Letters round-up: Furious reaction to ‘deplorable’ disabled parking plan in Aylesbury

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This week’s Herald mailbag was full of letters complaining about plans to cut the number of disabled parking spaces in Aylesbury.

Disabled parking

Deplorable plan

The pending decision by Bucks County Council to abolish the disabled bays is absolutely deplorable.

The suggestion that they will be able to use a regular space with their badge is a joke.

How is a person who needs help alighting from the side of a vehicle supposed to get out.

It is bad enough for an able bodied person to get out sometimes let alone a person with great difficulties.

Perhaps the council would have been far better to have used some of the hundreds of thousands pounds of our money used on trying to defeat HS2 (which was always going to be a lost cause) in doing something much more useful.

Denzil Roberts

Address supplied

Idea needs rethink

I read your front page article re BCC considering allowing able-bodied motorists to park in designated Blue Badge holder bays to increase business to town centre shops.

Does BCC think that disabled motorists do not spend their money in local shops and just park for the fun of it to 
annoy the able-bodied drivers?

If this new idea comes into fruition it will merely push Blue Badge parking on to double-yellow lines around town, thus making the roads even more crowded than they already are.

By making it even harder for disabled motorists/passengers to park and shop, that will also encourage them to use online shopping if they can, cutting down even more on revenue for the local businesses.

Perhaps this idea needs a rethink, BCC.

Denise Harper

Purbeck Close, 
Aylesbury

An alternative...

If BCC are looking to reduce costs or bring in more income, perhaps they should look at the free parking they provide for staff.

Monday to Friday they take over half of Friars Square car park and pay for it, for the use of staff car parking.

Many days the car park is not fully used although the council are paying for the spaces.

Why can’t the staff pay for their parking and claim it back on expenses?

This would allow the council to look at who really requires car parking.

Perhaps the council should also be encouraging staff to use their use their cars less and encouraging staff to only drive to work say four days a week and either use public transport or car share.

Rewards should be awarded to staff who reduce their FEE parking.

Look at internal solutions before attacking the requirements of disabled drivers.

Richard Lipscombe

Broughton Avenue, 
Aylesbury

Fill in the survey

Bucks County Council is proposing to remove disabled bays around Aylesbury Town Centre to make money.

Clearly BCC does not want disabled visitors in the town. There is already a shortage of parking for the disabled and now it will be harder for them to visit, or park on double yellow lines causing congestion on the surrounding 
roads.

On top of this they are proposing to put pay and display parking in Kingsbury Square.

How can they do this when it is a pedestrian zone?

Will they be applying to remove its status as a pedestrian zone to allow them to place P&D parking, or continue to fail to enforce their legal responabilites to the public using the area, putting them at risk of an accident with an car, taxi, or delivery vehicle using the pedestrian zone illegally.

They say that disabled drivers can use standard bays in the car park, but what do wheelchair users do when they cannot get to the side of the car to transfer or have no room behind the car to allow wheelchairs to use their ramp (wheelchair accessible vehicles) when disabled parking spaces are not available?

Clearly money is more important than the safety of disabled people, or pedestrians, and people should not sit idly by and allow BCC to continue with this farce.

They are there to work on the behalf of the people of Aylesbury and Buckinghamshire, not isolate disabled people from their local town, and effectively do as they 
please.

It is not the people’s fault they have a reduced budget, but the disabled should not be made to suffer more by their inconsiderate greedy ideas.

I would encourage all disabled persons to visit www.buckscc.gov.uk, and register their objections to this inconsiderate plan before March 2.

Name and address supplied

Dismayed to read

I was dismayed to read of the proposal to reduce the number of Blue Badge Holder parking spaces in Aylesbury Town Centre.

Through no fault of her own my wife is confined to a wheelchair and we find it difficult as it is to find a suitable parking space in town on a Saturday.

Although we can use a normal parking bay it is nearly impossible to get my wife out of the car into her wheelchair because of the space needed.

It is difficult as it is to push her round town because of the un eveness of Aylesbury Town’s pavements.

I thought Aylesbury prided itself on being the home of disability sport and the paraplegic sports movement.

I hope nobody in County Hall ever finds themselves in a wheelchair , trying getting parked in Aylesbury Town.

THINK AGAIN COUNTY HALL

MJ Ridgway

Chaloner Place, Aylesbury

They waste money

After the county council has hit the sick, elderly and disabled with cuts to the social services, they now increase their attack with proposed cuts to disabled parking in Aylesbury.

It is ironic they want to save money and yet they merrily waste it!

They brought in the bollards which needed specially issued swipe cards to allow severely disabled drivers to park in the High Street.

Unfortunately, they were the wrong types of barrier and were forever going wrong.

This system cost the rate payers much. They stopped using them and allowed vehicles to drive through the pedestrianised centre.

It was said many young drivers sped through it nearly causing accidents.

To stop this from happening the council added to their stupidity by stopping disabled drivers from parking at the top of the High Street which was flatter than the spaces outside Marks & Spencer.

The spaces in Kingsbury are flat but are difficult to get out with a wheelchair as there is a kerb on the driver’s side.

George Street are the only all friendly flat surfaces in that area.

These areas do give access to the High Street and Market Square shops be it a long way to try and carry shopping.

Bourbon Street is most of the time full and is not convenient for High Street shopping.

Mark Shaw and his colleagues should try pushing a wheelchair carrying shopping and see how they get on.

Many times various people have offered the councillors wheelchairs to try but have not been taken up.

If they want to allow able bodied people parking in Kingsbury and George Street why not flatten one of the council’s big waste of money projects, the water feature, and make that parking?

In the 1960s the council was quoted, in a disparaging way, as saying they did not want Aylesbury to become a town of disabled people.

Nothing has changed!

Paul Wadddingham

Limes Avenue, Aylesbury

Europe

Impact on trains

Whilst many people are giving their opinions on the pros and cons of being in Europe, I write to give my perspective as a career railwayman.

Since the 1990s railway safety legislation has been influenced by European directives and resulting regulations have supported the development of UK legislation.

This legislation has enabled the UK railway supply industry to develop products and systems to common standards which can be sold in any European country – including UK.

It has also enabled the UK railway industry to have a standard system for safety assessment, enabling a greater pool of expertise to be engaged for the development of UK railways.

In particular the interoperability directive has enabled common train systems that allow seamless running of trains across borders.

I was involved in the development of the British application of the European GSM-R train radio system and can appreciate how difficult (and expensive) it would have been if we had not been involved in creating common standards.

In contrast to the rhetoric of ‘little Englanders’, being part of Europe has enabled us to influence and benefit from standardisation in the supply chain and make savings in procurement and safety approvals.

We need to stay in Europe to continue these benefits – opting out would disconnect us from the European club, remove our influence over common standards and increase supply chain costs.

David Lyons

Aylesbury Vale Green Party

Calvert

The wrong scheme

The articles in your editions of February 10 and February 17 merit a response from me and my group, BestW (Bucks Environmental Strategy for Treating Waste).

To start with, several of the figures attributed to Warren Whyte are wrong.

First, the capital cost of the plant to the taxpayer is not £275 million, it’s £185 million. If one adds the estimated annual payments in gate fees one gets to £275 million after 30 years but it’s a rather meaningless figure.

Either way, it’s a lot of money that shouldn’t have been spent.

Second, Mr Whyte repeats the £150 million benefit figure even though BCC’s auditors, Grant Thornton, are on record as saying this is false because the figure takes no account of the time value of money.

And its not a benefit, it’s an affordability figure.

Third, FCC have said that their electricity output at Calvert will be 20% below target, just like their plant in Lincoln, because householders are quite efficiently separating food and plastic waste from black bag waste which then produces less energy when burnt.

So Mr Whyte’s hoped for figure of power for 36,000 homes comes down to less than 29,000.

Even BCC’s own Finance Officer, speaking about the Calvert incinerator in Cabinet on 15 February, said ‘the long-term challenge will be around the impact of unpredictable energy prices’.

This is just posh language that really means ‘it doesn’t do what it says on the tin’.

So one begins to wonder what else Mr Whyte and BCC have got wrong.

Well, in our opinion it’s the whole ball game. These details above are just a few clues as to how far off course the whole project is.

In Neil Shefferd’s article of February 17 there is an official admission that the incinerator is not an adequate replacement to landfill.

All the items on the list could be taken to landfill but – now the admission – not to the incinerator.

Of course no sensible person would advocate taking hazardous or clinical waste or batteries or oils to landfill but neither can such items 
be disposed of in the incinerator.

In fact burning batteries and plastics result in emissions into the air of heavy metals, dioxins and furans, all of which are known health hazards.

It’s no comfort for the council taxpayers to be told by Mr Whyte that they “are doing a brilliant job [of] recycling” when this means that at best 40% of those batteries and plastics result in toxic emissions into the air they breathe.

BestW, which took the trouble to investigate, has been saying this for years in an attempt to deflect BCC from spending £185m on this white elephant.

Little known and even less publicised are two levels of landfill tax and the often-quoted high level applies ONLY to biodegradable waste and not to the rest like plastics, metals, tyres and furniture.

Food and garden waste that is biodegradable doesn’t go to the incinerator anyway, but to anaerobic digestion – which is why it is collected in a separate bin.

Enlightened councils world-wide have focused on waste prevention, separation at source, re-use, recycling and bio digestion – and in that order – and long ago reached reductions in kg/person generated waste and 85%+ re-use, recycling and bio digestion.

One such enlightened council is Milton Keynes, which has opted for Advanced Thermal Treatment as part of an overall waste management system that is so advanced that it will host this year’s EfW Conference with its state-of-the-art system.

By contrast it is misleading that Calvert is referred to as “the most advanced energy conversion technology in the world”.

It isn’t. Calvert’s chosen technology is nearing the end of its design life.

The irony is that Milton Keynes is downwind of this polluting monster.

BCC is on record as saying that the biggest risk to the Calvert incinerator is a change in emission regulations.

Historically such changes have happened every ten years, so it’s not difficult to recognise that this is indeed a risk for this 30 year project.

BCC has said in the same breath that they have no contingency plans for such a change.

So guess who will have to pay for it? The stalwart council taxpayer of course.

BCC is now caught in a dilemma as it has committed to supplying 110,000t of waste per year to the incinerator so any reduction in kg/person or recycling improvement beyond the current 56% will result in a shortfall and penalty.

After careful deliberation AVDC has declared its target of zero waste.

Equally little known is that the BCC-funded incinerator is 3x bigger than needed so the rest must be imported from outside Buckinghamshire to keep the continuous process running. Cut expenditure on transport, children’s services, day centres, libraries, road maintenance but spend £185m to finance an incinerator for a Spanish company to burn rubbish from London and beyond, even from outside the UK. How crazy is that?

BCC has missed a golden opportunity to design and implement an integrated waste collection, separation, re-use, recycling, bio digestion and disposal system that would have avoided the higher rate of landfill tax without the need to spend £185m and import other peoples’ waste.

So what should BCC do now? First, it should explore ways of not paying £185 million on the grounds that the plant will not perform as expected financially.

Some examples are: lower electricity price, reduced electricity generation, changed market of regional waste and competition from Ardley close by, increased re-cycling, and advances in new clean technologies. It’s not yet true that the plant “has passed all relevant inspections”.

It has not yet been commissioned.

The plan is now seven years old and of course external factors have changed in that time and should be re-examined.

Second, the Public Works Loan Board might not lend most of this £185 million to BCC because of the high risk of a change in emission regulations, which could result in a complete change to the alternative of Advanced Thermal Treatment technology, or at least an expensive change in filter technology at a cost of many millions.

Christopher Prideaux

Chairman, BestW Ltd

Doddershall

Ambulance

A rapid response

Recently we have heard a lot of criticism on the radio and in the press regarding response times of the South Central Ambulance Service.

We never get to hear about the occasions when things are exeptional in the speed in which things happen. I wish to put that right.

At about 8.20pm on Friday, February 12, I had cause to call South Central Ambulance Service because of severe pains in my chest.

The first responders pulled up outside as the initial call was finishing.

I hardly had time to finish telling them how the events had unfolded when a 
paramedic appeared at the door.

After examination and results of the ECG had been studied by the paramedic and, as by now I was feeling quite a bit better, he phoned the cardiac unit at High Wycombe to seek their advice.

Their response was, ‘send him in’.

He then called for an ambulance which arrived before he had finished writing up the notes to go with me.

It seemed like seconds, but obviously was a few minutes – but only a few.

This was my first, and without being rude, hopefully my last experience of the South Central Ambulance Service. However, if the occasion 
does occur in the future I would not hesitate to call them again.

I wish to give thanks to the two lady first responders, the male paramedic and the two ladies of the ambulance crew, all of whom were pleasant and reassuring.

Thank-you

Rodney Floyd

Bramcote Close, 
Aylesbury