Welcome to the official website of the Tring and Berkhamsted Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

  • wp-content/uploads/HS2.jpg
    Article: Jan 2, 2022

    While welcoming the two-year flurry of announcements from Transport Minister Grant Shapps for rail rebuild proposals, local Liberal Democrat Councillor for the Tring West & Rural Ward on Dacorum Borough Council, Nick Hollinghurst has sounded a note of caution.

    "When looking right across the UK - which is really the only way to view proposals affecting a national rail network - there are lessons to be learned. HS2, or "Cameron's Concorde" as some call it was an ambitious, but clearly needed, major capacity enhancement for our national rail network. But HS2 was spoiled completely by a gold-plated over-specification that now looks like coming in well over three times the original budget. Why? Simply because of a political red line that the London - Birmingham journey time had to be less than two hours."

  • Article: Jan 2, 2022

    Liberal Democrats and Labour have always valued public education to a greater degree than Conservatives, if only because the generally more wealthy Conservative mostly have access to an alternative system.

    This system has greater resources per pupil, ready access to the professions and is over-represented in the intake to our better and more prestigious universities. Whilst not necessarily equiping the young people with the modern knowledge or with the practical or professional skills that the country needs to weather the present difficulties, it is rather more successful in endowing what it blatantly regards as the next generation of the ruling class, with immense confidence untroubled by conscience or sound judgement, and a strong sense of entitlement.

    Thus it has been and thus they strive to ensure it will continue to be. Just look at the present cabinet!

    And so when the remarkable spectacle of a protest by 7,000 headteachers arose in March 2019, two Liberal Democrat County Councillors made a public demonstration of their party's support.

  • Christmas Decorations
    Article: Jan 1, 2022

    Wishing everyone as good a Christmas as present circumstances permit!

    And a happy New Year!

  • Dirty Ship (Economist)
    Article: Dec 17, 2021
    Out of sight, over the horizon, possibly out of mind as well - but still pumping out pollutants! There's one massive transport network that needs cleaning up, but which we might have forgotten - shipping.
    There are 110,700 ships of over 100 gross tonnes ploughing through the world's oceans. Although mile for mile and ton for ton ocean shipping is be far the cheapest way to transport goods, a great deal of energy is needed to push them through the water. Though fitted with enormous, relatively efficient, diesel engines, the "bunker fuel" that most large ships use for fuel is basically the unrefinable junk that the petroleum discards - something like the tar that is used on roads. Not only is it black, sticky and unheathily dangerous, but it is rich in pollutants such as sulphur and produces clouds of black poisonous smoke full of dangerous micro-particles.

    And that's before we even start worrying about the carbon dioxide that's emitted. This which adds up to more than 1 billion tonnes a year, roughly the same as aviation and the container ships are the worst offenders.

    "Marine Diesel Oil" is a much cleaner fuel, and is often used when close to land or in harbour, but, although pollution is singnificantly reduced, there is little benefit in terms of efficiencience and thus in greenhouse gas emissions. There are some practical and operating changes that can help. For instance bow profiles could be altered to reduce hydrodynamic drag, more efficient packing of the containers, travelling only when full and rerouting to avoid bad weather. The simplest and most effective of all would simply be to reduce speed by 50% - which would reduce fuel use by two thirds.
    Electric power of some sort would be an ideal solution of course, but with battery power this is only practical with short haul ferries with journies of less than 20 miles. Hydrogen plus fuel cells might be usable in the future but at the moment it remains inefficient, expensive and hampered by the fact that most hydrogen supplies come from methane steam reforming and this is even less green than using methane directly in diesel engines, which could well turn out to be a useful intermediate technology. It would produce about a quarter less carbon dioxide than either marine diesel oil or bunker fuel - and would be certainly a lot cleaner than the latter.

    Natural gas, or methane, is, however, a very powerful greenhouse gas - although it persists in the atmosphere for a lot longer than carbon dioxide - and many shipping companies are concerned that leaks from tanks and pipeworks could make the problems worse. This consideration has led several to experiment with supplementing some of its bunker fuel with treated used cooking oil (UCO).
    Eventually, as more surplus electricity arises from wind turbine farms, this could be usefully used to to produce hydrogen by hydrolising water, despite the inefficiency. Then the hydrogen, or, in another variant technology, ammonia, though toxic, could be used to generate electricity in fuel cells.

    One way or another the carbon burden and pollution from shipping must both be reduced - and at a faster rate than the current piecemeal solutions described above are achieving!
  • Helen Morgan
    Article: Dec 17, 2021
    Result thanks to @BritainElects

    NORTH SHROPSHIRE, Parliamentary By-Election result:

    LIB DEM: 47.2% (+37.2) Helen Morgan
    CONSVS : 31.6% (-31.1)
    LABOUR : 9.7% (-12.4)
    GREEN : 4.6% (+1.4)
    REFUK : 3.8% (+3.8)

    Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservatives.
    Turn Out 46%
  • Nick Rose Wem LD HQ
    Article: Dec 12, 2021

    The place to be this weekend - and a test drive with a difference!

    Rosemarie and Nick Hollinghurst from Tring answered the call - and went up to help in the Shropshire North By-Election, just "a little further" up the A41 from Tring. It turned out to be over 125 miles further up and more than a few more miles off the A4, but well worth the journey.

    Being retired, and so with greater flexibility, they decided to go up towards the end of the week to help get material ready for the big rush of volunteers on the final weekend of campaigning. They also decided to test the capability and practicability of their new EV on its first long run.

    They had a slow journey north, but, despite a long diversion for repairs to a railway bridge, they checked into the Old Rectory, a nice old hotel in Wem, at ¼ past 3 on Thursday - and immediately retraced their steps to arrive at the Liberal Democrat Campaign HQ in the grounds of nearby Soulton Hall. They worked counting out and making up leaflet rounds till gone 7 pm. then returned to the hotel in Wem.

    Then, meeting Jane and Nigel Quinton from Welwyn - also trying out a new EV - they joined them for a pleasant dinner at the Fox in Wem just down the road from the Old Rectory.

    Up in the morning at 7 on Friday, and fortified by the usual "English Breakfast" then packed and headed back to the HQ. There they found two more Hertfordshire Lib Dems, Malcolm Appleford and Robin Bromyard from Hemel Hempstead who were putting up poster boards. Nick and Rosemarie put in a solid 4½ hour session of clerical work Friday by a better and uneventful journey home. The EV performed splendidly.

    Organisation in the HQ was very good, with an air of quiet confidence and everyone we met was friendly and good company - most importantly there was coffee ad libitum.

    Anyone with time should please go and help out if they can. It's a widely dispersed area and needs lots of deliverers and canvassers, but based on Nick's experience back in Brecon and Radnor canvassing in rural areas is always appreciated by the electors - he found that talking to people in their own farmyard can be very rewarding. One tip though - don't stand too close behind a cow in a milking shed!

    Well, it IS different from Chesham & Amersham, but I'm making no other comment at all. If you want to get a feel for the situation, then go up and find out at first hand. The result will be known on Friday, but whatever that it is, your journey will not be wasted. At the very least we can feel we Did Our Bit! The people in Shropshire North deserve better than either corrupt Tories or disappointing Labour, and it would not be surpising if enough of them come see that over the next few days!

    A local campaigner like Helen Morgan is just what this area needs as its MP!

  • Offshore Hydrogen (BBC)
    Article: Nov 8, 2021

    Several European energy companies are currently exploring the feasibility of producing hydrogen out at sea. Although not particularly efficient, electroysis of water to produce hydrogen is a useful way to capture wind energy that might otherwise be in surplus. Batteries could of course be used shorterm energy storage and release, but future projections indicate hydrogen could handle greater quantities of energy over greater timescales and could also be an efficient way to transfer it to the mainland - with one hydrogen pipeline handling the same energy transmission as 5 DC interconnector cables.

    Germany has an advantage here with its own off-shore island of Helgoland, a one time WWII fortress in the North Sea but now a rather limited and lonely summer holiday destination and opportunity to buy tax free alcohol and cigarettes. The island could act as a collection base for platform-based hydrogen electrolysis and a distribution centre for hydrogen to be routed to neighbouring industrial centres in Germany, Holland and Scandinavia. Of course, this might well spell the end of both alcohol and smoking on the island!

    Die Presse reports that prominent among the companies is the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Elektrizitätswerk, better known as RWE, once the owner of Thames Water and 10 power stations in the UK. As the company remodels itself around the newer energy sources, Thames Water and 5 of the power stations (one of which was Didcot) have been closed and sold.

    Other companies involved are the Norwegian energie giant Equinor and the Dutch pipeline specialist Gasunie.

    At first an electrolysis capacity of 300 MW is planned by 2028, producing 20,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year. By 2035 this is expected to rise to 10 GW of electrolysis capacity for a variety of industrial uses and making it feasible to economically produce of 'green fertilisers', reducing the use of methane, and even 'green steel', replacing coking coal with hydrogen. UK Government please note!

    Meanwhile Reuters reports that, with other partners, RWE is investing in the Triton Knoll (near Grimsby) and the Sofia (Central Dogger) offshore wind farms, and is the preferred bidder for two other nearby sites on the Dogger Bank (thank you, Ed Davey!).

  • Moules Mariniére (BBC)
    Article: Oct 26, 2021
    "Raw Sewage discharge is the big problem and will ruin fisheries - it must be stopped," claims DBC Liberal Democrat Councillor for Tring West, Nick Hollinghurst.

    Of course driver shortages are a post-Brexit symptom everywhere in the UK, but the first couple of stages of sewage settlement and treatment use few if any chemicals - the first is physical settlement and the second is trickling through a filter bed. Can it really be true that the raw sewage discharge is due to the shortage of a readily available chemical? Or are longterm infrastructure quality and capacity issues due to blame?

  • Railway Freight Locomotives (Network Rail)
    Article: Oct 19, 2021

    The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the main industry trade group for railway equipment manufacturers in the United Kingdom and is based in Smith Square, London. They are emphatic that the UK needs immediately to double the current rate of rail electrification.

    Electrification is the main measure that will enable the UK Government to meet its commitment decarbonise by the railway system by 2050. However to do this means that at least 450 km of track need to be electrified every year.

    However, figures published by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) show that only 179 km of track were electrified in the UK in 2020-21.

  • Flag at Half Mast Cropped
    Article: Oct 17, 2021

    West Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats send their deepest condolences to the family of Sir David Amess.

    Sir David was cruelly stabbed to death on Friday during a routine constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea.

    He had served as the Member of Parliament for Southend West since 1997.

    He was a well respected man who worked hard as a constituency MP to represent the people in his local community.