South Glos Liberal Democrats welcome declaration of Ecological Emergency

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South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats have welcomed the statement by the authority’s majority Conservative group, following pressure from the Opposition Liberal Democrats, that the Council has declared a formal Ecological Emergency.

South Gloucestershire’s neighbouring West of England local authorities of Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and Bristol declared Ecological Emergencies earlier in 2020, however Conservative-controlled South Gloucestershire had, until tonight, made no formal statement on the subject.

Following the submission of a motion to tonight’s full council by the Liberal Democrat Group calling for the declaration of an Ecological Emergency, the Conservative group gave notice to the opposition groups of their intention to move an amendment including the phrase: “this council notes that a formal Ecological Emergency has been declared”.

Following this acknowledgement that South Gloucestershire Council has already declared an Ecological Emergency, and the statement by the Leader of the Council during the discussion on Climate Emergency Update Report, that tackling the Ecological Emergency had been fully integrated into tackling the Climate Emergency the Liberal Democrat Group decided it was no longer necessary to move the motion at Council.

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Adrian Rush, who had been due to move the Liberal Democrat motion, said:

“I welcome the administration’s acknowledgement that, through it’s work on the Climate Emergency, this Council has already declared an Ecological Emergency.

“Declaring an Ecological Emergency is an important step forward. The administration now needs to demonstrate that it takes the Ecological Emergency, which it has acknowledged, seriously.”

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Call for touch-free pedestrian crossings

Raj Sood at Downend Pedestrian Crossing

Local campaigner Raj Sood is calling for South Glos Council to trial touch-free pedestrian crossings in the busy shopping centre of Downend.

Raj said:

"When we press the button on a pedestrian crossing, we are touching a surface that many others will have already touched, some of whom may have Covid. Installing a simple, relatively cheap piece of kit allows people to operate it touch-free. That cuts the risk of spreading the virus, especially in a busy place like Downend shopping centre. I want to see this technology piloted here, where it could make a real difference."

Cllr Claire Young, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on South Glos Council, wrote to officials to ask them to run a pilot. She said:

"We all want to be as safe as possible as we go about our daily lives. Despite the recent good news on vaccines, it looks like we'll need to be careful about hand hygiene for some time to come. Anything that cuts the number of times we have to touch a surface that others touch has got to help cut the spread not only of Covid but also of other viruses and infections that blight our lives. I hope officials will look seriously at trying out this technology."

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Martin Horwood addresses South Glos Lib Dem's AGM

Martin Horwood

We held our South Glos Annual General Meeting on 19 Nov (by video conferencing) with Martin Horwood - former MP for Cheltenham and MEP for South-West England - giving an insightful talk about the current state of populist politics and what we can do about it.

The following roles have been filled within the local party.

  • President (Honorary) – Eddie Gadsby
  • Chair – Karl Tomasin
  • Vice Chair (Kingswood) – Ayrden Pocock
  • Vice Chair (FABs) – Roger Allinson
  • Secretary – Chris Willmore
  • Treasurer – Andy Daer
  • Membership Development Officer – Philippa Marsden
  • Data Officer – Stephen Bingham
  • Young Liberals – James Arrowsmith
  • Diversity Officer – Recruitment in progress
  • Ordinary Members – Claire Young, Louise Harris, Ruth Davis

South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats fight to give carers a voice


The Liberal Democrats are asking people across our community who care for relatives to get in touch and share their story – to mark national Carers Rights Day.

Liberal Democrat party leader Ed Davey has said he wants the party to be a "strong voice" for the millions across the country – including 27 thousand [*] people in South Gloucestershire - who care for those who need it.

Ed himself knows the burden put on carers for family members - having been a carer for his mum when growing up and now caring for his disabled son.

Carers can get in touch and share their experiences at

Claire Young, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on South Glos Council said:

"Millions of people across the country act as unpaid carers for loved ones. This year has highlighted more than ever the issues many of them face."

"If you are a carer - or someone who receives regular care support from a relative of a friend - we want to hear from you. Please get in touch with us and share your story."

* Unpaid carers reported in the last Census (2011)

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Lib Dems urge Chancellor to level the playing field for small shops over Christmas

Thornbury Christmas High Street

South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats have today called on the Chancellor to “level the playing field” to help small high streets compete with internet giants in the run up to Christmas.

The Liberal Democrats fear local shops hit by decreased footfall during the coronavirus pandemic will continue to struggle and have therefore proposed a new scheme in a similar vein to how the Eat Out to Help Out scheme aided restaurants.

To encourage people to shop local from home to save the high street, the Party wants to see the Government cover the costs of postage and have appealed to our three Conservative MPs - Luke Hall, Jack Lopresti & Chris Skidmore - to back the campaign. 

The Federation of Small Businesses has welcomed the idea to help firms survive. Mike Cherry, National Chair of the Federation, said: "This is the type of creative idea that would boost small businesses and balance out the playing field.”

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Thornbury & Yate, Claire Young, said:

“Small businesses in South Gloucestershire are worried about their ability to stay afloat over the coming months. For so many, Christmas is their most lucrative time of year but coronavirus restrictions have caused footfall to nosedive.

“When people turn online to do their Christmas shopping, free postage offers from online shopping giants are incredibly tempting. That makes it even tougher for small businesses, putting our high streets at further risk. Ministers must level the playing field.”

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP added:

“In the Summer, the Chancellor launched a campaign to support the hospitality sector. We now need to see this Government go the extra mile to support small business in the festive period.

“We want the Chancellor to pay the postage on online purchases from small local independent shops to make them a more viable option for people hunting for Christmas presents and encourage people to shop small from home.”

Mike Cherry, National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

"This is the type of creative idea that would boost small businesses and balance out the playing field.

"We must do everything we can to help our small, independent stores.

“This is going to be the most important festive season our economy has ever seen and could be make-or-break for some of our small businesses.

"That's why we must pull out all the stops to help them survive the end of 2020 and beyond."

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