County Councillor Avril Davies’s report for October 2013

Nineteen years ago SAVE (Support Aylesbury Vale’s Environment) was launched by Jonathon Porritt and George Monbiot at a big conference in Aylesbury Civic Centre for anyone and everyone interested in supporting their local environment. I had the idea for SAVE after the 1991 Rio world environment conference urged  ‘think global act local’, and as chairman of environment committee and chairman of the council, I was then in a position to innovate and champion the environment. With the dedicated support of a handful of like minded Aylesbury Vale officers this little vehicle for environmental activists, thinkers and visionaries in the local community has become an ‘environmental innovation hub’. Five ’round table’ working groups and 2 conferences delivered SAVE week for 6 years including the Green Fair and the Recycled Clothes Show, involving thousands of people. It has supported education projects, community events including theatre and film and Zap Carbon, SAVE Solar, and Superhomes projects enabling residents to improve their homes, install renewable energy systems and reduce bills. SAVE has awarded £40K in grants and presented hundreds of SAVE awards to recognise local initiatives that have resulted in lasting environmental gain. It re-established the Tour de Vale cycle ride in 2005, now a major  fundraiser for the British Wheelchair Sports Association. It set up Furniture Aid, the Aylesbury re-use and recycling centre, and DuckLETS, a cash free trading system. The SAVE code is 10 things you personally can do to contribute to a better Aylesbury Vale, including SAVE on waste, save driving, and save wildlife. On Oct 3rd I attended a symposium SAVE 20-20 – developing a vision for the next 20 years. There were three speakers at the event. David Lidington MP, Foreign Office Minister for Europe, spoke without notes for 40 minutes on the global economic contributors to climate change, and how without climate security it will be impossible to guarantee future security of food, water and energy supplies. He wholeheartedly encouraged SAVE to press on for the next 20 years. Martin Hodson, environmental scientist, plant biologist from Oxford Brookes University and Haddenham resident, explained in detail and with pictures the whole recent IPPC climate change report and its implications for us locally. Victoria Harvey, South Beds Friends of the Earth told us about some of her campaigns and successful projects, but more importantly the significance of bees to the farmer, supermarket, kitchen table and overall biodiversity,  and what anyone can do to help the survival of bees. Enthusiastic  questions and discussion meant the event over ran its schedule, and SAVE Is still no nearer deciding its future, but with a success record such as it has, we cannot afford to let it go. To know more about SAVE and activities in the Vale such as Haddnham in Transition, or Winslow in Transition contact rsmart@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk Creating a Nature Reserve – the story of College Lake BBOWT College Lake hosted a book launch and signing on 21st September for this amazing book by Graham Atkins, and at the same event re-dedicated the refurbished Castle hide to George Goddard the cement works manager without whom Graham’s vision would never have materialised. By making some of my Community Leaders Fund available to BBOWT for the advance purchase of the book, the book could be published, the story told, and is available at the College Lake Centre. http://www.bbowt.org.uk/news/2013/09/23/honouring-founding-fathers-college-lake Three areas where Transport for Bucks  ‘could do better’ – highway maintenance, speed reduction measures, and grass cutting. Getting on for twelve months ago I identified with highways engineers where the priority road maintenance should be done. This is in addition to ongoing pothole repairs. Some  maps show the work to have been completed at the Travellers Rest Roundabout and the B488 from Grove to Rowden Farm, but we couldn’t find it! The other schemes are the rest of the B488 to Great Gap, and Ivinghoe Aston to Slapton ( which will continue to be patched and planed with the bad corner to be prioritised). Following on the speed watch teams activities last year the Local Area Forum (LAF) considered it worthwhile to fund additional measures in Mentmore, Great Gap and Ivinghoe, and Edlesborough. These ‘are in the pipeline’ as they say. The LAF is going to fund the preliminary work needed on the A4146 between the Travellers Rest and the Pebblemoor turning for a 50mph limit as a result of continuous pressure since this was turned down at the last review. LAF funded Vehicle Activated Signs shared by several parishes have been put in place, although if you are travelling within the speed limit they are hard to spot! Grass cutting. Can’t say much, it could be libellous. Endless requests along long lines of command produced nothing but more long grass this year, with walking routes badly affected. After the May election Cllr Ruth Vigor Hedderley was handed this responsibility at the County Council. She told members of the Environment Select Committee in September that any Parish Council wishing to take over this service, with the existing by-the-metre funding transferred, should contact her. If your council thinks this is a good idea, please contact me or her directly. Connected Counties update – high speed broadband www.connectedcounties.org The Connected counties newsletter shows that the Ivinghoe/Pitstone/Cheddington areas already have the highest speed broadband service, although it doesn’t feel like that as contention problems at peak usage times are daily occurrences. On digging deeper in to BT websites dslchecker.bt.com  it looks as if by December 31st all the Cheddington exchange Cabinets will have fibre broadband installed, but to different speeds. Eg cabinet 2 downstream UP TO 25.5 Mbps, and cabinet 8 UP TO 57mbps. Upstream speeds much slower of course. Avril Davies County Councillor Ivinghoe Division BCC http://avrildavies.mycouncillor.org