I haven’t had chance to update my blog recently– in part due to a brief trip to hospital where once again I was reminded of the amazing work the NHS does.
Unfortunately it meant missing cabinet and several other engagements but thankfully things are back on track and I’m pleased to be able to talk about some of the progress which is being made in Bath and North East Somerset.
You may well have read or heard about the council’s urgent need to tackle air quality. Just after Easter we announced options which involve charging high-emission vehicles to drive into the centre of Bath which are currently under review.
Along with 27 other authorities, the council is required by Government to take action in the shortest possible time, and by 2021 at the latest, to reduce harmful NO2 levels in the city. This requirement is part of the National Air Quality Action Plan and is based on the best scientific evidence.
No decisions have been made at this time but the council is legally bound to reach a decision on a preferred package of measures by December and it is seeking people’s views.
We want to strike a balance with a package that can deliver the most benefit to local people in terms of improved air quality, with the least impact on residents and the economy within the deadline to reduce NO2.
But we can’t do this alone and in finalising our proposals we will need to work with residents, business and other organisations to develop a package of measures that is in the best interests of the city.
I would urge you to find out more by going to this page www.bathnes.gov.uk/breathe which also has details of regular drop-ins and events, how to subscribe to our newsletter.
This week we hosted the West of England Combined Authority meeting at the Guildhall where among many items on the agenda was the announcement of £1.24m for pothole repairs, following winter damage. This has been secured from the Department for Transport and will be passed by straight through from the West of England Combined Authority to its constituent councils.
In addition £5 million coming to the West of England to trial a superfast 5G network will was also discussed. This will allow new technology to be trialled at tourist attractions in Bath (The Roman Baths) and Bristol, while also looking at wider and longer-term benefits for the region, including linking up transport and homes, hospitals and schools.
Earlier in the week I was invited to a presentation about Bath Quays North which was given by potential developer partners. It was very interesting to see the ideas coming forward – all of which will need to satisfy the need to deliver jobs for the city and accommodate sustainability issues like clean air.
Clean air is a major health issue and one which if we can tackle it now, I hope young people and future generations, will greatly benefit from our actions.
These days young people, it seems, can have some amazing opportunities while others face some very challenging barriers – both of which were highlighted at a superb awards event I was fortunate to attend last Friday.
I went along to Bristol’s Young Heroes Awards, which is run by Community of Purpose in partnership with Bristol City Council. The event, which champions some incredible young people was held at The Wills Memorial Building in Queens Road.
All the nominees and award-winners were recognised for the valuable contribution they make to Bristol particularly those who have overcome difficult circumstances, made a difference in the lives of others or achieved great things.
It really was inspiring to meet and hear about the young people who took part and it is an awards event I would very much like to see happen here in Bath and North East Somerset – watch this space!