Southport has no sails in the sunset

A Southport councillor has questioned why the wind has been taken out of the town’s turbine sails.

Lib Dem Cambridge Ward representative, Councillor Pat Keith, has asked the council for the reasons behind the wind turbine at Southport Eco Centre being out of action for the past three months.

Councillor Keith said

“ I am very concerned about this situation, especially as the council recently stated its opposition to fracking and placed a greater emphasis on green energy, which they strongly favour,”

“ The longer this wind turbine remains inactive the more money and energy is lost so it is a costly double whammy. I have put questions to the council and I would like to see a speedy resolution to the situation and the turbine sails once again turning.

“ I understand that the turbine malfunctioned several months ago but the council believe they don’t have sufficient maintenance revenue to repair it at present. This seems to me to be muddle thinking because as soon as the turbine is working again revenues will flow from it.”

A council source said:

“The wind turbine at Southport Eco Centre was connected to the national grid on commissioning in 2004.  It benefits and reduces council costs in two key ways.

“It reduces the Eco Centre’s consumption of electricity from the national grid therefore reducing the centre’s energy bills. The council receives annual payment from the government Feed-in- Tariff scheme for the unused electricity on site which is exported to the national grid 24 hours a day.”

Councillor Sue McGuire asks “Are you a Rubbish Friend?”

Rubbish Friends tackle Kew Roundabout in 2015

Rubbish Friends volunteers pictured following the clean up at Kew Roundabout in 2015

If so then we would love you to join us at our next litter pick on Saturday 13th August. This time the team of intrepid volunteers will be undertaking a clean up at Kew Roundabout.

This is an annual event which we try to do in time for the Flower Show. Many people attend the event and we think its important that their first view as they approach Southport isn’t a litter strewn roundabout.

We’ll be meeting in the car park of B&Q at 10:30am, a flask of coffee will be on offer!

Litter pickers, bags and gloves will be provided.

Councillor Sue McGuire & Councillor Pat Keith would also like to say a huge thanks to those people who helped in the Rubbish Friends clean up with Southport Hoteliers. Everyone worked really hard cleaning up the Promenade in time for the Britain in Bloom judging.

“Rubbish Friends” litter pickers are delighted as plastic bag usage falls by 85%

Sue & Pat plastic bag adjusted

Cllrs Sue McGuire & Pat Keith tackle discarded plastic bags during a recent Rubbish Friends litter pick.

Plastic bag use has plummeted in England since the introduction of a 5p charge last year, under the previous coalition government.

The number of single-use plastic bags used by shoppers in England has fallen by more than 85%. More than 7bn bags were handed out by seven main supermarkets in the year before the charge but this has been reduced to just over 500m in the first six months after the charge has been introduced.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Sefton Council, Councillor Sue McGuire said:

“Our volunteer litter picking group Rubbish Friends can report from first hand experience that the number of single use plastic bags which are simply discarded has fallen significantly since the charge was introduced. These bags blight Southport and the surrounding countryside, when blown they get caught in trees and hedgerows, they can trap and suffocate wildlife and have a huge impact on our coast and seas so I am delighted that these figures show that this Lib Dem policy is starting to stop that””

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said:

“We always said the test of this policy would be by the amounts of bags that are cut from public consumption and the funds raised for charities – on both these tests this policy has passed.

“I want to pay tribute to Kate Parminter who fought tirelessly for this policy and today’s figures are a testament to her. It is down to Liberal Democrats in Government that this policy happened – we announced it at our 2013 conference and we are now seeing what a huge impact it has had.”

Rubbish Friends and Southport Hoteliers Association team up to clean up for Britain in Bloom judging

Rubbish Friend volunteers pictured after their clean up

Rubbish Friend volunteers pictured after their clean up work for Britain in Bloom judging

A big thank you to all the intrepid volunteers worked alongside members of Southport Hoteliers Association to spruce up the area between the Promenade, Bath Street and Neville Street in time for the Britain in Bloom judging on Friday 5th August.

Councillor Sue McGuire, co-founder of the Rubbish Friends group explained

“Nothing stands out more than one piece of litter in a perfectly coiffured flower bed or a weed in a gutter. Rubbish Friends want to do their bit to support the work of the other fantastic volunteer groups; Lord Street in Bloom and the Friends of Rotten Row Gardeners to make Southport bloom.”

Tracy Holgate, Chairperson of Southport Hoteliers Association and one of the event organisers added

“With over 15 volunteers, we were able to undertake an extensive clean up in the area collecting in total 23 bags of rubbish and weeds”.

Cllr Sue McGuire asks residents to “Love Food, Hate Waste” as food waste switches to fortnightly collections

Councillors Sue McGuire & Marianne Welsh investigate food waste collection.

Councillors Sue McGuire & Marianne Welsh investigate food waste collection.

From the 1st August Sefton Council are changing the way that recycling will be collected and processed. This follows the termination of the “Green Bee” contract with the collection of cardboard, paper, tins & plastics returning “in house” via the brown bin collection.

The Lib Dems are delighted at this move and fully support the idea of collecting co-mingled recyclables as a positive step in tackling land fill. Question have been raised however over the proposal to switch to fortnightly food waste collection.

Norwood Ward Councillor Marianne Welsh says

“The Council have said a second food bin can be provided and they will be giving decomposable bags to keep the food.  I do have concerns however about food waste being left in a bin for two weeks between collections so the Lib Dems will be monitoring the situation closely.”

Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Sue McGuire explained

“There is another approach to dealing with food waste and thats to actually support residents to reduce the amount of food waste presented. The Liberal Democrats are asking the Council to back the national campaign called LOVE FOOD, HATE WATSE which encourages people to think about what food they buy, portion size and how left overs could be used in other meals.”

The Love Food, Hate waste campaign has calculated that the average family could save £700 a year or £60 a month, simply by throwing away less food. We throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink every year from home, costing us £12.5bn a year. There is evidence that food waste can be reduced if people think about the food they buy – people wasted 21% less food in 2012 compared to 2007.

Councillor Sue McGuire added

“Some of the wasted food is stuff we can’t eat like fruit and vegetable peelings, cores and bones, but most of it is, or once was perfectly good food that could have been eaten if we had used or stored it differently. It makes sense to try and reduce the amount of food wasted; it will save people money, save the Council costs and mean there is less food left in food caddies between collections.”

The London Borough of Sutton are currently running a pilot programme asking residents to complete a food diary to record food waste, share recipes for left overs and sign up to the Love Food, Haste Waste campaign.

More information on the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign can be found at

Cllr Sue McGuire says “The 48 second Sefton Cabinet meeting was a total farce”

Sefton Council’s most expensive committee has become a total farce, say the Liberal Democrats. The latest meeting of this body held in Bootle Town Hall on the 21st July lasted an amazing 48 seconds and included no discussion about any decision despite both the £2.9 Million Southport Town Centre Heritage Lottery bid, and the Sefton Borough Sports Field Strategy being on the agenda.

Opposition party Members are allowed to attend meetings of the Cabinet Committee as are members of the public however neither can play any part in the Cabinet’s deliberations.

Councillor Nigel Ashton, who attended the meeting said:

“I was absolutely shocked. You blinked and it was over. It was farcical. I had been told that the meetings were becoming shorter and shorter but did not believe it. So I took my stopwatch. This ‘meeting’ lasted all of forty-eight seconds.”

Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Sue McGuire said:

“When there are such serious pressures on council spending, so much so that important services are being cut, every hour that is spent by senior councillors and officers of the council needs to be productive and worthwhile. This Cabinet Meeting costs the Council Tax payers thousands of pounds per minute – and for what?

Councillor Sue McGuire added

“These Cabinet meetings clearly only rubber-stamps decisions already made elsewhere. Meetings like this are not open or transparent and its clear that any discussion on agenda items are undertaken elsewhere away from public scrutiny.”

Lib Dems vote against “like for like” replacement of Trident

The Liberal Democrats seek a nuclear-free Britain and a nuclear-free world. We believe that these aims, and all of Britain’s interests, are best advanced by actively and constructively working with the UK’s allies and partners in the European Union, Commonwealth, UK and NATO to develop effective global solutions.

Liberal Democrats have long argued that the UK, while maintaining a minimum nuclear deterrent, should be fully engaged in international nuclear disarmament efforts. In particular, the UK should seek ways to persuade others countries to agree to step down the nuclear ladder. In maintaining a minimum nuclear deterrent, we maintain leverage in non-proliferation discussions and keep our place at that table.

We also recognise that the world has changed profoundly since the UK became one of the five declared nuclear powers in the 1950s, yet Britain’s nuclear posture has not kept up. In 2015, the Liberal Democrats proposed to step down the nuclear ladder by procuring fewer Vanguard Successor submarines and moving from Continuous-at Sea Deterrence to a contingency posture of regular patrols, enabling a surge to armed patrols when the international security context makes this appropriate. This would help the UK fulfil its obligations in international law and reduce the UK nuclear warhead stockpile.

That is why our MP’s drafted the amendment below before Monday’s vote:

“Declines to give support to the Government for like-for-like replacement of the Vanguard Class submarines with four Successor submarines;  believes that the UK must be able to defend itself and its overseas territories but believes that the full replacement of four Successor submarines is not in line with the UK’s obligations as a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; calls instead for the UK to step down the nuclear ladder through procurement of fewer submarines and a move from Continuous at Sea Deterrence to a contingency posture of regular patrols, enabling the deployment of armed patrols when the international security context makes this appropriate; further believes that the UK should take an international lead in nuclear disarmament by engaging in the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament; and supports the Government’s commitment to continuing to work towards a safer and more stable world, pressing for key steps towards multilateral disarmament.”

Unfortunately, this amendment was not selected to be voted on last night. The party did however, vote against the Government motion but this was defeated by a margin of 472 votes to 117.

However, the Liberal Democrats will continue to argue for reduced nuclear deterrent and for international nuclear disarmament leading to a nuclear-free world.

“Rubbish Friends” are happy to work whatever the weather!!

Cllrs Sue McGuire & Pat Keith with their "Rubbish Friends"

Cllrs Sue McGuire & Pat Keith with their “Rubbish Friends”

Rain may have stopped play at Wimbledon recently but it certainly didn’t stop the Rubbish Friends litter picking group in their most recent clean up in Southport earlier this month.

The team of intrepid volunteers battled on under iron grey skies and persistent rain to clean up the area between Morrison’s supermarket, Dunes Leisure Centre and Victoria Park, collecting a staggering 12 bags of rubbish.

Councillor Sue McGuire, co-founder of the Rubbish Friends group explained “We wanted to clean up this area before the North West In Bloom judges visited. Nothing stands out more than one piece of litter in a perfectly coiffured flower bed.”

Councillor McGuire added “Rubbish Friends also wanted to do their bit to support the work that the other fantastic volunteer groups, Lord Street in Bloom and the Friends of Rotten Row Gardeners, do to make Southport bloom.”

Councillor Pat Keith added “It is the on-going aim of Rubbish Friends to make Southport a litter free zone.”

The group will be next out on Wednesday 3rd August working alongside volunteers from The Southport Hoteliers Association and the Lord Street in Bloom group to tackle any grot spots on The Promenade before the next Britain in Bloom judging on the 5th August.

The group will be meeting outside the Ambassador TownHouse on Bath Street at 12:30pm. Anyone who wants to get involved please get in touch with Councillor Sue McGuire on 07766 968162 or email


Cllr Sue McGuire’s motion on Honorary Consuls receives full Council support

Sefton Council gave its full backing to a motion moved Southport Councillor and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Sue McGuire.

The motion which called on the Council to work with the Liverpool Consular Corps to increase the number of Honorary Consuls working in Sefton and Merseyside received full cross party support with councillors from all parties voting in favour of the motion.

An Honorary Consul is someone who is appointed by a country to strengthen the ties between one country and another, they can act to facilitate trade, investment and goodwill between two nations. Honorary Consuls are not professional diplomats and generally do not get paid for the position. The Liverpool Consular Corps is one of the oldest consular groups in the world which reflects the importance of Liverpool as one of the world’s greatest ports over the past two centuries. The Corps currently has 21 Honorary Consuls listed on their website.

Councillor Sue McGuire explained “The Leave victory in the Referendum has far reaching implications for the UK, not least the position of the regions on the international stage. Its vital that we continue to be an outward facing country which collaborates with other countries to tackle global challenges – now more than ever we cannot afford to pull up the drawbridge.

This motion in support of Honorary Consuls is a positive step towards fostering better international relationships between countries and Merseyside – and better still it will do this without costing the tax payer a penny.”

Councillor McGuire added “Increasing the number of Honorary Consuls present on Merseyside will ensure that the voices of Sefton, Liverpool and Merseyside are heard loud and clear on the world stage sending a very clear message that we are open for business and welcome global trade.”

John Gibson, currently the Honorary Consul to Finland commented “Currently Manchester is taking the lead in this area at a North West level which risks excluding Sefton and Merseyside. Its vital that we do whatever we can to attract international trade and businesses to chose Sefton and Merseyside to ensure the economic growth and business development required for the future.”

Former Southport councillor Sir Ron Watson, Deputy Honorary Consul to Finland added “I am confident that the Mayor of Sefton working with the current president of the Liverpool Consular Corps organisation will make a compelling case of why countries should consider appointing Honorary Consuls who would work and reside in the Sefton and Merseyside region.”

Councillor Sue McGuire calls for electronic signs rethink

There are three electronic road signs on the main routes into Southport; at Woodvale, the Plough roundabout and at Kew Roundabout. These signs currently display notices reminding drivers to wear seatbelts, to take notice of motorbikes and to avoid drink driving. Two Southport Councillors say that these signs could be used much more effectively to advise motorists of traffic or parking issues in Southport and most importantly messages about beach access.

Councillor Sue McGuire, Leader of the Lib Dem group explains “It would make sense if motorists could be advised in advance of getting to Ainsdale beach if the beach is closed to vehicles due to high tides. There was a huge issue recently when motorists unaware of the beach closure still arrived at the entrance to Ainsdale beach which resulted in traffic chaos with cars trying to access the beach and then trying to leave the area. ”

Councillor McGuire added “Our suggestion makes sense, would help visitors to Southport and would ensure that traffic chaos as Ainsdale beach entrance would be avoided in future. We are delighted that the Council have taken our suggestions on board and will be using the boards for messages about Ainsdale beach in the future.”

Ainsdale Councillor Lynne Thompson commented “We need to give people as much notice as possible on the rare occasions that Ainsdale Beach is closed. This would give people time to plan which other parts of Southport they wish to visit whether thats a stroll down Lord Street or walk along the Pier.

The use of the electronic signs is one of a number of proposals that Lib Dem Councillors and local MP John Pugh are considering to improve traffic flow throughout the resort. Although previous plans to alter the layout of Lord Street were with derision, the town can only benefit from having improved traffic management measures.”

Councillor Sue McGuire pictured with her Ainsdale ward colleague Lynne Thompson by the sign at Woodvale.

Councillor Sue McGuire pictured with her Ainsdale ward colleague Lynne Thompson by the sign at Woodvale.