Telegraph: “Farmers will be paid to make the countryside look beautiful after Brexit says Michael Gove”

Farmers would receive payments for delivering services such as storing carbon, managing water quality, connecting habitats, reducing flood risk or protecting famous beauty spots and important landscapes.”

Anyone notice a flaw in this scenario?

Farmers who DON’T store carbon, manage water quality, connect habitats, reduce flood risk or protect famous beauty spots and important landscapes WON’T be fined!

DCC announces special needs education cuts on last day of term

“… It has prompted SENDCo teacher Hannah Rose, of Bradley Barton Primary School, in Newton Abbot, top launch a petition entitled ‘petition to withdraw harmful funding changes for pupils with SEND in Devon’, opposing the cuts.

She said: “These changes will affect all children in all schools in Devon. Where specialist support staff are lost through redundancies, ‘generalist’ staff who usually support all pupils’ learning will need to be diverted to support those with the highest needs. All children will be taught in higher ratios, with less support.” …

Seaton and Beer risk being cut off from Exeter by proposed bus service reduction

Press release:

“At Devon County Council yesterday, Seaton & Colyton’s Independent East Devon Alliance councillor, Martin Shaw, asked Councillor Roger Croad, Cabinet Member for Transportation, if the Council would support peak services on the X52 bus service from Seaton and Beer to Exeter, which are threatened with closure by First Wessex.

First Wessex proposes to run only two off-peak buses a day in each direction from September. While better than nothing, these are inadequate for people in Seaton and Beer who want to work or study in Exeter or get to appointments at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. Relying just on these services, people would barely be able to spend an hour in Exeter before having to get the bus back.

This is the only service direct from Seaton and Beer to the RD&E and this narrow window will not enable people to get to appointments. Using other services, people in Beer who want to get to the hospital will have to change twice in Seaton and Exeter Bus Station and the journey which currently takes an hour will take more than two hours each way, making it arduous and impractical for many people.

Councillor Croad initially replied to suggest that people could use these alternative routes. In a supplementary question, Councillor Shaw suggested that since hospital services are increasingly being centralised in the RD&E, the withdrawal of direct bus services discriminates against people without cars in communities like Seaton and Beer which are on the periphery of Devon. ‘Seaton is further from the RD&E than any other town in Devon and has the oldest population profile of any town in Devon’, he said. ‘We need direct public transport links to the acute hospital in Exeter.’

Councillor Croad then said that if Councillor Shaw would meet him afterwards, he would discuss the issue. When they talked, Councillor Croad agreed to look further at the question. The supplementary question and the reply can be seen from 1:47:50 to 1:49:15 on”

Can anyone make sense of remarks below?

“Devon and Cornwall police officer numbers have dropped below 3,000, according to new figures released in an apparent attempt by the Government to bury bad news.

The number of sworn officers at the force has reduced by 46 over the 12 months to March 31 and now stands at 2,914, a report published on Thursday shows. …

The former Devon and Cornwall police and crime commissioner, Tony Hogg, fought to keep officer numbers above the 3,000 figure for most of his four-year term.

His successor in the elected “crime czar” role, Alison Hernandez, unveiled a £24m plan to add 100 officers to the workforce in January by cutting around half of the police and community support officers (PCSO).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) report published on July 20 also shows that PCSO numbers have dropped 10 per cent in the two counties, from 347 to 311 in the year to March 31.

Staff numbers also plunged by 12 per cent over the year, from 1,488 to 1,306, a reduction of 182, the report shows. …

The leader of Labour’s county group of seven, Rob Hannaford, blamed the commissioner for the move to halve PCSO numbers, saying the PCC role was an “American gimmick” and “not the way forward”.

“PCSOs often fill gaps and there is concern that huge reductions will only diminish all the good work that has been done,” he told the meetign at County Hall. …

Roger Croad, chairman of the police and crime panel which oversees the PCC, insisted that decisions to re-shape the force were the “sole province” of the chief constable, Shaun Sawyer, and not decided by Ms Hernandez.

Mr Croad said in his opinion a sworn officer was “worth his weight in gold”, adding that chief cos Sawyer had made it clear that cutting PCSOs for officers was “his decision alone”.

“I am not her (sic) as an apologist for the chief constable or the commissioner,” he added.

“Most police forces have reduced PCSO numbers over five years whereas Devon and Cornwall have not. The chief constable has decided that the time is right; also there is a national requirement to uplift armed capacity to deal with the terrorist threat.

“As of June 1 there are 310 PCSOs which the chief constable wants to reduce to 150 by 2021, enabling 100 new officers.

“Several PCSOs have made the transition; there are no plans for any redundancies. The chief constable said he wants the right people with the right skills in the right place doing the right things.”

“UK households could pay £50bn to France’s state-owned energy company to prop up Hinkley nuclear plant”

Well, at least it’s not just Devon and Somerset, though Owl suspects we will be paying far more than pur fair share:

“UK households could pay £50bn for the new Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in Somerset, new government figures reveal. That number is more than eight times greater than the National Audit Office’s initial 2013 estimate that a public investment of £6bn would be required.

The spiralling costs are due to the terms of the Government’s agreement with EDF, the French state-owned electricity company, which is building the plant in conjunction with China General Nuclear Power.

That deal guarantees EDF a £92.50 “strike price” for every megawatt hour of electricity that the new plant generates, a figure that critics have said is far too high. …”

DCC Tories choose not to vote on no-confidence in Hernandez

The article is predictable – Tories don’t admit mistakes or vote out their own, fudge the issue, etc:

but the three comments currently under the article are perhaps more representative of real people in the real world:

1. We would be better off with the police commissioner from Death in Paradise – at least he wears a smart uniform!

2. The infestation of local government by national politics lurches from one insanity to the next. One suspects that the reason why the Conservative controlled County Council decided against calling for a vote of no confidence in the Conservative PCC has far more to do with the fact that the Conservatives are not very popular just now than with the need to remove the unprofessional occupant of his unwanted sinecure post. Once again, political expediency triumphs over the wellbeing of local people. This is simply appalling!