'We don't need mics - just speak up'

A COUNCILLOR has called on his colleagues scrap plans for a microphone system at meetings - and instead just speak louder.Andrew Stringer, Mid Suffolk district councillor representing Mendlesham, said he did not believe spending the cash was the best use of taxpayers money.

By John Howard

A COUNCILLOR has called on his colleagues scrap plans for a microphone system at meetings - and instead just speak louder.

Andrew Stringer, Mid Suffolk district councillor representing Mendlesham, said he did not believe spending the cash was the best use of taxpayers money.

Such a system is believed to have cost in excess of £20,000 at other councils and instead Mr Stringer will this week put forward a motion calling for a debate on the issue.


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He wants to see the money saved used for “green” initiatives such as solar panels to heat water at the council's offices, and using wool insulation as part of the on-going upgrade at the authority's headquarters.

Mr Stringer said: “We ought to have a debate on this and spend the money on the environment. We do have a small microphone system which is woefully inadequate, but it is painful that we have a budget for a better microphone system and not measures that benefit the environment.

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“The Greens are livid. Yes we are gaining some improvements as the building is upgraded, but we are spending more than £1 million on the building and we should build in to it core things that help the environment.”

But Tim Passmore, Conservative leader of the district council, said his administration had made real strides forward on environmental matters, including installing a grey water system and making the heating system more environmentally friendly.

And he said: “Nothing is set in stone yet and I have no problem speaking up, but some councillors would have. It is also very important that the public can hear what is being discussed, we need a modern day working environment.

“We have made significant progress on the green agenda and I am very pleased with that and will continue to make strides forward.”

Mr Passmore said the council has certain legal obligations to comply with, such as working within the Disability Discrimination Act, and issues such as hearing loops are important.

He added that the council's budget is not limitless, and when a new microphone system was trialled it had generally been popular.

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