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Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

  • Rob at CH
    Article: Jul 13, 2018

    Vast swathes of the Kent countryside would be turned into lorry parks under a no deal Brexit, according to a plan presented to Kent County Council.

    At a full council meeting on Thursday, a paper was put before councillors by Conservative Leader Paul Carter, which suggested concreting over large areas of the countryside in an effort to avoid gridlock if customs checks were imposed at ports.

    Checking every lorry passing through Dover would slow freight traffic to a crawl and lead to permanent Operation Stack, necessitating acres of extra lorry parking.

    Other impacts of a disastrous no deal Brexit were discussed, including shortages of skilled workers and the introduction of tariffs that could see Kent firms going bust.

    The Liberal Democrats, the official opposition on Kent County Council, tabled an amendment calling for the council to tell the government that a no deal Brexit must be avoided at all costs.

    The party also called for a People's Vote, so the public can decide whether to accept a proposed Brexit deal. The Conservative leadership blocked any debate and instructed councillors to vote against the Lib Dem proposals.

    Liberal Democrat Leader Rob Bird told the council: "A bad Brexit deal for Britain will be a disastrous deal for Kent. No-one wants our roads turned into lorry parks. That is what will happen if customs checks start up, which is a real risk.

    "The government talks about using technology to fix it, but that does not exist yet and who knows if it ever will.

    "Today the opposition at Kent County Council fought for the people of Kent's interests to be put first. It is appalling that Conservatives prioritised papering over their party divisions. Kent deserves better than this."

    Speaking at the meeting, Economic Development Spokesman Antony Hook told the council: "No deal Brexit means loss of tariff-free access to the EU for Kent firms.

    "Tariffs are more than 30% on agricultural products and 19% on beverages, and that would put Kent firms out of business.

    "A no-deal Brexit would also mean UK products will no longer be licenced or accredited for sale in the EU, which would crush Kent's pharmaceutical and chemical firms.

    "We have to tell the government that Kent cannot have a no deal Brexit."

    Explaining why a People's Vote is important, Cllr Hook said: "If it's a good deal, people will endorse it and that will strengthen it, but If it's a bad deal they will be angry if not allowed to reject it.

    "People may ask where is the £350m per week for the NHS? Why haven't our wages improved? Why did the threat of Turkey joining turn out to be false?

    "They may consider that we have, in fact, a better economy and a safer place in the world as part of a strong, united Europe. When we all find out what the exit deal actually is, we owe people the chance of a fully informed say for the first time."

  • Thamelink Train
    Article: Jul 13, 2018

    Liberal Democrat county councillors have called on the KCC Cabinet Member to seek reassurance from the Department for Transport that the timetabling problems of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) will not result in any further delay in bringing the Thameslink service to Maidstone.

    Thameslink services should already be running from Maidstone to Central London. Disappointingly, the County Town has already been shunted to the back of the line with services delayed to December 2019. Any further delay would be totally unacceptable to the poorly served Maidstone rail users.

  • Rob Bird
    Article: Jun 7, 2018
    By Rob Bird, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at KCC

    The Government's latest proposal for a backstop 'Temporary Customs Arrangement' post Brexit does nothing to help maintain the continued frictionless movement of freight through Kent and the Channel Ports after Brexit.

    The proposal is focussed almost entirely on the desire to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This is understandably a red line in the Brexit negotiations; even so, the proposal may be rejected by EU negotiators in Brussels.

  • Article: May 31, 2018

    Sites with dangerous levels of air pollution have increased by 25 per cent in just one year according to figures released by Kent County Council.

    At May's full council meeting, Cllr Antony Hook, Kent Liberal Democrats' spokesperson for economic development, asked Cllr Peter Oakford, Cabinet Member for strategic commissioning and public health, how many locations in the county have failed to meet recommended or legal standards of air quality levels.

  • Rob Bird
    Article: May 18, 2018

    Maidstone will face severe congestion under new plans to park lorries along one side of the M20, forcing other traffic onto the opposite carriageway, Kent Liberal Democrats have warned.

    The Government's latest scheme to cope with freight delays caused by post-Brexit border issues is to use the southbound carriageway of the M20 between junctions 8 & 9 to park lorries destined for Europe. Other traffic would be diverted onto the northbound carriageway in a contra-flow system.

  • Javelin
    Article: May 15, 2018

    The future of Maidstone's high speed rail link remains in doubt after train company bosses again refused to guarantee services.

    At Monday's Rail Summit meeting at County Hall, David Statham, managing director of train operator Southeastern, would not give an assurance that peak time high speed services from Maidstone West to London St Pancras will be maintained. Mr Statham was responding to a question from Rob Bird, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at KCC, and councillor for Maidstone Central.

  • Charging POint
    Article: May 15, 2018

    Kent Liberal Democrats are calling for electric car charging points to be included in all future parking development to speed up the county's conversion to electric vehicles.

    At full council meeting on Thursday, May 17, Antony Hook, Liberal Democrats spokesperson for economic development, will propose that KCC adopts a raft of measures to make it easier for Kent residents and businesses to switch to electric vehicles.

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