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Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, has stated the Council’s tree policy very clearly following concerns over the removal of a number of mature trees in the town in recent weeks.

 Responding to a question from Leigh Councillor, Peter Wexham, Cllr Mulroney said, at a meeting of the Council on Thursday (18 July): “When it comes to our policy for felling street trees, we adopt the “5 Ds” approach - namely we will fell a tree if it is dead, dying, damaged, diseased or dangerous.

“Other scenarios where felling a tree would be deemed necessary are where it is causing damage to buildings, such as subsidence, or where its removal is required as part of a planning consent.

 “The council employs in-house tree experts, who routinely inspect street trees across the Borough as well as responding to customer reports and storm damage. They are absolutely passionate about trees – a passion that I share - and they would only recommend removal of a tree if it is entirely necessary.

 “I want to make perfectly clear that our contractors do not make any decisions about whether to remove a tree and that we will not – and do not – remove trees because of leaf fall, bird droppings or any other preferences.

“Indeed, we are frequently in dispute with residents who want us to do this, but we staunchly refuse.

 “This administration is committed to maintaining a green and healthy streetscape with a variety of planting, including trees. I will be spending time with our arboricultural team to experience the issues first hand and all councillors will be invited to join me later this year to hear more about street tree management from our expert team.”

Keeping trees at the forefront of the Council’s environmental agenda

A climate emergency could be announced in Southend-on-Sea next week as plans to create a ‘Green City’ continue to take shape.

 Following a motion to Full Council in July 2019, members of the council’s cabinet (Tuesday 17 September) will discuss whether to officially announce a climate emergency, along with the challenges the council and Borough will need to overcome to become a carbon neutral city within the next 10 years.

 It is also being recommended that the council lobbies Government along with other Local Authorities to ensure that funds are made available to increase the work towards achieving carbon neutral status.

Work on greening the town, emissions improvement through energy efficiency and generation are already underway through EU funded projects including Interreg 2 Seas projects NSCiti2S, Sustainable and Resilient Coastal Cities and North Seas Region funded 2Impresz. Work to reduce the Council’s own emissions from buildings has also significantly improved through a variety of projects, directly or indirectly reducing emissions by around 75% since 2014.

 The council also recently launched PlastiCity - a three year, European funded, research project that aims to increase the amount of commercial and industrial plastics recycled in the 2 Seas region – United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Netherlands. Going forward, the council will be working with its Plasticity partners to increase plastic recycling rates with local businesses across the Borough.

 Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “Becoming a carbon neutral Borough by 2030 is a huge task but one we are determined to meet head-on. We want to make a real and tangible difference across the Borough and ensure we are doing our bit to tackle climate change.

 “We have already committed to installing an additional 87 electric vehicle charging points across the town, and we are also currently considering a new tree planting policy, which will look to enhance the green coverage across Southend-on-Sea.

 “One of our Southend 2050 ambitions is to create a Green City, and we know that there is a lot we can be doing ourselves. This is why we have already reduced emissions from our own buildings by 75% since 2014 and will continue to ensure that the Civic Centre and council operations conform to our plans. We have to lead by example and we are doing just that.

 “Whilst we progress with this announcement, I must reiterate that battling climate change is something everyone must get behind. This includes central government ensuring the funding is available for local authorities, and for residents and businesses to ensure they do their bit through energy efficiency, the use of low emissions transport options, recycling, reducing usage of single-use plastics and disposing of waste appropriately.

 “The council is absolutely determined to do all we can to improve air quality, improve the town’s greenery and reduce carbon emissions. Just last week, we were delighted to be placed 28 out of the top 30 council’s in the UK for CO2 emissions per head of population, which is particularly impressive because the top 30 contains so many rural areas who have large areas of green space which act as carbon sinks.  In Southend we have lowered our emissions by 35% from 2005 and we are intent on continuing this improvement.”

Plans in place to make council ‘carbon neutral’

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is highlighting the work being done with Naloxone kits and training to avoid drug-related deaths.

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist – which means it blocks the body’s receptor sites when someone has taken too much heroin, and buys the person more time until paramedics arrive on site.

 Figures released from the Office of National Statistics show since the council, in partnership with Southend Treatment and Recovery Services (STARS), started issuing Naloxone kits in 2015, there has been a steady decrease in the amount of drug-related deaths in Southend-on-Sea, from 47 deaths in 2013-15, to 32 in 2016-18.

It comes nearly three weeks after International Overdose Awareness Day on 31 August, which is held every year to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug related death.

Cllr Trevor Harp, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “Any person or organisation who requests the training from STARS will receive it, along with the basic first aid needed to administer the doses. Naloxone doesn’t have any ill effects for those suffering with another condition, it only has an impact on those who are overdosing on heroin, so there is no harm caused by administering it regardless.

“It is a useful tool for first aiders to have, especially people like our outreach workers, who are out talking to people on the streets and are more likely to come across someone in this situation. It buys more time for the emergency services to arrive, and sometimes a close call is what a person needs to seek the help and support to get clean. These kits can save a life, but also it gives people a chance to turn their life around.”

Signs to look for if you suspect someone has overdosed:

 

·         Unconsciousness or drowsy, non-responsive behaviour

 

·         Vomiting

 

·         Unstable vital signs – pulse, blood pressure, unusual breathing

 

·         Blue tinge to skin, especially the lips

 

·         Drug taking paraphernalia nearby

 

In the first year (2015/16) 77 Naloxone kits were issued and since then it has risen to 254 in 2018/19. The kits contain a pre-made syringe solution, with five set doses, which is administered through a muscle. If five minutes after the first dose is given, there’s no change, a second dose can be given and so on until the person rouses.

STARS (Southend Treatment and Recovery Service) issue the kits and the training, alongside accompanying basic first aid advice and drug-taking advice. People can self-refer or be referred in by another service. Plus businesses who feel they might benefit from having the kits can also be trained.

Shahida Akram, services manager at Change Grow Live, Southend Treatment and Recovery Service (STARS), said: “Naloxone can save lives, but this will only happen if people are carrying naloxone kits and feel confident to use naloxone when needed. That is why we are prioritising efforts to provide naloxone training to as many people as possible in the community and to increase the availability of naloxone throughout Southend-on-Sea. Our naloxone training is free and open to everyone and we want to train as many people as possible to continue to prevent drug-related deaths in the local area.”

 

The next Naloxone training session at STARS Southend is on Wednesday 13 November 2019 from 1pm to 2.30pm. To find out more information and book a place, contact STARS on 01702 431889.

 

You can find out more about the naloxone kits via the website

Naloxone kits and training available to all