News

Open consultation: Regulations for a safeguard energy tariff

Data sharing regulations for a safeguard energy tariff

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (DBEIS)

Opens 12 February 2018
Closes 26 February 2018

Consultation description

DBEIS looking for views on adding a safeguard energy tariff imposed by Ofgem (the regulator) for vulnerable consumers on standard variable and fixed-term default tariffs to the list of fuel poverty measures for which public authorities can share data with gas and electricity suppliers for the purpose of assisting households in fuel poverty.

Part 5 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 gives government powers to share personal information across organisational boundaries to improve public services. It says what data can be shared and for which purposes, and includes safeguards to ensure that the privacy of citizens’ data is protected. www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2017/30/contents/enacted

Part 5 allows data sharing between specified public authorities and energy suppliers for the purpose of alleviating fuel poverty. The data sharing must be for use under one of the fuel poverty measures listed in section 36(3) of the Act. The list currently includes measures such as the Warm Home Discount and the Energy Company Obligation scheme.

Other fuel poverty measures, such as Ofgem’s proposed safeguard tariff for vulnerable consumers at risk of fuel poverty, are not currently covered by list, so this consultation is about adding it to the list.

Documents

Data sharing regulations for a safeguard energy tariff PDF796KB14 pages
www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/680665/Data_sharing_regulations_for_a_safeguard_energy_tariff.pdf

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.
www.gov.uk/government/consultations/data-sharing-regulations-for-a-safeguard-energy-tariff#attachment-2539405-accessibility-request

Mum saves son from toxic battery smoke

A quick-thinking mum saved her son from toxic smoke after a charging bag containing a remote control car battery, exploded.

The popping sound of the charging bag bursting at 11.15pm on Friday, 10 February, prompted Karen Major, to check on her 11-year-old son in bed.

Upon opening his bedroom door she found Sam fast asleep surrounded by thick grey smoke, with the battery charging in its charging bag on the floor next to him – burning the carpet.

She woke her son, turned the power off and got out of the house as quickly as she could before calling 999.

Once Kent Fire and Rescue Service was on the scene, crews entered the home wearing breathing apparatus and removed the battery in the bag. They then used a pressure fan to clear the property of smoke.

Karen said: “I was watching a film downstairs when I heard the popping noise and then noticed an acrid smell. When I saw what had happened in Sam’s room I considered throwing the battery out of the window, but I decided the best thing to do was to get Sam and I out to safety and call Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

“I truly believe the charging bag saved Sam’s life. If the battery hadn’t of been in the bag, I think things would have been very different. I will never let those type of batteries be charged in the bedroom again, especially not on carpet, and I’ll always use a charging bag.

“I contacted the toy manufacturer, not to blame them, but to urge them to encourage customers to buy charging bags when purchasing these sorts of batteries – they’re only about £7.”

Jason Visser, Watch Manager for Southborough said: “Sam’s mum did the right thing and got both of them out of the house as quickly as possible. This incident could have had a very different ending if the battery wasn’t in a charging bag – Sam had a very lucky escape. The overheating battery had the potential to be a silent killer – there were no flames, just toxic smoke and fumes.

“We were also able to fit new smoke detectors in the property.”

Following this near miss, Kent Fire and Rescue Service is reiterating safety precautions around charging batteries:

  • When charging batteries place them on a non-flammable surface in a room with a smoke detector. Avoid carpet, sofas etc.
  • Follow the manufactures’ charging guidelines and use recognised and recommended chargers and charging leads
  •  Where possible use a charging bag
  • Avoid charging batteries or any electrical items overnight or if you leave the house
  • Be sure to have at least one smoke detector installed per floor of a property

Kent Fire and Rescue Service  16 February 2018
www.kent.fire-uk.org/news/news-releases/february-2018/quick-thinking-mum-saves-son-from-toxic-battery-smoke/

Victoria Park and Watercress Fields

Victoria Park and Watercress Fields

Ashford Borough Council

Parks for People: Explore Victoria Park and Watercress Fields

Have you discovered Ashford’s largest and most central park yet?

There’s something for everyone at Victoria Park and Watercress Fields; including a wealth of history, exciting play spaces, interesting ecology, and quiet spaces to relax.

Download a plan of Victoria Parks and Watercress Fields.

The park has a pivotal role to play in connecting residents with the town’s history, the local area and the built, cultural and natural heritage of the site. Not only that, but it also a great space to explore the environment and access the great outdoors.

Funding

Now Ashford Borough Council (ABC) are looking to make the park an even better place to visit, with thanks to support from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund. ABC have secured initial funding to develop a £3.7m restoration and improvement project.

Plans for Victoria Park

The future aims include Green Flag status for the park, building upon the opportunities for community engagement and participation, promoting outdoor activities, and enabling volunteers to gain new skills.

How you can help

ABC looking to form an active Friends Group for joined-up community participation and to enable local residents to shape the future of the area.

Please tell us what you think by completing a short online survey
www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Ashford-Victoria_Park.

To help ABC develop the plans, we’d love to hear what you think about the park and what changes you would like to see.

Sign up to the newsletter

If you would like to receive a regular newsletter (via the ABC website) that will provide an update of news, events and project progress, please provide your email address, and we will be in touch.

 

Get in touch

If you would like to get in touch, or to find out more about the project,
please email the team. victoriapark@ashford.gov.uk

Postnatal Depression

Craft Attack & Jigsaw

Support & Therapy Groups

Around 10-15% of new mothers in the UK suffer from postnatal depression (PND). It usually develops within the first 6 weeks after birth, but can develop at any point within the first year.

Symptoms may include feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to cope, suffering from low moods, anxiety, panic attacks, and experiencing irregular sleeping patterns and difficulty in bonding. This in turn may lead to feelings of guilt, anger, irritability, negative thoughts and feeling helpless and isolated, even when supported by loved ones.

Craft Attack

offers an environment of respite for mums finding it difficult to cope. The group uses arts and crafts to help mums explore what they are experiencing and how they are feeling, whilst providing the opportunity to meet others in a similar position and find mutual support within the group. There is no obligation to engage with the craft activities and certainly no expectation to produce masterpieces! Refreshments and lunch are provided.

Jigsaw

is a group for mums ready to explore what they are experiencing through talking with others in a similar position, facilitated by an experienced counsellor. Refreshments are provided.

Crèche and Care

A crèche is provided for babies and pre-school children, allowing mums to attend the groups in the knowledge their child is looked after in a safe crèche environment.

“Craft Attack has been the best support for me during a really difficult time” – Craft Attack attendee (2016/17)

The Groups

Using Big Lottery funding we offer places for up to 10 mums with PND and the groups run every Monday for 10 weeks. Craft Attack lasts two hours (12.30 – 2.30) in a relaxed and confidential environment. Jigsaw lasts one and a half hours also in a safe and confidential environment. Both groups offer support to mums with symptoms of PND and may address other aspects of anxiety and depression associated with PND.

Qualified and experienced counsellors attend the groups and are available for you to speak with in relation to matters that may be affecting you and the care of your baby. Be assured that information shared is treated in the strictest confidence.

Transport

Transport can be provided for those who need it from the Ashford area; the transport will collect you from your home address and will return you back once the session has finished. Child seats can be included, please let us know in advance.

How you will benefit:

  • We will provide a confidential and safe place in which to support you.
  • We will enable you to meet people in a similar situation to develop new friendships.
  • We will support you in exploring feelings and emotions brought about through postnatal depression and early parenting challenges.
  • We can provide support that meets your individual needs: respite, group therapy or individual counselling / therapy.
  • We will work with you to build confidence and self-esteem to enable you to change your current position.

Would you like to know more?

Contact:

Ashford Counselling Service
The Paul Bower Centre
123 Church Road
Willesborough
ASHFORD
Kent TN24 0JQ
Tel: 01233 610083
Email: info@ashfordcounselling.org.uk

 

 

Expansion of domestic abuse services

silhouette of figureDomestic abuse services will continue to expand in Ashford, thanks to the ongoing success of a strong multi-agency network programme.

At last night’s meeting, Ashford Borough Council’s Cabinet paid tribute to the ongoing success of Ashford Domestic Abuse Forum (ADAF), which works alongside professionals in the health, police, fire, voluntary, local authority and charitable sectors to support those seeking help. The charity’s achievements include the Ashford Domestic Abuse One Stop Shop, and a series of victim programmes.

ADAF is now introducing a new scheme in Ashford – in conjunction with the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company – aimed at helping perpetrators understand the impact they are having. A new rural drop-in service which may further improve provision for those across the borough is also being considered.

Additional funding has already been secured to provide a support network for both adolescent girls and boys, young women, and a specialist one-to-one service for children affected by domestic violence.

The Ashford Domestic Abuse One Stop Shop, a weekly drop-in centre where victims can receive advice and support, received 443 visitors between July 2016 and June 2017 – a 20% increase compared to the same period in 2015-16.

It is believed the increase is due to the leadership, delivery and awareness of the facility, which is enabling victims to speak out. It is the second busiest One Stop Shop in the county, with 20% of those attending doing so on more than one occasion.

Ashford Borough Council funds the full-time domestic abuse coordinator post, as well as providing money towards an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA), who is the primary contact for victims of domestic abuse. The council was also successful in bidding for funds to provide emergency accommodation to female victims of domestic violence.

Councillor Brad Bradford, Portfolio Holder for Health, Parking and Community Safety, said: “The council continues to play an important role in coordinating the response to domestic abuse. This ensures that Ashford has many excellent services committed to supporting such a worthwhile cause.

“This report highlights the marvellous work that has been undertaken by a range of agencies and I am impressed by the future work plan.”

The Ashford One Stop Shop is open every Tuesday between 9.30am and 12.30pm at The Willows Centre, Brookfield Road.

For information on other services available and other One Stop Shop’s across the county go to www.domesticabuseservices.org.uk

Ashford Borough Council  14 February 2018
www.ashford.gov.uk/whats-on/news/expansion-of-domestic-abuse-services-in-ashford-applauded-14th-feb/

Minerals and Waste Plan Consultation

Kent County CouncilEarly Partial Review of the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2013-30 and
Mineral Sites Plan – Options Consultation

Kent County Council

Opens: 19 Dec 2017
Closes: 27 Mar 2018

The Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2013-30 (KMWLP or the Plan) sets out the minerals supply and waste management capacity provision for Kent up until the year 2031. Following the adoption of the KMWLP in July 2016, further assessments have been undertaken which suggest that the level of waste management capacity required to maintain net self-sufficiency differs from that which was anticipated to be needed when the KMWLP was prepared. In order to ensure that Kent benefits from an up-to-date strategy for waste management capacity the County Council is seeking to undertake an early partial review of the KMWLP to amend several of the policies relating to waste management.

Furthermore, the County Council also seeks to improve the clarity of the policies relating to minerals and waste safeguarding; this should improve their effectiveness when used in practice. This is a part of the Early Partial Review of the Plan at this time.

Parallel to the early Partial Review Consultation referred to above the County Council is holding a public consultation on the Option Sites for the Minerals Sites Plan. This is a Regulation 18 consultation to gather the views of the general community, groups, organisations, mineral operators, other Kent authorities (at the Parish and Borough/District levels) and individuals on what the County Council considers to be potential mineral sites required to supply a steady and adequate quantity of mineral resources to meet the objectives of the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan (KMWLP) 2013-30.

Additional supporting evidence documents and Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Reports have been published to support the consultation. Since the start of the consultation the evidence base been updated as follows:

Information concerning the site areas of the following Minerals Site Options:

  • West Malling Sandpit, Ryarsh
  • Chapel Farm, Lenham
  • Lydd Quarry Extensions, Lydd

Assessment of the suitability of mineral site options with respect to the Green Belt.

  • A separate evidence addendum has been prepared that summarises the updates and this can be found on the above website.

To engage in the above consultations, please click here.

The period for the  consultations is 19th December 2017 to 27th March 2018.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Minerals and Waste Planning Policy team.

Email:  mwlp@kent.gov.uk

Phone:  03000 413328

Consultation Summary

Name The Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2013-30
Description Kent County Council is seeking to undertake an early partial review of the KMWLP to amend several of the policies relating to waste management.
Dates From 19 Dec 2017 at 00:00 to 27 Mar 2018 at 23:59.
Status Open
Consulting Organisation Type Kent County Council
Consulting Organisation Name Kent County Council
District / Borough areas affected by the consultation Ashford, Canterbury, Dartford, Dover, Gravesham, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Shepway, Swale, Thanet, Tonbridge & Malling, Tunbridge Wells
Consultation Topic General interest, Environment and countryside, Planning and planning applications, Recycling, rubbish and waste management
Consultation Methods Online survey / questionnaire / forms
Contact Details Email:  mwlp@kent.gov.uk

Phone:  03000 413328

‘Opt-out’ consent for organ donation in England consultation

Introducing ‘opt-out’ consent for organ and tissue donation in England

Department of Health and Social Care

Opens: 12 December 2017
Closes: 6 March 2018

Summary

The government wants views from as many people as possible on plans to make it easier for people to give consent to be an organ donor.

Consultation description

The Department of Health and Social Care have launched a consultation about organ and tissue donation. The government wants to know what people think about proposed changes in which people are considered willing to be an organ donor after their death, unless they have ‘opted out’.

They want to find out what people think of how the changes to the system should be made, and what else they think the government needs to consider.

The defining issues of the new system are:

  • how much say families have in their deceased relative’s decision to donate their organs
  • when exemptions to ‘opt-out’ would be needed, and what safeguards would be necessary
  • how a new system might affect certain groups depending on age, disability, race or faith

Documents

Consultation on introducing ‘opt-out’ consent for organ and tissue donation in England
www.gov.uk/government/consultations/introducing-opt-out-consent-for-organ-and-tissue-donation-in-england/consultation-on-introducing-opt-out-consent-for-organ-and-tissue-donation-in-england HTML

Quick Read: organ and tissue donation consultation
www.gov.uk/government/consultations/introducing-opt-out-consent-for-organ-and-tissue-donation-in-england/quick-read-organ-and-tissue-donation-consultation HTML

Impact Assessment: organ donation opt-out
www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/666518/Organ_Donation_Opt-Out_Consultation_Impact_Assessment.pdf PDF, 707KB, 24 pages

Have your say on organ donation

https://engage.dh.gov.uk/organdonation/

Department of Health and Social Care 12 December 2017
www.gov.uk/government/consultations/introducing-opt-out-consent-for-organ-and-tissue-donation-in-england

Changes to bus fares

Stagecoach logoFrom Sunday 18 February we need to adjust the price of some of our bus tickets. We’re also opening up our ‘kid for a quid‘ offer to any adult ticket holder and anyone with a concessionary bus pass.

All adult single fares will increase by 10 pence. All adult return fares will increase by 10 or 20 pence. Some child single and return fares will increase by 10 pence.

A local area dayrider U19 ticket will increase to £3 and the South East dayrider U19 ticket will increase to £5.

The South East dayrider will increase to £7 and the South East family dayrider will increase to £14.

Local adult dayrider tickets and all megarider tickets are not affected.

It’s quids in for kids!

We know that lots of our customers want to travel with their children or grandchildren, especially during the school holidays. We recognise travel costs can be a burden on family budgets which is why we introduced the ‘kid for quid’ last summer. Now we’re able to take it further and open-up the offer to anyone with an adult ticket or concessionary bus pass. From 11 February if you have a valid adult ticket or concessionary bus pass you can buy our ‘kid for a quid’ £1 add-on ticket. View here for more details.

Stagecoach UK Bus 06 February 2018
www.stagecoachbus.com/service-updates/serviceupdatesarticle?SituationId=ID-06/02/2018-16:31:45:119

Flight Ticket Fraud Alert

Fraudsters are attempting to entice victims who are looking for cheap flights abroad.

Victims have reported booking tickets via websites or a “popular” ticket broker, only to discover that after payment via bank transfer or electronic wire transfer, the tickets/booking references received are counterfeit. In some cases, all communications between the company or broker and the victim have been severed.

Fraudsters are targeting individuals who are seeking to travel to African nations and the Middle East, particularly those wishing to travel in time for popular public and religious holidays.

Prevention Advice:

  • Pay safe: Be cautious if you’re asked to pay directly into a private individual’s bank account. Paying by direct bank transfer is like paying by cash – the money is very difficult to trace and is not refundable. Wherever possible, pay by credit card or a debit card.
  • Conduct research on any company you’re considering purchasing tickets from; for example, are there any negative reviews or forum posts by previous customers online? Don’t just rely on one review – do a thorough online search to check the company’s credentials.
  • Check any company website thoroughly; does it look professional? Are there any spelling mistakes or irregularities? There should be a valid landline phone number and a full postal address so that the company can be contacted. Avoid using the site if there is only a PO Box address and mobile phone number, as it could be difficult to get in touch after you buy tickets. PO Box addresses and mobile phone numbers are easy to change and difficult to trace.
  • Be aware that purchasing tickets from a third party, particularly when initial contact has been made via a social media platform can be incredibly risky.
  • If tickets to your intended destination appear cheaper than any other vendor, always consider this; if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Look for the logo: Check whether the company is a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA or ATOL. You can verify membership of ABTA online, at www.abta.com.

If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Action Fraud  07 February 2018
https://www.actionfraudalert.co.uk/da/207388/Flight%20Ticket%20Fraud%20Alert.html