Lib Dems promise action on transport and the environment after snatching B&NES from Tories

May 3, 2019

The Liberal Democrats have gained control of Bath & North East Somerset Council following yesterday’s local elections, ousting the Conservatives as its largest party and potentially triggering major changes in policy on transport, housing, the environment and the economy.

The Lib Dems gained 20 seats, overturning the Conservatives’ seven-strong majority. The political make-up of the council is now 37 Lib Dems, 11 Conservatives, six independents and five Labour. 

Council leader Tim Warren, who has been a councillor for 16 years and at the helm for the past four, lost his Mendip seat.

He blamed Brexit for the disastrous night for the Tories in B&NES, telling the Press Association: “I feel we’ve been given a kicking for something that wasn’t our fault. I don’t think people are happy. The people that voted to remain blame us for leaving and the people that voted to leave blame us because we haven’t left yet. I think it’s almost anti-political.”

He said he thought many voters had stayed at home to “punish us for a lack of action in government”.

He added: “I’m sure there are one or two things we’ve done locally they don’t like but on a whole I think it’s national issues. It sounds a bit cheap to blame anybody, but Brexit didn’t help.”

He said the Conservative administration had left the council “in a good place” having inherited a £1.7m recurring debt, saved £49m and balancing budget.

Lib Dem group leader Dine Romero said: “I am beyond pleased and it is a most astonishing result and far greater than could possibly be expected or even hoped for.”

Policy changes could now come in areas ranging from housing and transport – key issues in Bath itself – to culture and the environment.

In its election manifesto Bath Lib Dems said they would support the enterprise areas in Bath, Keynsham and the Somer Valley and oppose the loss of local business space.

It would also work with the cultural sector to work out the best way of keeping the arts in B&NES thriving.

On the environment it said it would reduce or eliminate carbon emissions in all its actions and decisions, including using and adapting the council’s planning policies to push low carbon developments throughout the district

Carbon reduction policies would be strengthened in the Local Plan so all new developments achieved zero carbon while it would work with the business community to address urgent needs, such as the elimination of single use plastic.

It also wants to make the council’s housing stock among the greenest in the UK and take urgent action to combat pollution and improve air quality.

There could be more efforts to encourage walking, cycling and public transport use as an alternative to private vehicles



Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across the Bath area for just £75 a month. Email for more information.