DIVERS BRING RUBBISH TO THE SURFACE IN UNDERWATER LITTERPICK
CAR number plates, a pair
of sunglasses and a watch were just some of the items which
Liverpool scuba divers brought to the surface during an underwater
litterpick in the City centre.
Members of the City‘s TS Neptune Sub Aqua Club, a branch of the
British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) which is linked to the sea cadets,
staged the clean up to celebrate the BSAC‘s Diamond Jubilee, the
governing body of UK sports diving, and to get across an important
environmental message to their club members.
Keith Bayley-Hamilton, TS Neptune Sub Aqua Club Secretary and
Assistant Diving Officer, says the day proved a big success with
more than 100 separate items being cleared from the bottom of the
Keith, a motor industry quality
control inspector, said club members spent more than five hours
clearing debris from the dock basin. “Although the club
is affiliated to the Sea Cadets it is open to anyone to join. We had
2 of our cadets join a dozen adult divers for the day and they
thoroughly enjoyed the event.
It is important to get across the importance of clearing up the
environment and looking after what is an important underwater
habitat for wildlife. The problem is people seem to think because
rubbish is out of sight underwater it doesn‘t matter. However,
there is a huge amount of wildlife living in the docks, including
crabs, dog fish and even jellyfish and we wanted to improve the
environment in which they live."
Liam Williams, 12, a pupil of Alsop High School, Queen‘s Drive,
Walton, said he thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the litterpick.
“I found loads of bottles and old tin cans. It was a massive
event which has been good for the environment. The visibility was
quite good until the bottom got stirred up and I saw loads of stone
fish and crabs.
I started diving seven months ago with the sea cadets. I am an OC,
ordinary cadet, and have qualified as a BSAC Ocean Diver. I want to
carry on diving in the future, it‘s brilliant.
It‘s especially good when we do stuff like clearing all the rubbish
from the bottom of the docks. I think people who stopped to watch
what we brought up were amazed at just how much trash there is in
BSAC Chief Executive, Mary Tetley, congratulated the TS Neptune
scuba divers on a great clean-up one of their favourite diving
haunts. BSAC trains and represents 30,000 active scuba divers
and snorkellers and works closely with organisations such as Marine
Conservation Society to raise awareness of important issues facing
the world‘s seas and oceans.
Mary said:- “BSAC runs an annual Underwater Litterpick
campaign and clubs all over the UK have been getting involved.
Our clubs have been using the events not only to raise profile of
their individual clubs but also to raise awareness of the damage
this rubbish can be to our very precious UK marine and rive life.
When it is laid out for all to see, it tends to have quite an impact
so BSAC is grateful to TS Neptune for helping to spread the
Keith Bayley-Hamilton says he was
surprised not just by the volume of rubbish collected but by the
variety of items found. “I think we all expected to find
lots of bottles and tins but there were lots of other things too.
Plastic is so harmful to wildlife yet there is so much of it.
But we also found the odd old shoe, and a ladies watch although it
certainly wasn‘t an expensive one, more a type of fancy dress or
piece of costume jewellery. And a pair of old sunglasses which was
something of a strange find. It makes you wonder just how long some
of these things have been lying in the dock and how they got there
in the first place."
Keith said the litterpick event has helped raise the profile of both
TS Neptune and BSAC in the City. “We had so many people
stop and ask what we were doing and I think they were absolutely
amazed at the volume of rubbish we had found. Lots of people were
asking how you can start diving, the financial cost and at what age
you can start. As a club we certainly hope to be offering a few try
dives to people who have asked us for an opportunity to give diving
Keith says the TS Neptune Diving Club currently has around 20 active
members with the youngest being 12 and the eldest in his mid-60s.
“We meet for training at Speke‘s Austin Rawlinson Swimming
Pool every first and third Saturday of the month between 1-3pm. We
also take young people for try-dives on some Thursdays during school
We do have quite a bit of club equipment to try and make diving more
affordable for young people but I would stress again it isn‘t just
sea cadets that can join, membership is open to any member of the
Diving is a great sport and a fantastic pastime and I‘d encourage
anyone interested in finding out more about the sport to get in
touch. As a club we do dive quite a bit in Dukes Dock but we also
get out and about and dive along the North Wales coast for example."
For more information about TS Neptune Sub Aqua Club contact Keith
Bayley-Hamilton on 07549 072036. For more information about BSAC
City sets out
ambitious cycling targets
LIVERPOOL is laying out its
ambitions to become a leading cycle City, with new plans for 1 in 10
of all trips to be made by bike by 2025.
The plans support the Mayor of Liverpool‘s pledge to create a
cleaner, greener City, and could help save over £1 million in
reducing premature deaths and NHS costs, as well as delivering over
£2 million of benefits in congestion and pollution reduction.
It forms part of the Council‘s Cycling Strategy for 2013-2026, which
aims to build on the City‘s recent success in cycling. Record
numbers of people are now using bikes to travel around Liverpool,
and the strategy aims to create a City where cycling is a normal
choice of travel.
Local people are now being invited to share their views on the
strategy, and let the Council know whether they ride a bike already
or would like to ride a bike in the future.
Liverpool City Council‘s Cabinet Member for Transport and Climate
Change, Councillor Tim Moore, said:- “This is a really
important plan. Our vision is to make Liverpool a City where cycling
is a popular, mainstream mode of travel for local journeys - with
accessible routes which are safe, convenient, accessible,
comfortable and attractive for both adults and children. We
know that many of the most attractive, vibrant, successful and
liveable cities of the world have high levels of cycling and we
recognise its importance to creating a sustainable society.
This strategy sets out how we will invest in our cycling
infrastructure in the coming years to help improve health and
wellbeing, create new opportunities for local people, boost our
economy, and provide a low carbon future for Liverpool."
The strategy – which has been developed by the Council, in
consultation with Local Transport Plan partners, Liverpool Cycle
Forum and other partners, lays out a range of steps which will be
taken to encourage more people to cycle more often, including:
Developing a safer cycling environment through the continuing
investment in the City‘s cycle network, with clearly defined routes
and good quality facilities.
Continuing to invest in speed
reduction through campaigns such as ‘The 20 Effect‘, which
supports the on-going work to more than double the number of
residential roads in the City with 20mph speed limits.
► Improved road maintenance,
integration with public transport and cycle parking.
Improved cyclist safety through
training programmes and enforcement.
The promotion of cycling through
special events, rides and marketing campaigns.
Liverpool‘s ambitions will be boosted by the launch, early next
year, of its Cycle Hire Scheme. With 1,000 cycles available for hire
at 100 stations, primarily in the City centre, it will be the
biggest scheme in the UK, outside London, running
24-hour-hours-a-day, 7 days a week. The City Council is currently in
discussions with a number of companies and expects an operator to be
in place by the end of this year.
Liverpool has also committed £1m in Local Sustainable Transport
Funding from the Department of Transport to further boost the
cycling infrastructure and sustainable transport in Liverpool until
2014. It is being invested in, among other projects, improving
east/west links, setting up a neighbourhood travel team, and the
promotion of cycling to businesses and communities in north
Other on-going work includes a £300,000 investment, from the
Government‘s Cycle Safety Fund, in major improvements to the area
around the entrance to Princes Park, which is heavily used by
cyclists for commuting. Meanwhile, work to improve cycle links on
Leeds Street in the City centre is underway.
The City‘s comprehensive cycling programme also continues to go from
strength to strength, with a range of free riding initiatives,
including Cycle Liverpool South, Choose Freedom North Liverpool,
Liverpool Wheels for All and Cycle for Health, encouraging people of
all ages and abilities – including those with disabilities – to get
And the City is achieving major success in delivering cycle training
for young people. More than 70 per cent of primary school age
children are receiving Level 2 training through the national on-road
cycle training programme, Bikeability, against a national average of
40 per cent. And Level 3 Bikeability training has been delivered to
over 1,000 secondary age students over the past year – more than
anywhere else in the country.
To support the City‘s ambitions and help it reach its targets, the
City will continue to work with partners, including Merseytravel and
the Merseyside local authorities, Sustrans and BikeRight, to deliver
a range of programmes. The City will also develop the case for
capital investment in cycling and compete for funds through schemes
such as Tranche 2 of the Government‘s Local Sustainable Transport
Public consultation on Liverpool‘s Cycling Strategy for 2013 to 2026 is
now underway, and runs until 28 October. If you would like to have
your say on the plans, please visit:-
complaints fall again
THE number of complaints
made about Liverpool City Council to the Local Government Ombudsman
(LGO) has fallen to a new low – and is down by almost half since
In her annual letter to the City Council, Chair of the Commission
for Local Administration in England, Dr Jane Martin, reveals there
were 90 enquiries in 2012/13. This is down from 138 the previous
year, and 171 in 2010/11. It equates to a drop of 47% over the last
3 years. And of the 90 cases received in 2012 to 2013, City Council
records show there were only 43 in which it was asked to take action; down from 66 in 2011
to 2012. The remainder were either outside the LGO‘s jurisdiction, or there was no evidence of maladministration.
Mayor Joe Anderson said:- “We are a large organisation
providing essential services to our 465,000 residents and millions
of visitors. When we get things wrong we are absolutely committed to
investigating and doing what we can to put things right. I am
pleased that the overall trend of referrals to the Local Government
Ombudsman is dropping. It shows we have a well-established procedure
for investigating complaints, and the judgements we reach are fair.
But it is important we continue to work hard to improve services and
prevent complaints from occurring in the first place. We will
continue to learn lessons when things go wrong."
A report to be considered by the overview and Scrutiny Select
Committee on Wednesday, 2 October 2013, shows that, overall, the number of
complaints to the City Council through the ‘Have Your Say‘
system dropped by 1.5% in 2012/13. A total of 4,233 were dealt with,
and 73% of people surveyed afterwards were satisfied or very
satisfied with the way their issue had been handled - up 10% on last
The top 3 areas for complaints to the City
► Domestic waste and recycling collections – 923 (out of 22 million
► Taxi driver behaviour – 453 (out of 4,662 hackney and private hire
► Council tax – 422 (out of 208,000 bills issued)
Over the last year, there has been a drop of 6.4% in the number of
compliments received; down to 872. However, there is evidence that
staff are not recording praise through the Have Your Say database.
An internal campaign is getting underway to make sure staff place
compliments on the system.