A (New) County Councillors Diary

Simon Harley, County Councillor for Peninsula Division:

I have been attending online training sessions over the last month in subjects such as cybersecurity, understanding the council’s decision-making process, committees, finance, procedures at meetings, equality and inclusion, growth, highways and infrastructure, public health, adult and community services, and have quite a lot more to attend in the next months.

There has not been much in the way of council business at this stage of the four-year cycle, but we had the AGM at Wherstead Park on 27 May, the first in-person council meeting for over a year. This was a formal session essentially to decide the new administration structure and individuals. The Conservative Party are a very dominant force with 55 councillors and nominated and elected Graham Newman again as chairman and Matthew Hicks as leader.

They also nominated the chairs of all the committees including Scrutiny, despite it being pointed out that it was felt
to be good practice to include members of the opposition group in at least some of these posts. The opposition GLI group, of which I am a member, comprises the nine Green Party councillors with four Liberal Democrats and two Independents.

The leader of this group is Andrew Stringer. I have been appointed group spokesperson on public health and biodiversity. The dominant group has promised to ‘Build Back Better and Greener’ and we will be trying to hold them to account for this and work for the benefit of all the people of Suffolk.

My other work this month has consisted of responding to contact from residents (usually about Highway matters) and attending parish council meetings to get feedback from people.

Scrap flytipping Campaign Says There is No Excuse

Flytipping remains an issue in Suffolk with more than 4,500 incidents reported last year alone. It costs hundreds of thousands of pounds to clear, paid for by Suffolk residents as well as farmers and other landowners.

In response, Suffolk’s Flytipping Action Group (STAG) which includes the county, district and borough councils, the Environment Agency, Suffolk Constabulary, the Forestry Commission, the Broads Authority, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), is promoting the #Scrapflytipping campaign.

Cllr James Mallinder, Chair of the Suffolk Waste Partnership, said: “There is no excuse for flytipping and it will not be tolerated in Suffolk. It is an incredibly selfish act and a blight on our local environment, a source of pollution, a potential danger to public health and a hazard to wildlife.

“Part of the problem is caused when people allow their waste to be taken away by unlicensed waste carriers, so the public must make sure that only licensed waste carriers are used. This can be easily checked by asking to see their Waste Carrier Licence or by looking up the company, either on the Environment Agency website or by telephoning 03708 506 506.”

If illegally discarded, waste is traced back to the owner and if a licenced waste carrier hasn’t been used to dispose of the waste, then the owner will be fined, even if it wasn’t the owner who carried out the act of flytipping. Members of the public and businesses are being urged to remember the SCRAP code to stop flytipping in Suffolk:
• Suspect all waste carriers
• Check with the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506 that the provider taking your waste away is licensed
• Refuse unexpected offers to have waste taken away
• Ask what will happen to your waste
• Paperwork should be obtained – get a full receipt

For more information about fly-tipping and legal ways to get rid of unwanted items, please see: www.suffolkrecycling.org.uk/fly-tipping

Simon Harley, County Councillor for Peninsula Division

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