After almost a year, I’ve been back on the doorstep. At its simplest, that involves knocking on doors and asking constituents for their views.
There are all sorts of ways of communicating these days but I think there’s nothing beats a good old-fashioned doorstep conversation.
I’ve been in the Billesley area of my constituency and as well as jobs, the economy and wellbeing, I’ve also been hearing about local issues. People are bothered by traffic speeds. There are just too many drivers who think 40mph is okay in residential areas. That’s the speed at which you’re most likely to kill someone!
There’s also the condition of the roads and pavements. I know the council has ended its awful contract with Amey and admit there’s a backlog but the condition of our roads and pavements need attention. They’re riddled with potholes and broken tarmac which not only damages vehicles but risks serious injuries for the elderly and disabled.
The one thing that’s stood out is litter and fly-tipping. People are fed up with it. They don’t see why individuals can’t take their litter home or put it in a bin. They don’t understand why folk think it’s okay to dump household rubbish on corners and grass verges and they wonder what happened to making manufacturers responsible for all that packaging that ends up strewn around our streets.
I get lots of emails about the environment which often make very important points but surely care of the environment begins with individual responsibility. It’s about the actions of those who do the polluting and civic behaviour of those who help clear it.
People like Beryl Henley of Billesley Bin Baggers (find them on Facebook) who dedicate hours to clearing places like Swanshurst Park, streets and public spaces of litter which others selfishly dump.
I’m grateful for doorstep conversations which keep my feet on the ground and for people drawing my attention to the litter and heroic efforts of volunteers like Beryl. Small individual steps can reduce pollution and set an example for others. Looking after our local communities has never been more important.