Wednesday, 23 September 2020


This week marks my tenth anniversary as a columnist. It has been a privilege to contribute to the Cornish Guardian on a weekly basis and I would like to thank staff at the newspaper for their help and support over this last decade.

I sincerely hope that my pieces have been worth reading and also thought-provoking, and I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read what I have produced.

I have written about numerous subjects and I have certainly covered some issues on multiple occasions as they continue not to be resolved – or I happen to disagree with the “progress” that is made.

My first column appeared on Wednesday 22nd September 2010. It was about the massive waste incinerator planned for St Dennis and came less than two weeks before the final session of the Public Inquiry, which granted planning approval for the plant.

As an opponent of the development, I somewhat predictably argued that the case for an incinerator with an annual capacity of 240,000 tonnes did not make environmental sense. This was partly because so much recyclable and bio-degradable material would be burnt when a much better use could be made of these resources.

And because I considered the plant to be over-sized, I made the argument that it did not make economic sense for Cornwall Council and local taxpayers.

Ten years on, my views have not changed. The waste disposal contract is a massive burden on a cash-strapped local authority, which was unable to go forward with the waste collection contract as it desired because of financial constraints.

The significant increase in positive tests for Covid-19 across the United Kingdom and the documented problems with “test and trace” is extremely worrying. It is not right that so many people with potential symptoms of the disease in Cornwall are struggling to book tests or are being offered tests at upcountry venues, sometimes hundreds of miles away.

There have been some reports that the Government is targeting tests at those parts of the country with higher infection levels, but a study by the Times newspaper shows an unacceptable regional inequality in the provision of testing. It documents that 80-100% of people in Northern Ireland and Scotland can get local tests relatively easily, whereas in the Midlands and South East England there is also a strong likelihood that tests can be secured. 

But in many other places, such as Cornwall, people, are really struggling to be seen. This must change and MPs need to ensure greater parity across the UK.

[This was my column in today's Cornish Guardian].

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