County Councillor for Gartree December

Net Zero Countywide by 2045

Leicestershire is leading the way in the fight against climate change, as the county council has committed to being carbon neutral ahead of national targets.

 Leicestershire County Council has joined the UK100 coalition of the most ambitious local leaders in the UK and pledged to reach a revised target of achieving ‘net zero’ across the county by 2045 – five years sooner than the government target of 2050.

This new pledge reflects the council’s commitment to tackling climate change, both now and in the years ahead, and stretches current ambitions to drastically cut emissions in order to see a lasting environmental impact.

The County Council has already committed to their own target of being a carbon neutral council by 2030.

Update on Local Coronavirus Situation

As regular readers of this column will know, I have been monitoring the positive case numbers and rates per 100,000 daily for the Kibworth and Great Glen Middle layer Super Output Area (MSOA) area since mid October.  There was a definite spike in the cases reported over 7 days around mid November (62 cases in 7 days, rate of 511.5) but since then the numbers have mainly declined  and stand at 19 cases in 7 days (rate of 156.7) as of 13 December.

     As we should all know the whole of Leicestershire county, including Harborough District, was placed into the Tier 3 local restriction level by the government on 2 December.  This is due to be reviewed on 16 December.  Some areas of Leicestershire continue to have elevated case numbers, e.g. Oadby & Wigston Borough and Blaby District both had rates above the national rate at the end of November, which were declining but need to drop more.

     Although the majority of people are sticking to the rules of washing hands, covering faces and maintaining 2m space between each other, there are some 17 to 21 year olds who are asymptomatic, so might not know they have the virus, and maybe spreading it to members of their immediate families and friends. The government has now issued the county with an initial supply of 16,000 lateral flow test (LFT) kits as part of a pilot scheme being tried in 60 different areas across the country.  Once staff have been trained, these LFTs will be used in hot-spots around the county, where infection rates are highest. The kits can return results in under an hour and Mike Sandys, the Director of Public Health, believes they will be a significant tool in reducing the number of infections across the county.  Those testing positive for coronavirus will be asked to self-isolate and so reduce the risk that they might pass on the infection.  This important step will see the number of positive cases and rates come down, and if it is successful then Harborough District could come out of Tier 3 by Christmas, although whether to Tier 2, or less likely to Tier 1, is down to all of us.

     Meanwhile we await information about the roll-out of the Pfizer vaccine for Leicestershire.

Safe Disposal of Zombie Batteries

Leicestershire residents are being urged not to throw out dead batteries with household rubbish or recycling, following a string of fires at local waste sites.

     During 2019/20, lithium-ion batteries were suspected to have caused around 250 fires at waste facilities in the UK.  Since October this year, there have been three fires at a Leicestershire Transfer Station, believed to have been caused by improperly discarded batteries and small electrical items. The majority of batteries thrown away in the UK are not put in the correct recycling bins. It’s a very serious environmental issue.

     Dead batteries thrown away with other waste and recycling, so called “zombie batteries”, are likely to be crushed or punctured when the waste is collected and processed. Some battery types like lithium-ion (Li-ion) and nickel-metal Hydride (NiMH) can ignite, or even explode, when they’re damaged, putting lives at risk.

The Kibworth Co-op is a battery collection point, so please consider taking them there rather than dropping into your general waste.

And finally, I wish readers a very Merry Christmas and I hope we’ll all have a better 2021!

Kevin Feltham