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21st April 2010 NEWS FROM AROUND THE REGION
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WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH - 332 BAGS OF IT

Amey, contractors to Herefordshire Council are calling on county residents to help in the fight against litter and help make Herefordshire a better place to live in. Ruth Kinsella, Amey's watchman in chief, told members of the environmental scrutiny committee on Monday, 19th April that while Amey will continue to clear litter on behalf of the council, it would be better if it was not dropped in the first place. She said, 'There is a significant cost to clearing up litter and we could help reduce this if people used existing litter bins or took their rubbish home with them. Amey has just cleared a staggering 332 bags of litter from a stretch of the A40 as part of our twice-yearly clear-up of major road routes.'

As part of their campaign to get residents more involved in helping to address litter, Amey issues litter packs to communities and has supported numerous volunteers in carrying out community litter picks. Amey can also help by collecting the litter picked up by volunteers. They have also targeted supermarkets and fast food outlets to get a co-ordinated response to littering and will also be supporting a campaign targeting litter on the Rotherwas Industrial Estate.

Richard Ball, Herefordshire Council's assistant director added, 'We need to engender a sense of pride in the community so we can tackle litter and make the best of the available resources. We will work with communities to help themselves and then share what we learn with other communities who want to start raising community pride in their own areas.'

As part of their own working practices, Amey has taken out a year long hire agreement on an Aquazura Scrubbing Machine which will be used to deep clean grime and dirt embedded in paving stones and help to combat the problem of chewing gum deposits. The machine is going to target High Town in Hereford first and will then be moved out to the market towns throughout the year on a rotational basis.


Colin Frampton, Street Scene Supervisor and Street Scene operatives, Angela Morgan and Andrew Gunner with the bags of rubbish collected by Amey on the A40.

FIVE CANDIDATES TO STAND FOR HEREFORD AND SOUTH HEREFORDSHIRE

Five people have been nominated to stand in the Hereford and South Herefordshire parliamentary constituency for the general election which takes place on Thursday, 6th May. The candidates are: Jesse Norman, Conservative, Sarah Jane Carr of the Liberal Democrats, John Oliver, British National Party, Philippa Louise Roberts, the Labour Party Candidate and Valentine James Smith of the UK Independence Party (UKIP).

Residents who have chosen to vote by post should receive their ballot papers in the next week or so as the council is aiming to send out postal votes by Monday, 26th April at the latest.

Residents who have chosen to vote by proxy, this means they have appointed someone to vote on their behalf, have until 5pm on Tuesday, 27th April to return their completed application form to the electoral registration team based at Hereford Town Hall. The application form can be found on the council's website and is available from Info shops and libraries. Applicants may need to have their application vouched for, depending on the reasons.

If someone is unable to get to the polling station due to a medical emergency that has arisen after the normal deadline, they can apply to vote by proxy up to 5pm on the day of the election.


JESSE'S CAMPAIGN GATHERS SPEED ACROSS THE COUNTY

Following the statement from Richard Aird of Barr's Court School last week 'There's no doubt where my support goes. We need someone like Jesse to promote Hereford.', the second week of the General Election campaign opened with another important endorsement for Jesse Norman as MP from Ali Baker, who runs Cook's Haven on Castle Street in Hereford.

Like Ali, a huge number of local business people have indicated their support for Jesse's campaign already. They have seen him in action, campaigning to protect local Post Offices from closure, supporting local shops with his Directory of Small Shops of Herefordshire, and fighting for better rail and broadband access to improve the local economy.

Jesse spoke this week about local business and economic issues on BBC Hereford and Worcester, as well as addressing the Association of Ross Traders, and the Hereford Conservative Business Forum. He highlighted the missing 35 million a year for Herefordshire's public services from central government.

'Herefordshire has been the Forgotten County, ignored by Westminster for too long. My job if elected is to go there and get us the deal we deserve,' he said.

Jesse and his volunteer teams were working harder than ever this week, on the doorstep across the constituency. And Jesse spoke for many local people when he criticized the siting of a new mobile phone mast on Fernbank Road at a planning meeting in Ross. Commenting, Jesse said, 'There has been a flood of negative and misleading literature from the other side. But local people like Ali Baker know we are working positively and constructively for the long term future of the county.'


SIX CANDIDATES NOMINATED TO STAND FOR NORTH HEREFORDSHIRE

Six people have been nominated to stand in the North Herefordshire parliamentary constituency for the general election which takes place on Thursday, 6th May. The candidates are: Liberal Democrat, Lucy Ann Hurds, Independent, John King, Felicity Mary Norman of the Green Party, Jonathan Paul Oakton of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), Neil Sabharwal, The Labour Party Candidate and conservative, Bill Wiggin.

Residents who have chosen to vote by post should receive their ballot papers in the next week or so as the council is aiming to send out postal votes by Monday, 26th April at the latest.

Residents who have chosen to vote by proxy, this means they have appointed someone to vote on their behalf, have until 5pm on Tuesday, 27th April to return their completed application form to the electoral registration team based at Hereford Town Hall. The application form can be found on the council's website and is available from Info shops and libraries. Applicants may need to have their application vouched for, depending on the reasons.

If someone is unable to get to the polling station due to a medical emergency that has arisen after the normal deadline, they can apply to vote by proxy up to 5pm on the day of the election.


LAUNCH OF FLAVOURS OF HEREFORDSHIRE 2010

The twelfth annual Flavours of Herefordshire awards scheme has been launched - giving the county's best chefs, restaurateurs, publicans, accommodation providers and food producers another chance to get creative with local food.

Flavours of Herefordshire is one of the longest running schemes in the UK, recognizing and rewarding the use and promotion of local produce. The full list of categories for the 2010 Flavours of Herefordshire competition is now featured at www.visitherefordshire.co.uk. As well as being one of the longest running, the scheme is also one of the very best examples of how an area of Britain can celebrate its regional flavours.

'The award scheme recognizes quality and excellence in the marketing and use of the local food and drink that is served here in the county, and how that distinctiveness is promoted to the wider public,' said Jane Lewis, of VisitHerefordshire. 'The annual highlight is the Food Festival in October where, as well as creating an incredible showcase for the very best food and drink in the county, we also celebrate our Flavours of Herefordshire award winners at a gala presentation evening on the eve of the Festival.'

As such, the 12th annual Flavours of Herefordshire competition will this year reach its conclusion on Friday, 23rd October, when popular TV chefs 'The Hairy Bikers' will be the guests of honour at the prize giving dinner. Awards in ten separate categories are up for grabs in this year's Flavours of Herefordshire competition which sees the appearance of a prize for the county's best cider and perry producer for the first time.

Also new for 2010 will be an award for best co-operative venture, aimed at showing the benefits to be derived from individual small businesses working together, and the naming of a 'Herefordshire food champion', with nominations being invited from the residents and visitors to Herefordshire. Copies the current Flavours of Herefordshire Food Festival leaflet can be obtained free of charge by telephoning 01432 260621.


FURTHER APPEAL FOR WITNESSES TO FATAL COLLISION

Hereford Police are renewing their appeal for information about a road collision in which a man died in a bid to trace two potentially vital witnesses. The collision occurred on Friday, 26th March at 1.24pm outside the Steels Garage in Eign Street when 72-year old John Keith Hughes from Whitecross was in collision with a large goods vehicle. Mr Hughes sadly died of injuries sustained in the crash.

Further enquiries and anniversary checks by investigating officers have produced one further witness who saw events immediately before the collision. However, they have been unable to trace two car drivers who may potentially be vital witnesses in the enquiry. The first is the driver of a light coloured, possibly a silver-based, medium hatchback (along the lines of a Vauxhall Astra or Ford Focus) which was in the inside lane by Steels with the lorry to their right (in the outside lane). The second is the driver of a silver Volkswagen Golf hatchback who was immediately behind the lorry at the time of the collision but, as the lorry stopped, moved into the inside lane to go past.

Neither vehicle stopped at the scene and the drivers may be totally unaware of what happened at the front of the lorry. However, police believe one or both of the drivers may have seen Mr Hughes on the near side of the road immediately prior to the collision. Mr Hughes was wearing a purple cardigan, terracotta coloured trousers and open sandals. He was using a walking stick.

Police urge both of the drivers concerned to contact PC Dean Smith of the Force Op Support Team, based at Hereford Police Station, on 0300 333 3000 as soon as possible.


COUNCIL UNCOVERS £300,000 FALSE BENEFIT CLAIMS IN TWELVE MONTHS

Herefordshire Council's fraud team has uncovered around 300,000 in fraudulent housing and council tax benefit overpayments in the past 12 months. The team has carried out 557 investigations which have led to 29 successful prosecutions with a further 21 court cases pending. There have also been 101 formal cautions issued and seventeen administrative penalties have also been accepted.

Administrative penalties are financial penalties, similar to fines, and are set by legislation at 30 per cent of any overpayment of benefit. When a person accepts an Administrative Penalty they are required to repay the overpayment and the Administrative Penalty. This penalty is also taken into account if the person re-offends.

Karen Darby, Herefordshire Council's benefit fraud and investigation manager said, 'We receive tip-offs about fraudulent claims from both our own suspicions through finding data irregularities as well as being contacted by members of the general public who believe people they know are cheating the system. The most prevalent fraud type is from people who fail to declare income and this is followed by people who fail to inform us that they are living with a partner.

We work very hard to tackle benefit fraud and to recover any amounts overpaid because it is the tax payer who ends up footing the bill for those who cheat the system. If anyone suspects someone is claiming benefits falsely, they can call a special hotline number on 0800 592953 or email biu@herefordshire.gov.uk.


WIDEMARSH CHILDRENS CENTRE OFFICIALLY OPENED

Two year old Luke Cameron having a ball.

Herefordshire Council has officially opened Widemarsh Children's Centre in Hereford and more than 400 people joined in a day of indoor and outdoor activities over the Easter holidays to celebrate.

Kite making, clay modelling, flag making, soft play, musical instrument making and story telling were just a few activities on the agenda. Mr Bamboozal, along with local percussionist, Pedro Brown and the early years mascot, Bookstart Bear all made an appearance and the children's centre provided a picnic lunch for the parents, children, grandparents, councillors and staff who joined in the fun.

The centre opened its doors in June 2009 and since then has steadily grown, as staff have worked with the local community to provide the type of support and activities young families in the area need. For example, the centre runs regular play and stay sessions for parents and children aged under 5, baby massage sessions, regular arts and activities, a dad's club and is actively involved with NHS Herefordshire's Change4Life programme. The centre was formally opened by children from the local community who attended the day.

Michele Allam, centre manager said,'We had a fantastic day. It was great to see all the children getting stuck into the activities. The idea was to try and encourage young families to come and have a look around our lovely centre, meet some of the staff and find out what sort of events and activities we have planned for them to join in over the spring and summer months.

We were amazed at the amount of people who came to visit us. Feedback from parents was great too. They love the new centre and will hopefully be getting fully involved in many of the activities we run now that they've seen what's available.'


HEREFORDSHIRES YOUNG MUSICIANS TO SHOW OFF THEIR TALENT

Fifty young musicians from across the county are preparing for this year's Herefordshire Youth Orchestra's spring concert which will take place at The Shirehall, Hereford on Thursday, 29th April. The orchestra, conducted by Hazel Davis and Sir Richard Mynors, is composed of the most talented musicians from the county, aged between 15 and 19.

Run by Herefordshire Council's music service, the musicians meet once a week to rehearse and have been getting ready for the spring special since January. It will feature movements from two concertos - the clarinet concerto from Eb major by Krommer with 18 year old Eva Howard from Hereford Sixth Form College as soloist and a little heard work for double bass by Capuzzi from 18 year old Felix Morris, also from Hereford Sixth Form College as soloist. Also in the programme will be the last movement of Brahms' 4th Symphony, the exciting and colourful piece 'Espana' by Chabrier and ballet music from Le Cid by Massenet.

Clifford Woollard of Herefordshire Council said, 'It takes a great deal of dedication, commitment and hard work to achieve the standards some of our young musicians have achieved, so we welcome the opportunity to share their talent with others.'

Tickets cost are available on the door ( 4, 3 concessions) those aged 18 and under enter free.


COUNCIL TO CUT CARBON GENERATED BY STREET LIGHTS

Various measures to reduce the amount of electricity used and carbon emissions generated by street lights have been put in place by Herefordshire Council and its partner Amey Herefordshire. These measures have already saved more than 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and more are planned.

A report to the council's environment scrutiny committee on Monday, 19th April said measures throughout the county include:

Installation of Light Emitting Diodes (LED) signs and bollards on selected footpaths in and around Hereford.
New lights installed with more energy efficient controls at the Hillside, Newtown Farm and Redhill estates in Hereford.
Part night dimming at Three Elms and Whitecross in Hereford together with the village of Pembridge, saving 10 per unit.
Part night dimming using white light lamps in Ledbury Road, Hereford.
Part night switch-off at various sites, including the village of Dorstone.

Clive Hall, Herefordshire Council's highway network manager said, 'All of the measures to date are showing significant benefits both in reducing energy consumption and the amount of carbon dioxide produced. We are aware that a one-size fits all approach has not worked in other counties and we will be working in Herefordshire to find out which schemes are most suitable for their surroundings and residents.

While switching off lights at night may work in more rural areas, it may not be considered appropriate in busy urban areas where highways need to be well lit throughout the night. In Dorstone, for instance, the community approached us to ask if the lights could be switched off during part of the night and we were happy to trial this but we would not want to impose such solutions on people who would fear a rise in crime or antisocial behaviour. Instead, we would be seeking to gradually replace all street lights with more energy efficient models together with the use of part night dimming where light levels are varied according to traffic flow.'

In addition to this, the report advised the committee that the county's street lighting energy is provided from a 'green' energy source. Any parishes interested in finding out more about saving carbon on street lighting should contact Amey's street lighting department on 01435 845900.


PRIDE OF HEREFORDSHIRE PHOTO COMPETITION

Local photographers have a chance to showcase their work in some of the most visual places in Herefordshire in a competition to highlight the beauty and diversity of the county. The aim of the competition is to make creative use of empty shops throughout Herefordshire with a view to making high streets more vibrant and attractive places in which to shop and run a businesses.

The competition is open to both professional and amateur photographers who are resident in Herefordshire and has been launched as part of Herefordshire Council's Windows on Art scheme funded by the Communities and Local Government Department. Winners of the competition will see their images reproduced on window displays in empty shops around the county along with their name and title of their image.

The Pride of Herefordshire Photo Competition judging panel will be looking for the photographers idea of positive aspects of living and working in the county. They will also consider a range of factors including composition, originality, interpretation of the brief and the 'eye catching' appeal of the photographs. The panel will not consider applications that are entirely people focused (due to permissions required), but will be looking for present rural, urban landscapes of scenes at events.

The rules of the competition are that:

Each entry should be labelled with a name, home address, daytime contact telephone number, email, where photo was taken and a title for the image. Entrants can submit up to four images as A4/10 x 8 size prints in colour or black & white. All entries should be posted to: Liz Hill, Pride of Herefordshire Photo Competition, Herefordshire Council, PO Box 4, Plough Lane, Hereford HR4 0XH.

The competition closes at midnight on Tuesday, 4th May 2010.
No entries can be returned and proof of posting is not proof of receipt.
The organizers accept no responsibility for entries lost, damaged of delayed in the post.
Winners will be contacted once the judging is complete, in order for an electronic version of the image to be sent to the designers.
All entries will be assessed by a panel of judges.
The judges will select a short list of photographs which, in their opinion, best illustrate the theme of the competition.
The prize will be the photographers winning images displayed in empty shops through out the county with their name and title of their photograph.
All entries must be original work of the entrant and must not infringe on the rights of any other party.
The entrant must be the sole owner of the copyright in all photographs entered and must have obtained permission of any people featured in the entries or their parents/guardians if children under 16 are featured. Further, entrants must not have breached laws when taking their photographs.
The copyright of the image will remain with the photographer and use of the image will be limited to promoting the competition unless permission is sought from the photographer beforehand.

Please make sure the criteria and all rules have been adhered to as the judging panel may refuse the entry.

For further information, please telephone Liz Hill on 01432 260621.


BOY AGED 8 SERIOUSLY INJURED IN BARTESTREE COLLISION

Herefordshire Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward who may have seen a road traffic collision in which a young boy was seriously injured. The incident occurred at 6.15pm on Saturday, 17th April in Longworth Lane, Bartestree at the junction to Hagley Park, when a silver Peugeot 206 motor car was in collision with a pedal cycle, ridden by an 8 year old boy.

The youngster was flown to Birmingham Children's Hospital by Air Ambulance with what at the time was thought to be life threatening internal injuries, serious cuts and bruises. However, upon examination by staff at the hospital, his condition is not now life threatening and no major bones or organs have been damaged. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Police collision investigators closed part of Longworth Lane whilst an examination of the scene was carried out to determine the cause of the crash. They would like to hear from anyone who may have seen the collision.

Anybody with information should contact PC Jonathan Lynes from the Force Ops Support Team based at Hereford Police Station on 0300 333 3000.


AMEY CELEBRATE OUTSTANDING SAFETY RECORD

Amey, Herefordshire Council's service partners are celebrating an outstanding health and safety record. Amey, who carry out a wide range of services on behalf of the council including maintaining more than 2,000 miles of highways, have just attained a zero AIR (accident incident rate). The AIR is a specific measure, based on the number of employees within the business against the level of accidents and incidents that must legally be reported to the national Health and Safety Executive.

Geoff Hughes, Herefordshire Council's director of regeneration said, 'I would like to congratulate Amey for this exemplary health and safety record. It is really good to see one of the county's largest employers with a staff of 500 taking health and safety so seriously. The fact their role involves maintaining some 2,000 miles of highways makes it even more remarkable that they have managed this without having any reportable accidents.'

Amey has ensured safe working practices by increasing and continually developing site safety visits that are carried out by the businesses management team. Other areas of improvement include the procurement of better vehicles, plant and equipment, improving personal protective equipment, developing and reviewing operational safety documentation and most importantly listening to what is being said by operational staff which allows the business to further develop its safety culture. Amey employees are actively encouraged to question and challenge any unsafe working practices, and report 'near misses' with a view to preventing anything more serious occurring.

Mark Thomas, service director for Amey said, 'I am delighted to confirm that we have attained an AIR of Zero and have now reached a safety benchmark of which we can all be immensely proud.'


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