Kent County Council announces changes to improve Household Waste Recycling Centre service

Another issue which is causing some worry locally is anything to do with the Recycling centres.

New operational changes are coming into effect in October. These introductions have been brought in to stop trade waste being dump in household centres. Most people will not be effected. See the press release below.

Kent County Council is introducing a few minor operational changes to the Household Waste Recycling Centres from 1 October 2012, following a service review and a county-wide public consultation.  These changes will not affect the great majority of householders.
The disposal of business, trade or commercial waste at a Household Waste Recycling Centre is illegal and public opinion supports further measures to ensure the exclusion of these materials. There will also be small changes to the volumes of certain types of waste that householders can dispose of.
One of householders' main concerns in the consultation was queuing and congestion at centres – these changes will improve access for householders to dispose of their waste by reducing the number of unauthorised vehicles and trailers using the facilities.
The changes will improve the operational and financial efficiency of the recycling service Kent County Council provides for householders, and enable it to continue investing in expanding and modernising existing recycling centres, and increasing provision in mid Kent.
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste, Bryan Sweetland, said:
"The majority of Kent businesses dispose of their waste responsibly, however a very small minority are illegally using the Household Waste Recycling Centres. This equates to an estimated 25,000 tonnes of waste every year, which is a financial and environmental burden to the Kent council tax payer.
"Our approach contributes to a level playing field within the private sector, requiring all companies to pay for their waste disposal through licensed operators, which KCC will be actively signposting for businesses."
Information is available for householders through various channels from 3 September 2012, to detail the changes that may affect some of the Household Waste Recycling Centre customers. Full details can be found at www.kent.gov.uk/hwrc
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Budget Consultation - KCC proposes council tax freeze for the third year running

Its a difficult time at County hall, and in most councils setting their budget. £60 million to be saved. We are launching an eight week consultation on the budget. Below is the press release issued to announce the start. Please do have your say.
Kent County Council Leader Paul Carter is determined to freeze Kent residents' council tax bill for the third year running despite enormous pressure from national spending cuts and rising demand for services.
Launching an eight week public consultation on the county council's 2013 budget proposals, Paul Carter set out the principles that have guided next year's financial proposals:
"It would be the easiest thing to bow to political pressure to leave services unchanged or spend 'more on this and more on that' but that only leads to soaring council tax and poorer services. Time and again, we have demonstrated that if you bring fresh, innovative thinking to how we go about delivering our business – with elected councillors working alongside our experienced staff – you can find new ways to protect services and keep bills low."
The budget proposals launched today place vulnerable people, the young and boosting the Kent economy at the heart of council priorities for the year ahead.
For schools – KCC continues to focus on the wishes of parents and employers to see motivated young people set on the right course for a successful future. Today, we educate more children, and with more success, than ever before. We are committed to delivering the education service that parents want for their children - from investing in new grammar school sites to delivering special needs education in every community.
For employment - we will continue to expand our apprenticeship scheme, driven by £3m of investment, to create real jobs for Kent's young people. These proposals deliver new business loans to create 5,000 jobs and the release of further cash from the Big Society Fund is helping voluntary groups establish new enterprises.
For the vulnerable – Kent is proud to remain one of a dwindling number of local authorities to maintain the eligibility criteria at moderate for adult social care – providing security and stability for thousands of people in need.
For roads and transport – Kent's groundbreaking Freedom Pass will be maintained, enabling young people, aged 11-16, to travel the county's bus network for free. A new scheme for post-16 students will subsidise the cost of travel. Safeguarded too, is Kent's commitment to public transport and the subsidy of bus routes across the county. KCC is proposing to protect the highways maintenance budget and direct more of this money into resurfacing, cutting the need for 'patch' repairs to potholes. (This builds on an extra £6m extra spent on road repairs this year).
Taken together, Paul Carter insists that these proposals are defying the pressure on councils to cut and cut again by setting out on a path of genuine transformation of services:
"It is pointless to pretend that the money will keep rolling in from taxpayers to see the same old services in the same old way. It won't. In almost every area of life people are working differently or using new technology to make things easier. Councils must do that too and I'm proud that Kent is leading the way. Every penny we can save is a penny that remains in the pockets of the people of Kent."
Mr Carter fully admits that tough decisions have to be taken and has set out in clear terms where the council plans to make savings.
"Of course some tough decisions have to be taken. All councils are facing unprecedented cuts to their funding as the Government tackles the national deficit, and that situation isn't going to change in coming years. If we did nothing to tackle our spending, in four years time KCC would require a 42% rise in council tax to keep services running."
Residents across Kent have eight weeks (from Thursday 6 September to Thursday 1 November) to give their views on the proposals, before Members take the final decision on the budget in early 2013.
Anyone can get involved by reading the consultation document 'Framing the budget', which identifies the significant savings that are to be delivered to avoid the need to raise council tax. That document and a response form are available at www.kent.gov.uk/budgetviews
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Bright future for East Kent as council unveils marketing campaign

I had the pleasure of attending the launch of a new marketing campaign for promoting East Kent. A really good presentation. East Kent is defiantly a great place to set up business, we just need to let the rest of the country know this.

I raised concerns about a skills shortage for professionals ie Engineers but also the fact that SME's will normally empoy family and friends first.
Apprenticeships are also key to successful growth .

Below is the press release of the launch
Bright future for East Kent as council unveils marketing campaign
Campaign plans warmly received by County stakeholders and business leaders
An ambitious new marketing campaign to drive investment into East Kent was unveiled this week by County Council Leader Paul Carter, receiving positive feedback from an audience of over 100 business leaders and stakeholders.
"Grow For It" – designed to promote the benefits of locating businesses into the coastal districts of Shepway, Thanet, Dover and Canterbury – is being launched in support of Kent County Council's Expansion East Kent project, which offers £35m in loans to businesses who want to expand in the area or move there.
Among the guests invited to the preview event was Roger Gale MP, who voiced his commitment for the project and welcomed the plans as "very impressive".
The campaign, which is a three-year project, will be developed into a full programme of events, focusing on an intensive period of activity over the next ten months, as the council continues to prioritise economic growth in the wake of the recession.
Focussing on targeted industries – among them green technologies, tourism, and scientific research – "Grow For It" aims to showcase the east of the county as a prime location to do business, with great connectivity to London without the hectic city lifestyle.
Mr Carter, who commissioned the campaign, said:
"Everybody in East Kent is passionate about driving more investment and business into the area, and this campaign will not only help achieve that, but will showcase the very real benefits firms can expect if they come here.
"Our list of business-friendly initiatives in the area is long and growing every year – and we want to tell people about the terrific opportunities these districts have to offer.
"We have launched the £35m Expansion East Kent fund to make loans available to businesses coming to the area and create 5,000 jobs. We have already helped the creation of Discovery Park, which allowed us to maintain an economic future after the departure of Pfizer. And we worked incredibly hard to deliver better connectivity to London through the high Speed train service, which will put the capital within an hours' reach."
The campaign – being delivered by Seven Hills communications agency – stemmed from an intensive research project, interviewing key stakeholders in the region, such as district councils, partner organisations, investors, entrepreneurs, media and external audiences from across the UK in a series of focus groups and one-on-one interviews.
Mr Carter added:
"East Kent is unique and has vast potential to grow its economy. Seven Hills' campaign will wake up the world."
The project also examined successful national destinations through extensive best practice research.
The marketing campaign has been based on the key findings of the research phase, and includes a brand identity and timeline of focused events throughout the course of the next ten months within the region.
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New improved high speed train service announced by Kent County Council

As the new Chairman of the Thanet Joint Transportation committee I said I would be fighting for a better train service to Margate, Ramsgate and Sandwich. I did expect to accomplish it so quickly but the lobbying of KCC's Thanet Conservative members helped.

Below is the official press release for the announcement. KCC is investing in East Kent for everyone's benefit.

25 April 2012
Kent rail passengers benefit from more high speed services
Train passengers in Kent are set to benefit from a series of improvements that were announced at the 4th Kent Rail Summit on Wednesday 25 April.
The new, improved and planned services include:
Faster services from Thanet following a £10 million investment programme  by Network Rail in partnership with Kent County Council, due to begin in the new franchise after 2014
An extra extended late night high speed Southeastern service to Sandwich, Deal and Ramsgate leaving London St Pancras International at 23.12, from September 2012
Continued funding by Kent County Council for high speed services from Sandwich and Deal, slashing journey times between to capital to just 90 minutes
The extra high speed services are being funded by Kent County Council to boost business confidence and support new employment opportunities in East Kent following Pfizer's announcement last year to exit their site in Sandwich, and will provide further incentive for new business and job growth in the Discovery Park Enterprise Zone.
Demand for Southeastern's high speed service to and from Deal and Sandwich has grown steadily since they were launched in September last year. The high speed peak services cut the journey time from Deal to London to approximately 90 minutes, compared to the Mainline service, which is 135 minutes.
The extended, late night high speed service from London St Pancras to Ramsgate, will be welcomed by those working late or enjoying a night out in London.
Bryan Sweetland, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste, who chaired the 4th Kent Rail Summit, at County Hall, Maidstone, said:
"The launch of late night high speed services to East Kent is great news for the area, providing a further boost to business. It will significantly benefit tourism, building on the tremendous success of the Turner Centre and resulting increase in visitor numbers.
"This comes as part of our continued support of high speed services to Sandwich and Deal following their successful launch. We aimed to pump-prime the service to boost business and job prospects in the area with a move that was called for by local residents. This is good news for the local people and businesses.
"We worked closely with Southeastern and local MPs to secure high speed rail services at the lowest possible cost, initially on a trial basis for one year. As a result of strong passenger figures we have been able to reduce the level of our revenue support considerably.
"As service use grows the potential to extend it to provide a full timetable throughout the day will be a real possibility, which will boost local business prospects still further."
Vince Lucas, service delivery director for Southeastern said:
"We have been working more closely with Kent County Council than ever before to deliver real improvements for passengers using our services, and we're seeing a growth in passenger numbers and satisfaction is at an all time high.
"We're delighted to continue the partnership with Kent County Council to provide high speed services to Sandwich and Deal. The service is a key transport link between the coast and London. From September we will be extending the evening service departing 23:12 from St Pancras to also include stops at Sandwich, Deal and Ramsgate. This means passengers have another transport option to get home following a night out in London."
Speaking about Kent's continued support for high speed services, Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, said:
"This has been a fantastic start for high speed rail and the benefits to the local community can only increase as the service continues. It is vital for more jobs and money that Deal has better links making it a more viable business option." 
Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet, said:
"The decision to continue the high speed train to Sandwich, Deal and the Stour Villages shows how successful the service has proven for passengers. With 45 minutes sliced off the average journey into the capital, East Kent is no longer left at the end of the line.
"Over the next year, I am hopeful that businesses considering setting up in the region – particularly on the Pfizer site – will recognise that East Kent is not only a superb place for their employees to live but also within easy reach of London."
Tom Rowland, a spokesperson for rail user group Trains4Deal, said:
"This is very welcome news. We campaigned for high speed services to run to and from Deal and were delighted by Kent County Council's decision to support faster rail services. The increase in passenger figures shows that there is strong local support for our high speed connections to the capital."
Kent County Council was awarded £5 million in last year's Regional Growth Fund announcement to improve journey times along the Thanet-Ashford line. This will partner investment by Network Rail with the aim to cutting high speed journey times to the capital to under an hour.
Fiona Taylor, Network Rail's route managing director for Kent, said:
"Recognising the current and future economic and social importance of rail to the county, we are committed to continuing our collaborative working partnership with Southeastern and Kent County Council to further improve the rail network in Kent, providing passengers with faster and more reliable journeys."
December 2012 timetable consultation:
Also announced at the summit were the proposed changes to the December 2012 timetable, which is now open to stakeholder consultation ahead of any changes being given final approval by the Department for Transport. The draft proposals include:
Introduction of a 'fast' off-peak Mainline service between Ramsgate and London Victoria via Chatham, calling only at Broadstairs, Margate, Birchington-on-Sea, Herne Bay, Whitstable, Faversham, Sittingbourne, Rainham, Gillingham, Chatham, Rochester and Bromley South, and
extra capacity to meet growing demand on the high speed service.
Vince Lucas, Southeastern's service delivery director explained:
"The proposed changes to the December 2012 timetable follow feedback from our stakeholders and passengers. The proposed changes are aimed at delivering even more improvements to journey times and extra capacity on the high speed service. We will be commencing formal consultation with a range of stakeholders and passengers over the next month where we will be seeking feedback on the draft changes ahead of seeking approval from the DfT."


John Warnett

BBC Radio Kent presenter John Warnett has been awarded Kent Invicta award.

"Most people here today have woken up with John at one time or another" KCC Leader Paul Carter.

John considered it a privilege and honour to receive and has donated the award money to Demelza House in Sittingbourne.


Richborough Towers Date of demolition announced

It will be a sad day when the three Iconic cooling towers say goodbye to the east kent landscape.

I, like thousands of other motorists, use the majestic sight of Richborough Towers to signal 'nearly home'. They're like an anxious mother waiting at the garden gate of England to welcome her child home safely. I will be sorry to see them go.

Below is the traffic order to close the road.

Temporary Road Closure – A256 Ramsgate Road, Sandwich and Sandwich Road & Richborough Way, Ramsgate – Sunday 11 March 2012

It will be necessary to close sections of the A256 Ramsgate Road, Sandwich and Sandwich Road & Richborough Way, Ramsgate on Sunday 11 March 2012

It is planned the closure will be for up to 1 hour during the morning, sometime from 8.00 am onwards, as signposted on site.

The closure will be in the vicinity of Richborough Port.

It is suggested that drivers should consider alternative routes as long delays are expected in the area on the morning that these works go ahead.

A contingency alternative route will be brought in to use and signposted, if required on the day.

This will be via the A2 to Brenley Corner then via the A299 Thanet Way (to avoid the closure of the A28 in Canterbury, at Sturry Level Crossing).

There will be no access for through traffic between the north junction with A256 Sandwich By-pass and the new Sevenscore Roundabout, whilst the road is closed.

Public Footpath EE42 will be closed where it meets the exclusion zone around the works, as indicated by signs and barriers on site.

The closure is for the safety of the public during demolition works, being carried out by DDS Demolition.

These works are weather dependent, and the timing may be affected by adverse conditions.

If conditions prevent the works going ahead on 11 March, they will be deferred until one of the following two Sundays.


Kent calls for lorry charge to be spent on roads.

Latest press release from KCC on the proposed foreign lorry levy.

25 January, 2012
Background: New government proposals, announced today by the Department for Transport, will include a lorry road user charge ensuring hauliers who use UK roads contribute to their cost. The government is aiming to charge the maximum permitted by the European Union (EU), about £10 per day. Britain is one of the only countries in the EU which does not charge HGV drivers to use its roads. British logistics companies will be compensated for the charge in the UK.
Kent calls on government to spend lorry charge money on roads
The country's largest shire authority today called for cast-iron guarantees that the money raised by Government's proposed £10-a-day charge on lorries will be ploughed back into the councils that are responsible for improving roads.
Kent County Council Leader Paul Carter, also urged ministers to remove the burden of charging UK lorry drivers - who, under Government plans, would be able to claim back their costs - calling for a "more pragmatic, less bureaucratic" system that doesn't place financial pressure on UK freight firms.
Mr Carter - whose council has been the key lobbyist on the policy since 1992 when it first called for a levy on foreign lorries coming into the county through Dover - said he welcomed the proposal, but warned the system "could place unnecessary burdens" on the UK freight industry if the changes aren't made.
Mr Carter said: "It's great to see the Government putting a firm plan on the table - we've spent 20 years asking for this sort of system. Its good news for the UK freight industry and good news for taxpayers, who are currently footing the bill for damage caused to our roads by foreign lorries.
"A significant amount of money can now be raised. But if we can't get a cast-iron guarantee that money will be given back to the councils that pay to fix the damage caused by foreign trucks, then it achieves nothing.
"I'd also urge a more pragmatic, less bureaucratic approach for UK lorry drivers. If hauliers can claim the charge back, why make them pay in the first place? In a recession, the haulage industry will not welcome this element. Surely a simpler system can be found that levies a charge on entry to the UK?"
Kent has been lobbying since 1992 for a charge to lorries that can be invested in road schemes. In December 2010 KCC launched Growth without Gridlock - a landmark transport delivery plan for Kent. It identifies key infrastructure improvements that need to be carried out to ensure that new jobs are unlocked, economic growth is boosted and that the county can sustain long-term growth. The plan includes: A long-term solution to Operation Stack, a third Thames Crossing and dualling of the A21.
Mr Carter said schemes in Kent he wanted to see funded included a lorry park near the M20 to cut congestion caused by Operation Stack, which turns part of the motorway into a lorry park when cross-Channel traffic is halted following bad weather or industrial action. 
Delays caused by Stack cost the UK haulage industry £1 million a day and significantly reduce the attractiveness of East Kent as a place to do business. The management of Operation Stack already costs Kent Police and the Highways Agency some £3million. KCC is determined to avert this scenario and has identified a suitable site for a lorry park between Junctions 10 and 11 of the M20.
 Mr Carter added:  "We have the inconvenience of being the transport corridor. We will be lobbying very hard with the Department of Transport and Mike Penning to make sure Operation Stack Park, improvements to the M2 and M20 are made over the medium term." 


Thanet Local Board: Learn more about the Olympic Torch relay in Thanet

Thanet residents are being invited to learn more about the 2012 Olympic Torch relay through the area at next week's Thanet Local Board Meeting.
The meeting on Tuesday 24 January, at Garlinge Primary School, Margate, will also have presentations on Kent Youth County Council and The Big Society Fund – a new fund providing £3million of loans for new and existing social enterprises in Kent that is being run by Kent County Council in partnership with the Kent Community Foundation.
Updates will be given on Kent County Council Member Highway Funds projects – these are local road improvement projects funded from a £25,000 annual budget controlled by each KCC Member.
Thanet Local Board
DATE:                        Tuesday 24 January
TIME:              Doors open 6.30pm for 7.00pm start
ADDRESS:   Garlinge Primary School, Westfield Road, Margate, Kent CT9 5PA,
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Kent gives Diamond Jubilee street parties a boost

I was two residents meetings earlier this week, Westgate and Westbrook , and Garlinge. Both would like to organise events for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. I said I hoped that KCC would make it easier for road closures for street parties.

Kent County Council listens to public.
Communities across Kent are being invited to start planning street parties for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this summer.
Kent was one of the top local authorities in the country last year for street parties held to mark the Royal Wedding.
Kent County Council is planning to build on this success, so that thousands of residents will be able to celebrate the historic occasion with their neighbours.
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste, Bryan Sweetland, said:
"We are once again waiving charges for street parties on quiet residential roads and cul-de-sacs. This 'can do' relaxed approach will allow people to organise a Diamond Jubilee celebration with neighbours in a traffic-free street, giving children the chance to play freely for a change.
"We are aiming to repeat the success of Kent's Royal Wedding street party scheme, when we were one of the top local authorities in the country for the numbers of residential street parties.
"This was achieved by making the application process very easy. Organisers only have to complete a simple online form. In addition, there is no charge for processing applications, or for road closure signs that we will provide. This means parties in quiet residential roads and cul-de-sacs can be held for free.
"We wish Her Majesty every happiness and hope residents in Kent will seize the opportunity to celebrate this historic occasion."
Party organisers can apply for a road closure over any day during the extended four day holiday from Saturday 2 – Tuesday 5 June. The deadline for street party applications is Friday 18 May.
Organisers can request an application form online by visiting www.kent.gov.uk/streetparty, or by calling 08458 247 800.
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