Jose Green - End of Year Report - December 2019 For those of you who read my updates or attend a Parish Council meeting you will notice that as I cover 15 villages there is a strong possibility you are already aware of much of what I’m going to tell you. For that I apologise. Either way I intend to circulate this report directly to the Editors of the various Parish Magazines in the Fovant and Chalke Valley Division so that it will appear only the once.
I expect you have noticed the new headed paper of Wiltshire Council ( WC ) has changed, not only the colour, to a bright green that reflects the proactive stance WC is taking on environmental and ecology issues but also the strap line of ‘Where Everybody Matters” has been removed. These words were sometimes ridiculed but the intention was sincere.
As we prepare for the winter 24 new gritters are waiting to do their work across the major roads of Wiltshire......11,000 tonnes of salt is in stock, 726 miles of A and B roads spread 150 tonnes each time they go out. 24 drivers are on standby. I hope all your grit bins have been re-stocked in preparation?
The new MyWiltshire App has just been launched. I encourage anyone who is able to to download it and report anything you believe is a problem. From fly tipping, abandoned cars, potholes, signage, drainage and flooding, please be assured it is the most effective way of reporting something to which you are then issued a number and able to ‘track’ it to see what is being done about resolving what you have reported.
I have previously mentioned the successful Government funding Salisbury has received since the Novichok incident, Chippenham is to receive £75 million to support various infrastructure improvements including some highway works. The Street LED Lighting programme has begun at a cost of £12,295,000m over 2 years. The intention is that replacement lighting in the Salisbury and Wilton area will commence in February-April 2020.
A newly formed Global Warming and Climate Emergency Task Group has been formed. As you know WC is hoping to be carbon neutral by 2030. Can I emphasis that Wiltshire Council does not include Swindon which is a Borough Council. Part of the Task Group’s remit is to include renewable energy use and efficiency, particularly in WC’s housing stock and buildings; Planning, Transport and Air Quality, Waste..( to improve recycling rates ) Land use, Business and Industry. The SWW Area Board is encouraging the 38 villages within it to create their own environmental/green projects. There are some hugely imaginative groups of volunteers coming up with ideas.
The campaign to reduce Flytipping goes on. A great proportion of dumped material is Commercial Waste. Unlimited fines and/or 5 years imprisonment, a £50k fine and/or 12 months imprisonment are all options when a court case is held. Fixed Penalty Notices are £400 and are being served proactively now. Any successful information leading to a prosecution will earn a voucher of £200 to whomever reported it. Never rummage through tipped waste as it could be challenged if disturbed or removed. Always take a photo and report it on the MyWilts App.
Potholes and the state of our rural roads remain an issue. Constantly attempting to keep up with the work is not helped by the weather conditions throughout the year. The satisfaction rates have increased though and reflects the national average but there is more to do. HGV lorries who argue they are lost or using mobile phone SATNAV is being stamped on. Weight restrictions on roads are not encouraged as there is an opinion that vehicles should be ‘spread’ across the network. There are 4,500 km ( 2,796 miles) of roads across Wiltshire and are WC’s largest asset/liability.
Social care and vulnerable people, young and older remains the highest financial commitment.
I attended the Operational Flood Working Group on the 13th November. There is a common thread of concerns regarding ground and surface water, the risks involved and the actions required. Representatives from Ansty, Fovant, Bishopstone, Swallowcliffe and many other villages were able to highlight their main issues. Drains and gully clearance, the river projects, build up of debris and sediment which then blocks the drains and creates standing water above the drains is the main concern. There are 4 gulley tankers to service the County.
Marvellous news that the Cranborne Chase AONB has been awarded the International Dark Skies Status. This is a highly prestigious award as there are 14 only across the world. Tourism is likely to increase and greater lighting control to decrease light pollution will be conditioned through the planning process.
I constantly press that we in the Fovant and Chalke Valley should have our fair share of the budget spend. Can I emphasise though, that information and support is always appreciated from the Parish Council’s (PC’s) in helping to highlight specific problems. As the PC’s are currently setting their precept Wiltshire Councils’s share of the Council Tax is likely to go up by 2%. Yet again a further 2% will be a levy for social care. This will require ratification at Full Council.
Can I finally wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful and Healthy New Year.
Fovant and Chalke Valley Division.