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Leader Wayne Fitzgerald's Blog - 15 September

15 September 2023

Where possible we always try and include our residents in the decisions that we make.

Next week I will be able to tell you more about the return of our budget simulator, which puts you in the driving seat when it comes to balancing our budget. It gives you the chance to tell us which services matter to you the most.

Earlier this year we asked you for your views on the proposed new pedestrian bridge linking the Embankment with Fletton Quays.

There was no swanning about with this consultation, and I am delighted with the choice of Cygnet Bridge as the name, which came top out of the five options looked at by more than 500 people.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the consultation. The sight of the swans drifting along the Nene (and sometimes even greeting pedestrians on Town Bridge) is one which we’ll all be warmly familiar with, and means the name is perfectly fitting for the area.

In addition, 86 per cent were in favour of benches being installed nearby and 62 per cent were supportive of an art project, so we can begin to see how that area will blossom in the near future.

In further good news, it’s a good week for the university, as I was informed by Vice Chancellor Roderick Watkins that ARU Peterborough has been shortlisted in the category of University of the Year in this year’s Times Higher Education (THE) Awards, widely known as the Oscars of the UK university sector.

It’s also been shortlisted for the Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community award (for the creation of ARU Peterborough) and Outstanding Contribution to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion award.

Congratulations to Principal Ross Renton and all of the staff and students who have proven so quickly what an impressive establishment ARU Peterborough is.

We hope and believe that the university will continue to flourish and grow, and Cygnet Bridge will obviously encourage walking and cycling from one side of the Nene to the other, which can boost our physical and mental wellbeing and also contribute towards a greener Peterborough.

To that end, you might be aware that we’ve made a pledge as a local authority to become a net zero council by 2030, which includes replacing our vehicles with low carbon alternatives. And we’ve taken our first steps – or miles – as our two new electric refuse vehicles Usain Volt and Electric Boogaloo join our current fleet.

The new Renault Trucks E-Tech are expected to cover 120km per day with up to 1,300 bin lifts per day, over a ten-hour shift. They’re fitted with four 94kW battery packs, offering up to 40 per cent more capacity - ideal for longer running times, multiple bin lifts and waste compaction demanded by the intensive refuse collection operation.

Keep an eye out for the dynamic duo as they travel our roads, cutting carbon emissions by over 60 tonnes per year compared to the previous diesel vehicles.

In sadder news, we have all been shocked by the terrible scenes of the earthquake in Morocco.

Earlier this year Peterborough’s people rallied to help those affected by another dreadful earthquake in Turkey and Syria. If you can spare a donation please make sure you do so through the official channels, such as the Red Cross.

Finally, the Lives over Knives event will take place in Cathedral Square on Saturday (16 September) having been rescheduled from earlier this year. The event, organised by Black History Month Peterborough, will feature music, poetry and dance, and a march through the city centre.

Community leaders, our youth MP Eva Woods, police representatives and members of the Peterborough Racial Equality Council will kick things off with speeches around midday.