MEPs vote to cut plastic bag use in Europe by 80% in 5 years

The European Parliament has voted in favour of dramatically cutting plastic bags use across Europe by 80% in 5 years.


Figures from the European Commission show that over 100 billion carrier bags are used every year within the EU, working out at an average of 200 per person. 8 billion of these end up as litter, many of them in Europe's seas including the English Channel and North Sea.


Win for London cyclists and LibDems as MEPs back safer lorries

The European Parliament has today approved new safety standards, pushed for by Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament and in City Hall, for the design of big lorries. These could help prevent many fatal accidents: 14 cyclists died on London’s roads in each of 2012 and in 2013, and 118 died in 2012 in the whole of the UK.


BBC Sunday Politics European Election Debate

On Sunday 13 April 2014 Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford took part in a European Election Debate on the BBC's Sunday Politics programme along with Syed Kamall MEP (Conservatives), Richard Howitt MEP (Labour) and Patrick O'Flynn (UKIP). article: European court strike-down of illiberal Data Retention Directive welcome

In a landmark ruling, the European Court of Justice this week declared 'invalid' the highly controversial EU Data Retention Directive. This law requires telecoms companies and internet service providers (ISPs) to store for up to two years traffic and location data on the communications - calls, emails, texts and web browsing – of all 500 million EU citizens. Access to the data is regulated by national rather than EU law.

Landmark EU judgement throws a spanner in the works of increased state surveillance

The European Court of Justice has today declared "invalid" the Data Retention Directive, an EU law requiring telecoms firms to store citizens' communications data for up to two years.


Commenting, Liberal Democrat MEP and Home Affairs Spokesperson in the European Parliament Sarah Ludford said:


"It is a vindication of the Lib Dem rejection of this pernicious Directive in 2005 that the EU's highest court finds the obligation on telecoms companies to retain records of our calls and emails for access by national agencies an unjustified invasion of privacy and breach of human rights.


Boost for consumers from end to mobile roaming charges and open internet safeguards

The European Parliament has today voted to scrap mobile roaming charges in the EU by December 2015 following a successful campaign by Liberal Democrat MEPs including London MEP Sarah Ludford.

Victory for blind pedestrians as MEPs insist on sound generators on electric cars

MEPs have today voted to introduce mandatory acoustic vehicle alerting systems (AVAS) on new electric and hybrid cars in order to protect vulnerable road users. Currently these vehicles emit very little sound which is particularly dangerous for partially sighted and blind pedestrians who cannot see or hear them coming.

The move is part of a measure which will restrict the noise level of combustion-engine cars so as to reduce noise pollution. But the flip side is that electric cars which are virtually noiseless need to make enough sound to avoid danger to visually impaired pedestrians.


UK car industry says EU membership vital to its success in London

Europe is fundamental to the success of British car manufacturing according to a new report published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, a body which represents the UK automotive industry, and KPMG.
The report notes that Ford in the UK manufactures around 1.5 million engines, with the company’s Dagenham plant in London supplying diesel engines for all of Ford in Europe.
Over 9 in 10 automotive companies surveyed said it was more beneficial to their business for the UK to stay in the EU.

Parliament Magazine Article: New EU data protection rules must ‘safeguard privacy’ and research

The debate surrounding medical research, health data and privacy is far from over, says Sarah Ludford MEP in an article for the Parliament Magazine.


As the European parliament prepares to adopt its plenary position on the proposed new EU data protection regulation, the debate around privacy, health data and medical research has intensified. On the one hand, medical research organisations warn that some of the provisions could have serious repercussions on research. On the other, the public and health bodies are rightly concerned about who is collecting their data, how it is being used and whether it is being passed on to unknown third parties.


Half a million London jobs linked to EU says new study

A study conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research estimates that the number of jobs in London supported by exporting to the EU now stands at 541,707, or one in nine.


According to the study, London is the region that has gained the most jobs, as it now has 27% more EU-supported jobs than it did in 1997. This is due to a large increase in the number of jobs linked to our EU membership in the Business, ICT, Scientific and Financial Services sectors reported in the study’s results.


Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford commented:


“This is yet another study showing the damage that leaving the EU could do to London’s economy and jobs in the capital.”


Joint EU police operation nets 213 smartphone thieves

213 suspected mobile phone thieves have been arrested in a joint EU-wide police operation in the UK and a further seven EU countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Romania). The coordinated operation against individuals and gangs behind smartphone theft led to 120 arrests in UK alone and the seizure of 2401 stolen phones.


Ludford challenges UKIP’s Batten to Europe debate in London

London’s Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has challenged her UKIP opposite number to a one-on-one public debate on Europe in the run-up to May’s European Parliament elections.


Sarah Ludford is calling on UKIP MEP Gerard Batten to join her in giving Londoners the chance to hear their different views about Britain’s membership of the European Union before they cast their votes on 22nd May.


UKIP leader Nigel Farage has already agreed to debate the issues with Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister, which will be broadcast on LBC radio tonight (26th March) and on BBC 2 on 2nd April.


West London employer General Electric warns against EU exit

The chief executive of General Electric's European business has joined a growing list of business leaders calling on Britain to stay in the European Union.


Ferdinando Beccalli-Falco, president and chief executive of GE Europe, told the Financial Times: “I really hope that England is not going to leave the European Union.”


“It wouldn’t be good for England; it wouldn’t be good for Europe”, he added.


GE’s subsidiary, GE Capital, employs 3,000 in the UK, including at its offices in Hammersmith and  Hounslow.


Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford commented:


Universal phone charger on the way

Local LibDem MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed the news that universal chargers for mobile phones and other devices including iPhones and iPads across Europe will finally become a reality after years of campaigning, following a final vote today in the European Parliament on new rules for electronic devices.


The new rules will mean all manufacturers placing new electronic devices on the EU market will be required to make them compatible with a universal charger.


LibDems push for safeguards in new EU privacy rules

The European Parliament has today agreed its position on proposals for updated data protection rules for businesses, public authorities and police throughout the EU. Once the 28 EU governments reach their common position - hopefully by June - negotiations can take place to enshrine these in EU law.


Letter to the Times on HGV design/cycle safety

Editor, the Times


Dear Sir,


The Department for Transport wrongly asserts that amendments supported by MEPs to EU lorry design rules would not benefit UK road users (3rd March:


Numerous road safety campaigns across the UK, including Live in Hope (Birmingham), Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling (London Cycling Campaign) and See Me, Save Me (North East), have stressed the urgent need for safer lorry designs to help protect vulnerable road users.


Stay in the EU, says major Lambeth employer Shell

Oil giant Shell has come out strongly in favour of the UK staying in the European Union. The company employs 4,000 staff across a number of sites in London, including its UK head office in Lambeth.


Shell’s Chief Executive, Ben van Beurden, said that the UK should maintain its close relationship with Europe to provide certainty for investors and ensure that Britain’s voice is “loudly heard inside the EU”.


Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford commented:


“We cannot ignore the message from major employers like Shell about the importance of Britain’s membership of the EU.”


MEPs back reform of European Arrest Warrant to prevent miscarriages of justice

The European Parliament today overwhelmingly backed a report by Liberal Democrat MEP for London Sarah Ludford calling for major reforms to the European Arrest Warrant, including a human rights safeguard clause to help avoid miscarriages of justice and a proportionality check to prevent it being used for minor offences.


Tories and UKIP play into hands of big tobacco on EU cigarette rules

MEPs today voted on new rules to help reduce smoking, including larger and tougher health warnings on cigarette packets and restrictions on 'lipstick-style' packaging.


Following a strong campaign by Liberal Democrat MEPs, the new EU rules ensure that electronic (e-) cigarettes can be sold as freely as their tobacco alternatives and not under pharmaceutical regulations as Labour wanted.


Most Conservative MEPs abstained on the new rules but UKIP and some Tory MEPs (including London MEP Marina Yannakoudakis) went so far as to vote against. UKIP leader Nigel Farage failed to turn up to vote despite his party receiving a £25k donation from an e-cigarette company.


EU exit would be gift to major criminals

Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has launched a scathing attack against UKIP and Tory Eurosceptics who want to withdraw from EU police cooperation, warning that this would make it harder to catch criminals who escape justice by fleeing abroad. Tomorrow the European Parliament will vote on Sarah Ludford's report on reform of the European Arrest Warrant, a measure which allows police across Europe to work together and rapidly extradite suspected criminals.



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