The overall waste recycled by Durham County Council remains stubbornly below 30%. The aerobic digester still hasn’t been fixed, and council taxpayers will be landed with a £6m pound landfill tax next year as a direct result of the failure of the Labour-run council to put in place a proper waste strategy. The Council can’t even hit its own miserly 35% target.

I asked at Cabinet today when the aerobic digester would be working again and after a repeated failure to answer the question, the best I got was that we should know in the summer. Not that it will be fixed and running in the summer – just that we will know when it will be repaired. This is unacceptable and comes of the back of my challenge a few weeks ago after finding out that we are spending just £30k of council money and £100k of national money on waste reduction schemes – woefully inadequate when you consider the £6m landfill charge which is likely to rise to £7m the year after.

Come on Labour get your act together and stop costing residents in Durham the Earth for waste.


Your Lib Dem councillors today secured £25,000 towards a new multigames, tennis courts,  and play areas for King Georges Field, Framwellgate Moor.

We have been working for the last six months with officers, fellow councillors on the Parish Council (with members of the independent group – this is more important than politics) – to get this funding, and as a direct result of your County Councillors work we now have  moved a step closer to achieving a new facility for everyone to be proud of. The result was a close vote and I hope the schemes which were not sucessful will be able to continue for other areas with other funding, but this is a clear testament to our commitment to our local community.

Lets hope we can get the remaining funding and community support we need to give Framwellgate Moor the facilities we deserve.


The launch of the Area Action Partnership for Durham City will be on May 7th at County Hall. Please contact Lee Stephenson if you would like to attend in any of the following ways or call me on 01913725866. It would be good if it was not the same old crowd turning up atthese events.

I have created a separate page (Link on left of blog) with more information.

Contact Lee:

tel: 01913018898

post: FAO Lee Stephenson, 17 Claypath, Durham DH1 1RH



As a Lib Dem group we have been campaigning for all small buisnesses to be personally consulted to check if they are receving these discounts. This would give businesses in our villages thousands of pounds more money to invest and to keep them going through the current economic crisis at no local cost to taxpayers. It is unacceptable for the government to require businesses to seek these discounts. In Wales it is automatic. I hope that the new initiative being launched to find out which businesses should recive this discount will do everything it can to make sure that our local businesses are getting the discounts they should have.

As a Lib Dem group I am impressed that we have managed to change policy on this but feel we should not have had to get political to acheive something which should be automatic.

If any business wants to contact me please call me on 0191 372 5866. I hope to get in touch with as many as possible in the coming weeks.


Like a perfect storm, it appears that three sets of road works last week caused problems on Potterhouse Lane and Kimblesworth Grange.

A new footpath has been built along Sacriston Lane, repairs to the collapsing edges of Potterhouse Lane, and the resurfacing of the A167, all created chaos for residents at Kimblesworth Grange. This weekend, should be the final weekend where Potterhouse Lane will need to be closed off, and hopefully we will not have the same problems again. The footpath along Sacriston lane and the repairs to Potterhouse are now complete. In future the Council has been asked to make sure that residents on Potterhouse Lane are informed if there are going to be problems, although there does not appear to be any work planned for the near future.


Cllr Crooks and I have today informed residents on Dryburn Hill in Framwellgate Moor that carriageway resurfacing will take place later this year. This comes off the back of hard work by highways officers in surveying works we asked to be looked at last year.

It has been many years since these roads were resurfaced and the state is clearly terrible, we are confident that the promises we made on improving our roads are being met and will have further announcements in the coming weeks.

Our policy of getting on with it will continue. At a time when people are paying more and more for council tax we should all expect the best for our area. We feel we are achieving this and look forward to informing residents of further improvements and investments in our area after many years of failure.

As a party we are proud of the fact that we managed to secure no cuts in the highways budget working cross party. This is how it should be done, especially in the current climate. Whilst other parties may wish to be negative, we take no truck with this. We will work with anyone who wants to work with us for the community.


Think big, choose a better future – Nick Clegg

Sun, 08 Mar 2009

Nick Clegg delivering keynote speech at Harrogate 2009
Nick Clegg delivering keynote speech at Harrogate 2009

The Liberal Democrat leader tells his party conference that it will be a long, slow climb out of recession but his party offers hope for the future

Click here to read the full text of Nick Clegg’s speech

Nick Clegg laid the blame for Britain’s economic crisis and political malaise squarely at the door of both Labour and the Conservatives, in his keynote speech to the party spring conference in Harrogate:

“A never-ending cycle of red-blue, blue-red government has got us into this mess – it is never going to get us out.”

He said now was the time to try something new:

“Now is the time to think big.

“If you want better, choose different.

“Choose the Liberal Democrats.”

Nick made a stinging attack on the Labour Government for having let people down: 

“Labour is like a spent match. There’s nothing left.

“You remember how hopeful people felt in 1997?

“Remember the promise of a better future?

“Don’t you feel the disappointment?

“An economy in tatters. A country more unequal than before. An illegal war, our government implicated in torture and rendition. Our environment poisoned. Our privacy invaded, our freedom curtailed.

“If you believe, like I do, in progress.

“If you feel let down by Labour, and see that the Conservatives will never be a party of change.

“Turn to the Liberal Democrats.

“We carry the torch of progress now.”

Much of the speech was devoted to the state of the economy and what the Liberal Democrats would do to turn things round:

“At least 3 million unemployed by the end of the year. That’s devastating.

“Let me be clear. We will do everything possible to help.

“Everything to protect jobs, keeping viable businesses going.

“Everything to make sure being made redundant does not mean you lose everything.

“And everything to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, to get people back out to work as soon as possible.”

Nick told conference that the government has borrowed twelve and a half billion pounds to finance this year’s VAT giveaway:

“That money alone could have created nearly 100,000 new jobs.

“And laid the foundations, quite literally, for a new green economy.”

Nick said the party should be proud of their progressive policies and enduring liberal values:

“Let us say it loud and clear.

“We are the only party who will put money into people’s pockets with fair tax cuts.

“The only party to offer universal childcare and smaller classes in our primary schools.

“The only party who would use Gordon Brown’s wasted billions to create thousands of jobs today by investing in homes, hospitals, schools and public transport to build the green economy of tomorrow.

“The only party that will rebuild the jobs, homes and hopes this recession has destroyed.”