Budget consultation: Climate change, public realm improvement and speed cameras on the agenda

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Pound coins and money

Bedford Borough Council is asking for residents’ opinions on next year’s council budget, which includes long-term ‘one-off’ projects including tackling climate change, enhancing the public realm and investing in acreage speed cameras.

Covid-19 has had a major impact on balancing the council’s budget, as have cuts to central government funding. The Council is facing an estimated funding gap of over £15million to 2025/26, with a need to save over £5million just in 2022/23.

The Council says it is continuing to make savings as part of its Transformation Programme; making use of new technology and improving how the organisation operates; procuring goods and services more efficiently, and making savings within directorates.

This 2022/23 Budget also outlines areas of longer-term ‘one-off’ or ‘capital’ spend in the following areas:

Tackling climate change

£700,000 is proposed to be invested in Tackling Climate Change including further installation of solar panels on Council buildings, the purchase of electric pool cars and the installation of vehicle charging infrastructure.

Enhancing our local environment

£1.5million is proposed to be invested in ‘Enhancing Our Local Environment’ from play area refurbishment, and protective measures for parks to a new pavement washing vehicle for our town centre.

New average speed cameras

Speeding is a common cause for concern complaints locally. In next year’s budget, £760,000 is proposed to be invested in average speed cameras at up to nine new sites.

“While the Council invests the money to install these cameras, they do not see any of the money from the fines so further investment is needed to rollout these popular cameras locally,” said a council statement.

Protecting frontline services

Cllr Michael Headley, portfolio holder for finance said, “We are continuing to face a difficult financial challenge, and we are always aiming to save money first and foremost in the way the council operates so that we can continue to protect frontline services.

“We have also identified several priority areas for investment that includes addressing climate change, improving our local environment, and tackling speeding to make local roads safer.

“We want to hear from you- what do you think about how we are developing the way we work, and our plans for investment into the future?”

You can find out more and have your say at bedford.gov.uk/budget2022.

You can respond via the website link, by emailing consultingbedford@bedford.gov.uk or by writing to Consulting Bedford, Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford MK42 9AP.

Hard copies are also available in libraries and on request.

Comments should be received by 4 January 2022 and may be published.

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