Diesel Pollution in Felixstowe

bit of a wreckYou need to be very wary when talking about pollution caused by diesel fumes. To do so is to challenge industry, and today that too often means multinational companies, and they have clout. Councils get very nervous when asked to investigate.

Suffolk Coastal District Council are no exception. When asked to investigate air quality in Felixstowe it targeted The Dooley Inn, an inconsequential pub close the docks. It found pollution levels were unacceptable so created an AQMA (Air Quality Management Area to monitor the situation. This AQMA covered part of the ground area of the pub, ignoring the heavy goods vehicles trundling around a nearby roundabout, and not properly considering the Nitrous oxide levels coming from the dockside container movements, or from the ships often regarded as the dirtiest method of transport that we have.

With The Dooley as a scapegoat we could all sit back and relax. Drink a pint there at your peril, the rest of us can relax.

As the summer slowly edges its way into this area we can expect increased levels of pollutants. Much of East Anglia is likely to be recorded as having very high levels of air pollution http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/apr/02/smog-alert-england-wales-air-pollution-saharan-dust

In Dover sulphur levels have been reduced, so much so that their AQMA has been withdrawn. In our area we have the usual limits on communication. Published material stops in 2013, so we are no longer told. It’s likely that we will now have greatly increased pollution levels as a result of the planned Port-Centric policy now being adopted.

The town of Felixstowe lies to the east of the docks, and so receives pollution from the ships and vehicle movements. It also has pollution from many other places, including London, blown in by prevailing winds.

It may mean nothing but in the last two years twelve (12) people that I have met in Felixstowe have been diagnosed with brain tumours. That compares with a national average of 5 people per 100,000. Bad news for a town of about 30,000.

Perhaps it is time for a proper survey of the health of Felixstowe residents?

All Over

Or is it just starting?

Only three political party leaders have fallen on their swords. Fortunately the women still live.

That just leaves David Cameron strutting around like fighting cock. I suspect there are many who’d like to challenge him, but it is now all too late! Five years to wait? Perhaps not, we shall see.

All this fuss has already shown that the first past the post system is not flexible enough for multi-party contests.

I’ll go even further to wonder if the party system is the most effective way for local government.

Getting Close: Elections

Now a clear majority of the electorate want to see a change in our voting system. My dream of removing local politicians is unlikely to be met, but slowly the new multi-party system is gaining favour, and time may bring pressure to bear. The major parties will resist change.

My constituency has had a touch of gerrymandering: boundaries changed, and surprisingly the controlling party now look to have an even stronger chance of winning all the seats than before.

I’m in Suffolk Coastal. The incumbent is a Conservative Party Whip as her seat is is so safe that someone who has never been there can get elected (she proved that by winning the seat last time).

The District candidates are better. Both seats are Labour held, but there will be a real fight this time. My money is split. I’ll go for Kimberly Williams (Labour) and will struggle not to support Mike Ninnmey – but his wife will never talk to me again.  Kimberley has been a good Councillor, standing up against an overwhelming majority and making her voice heard.

For the Felixstowe Town Council I’ll choose Seamus Bennett. Seamus is new, except that his family are well known in the town (his father was a local GP) and he’s work in social affairs for several years, and is now a teacher. He runs the local sea-swimming club and anyone prepared to swim in the North Sea deserves my support.

I’m sure the Conservatives are good people, but we rarely hear from our Councillors from one election to the next. It appears that most use their positions for social gain. We only hear from two of our local Councillors.: Doreen Savage – been there for generations and certainly does exploit her social status and Andy Smith, a retired clerk, who has acquired positions well beyond his ability, and as he is instrumental in selling the Spa Pavilion for £1, doing the same for Felixstowe South (except we’ve not seen a penny yet) will never garner my support.

We will know on Friday.

I’d rather have a Town Council which included all citizens, and making proposals, which are discussed and voted upon.

Our Town Council has very little power: the allotments and the cemetery, both of which are now largely self-supporting. Most of its cash is spent maintaining a Town Hall which is barely used and which few people realise Suffolk Coastal Dictrict Council were given in 1974 but recently sold back for Felixstowe Town Council who now have a £500,000 mortgage. A sleight of hand that kept the rates down for the District.

Don’t ask!

Perhaps it was watching our three ‘leaders’ squawking on Question Time last night. The audience were great but what’s really gained by these programmes?

Cameron played his only record, Miliband was attacked for a past he can’t change, and how is Clegg still regarded as No 3? His party is unlikely to get as many seats this time – and it’s all his fault. He pledged before getting an assurance from his blue partner, who later disagreed leaving him spluttering.

We don’t have good politics. They need to change, and seeing three well-educated, upper-middle class white men trying to justify their existence was unedifying.

Then today – I don’t have a good day.