Bromley's recycling rate has dropped dramatically - in January and February 2021 the rate dropped to 34%. The average for the year was 47%, the lowest rate for more than 8 years.
Bromley Liberal Democrats have asked for more information to find out where the problem has occurred. We found out earlier in the year that 85% of paper and card collected for recycling was incinerated because it was too wet to be recycled. The problem was caused by several months of very wet weather plus a leaking roof at the recycling centre. We urged the council then to find some practical solutions to this problem - including providing recycling bins with lids, keeping local residents informed about the need to keep paper dry - the cost to the council financially is considerable but of course the longer term cost is the environmental damage and the loss of credibility in the service by residents who take time to separate their rubbish.
The volume of household rubbish has increased everywhere during lockdown - most councils are reporting increases of up to 10% - but Bromley's increase was only 3% (2020/21 compared to 2019/20).
Has your business been impacted by the pandemic - for good or bad? What are the main challenges you're facing as you re-open? Take our short survey to help us to help you get the support you need in Bromley.
There are so many planning applications affecting the High Street it is difficult to keep track. Recently we've seen the council reject an application to build a 12 storey development on top of the old Maplins shop (although only by one vote), revised plans approved to build a 9 storey block at 25-27 Elmfield Road (the old Conservative club), building a 10 storey office block at 19 Elmfield Road (Prospect House), and we're expecting an update from the developers about Site G ("Churchill Quarter") imminently where 40 houses in Ethelbert Close will be demolished and replaced with 410 flats towering over the High Street and Library and Church House Gardens. And of course there are more developments in the pipeline.
And in the middle of this plethora of developments, with the background of vital services being seriously pared back, we hear about the Council's plan to spend £1.2m on a greenhouse style structure and two controversial statues with virtually no consultation.
Update on Biggin Hill Airport Expansion 27/5/21
Thankfully Bromley Council's Executive voted unanimously against the change of use plans proposed by the airport. Good news for all of us - for air quality, traffic and noise. Now let's keep the pressure on the council to ensure that the agreed Noise Action Plan is enforced (pre lockdown the view was that it wasn't), and let's see the air pollution data that the council is obliged to collect made public as soon as possible so that trends can be monitored. Biggin Hill Airport brings a lot of benefit to the local community and economy, and they've previously shown a willingness to work towards minimising their impact on the environment, so let's continue with the positive dialogue.
Here's our original article about the change of use application:
Biggin Hill Airport have applied to Bromley Council to change the permitted use of the airport to accept fare-paying passengers. This is due to be decided at a council meeting on 26th May - so please let your ward councillors know your views as soon as possible. We concerned about the impact on the lives of local residents in terms of noise and infrastructure, but also have major concerns about the environmental damage such an expansion would cause. We are also dismayed by the lack of consultation with local residents.
Under the terms of its licence Biggin Hill can only handle flights that have been chartered for business use or for private flying. The application to accept fare paying passengers could indicate a significant increase in flights and a change to the type and size of aircraft using the airport. There are restrictions on the number of passengers and noise levels but campaigners say these restrictions are sufficiently ambiguous or unrestricted for them to offer any significant protection against this increase in traffic at the airport. The restrictions on number of flights is about to expire in any case. And there is every chance that Biggin Hill Airport will make further applications for these restrictions to be amended.
Apart from the impact on the lives of individual residents in terms of noise, a major concern is that expansion will have a dramatic effect on the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. The impact on the climate must be taken into account - apart from the impact on the air we breathe here in Bromley there is every likelihood that expansion of airports like Biggin Hill will compromise the national government's ability to reach its own net zero target.
The quieter skies of lockdown are already starting to sound a little bit noisier, and over the next 12 months we'll expect to see a return to pre-pandemic air traffic. We all remember how much impact the extended flying hours made to us, seeing an increase in size of aircraft as well as the hours they were operating.
Please email your local councillors plus the leader of the council ([email protected]) to make sure they know your views.
Ed Davey MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, came to Bromley (via Zoom) on 20 May to launch the local party's campaign to get Liberal Democrats elected to Bromley Council in 2022. He was joined by the deputy leader of the party, Daisy Cooper MP.
With just over 11 months until the local elections Ed Davey commended the local team for starting promptly, emphasising that while there is optimism in the local party on the basis of some very close 2nd places in 2018 we do need to talk to voters about our policies and make sure they know that we have realistic and deliverable policies that can make a real difference to people in Bromley.
"We want a Bromley that is fairer, greener and more caring than it is now. And we have the track record to show that we have realistic practical policies that can deliver that." He highlighted our track record on environmental policies. 4 out of the 5 top councils in recycling in England are Lib Dem run councils. In national government, Lib Dems were responsible for nearly quadrupling Britain's renewable power and made us world leaders in offshore wind.
Daisy Cooper also expressed confidence in the local team, encouraging them to look at her experience in St Albans where they overturned a Conservative majority and now lead the council. A trend we have seen in many areas in Southern England. "Many people in these areas share our values and our shared commitment to public services, our support for small businesses and our commitment to supporting our communities. "