Community Litter Picking – East Herts District Council

As we enter Step 2 of the government’s roadmap, we want to do more to support groups wanting to pick litter again. Information for anyone wishing to arrange a community litter pick can be found here: https://bit.ly/3wzMHuC

Temporary Road Closure – Burnham Green Road, Datchworth

NOTICE is given that Hertfordshire County Council intends to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, to prohibit all vehicular traffic from using that length of Burnham Green Road, Datchworth from its junction with Bramfield Road south westwards for a distance of approximately 35 metres (“the Road”),except for access.

An alternative route will be via Bramfield Road, Datchworth Green, Mardleybury Road, B197 (Mardley Hill/Great North Road), A1000 (Welwyn Bypass Road/Hertford Road), Hertford Road, Harmer Green Lane, New Road, Harmer Green Lane and Burnham Green Road.

The Order is needed because utility service works are proposed to be executed on or near the Road.

This order shall come in to force on 12 April 2021.

Government Roadmap Announced

This afternoon the Prime Minister made a statement to the House of Commons setting out the below roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions in England:

Step one – from 8 March
• All schools to open
• Stay at home order remains in place
• People can meet one other person outside for recreation
• Funerals for 30 people and weddings for 6 people

Step one – From 29 March
• People will be able to meet outside including in private gardens, subject to the rule of six, or provided no more than two households are meeting.
• People will no longer be legally required to stay at home but should work from home if they can and try not to travel.
• Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts and open air swimming pools can reopen and formally organised sports can restart.

Step Two – no earlier than 12th April
• Self-catering will open for individuals or household groups only.
• Non-essential retail will open.
• Pubs and restaurants will begin to open for outdoors service, without curfew, and no requirement for people to order a substantial meal.
• Outdoor attractions such as Zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas will open
• Funerals for 30 people and weddings for 15 people.

Step Three – no earlier than 17 May
• People will be able to meet indoors, subject to the rule of six, or provided no more than two households are meeting
• Pubs and restaurants will open for indoor service
• Hotels, guest houses and B&Bs will open for leisure guests
• Pubs and restaurants will open for indoor service
• Indoor entertainment and attractions
• Cinemas and theatres will open
• Some large events – capacity limits apply:
• Indoor events the lower of 1,000 or 50% capacity
• Outdoor events seated the lower of 10,000 or 25%
• Outdoor events not seated the lower of 4,000 or 50%
• Most significant life events for 30 people
• Most restrictions outdoors will be lifted, subject to a limit of 30 people
• International travel will not resume before 17 May.

Step Four – no earlier than 21 June
• All limits on social contacts will be lifted
• Large events, performances and weddings will be able to go ahead
• Nightclubs will open

In Addition, there will be Four Reviews
• Looking at whether having a vaccine or a negative test result can reduce restrictions on social contact.
• Piloting the impact of testing and reduced social distancing on events.
• Looking at how to facilitate more inbound and outbound travel – to report back by 12 April
• Review social distancing measures, such as the one-metre-plus rule, rules on face coverings and working from home – to report back by 21 June.

Datchworth Parish Council objects to latest planning application by Luton Airport

Datchworth Parish Council have written to Luton Borough Council to object to Luton Airports’ latest planning application with the following letter:
Application: 21/00031/VARCON Luton Airport, Luton
Variation of Conditions 8, 10, 22, 24, and 28 to Planning Permission 15/00950 to accommodate 19 million passengers per annum and to amend day and night noise contours.
Datchworth Parish Council wishes to object to the above planning application which seeks to increase the Airport capacity and reduce controls on aircraft noise. If allowed, it will have a detrimental effect on the residents of this parish.
We consider the proposed increase from 18 million passengers to 19 million is unjustified and we strongly oppose it.
We note Luton Airport has increased night flights six-fold since 2013, up from 500 to 3,000. This planning application wants to go even further: the biggest noise increase it’s asking for is at night. The WHO links night noise to poor health. Datchworth is located under the Eastbound departure flight paths. Our residents reported excessive noise disturbance, day and night, last year from low flying aircraft. This proposed expansion would result in significantly worse outcomes for them.
The 2013 permission set limits on passengers and noise. Luton Airport has yet to deliver the mitigation for noise that it committed to and since 2017 has further breached those limits in violation of Condition 10 (noise contours). The Airport has failed in recent years to “manage the effect” of its growth and noise management has failed. No credible plan has been put forward to reduce the sounds. Until Luton Airport can demonstrate that it can operate at 18 mppa within extant noise limits, further capacity growth is unwarranted and unjustifiable.
We consider the plans to be incomplete and poorly-founded. The current states of both the airline and aircraft industries show no signs of supporting an early post-Covid recovery and the general Covid-driven economic malaise is having a major negative impact on air travel. Following the current depression in aircraft manufacture, we do not believe quieter and cleaner craft will be available within the timeframe envisaged; we understand that the current latest A321neo aircraft are actually measured as being noisier. Furthermore, replacement of noisier aircraft to quieter models, is beyond the control of the Airport operators and with the current pressures on airlines‘ budgets is likely to take longer, thereby further increasing the number of properties affected by noise pollution. Mitigations employed to-date have neither improved nor stopped the noise contour breaches. The recent reduction is only due to the decrease in passenger numbers arising from effects of the pandemic. It is clear that a reduction in passenger numbers is what is required until the Airport has delivered provable mitigations.
Environmental Impact Statement indicates higher total CO2 emissions for every year from 2019 and these are based on estimates of older aircraft types which may be challenged, notwithstanding the lack of evidence regarding future economic development. Last year the Committee on Climate Change made clear that aviation growth targets must be at least halved to achieve net zero. Luton Airport has so far only managed to reduce it emissions by 0.9%, and cannot directly control carbon emissions from passenger journeys or aircraft. The Airport has had seven years of accelerated capacity growth and benefited commercially from that; now it needs to rebalance and focus upon environmental responsibility. Since Luton Borough Council has declared a Climate Emergency, to ignore such during decision-making regarding the Airport (a major source of carbon emissions) could be seen to be at odds with itself. This planning application is unsustainable and not in line with achieving net zero by 2050 or Luton’s own declaration of a Climate Emergency.
Offsetting a carbon footprint by LED lighting and similar well-proved methods should certainly be pursued as sensible and proportionate (and arguably actions for any sound commercial enterprise to take to reduce operating costs) but they do not change at all the fact that more flights will cause more pollution until the advent of new generation aircraft (of which there is no detail as to likely impact and improvement); low energy lighting around the Airport is praiseworthy but it doesn’t positively impact the standard of life under the flightpath.
Most concerning of all is that it is stated that the application will be decided by the Council’s Planning Committee, yet the Council has a prima facie conflict of interest by being both the owner and planning authority for the Airport. This reinforces previous criticism of inadequate clarity and transparency in Council decision-making in relation to the Airport.
In summary, the variation of conditions proposed would have adverse effects on the community of Datchworth Parish by virtue of noise generation and increased CO2 emissions, in the absence of evidence of economic benefits and optimistic estimates of aircraft replacement.

Changes to East Herts Council Garden Waste Collections

From 1 April 2021, East Herts District Council will be changing their brown bin service to a chargeable garden waste only collection service. Residents will be receiving an information leaflet though the door over the next few weeks, but attached is a leaflet which should answer some of your questions.

Public Statement – Budget and Precept for 2021/22

Over the past few months Datchworth Parish Council (DPC) have been working hard on its budget and precept* for 2021/22.

DPC are mindful that this year, of all years, the council tax increase to its parishioners should be as low as possible. It has been a difficult decision but the conclusion has been to increase the precept by 14.75%. Although this percentage may look a little daunting, in monetary terms, the effect to the resident’s council tax payment to the Parish Council is as follows:

In the current year, a band D council taxpayer pays £38.72 per year. A 14.75% increase would rise to £43.82, which is an increase of £5.10 per year (less than 43 pence per month).

There are three primary reasons that have necessitated the precept increase:-

  1. Nutcroft play area: You may remember that DPC consulted with residents with regards to leasing the Nutcroft play area land from East Herts District Council (EHDC), and that taking on the responsibility for the ground maintenance in the area would involve an increase to the precept. Prior to 2021/22, the council would receive circa £1,850 reimbursement for the grass cutting that it carries out on behalf of EHDC. Now that DPC has taken on the lease for the play area, it will now be liable for ground maintenance costs in the area, resulting in a reduction of the reimbursement from EHDC. We await confirmation from EHDC as to what the new payment will be but have estimated it will be circa £500. This will be a loss of income of approximately £1,350
    which we would need to claw back in next year’s precept. This equates to an increase to the
    precept of 4.75%.
  2. Hedges: In the past the annual hedge cutting (bordering the Turkey Farm and in front of Nutcroft play area) was carried out free of charge to the council. However, this is no longer the case and we now need to allow for this additional cost. Quotes received to date indicate a cost of around £600. This will necessitate an increase to the precept of 2.10%.
  3. Tree survey: DPC commissioned a survey of all of its trees in August 2020 and has approximately 450 trees to maintain. The survey found that there are over 180 trees that need
    ‘essential works’ by December 2021, with over 20 trees requiring works within the next two years. We have £3k left in the current year’s budget plus £5.5k allocated from 2021/22 precept
    and we have £4.9k emergency funds in the General Reserves. However, we await quotes for the outstanding work and until these have been received, we cannot be sure that enough funds are available. It is possible that it may be necessary for DPC to revisit its precept increase in the coming month but of course we will inform you if this is the case.

DPC’s estimated budget spreadsheet is available to see on our website by following this link:-
https://datchworth-pc.gov.uk/parish-council/budget

Explanations of allocated funds can be found in the “notes” column.

If you have any comments or queries regarding the budget please do not hesitate to contact us via email:- or

* Precept – request of annual funds to the local authority (East Herts District Council) to be raised via the resident’s council tax

 

Published: February 2021

A602 Improvements – January 2021 Update

Please see below link to the latest newsletter for the A602 Improvements scheme, with updates on road closures and traffic management plans.

Walking in Hertfordshire

Are you fed-up with doing the same old walks?

Walking in Herts www.walkinginengland.co.uk/herts is the website for you!

With hundreds of walks to download and print, free, it also has books of walks, contact details for all the walking groups in the county and much more. Whether you want to walk on your own or with a group all the information is there in one place.

John said ‘There is so much walking information on the web but it is difficult to find. Walking in Herts (part of the Walking in England suite of websites (www.walkinginengland.co.uk)  – one for each county in England) has brought it together in one place so whether you are walking from home, or away on holiday, you will be able to find a walk suitable for you’.

With walks from half a mile to twelve miles plus long, and a note of suitability for pushchairs and wheelchairs, everyone can find a walk to enjoy.

So home or away, check out the websites and get walking!

Last call for comments on plans for Hertfordshire’s largest ever police force

The Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, would like to hear residents’ thoughts about funding for the Hertfordshire Constabulary, as he is looking to raise the policing precept to maintain a larger force.

See: https://bit.ly/2Wz0cdf and complete a quick survey: https://bit.ly/Hertsprecept21 , closes Friday 15th January.

Astonbury Wood

Astonbury Wood has been put up for sale by Hertfordshire County Council. Aston Parish Council have launched an e-petition on the Herts County Council website asking the County Council to sell the woodland only to a person or organisation that clearly demonstrates that their ownership will: 

  1. Maximise the social and environmental benefit to the local community; encouraging greater recreational involvement and continued public use of the woodland
  2. Focus on increasing the extent and quality of all the habitats and biodiversity in the woodland
  3. Have the capability and resources to maintain and operate the wood on a sustainable basis

They need at least 250 signatures to be able to raise their concerns at a County Council meeting, so please click on the link, register and sign the petition.

ePetition link

The e-petition closes on 29 January 2021.

As every signature counts, a couple should each register and sign individually.

Please share the link with as many other interested people as you can who live or work in Hertfordshire.

If you would like be kept informed of progress please email