The government have accepted Liberal Democrat proposals to clamp down on cold calling.
The changes will see tough new regulations on claims management companies who undertake cold calling.
Speaking in the Lords last night, Ministers declared that the government will accept Liberal Democrat proposals into the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill.
This is a victory for Liberal Democrat peers John Sharkey and Susan Kramer, who have been leading the charge against cold calling and follows a similar victory last week.
Commenting after the announcement, John Sharkey said:
“Cold calling is one of the great scourges of modern life, but it is not merely annoying, it can lead to many vulnerable and innocent people signing up for things they don’t want, don’t need and can’t afford. I am delighted that the government has accepted our arguments.
“A third of private phone calls in the UK are now cold calls, a colossal 2.6m every month. This is a 180% increase in just ten months. The public deserve peace from this cacophony.
“Our aim is not to put claim management companies out of business. They can continue to advertise and attract customers, but if this goes through they will no longer be able to pester the public with unsolicited calls.”
East Cambs District Council’s planning committee meets this coming Wednesday afternoon (1 November), with two Witchford issues on a busy agenda.
Application 17/00261/OUM is for up to 46 dwellings, together with associated public open space, landscaping, highways and drainage infrastructure works. It’s the site next to West End Close, opposite Needhams, which has already been to the planning committee in May. At that time, the committee delegated approval to the planning manager, subject to satisfactory legal agreements and conditions. It’s come back again to be considered in the light of the draft Local Plan which has now been agreed. However, officers are still recommending councillors to approve it.
One significant issue is the contribution to be made by the developer to education in Witchford. The report says ‘the applicant has agreed to the principle of making an education contribution but not at the level requested by County Education. Discussions are ongoing with County to ascertain an appropriate level of contribution in scale and kind to the development proposed.’
TPO E/09/17 is a request for confirmation of a tree preservation order for two groups of ash trees north of Orton Drive, referred to the committee following an objection. The trees are in the area where Gladmans wanted to build 55 homes north of Marroway Lane, an application refused by the council in March.
A beautiful day for a litter pick in Witcham. A well organised event, plenty of volunteers, a pleasant stroll down The Slade in the sunshine with my litter-pick partner Frances, and lots of bags filled with empty drink cans, crisp packets, chocolate wrappers, and general rubbish. We had to leave the traffic cone we found under the hedge!
New ambulance standards are about to be introduced across the country, following trials in a number of locations. Here in Cambridgeshire, the change is set to take place this month.
Under current national standards, ambulance services are allowed up to 60 seconds from receiving a call to sending a vehicle. Ambulance services are measured on how long it takes from receiving a 999 call to a vehicle arriving with the patient, and life-threatening and emergency calls should be responded to in eight minutes. This target however has not been met for the last two years.
Under the new standards, when you call 999 and ask for the ambulance service, the call handler will ask a few questions to assign your call into one of four different categories:
- life-threatening (Category 1)
- emergency (Category 2)
- urgent (Category 3) and
- less urgent (Category 4).
Each category will have different response times and standards. The link above contains a short animation about each call category.
The trials that have been carried out have been closely monitored and appear to have freed up capacity to respond appropriately to emergencies without compromising patient safety. While this is encouraging, it’s important that the new standards continue to be monitored, and to recognise that while they may help, they won’t in themselves solve all the challenges faced by our under-pressure ambulance services.
Image by Graham Richardson from Plymouth, England (South Western Ambulance VX09FYP) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
This morning saw the annual open day for councillors at the Witchford highways depot. We were offered a bus tour to see different types of road surfacing, and watch gully emptying. Unfortunately the Dragon Patcher machine wasn’t out on Engine Bank in Mepal as intended, but it eventually went on display at the depot, breathing fire as promised.
Council officers were on hand to answer our questions on a variety of highways topics. One of the most moving conversations was with road safety education officer Matt Staton.
Aaron Cook from Willingham was just 19 years old when he and his motorbike were in a collision with a skip lorry on the road between Histon and Cottenham. He suffered multiple and fatal injuries. His courageous family have allowed the remains of his bike to be used to educate local young people about safety on our roads. Matt runs the council’s Cambs Drive IQ programme for novice and young drivers.
The move of the Cambridgeshire archives from Shire Hall in Cambridge to Strikes bowling alley in Ely has been delayed, due to the need to submit a second planning application and to bring the design within budget. The move, originally planned for next year, will now not take place until 2019.