldbury Traffic Calming Consultation Jan 2020
    Article: Jan 30, 2020

    Tuesday 21st of January saw a full house in Aldbury's Memorial Hall as local residents crowded in. The occasion was a presentation by a consultant hired by Herts County Council officers for new proposals for traffic calming measures.

    Some years ago the villagers started a quest for bringing in traffic calming to their picturesque and tranquil village. discussions took place at the time with the County Council and shortly afterwards Parish Council was awarded a grant from the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for design work to be carried out by consultants that they has appointed and were paying for.

  • East West Rail Clearance 2
    Article: Jan 27, 2020

    HS2 could make an important contribution to the UK economy and to rail communications generally, perhaps with more realistic technical specifications - and especially with a lowering of the maximum design speed. There is a risk of course that it will just suck more jobs, businesses and prosperity out of the Midlands and engender a new breed of "super-commuters". Meanwile other projects suffer and there is a developing case for building HS3, an express cross-Pennine railway, independently. This would be cheaper and could provide significant regional development with less risk and greater cost-effectiveness.

    And then there is a long list of other simpler schemes, which could repair the "rail poverty" that blighted many market towns and communities after the Beeching cuts of the 1960s. Not only would these help to reduce dependence on cars but would bring prosperity back to areas currently hit by the wrong end of social and income inequalities.

    One such scheme would be the East-West rail project, which is a prudently costed venture that can proceed incrementally. The first stage is already completed with the upgrade of the line from Oxford to Bicester and then, with the replacement of a key curve and a new junction, via the Chiltern Line into London Marylebone, adding capacity to supplement the Oxford to London Paddington route.

    The second stage, however, is the restoration of the currently disused line through Bicester, then to via Winslow to Bletchley. To complicate matters the government decided this and the succeeding sections from Bletchley to Bedford and then over completely new track from Bedford to Cambridge, would involve a private company, noe set up and called the East West Railway Company which will oversee the establishment of a line from Bicester to Cambridge.

    However this second stage could be ready to start very soon. Network Rail submitted a Transport and Works Act Order application to the Secretary of State for Transport for the Bicester-Bletchley segment in July 2018. The Public Enquiry in connection with this ended on 1 May 2019 but since then, and up to now (January 2020) we have been waiting for a decision Department for Transport.

    If this section is to proceed then within four years we could have local services at least running between Oxford and Bletchley and Aylesbury and Bletchley, and then via the Marston Vale Line to Bedford.

    The picture shows the existing disused track between Bicester and Bltchley after the lineside vegetation was cleared away 6 years ago.

    And the whole line to Cambridge could be rebuilt anew for a tiny froction of HS2's ballooning costs.

  • Ballot Box
    Article: Jan 24, 2020

    . A spectacular by election success in the Alperton ward of London Borough of Brent on 23rd January:

    . LIB DEM: 1699 39.7% (+29.5)

    . LABOUR: 1304 30.5% (-25.6)
    . CNSVTS: 900 21.0% (-2.5)
    . GREEN: 373 8.7% (-1.4)

    LIBERAL DEMOCRAT GAIN from Labour. 27.6% swing from Labour to Lib Dems.

    Well done, Anton Georgiou and team!

    However in neighbouring wards, Barnhill (2 vacancies) and Wembley Central, where Lib Dems were less strong, Labour did hold onto those 3 seats. The Lib Dem vote dipped slightly in Barnhill (-3.2%) but in Wembly Central held steady.

  • Sky Lanterns Kill
    Article: Jan 22, 2020

    Hertfordshire County Council has now joined 80 others in banning the release of sky lanterns and balloons from land and buildings it owns or controls.

    Horses and cattle can be killed if they eat sky lanterns or balloons in fields or ending up in silage. The wire in the lanterns can perforate the stomachs and intestines of grazing animals. The balloons can cause them to choke to death.

    Smaller animals and birds can die after being caught in the lanterns or balloons on the ground or in hedges or trees. When they fall into water or into the sea they can also entrap small animals, fish or birds.

    They also cause fires and were implicated in two serious fires last year. One killed 30 apes and monkeys in a zoo in Germany and the second was a very considerable fire at a plastics recycling centre in the West Midlands. In the latter incident, 200 fire fighters attended, £6 million of damage was caused and the smoke reached 6,000 ft into the air.

    The initiative for this move came from an e-petition started by Plastic Free St Albans.

    Balloons released into the air contain helium, a scarce resource which is available only from underground sources as a result of radioactive decay over millions of years. Once in the atmosphere it escapes into space. However this element is essential to much science and engineering. For example it is an essential coolant needed for such equipment as MRI scanners.

    Lib Dem County Councillor for Tring & the Villages, Nick Hollinghurst said, "In common with the RSPCA, the Marine Conservation Society and the National Farmers Union I strongly support this ban of sky lanterns and balloons being released from HCC land. In fact I would also support a nationwide ban. As for the use of helium, I regard this as a strategic material that should only used for licensed purposes. It nearly all comes from the USA and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they started to introduce export restrictions of such a critical material."

  • Class230 waits at Bletchley
    Article: Jan 20, 2020

    Vivarail, whose innovative rebuilds of former District Line tube trains are proving popular economic solutions on lighter used lines, achieved a first on January 15th as an all-electric version of one of therir Class 230 trains travelled 40 miles on battery power alone.

    The new prototypes have been on extensive testing on the Bo'ness & Kinneil heritage rail line near Edinburgh.

Nick Hollinghurst