Environment

By Cllr. James Calder

It has been over 6 months now since I was elected as the Liberal Democrat Councillor for Dunfermline South and I have to say it has been very exciting for me. It has been enjoyable to represent the people of Dunfermline South and also to be helping to advance Liberal Values in the Council.

To recap at the election I was one of 7 Lib Dems elected to Fife Council, and the only Lib Dem elected in the West Fife area. As such, for me it has been important that I am carrying the weight of our area of Fife in the Party too.  I was also fortunate that my predecessor in Dunfermline South, Tony Martin, was an excellent Councillor, and I have been aiming to try and keep up his good work in the local area.

Within the Ward I have been working on a number of issues. As Dunfermline has been hit significantly in front-line cuts in staff for Parks, Streets and Open Spaces, I have been fighting for more funds for our Green areas and in particular for staffing, as many have asked me about this. I have also been working to improve the roads locally, and have had some notable successes, including in Fir Grove, the roundabout between Morrison Drive and Masterton Road and it now looks as though there will be resurfacing on Morrison Drive too. I am also seeking improvements to pavements, including within Pitcorthie and Abbeyview. Another issue I have been tackling recently has been Amazon lorries going through residential areas, and I am pleased to say that after discussions with Amazon they will be looking to put signage up both outside the warehouse and on the Motorway to redirect lorries away from the residential parts of town.

I would also like to add that much of these successes also depended on the help and assistance of the local Community Councils, and it has been a pleasure to have been attending them.

Outside of the wonderful job of improving Dunfermline South and Dunfermline as a whole, I have also been fortunate in being made the Fife Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson. In this role I have been taking on a number of issues. I have helped to ensure that children at Masterton Primary continue to go to school in their city of Dunfermline. I have been challenging the Council Administration on teacher numbers, and the Scottish Government on the fact that Fife receives a lower share of Scottish Attainment Challenge Funding than I believe it should be. One of my key successes was getting the Council Administration to agree into looking to make the School Uniform grant for children with lower income backgrounds higher, as in Fife we are both below the Scottish Average and the Scottish Government recommendations.

Overall it has been an exciting time, and I would like to thank the hard work of everyone else who has made this possible, including the local Liberal Democrat team. I will continue to work my hardest as a local Liberal Democrat Councillor.

James wants to see more public bins

James Calder has spoken to concerned residents in Dunfermline South about littering in the area. Despite some community initiatives to help clean up the area, too many people are making a mess and James is determined to do something about it.

James has said, “Just earlier today a resident showed me a nice natural area just south of Pitcorthie near the Golf Course that has had litter left all over it. While I call on the Council to clear it up, we shouldn’t have to solve it that way.”

“Instead I want to see a carrot and stick approach to deal with this. More public bins will encourage people to deal with litter themselves, and better policing including through litter wardens will discourage people by using the threat of fines.”

James wants better bus provision in West Fife

James wants better bus provision in West Fife

James Calder has been both speaking and listening to constituents, and one of the concerns that have been raised is the poor level of provision of bus services in West Fife. James wants to see more bus services each day in a number of areas as well as new bus services to better connect the towns and villages of West Fife together.

James has commented, “One of the things I want to promote is higher use of low carbon transport, and this means having public transport available to all. However at the moment we have the situation where people have to either use their cars, take a number of buses that takes a considerable amount of time or even effectively stranded if they are elderly without adequate bus provision.

“I am calling Fife Council to work with local bus companies to ensure we have better provision of bus services and so everyone can use them. It is not right that if someone lives in a village such as Crombie and has to take the bus to work in Rosyth Dockyard that their journey times are considerable due to no direct bus services.”

James at Dunfermline Town Train Station

James at Dunfermline Town Train Station

With Scotland not meeting its climate change targets, James Calder is calling for more to be done in Fife to ensure we have cleaner air and cleaner transport. This includes a commitment to public transport, expansion of provision for electric vehicles and encouraging active travel.

James has commented, “Certain areas of Fife do have pollution problems, and we also need to look at the big picture worldwide and face up to our climate change obligations. There are a few easy ways that we can make big changes.

“More can be done to encourage the use of public transport and make it more appealing. We saw how crucial the rail service was when the Forth Road Bridge was closed. I call on the Scottish Government to work on making public transport easier and better by speeding up rail services and phasing in contactless payment systems.

“We can also do more to improve infrastructure locally for electric vehicles as well as increasing the share of the transport budget to make it safer and easier to take part in active transport such as cycling and walking.”

Matthew Hall with Willie Rennie

Matthew Hall with Willie Rennie

This year, Fife Council launched their “Air Quality Strategy for Fife 2015-2020” which outlines the council’s plans for protecting and improving air quality throughout the region.

Matthew stated ‘I am very pleased to see that Fife Council is serious about protecting the local environment and the health of residents through managing and monitoring air quality in the region. As the people of Rosyth and North Queensferry know though, the ever-increasing traffic and heavy construction means that local air quality can be very poor.

‘If I were to be elected this November, I would be committed to ensuring that the council follows through with their pledges on improving air quality. With local schools situated next to busy roads, it is more important than ever to make sure that our young people and families can live in an area with clean air and low pollution.’