Friday, 27 June 2008

Incinerator at St Dennis?

Mebyon Kernow has formally objected to the SITA planning application to construct a waste incinerator near St Dennis.

The objection covers a wide range of issues including the fact that a centralised waste strategy is inappropriate for Cornwall and that it is absurd to transport hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste to a single site from areas as far away as Bude, Saltash and St Just-in-Penwith.

The Party has pointed out that a large ‘waste hungry’ incinerator would be a retrograde step and would undermine efforts to radically reduce local waste and to re-use and recycle the local waste that is created. MK added that the massive 240,000 tonne annual capacity of the plant implies that SITA has little desire to actively promote waste minimisation.

MK has also expressed concern that incineration is not an environmentally friendly technology, that other methods of dealing with waste should be considered as alternatives and that it is not satisfied with the assurances given that the incinerator would not have a negative impact on health in the locality.

MK has also supported the objections made by local parish councils and hundreds of ordinary people in and around the China Clay Area and objected to the proposed location of the incinerator between St Dennis and Treviscoe.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Cllr Glenn Renshaw joins MK

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Glenn Renshaw (above), a district councillor from Saltash, has joined Mebyon Kernow.

Glenn was elected onto Caradon District Council last May as a Liberal Democrat to represent the ward of Saltash Essa, but has become disillusioned with the direction of that Party.

He has formally submitted his resignation and crossed the floor to join MK and sit with Cllr Andrew Long.

Welcome to Mebyon Kernow, Glenn. I look forward to working with you for many years to come in order to win a better deal for Cornwall.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Restormel's view of the eco-town

As the Chairman of Restormel’s Policy and Scrutiny Committee 4, I wrote a draft response to the Government’s document ‘Eco-towns – Living a Greener Future’ with the support of my Vice-Chairman Tim Jones. It was modified, and in some ways improved, with the support of the officers of the Council.

It was then presented to the Council’s cabinet on Monday evening.

Five pages long, it is quite a hard-hitting document. It criticises the likely imposition of yet more unsustainable housing on the district, it raises concerns about the impact of the proposals on existing communities, it objects to the ‘top-down’ and undemocratic manner in which central government has handled the whole process, it notes how the eco-town proposal may conflict with local economic regeneration strategies and how the Council has seen no evidence that the development will be an exemplar of environmental technologies. It also raises a considerable number of more detailed concerns and site-specific issues.

In the document, we clearly wrote that the “Borough Council is committed to employment-led regeneration and does not support the current targets for house-building in the panel report into the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) or the housing-led proposal for an eco-town around St Austell and the China Clay Area.”

Sadly, the Liberal Democrat dominated cabinet and officers decided that they wished to ‘water down’ this one section of the document.

Instead of clearly objecting to the proposal, they preferred to say that the “Council must be satisfied that the proposed eco-town does not commit the Borough Council or prejudice its position in respect of the objection to the higher levels of housing growth in the panel report … and will only accept the proposition for an eco-town if it helps deliver the employment-led regeneration and all of our other objectives for the area set out in our emerging strategies.”

I argued strongly, with some support from other members, that the imposition of an eco-town of 5,000 houses would make it more difficult to stop high house-figures on Mid Cornwall and that the IMERYS proposal was out-of-step with other strategies.

It was not to be. The cabinet voted 5-1 to weaken the thrust of the document – five Liberal Democrats versus one independent councillor.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

For the 'heart and soul' of St Austell and Clay Country

I have just released a press release stating that I believe we have a real fight for the very ‘heart and soul’ of St Austell and the China Clay Area.

The area could be facing yet more change in the coming years following the recent job losses in the clay industry, the upcoming and unwanted reforms to local government, a possible further massive increase in house-building (with perhaps 10,000 new housing units over the next twenty years including an eco-town) and the need to provide create good-quality jobs for local people.

I have called on local people to make their opinions known by responding to a wide range of consultation opportunities.


1. Economic strategies for the St Austell/St Blazey and China Clay Area

Restormel Borough Council is presently out to consultation on economic strategies for the area – copies of which are still available from the regeneration team at Restormel Borough Council, 39 Penwinnick Road, St Austell, PL25 5DR or via 01726 223300. The closing date is the end of June.

2. The eco-town bid

You can have your say on the IMERYS eco-town bid by sending your comments to Eco-towns team, Housing and Growth, Communities and Local Government, 2/H9 Eland House, Bressenden Place, London SW1E 5DU or via email

The Department of Communities and Local Government has a consultation paper which is available at: The closing date for the consultation is the end of June.

3. The incinerator application at St Dennis

To comment on the planning application, views should be put in writing and sent to:-

The Assistant Director: Spatial Planning, Planning, Transportation and Estates Department, Cornwall County Council, County Hall, Truro TR1 3AY (quoting reference 08/00203/WAS). The closing date is 27th June.

Copies of the letters should also be sent to the Plannng Department of Restormel Borough Council at 39 Penwinnick Road, St Austell, PL25 5DR.

4. For a Public Inquiry into the incinerator

If you would like to demand a Public Inquiry into the SITA / Cornwall County Council planning application,you should write to the following address:

Mrs. M. Peart, Government Office for the South West, Mast House, Shepherds Wharf, 24 Sutton Road, Plymouth, PL4 0HJ .

Thursday, 5 June 2008

The attack on Quenchwell Chapel

Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has condemned the recent racist attack on the former Methodist Chapel at Quenchwell, near Carnon Downs, where an Asian community centre is planned.

The new owner of the chapel has stated that he hopes to develop the building into a multi-faith centre where people of all faiths can go to celebrate family occasions and practise their religion.

In the recent attack, the head of a pig was nailed to the door and graffiti of a racist and ‘nationalist’ nature daubed on the walls.

On behalf of MK, I made the following statement:

“MK is saddened and appalled at the attack on the former chapel at Quenchwell. Such racist behaviour has no place in Cornish society and we condemn it without reservation.

“The attack is a crude attempt to foster division and intolerance in Cornwall and this must be resisted at all costs. It is unacceptable that any individual or group should have to put up with such harassment.

“We believe it is important that everyone works hard to help build an inclusive society that respects and celebrates the cultural background and faiths of minority groups in Cornwall today.

“We also welcome the statement of Police Inspector Mark Richards that the graffiti was offensive ‘not only to Asians, Asian religions, but also to Christians and Cornish nationalists whose name is taken in vain.’

“It is our hope that the Police will be able to catch those responsible for this crime and take the appropriate action.”

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Cornwall at Twickenham

Along with many other Cornish people, I was away from Cornwall this weekend. I made the long trek to Twickenham to watch the County Shield final between Cornwall and Northumberland.

In spite of the 10.00 kick-off, there was a very good and noisy contingent from the Duchy. It was great to be part of such a wonderful display of Cornish identity and to see a large amount of black and gold on display.

Sadly, we were beaten 25-11 but the important thing is that we have been promoted back to the top tier of ‘county’ rugby and I am looking forward to next year’s games against Devon, Gloucestershire and Somerset. Well done lads!

As well as being a fervent rugby supporter, I am fully aware that a successful Cornish rugby team does wonders for local self-confidence and encourages people to promote and support Cornish causes.

The above photograph is the best that I could do. I left my camera at home and this came via my mobile phone.

Comments of Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg was in Cornwall a few days ago and a few local newspapers printed his views on a number of issues. Here is my letter in response to his statements about the proposed unitary council. You may have heard these views from me before.

I was very disappointed with the response of Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg to readers’ questions in the Cornish Guardian, Cornishman and West Briton newspapers. It was particularly galling to hear him to trot out the falsehood that a unitary authority will lead to greater powers for Cornwall.

I would like to remind Mr Clegg of a few points.

1. In November 2001, Liberal Democrats held a Cornwall Conference which agreed to campaign for a Regional Assembly for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

2. The Lib Dems contested the 2005 General Election and Cornwall County Council elections with a Cornish Manifesto which included a commitment to a Cornish Assembly.

3. Upon winning control of Cornwall County Council that year, they published a list of priorities that included a pledge to “establish detailed plans for a Cornish Assembly” within their first year of office. The Lib Dems did not take this pledge forward.

4. At another conference of Cornish Liberal Democrats in November 2005, they re-affirmed their commitment to the campaign for a Cornish Assembly. The motion specifically stated that “devolution to a Cornish tier of strategic regional government” was needed in advance of any reform to local government structures. In their press material to publicise the event, Andrew George MP said: “… the Government will not get away with their belief that they can fob us off with a rearrangement of deckchairs on the Titanic of local government.”

5. However in October 2006, when Ruth Kelly launched a Local Government White Paper, which included measures to allow “a small number of councils to seek unitary status,” the Liberal Democrat County Council immediately jettisoned their commitment to a Cornish Assembly and began to prepare a bid for a single council.

6. In spite of the Liberal Democrat resolution from November 2005 and earlier commitments to a Cornish Assembly, Lib Dem MPs suddenly starting making claims that this was a “golden opportunity” to “get some powers back to Cornwall.”

7. They even carried on making the claim that local government reorganisation would lead to devolution after a senior director at the Department for Communities and Local Government visited Cornwall and confirmed that a unitary authority would not be able to draw down greater powers from regional and central government.

8. The Liberal Democrats on Cornwall County Council continued with their bid for unitary status even when it was apparent that 80% of local people were opposed to the move as shown by the postal polls carried out by four district councils.

9. In February this year, the majority of Liberal Democrat MPs refused to use their position in parliament to oppose the Order to set up the unitary authority. And this was even after the Local Government Minister John Healey MP confirmed that “no specific additional powers” would be devolved to Cornwall.

I believe it is about time that Cornwall’s Liberal Democrats came clean and admitted that there is no evidence that their proposals for a unitary authority will lead to Cornish devolution. They have let Cornwall down by abandoning their commitment to a Cornish Assembly.