20 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Ed Davey launches local election campaign with hourglass stunt
  • SEPA log thousands of complaints about state of Scottish waterways
  • Welsh Lib Dems raise concerns over future of dentistry in Wales
  • “Communities must benefit from new grid developments” – Welsh Lib Dems

Ed Davey launches local election campaign with hourglass stunt

  • Lib Dem Leader unveils hourglass stunt in Blue Wall Hertfordshire, declaring “Time’s running out for Rishi Sunak”
  • Ed Davey focusses his party’s campaign on local health and social care services, sewage pollution in rivers and the cost of living crisis.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey has launched his party’s English local elections campaign with an hourglass stunt, declaring “Time’s running out for Rishi Sunak”, and calling on the country to vote for change in May.

Ed Davey visited the Blue Wall battleground of Harpenden in Hertfordshire, which is set to be a marginal constituency at the next election. He will begin his local election tour this week, visiting every corner of the country as the party looks to make further gains on local councils.

The Liberal Democrats made major gains across Hertfordshire from the Conservative party in last year’s local elections. In 2023, the Liberal Democrats gained over 400 council seats across the country.

At today’s launch, Ed Davey unveiled a blue and gold hourglass in front of Liberal Democrat activists. After turning it upside down, the sand revealed the words ‘Time’s Running Out Rishi!’ He was joined by St.Albans MP and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Daisy Cooper, and Victoria Collins, the party’s parliamentary candidate for Harpenden and Berkhamsted.

The Liberal Democrats will focus their local elections campaign on local health and social care services, as well as the local environment and the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Speaking after the stunt, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

Time’s running out for Rishi Sunak. He might have bottled a May General Election.

He might hope the tide will turn, squatting in Downing Street for a few more months.

But even the Prime Minister can’t deny people across England the chance to have their say in local elections on the Second of May.

Rishi Sunak’s government is running out of road because people know it is time for change.

And people are voting for us because it is time for the Liberal Democrats.

SEPA log thousands of complaints about state of Scottish waterways

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today piled pressure on the Scottish Government to take action to tackle sewage pollution in our rivers as he revealed figures showing a key regulatory agency has received thousands of complaints about waterways across the country.

A freedom of information request from Scottish Liberal Democrats asked for the number of complaints of sewage raised by members of the public since 2019. Due to a December 2020 cyber attack, SEPA were unable to provide this information. However they were able to provide data showing:

  • In the first nine months of 2019, there were 1,048 complaints from the public about sewage in rivers. The areas which recorded the largest numbers of complaints were South Lanarkshire and Edinburgh & the Lothians.
  • Between July 2022 and September 2023, another 1,051 complaints were logged by the environmental regulator across Scotland’s nine recording regions.
  • Between June 2021 and September 2023, 750 sewage incidents were logged in the Regulatory Activity Form (RAF). SEPA confirmed that the RAF most commonly represents individual events rather than the number of complaints received about an individual event. Therefore, the RAF recording system underrepresents the total number of sewage complaints received. The areas which recorded the largest numbers of complaints were Falkirk, Alloa, Stirling and Perth and Lanarkshire.

In 2022 Scottish Water figures show there was a 30% increase in the number of sewage overflow events. In total 14,008 discharges were logged, up from 10,799 incidents in 2021.

However there is reason to believe that this is a significant underestimate because only around 4% of the 3,614 sewage overflows in Scotland’s 31,000-mile sewer network are currently monitored. In Angus, Clackmannanshire, Dundee, East Lothian, Edinburgh, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray and South Ayrshire, no discharge points are monitored by Scottish Water, despite images emerging of sewage pouring into rivers.

Commenting on the figures, Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

Scottish Liberal Democrats are determined to get to the bottom of Scotland’s sewage scandal.

Only a tiny fraction of the network is currently monitored but public complaints can give us a more complete picture of how widespread this problem is.

While our rivers, lochs and coastlines are destroyed, customers are facing bumper price rises from the government-owned water giant.

To turn the tide on this scandal, Scottish Liberal Democrats have published plans for a Clean Water Act that would see vital updates to our sewage network and a clamp down on discharges.

Welsh Lib Dems raise concerns over future of dentistry in Wales

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have highlighted the issues facing those wishing to access dentistry services in Wales.

The calls come following the news that the Welsh Government is set to introduce the single largest increase in dental patient charges in the UK, according to the British Dental Association.

There are also concerns surrounding dental waiting lists, particularly in rural areas which the Welsh Lib Dems have described as a “dental desert”.

According to statistics from Powys Health board last September 4,818 adults and 314 children were waiting for dental care.

Last February saw 4,361 adults awaiting dental care with 274 children also still awaiting access to care.

Commenting, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said:

We here in Wales are currently in the midst of a dental accessibility crisis.

Sky high waiting times across the country are resulting in thousands of people being denied access to vital dental care. Particularly in rural communities where a drought of accessible services has created a dental desert.

The price hike in dental patient charges will only exacerbate this crisis, driving more and more people towards dangerous DIY dental care.

With the changing of the guard in Cathays park comes a pivotal moment for renewed leadership and a fresh outlook towards solving this crisis.

We urge the Welsh Government to take a collaborative approach, to work directly with dental professionals so we can create an equitable and accessible dental care model for all of Wales.

“Communities must benefit from new grid developments” – Welsh Lib Dems

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Government to ensure that local communities are able to benefit from new grid developments.

The party has highlighted the work of initiatives like Octopus Energy’s Fan Club, which gives households living near wind turbines discounts on their bills when those turbines are spinning, as a positive example of involving residents in renewable projects.

Commenting, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said:

One of the key challenges facing the transition to green energy is ensuring that the benefits are being felt by local communities.

For far too long now the profits from large renewable energy projects are drained out of the local area, whilst the electricity generated is fed into the national grid instead of directly benefiting nearby residents.

However there is a solution to this problem.

Initiatives like Octopus Energy’s Fan Club, which offer discounted bills to households near wind turbines, and community-owned energy projects are the key to creating a grid network that works for everyone in Wales.

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This entry was posted in News, Press releases, Scotland and Wales.
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