The Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service is currently consulting on proposals to close 8 rural fire stations. The County Council’s Corporate Infrastructure and Regulatory Services Scrutiny Committee decided on 25th June to place the station closures on the agenda for its meeting on 26th September, and to invite the Fire Service to attend and present their case.
I learnt today that the Service has refused the invitation to attend the Scrutiny Committee, which is held in public, webcast and offers an opportunity for public participation. Instead they are offering a ‘masterclass’ on the proposals for county councillors, in private, which is scheduled for 4th September.
As a member of the Committee and County Councillor for Seaton and Colyton, representing the town of Colyton where one of the threatened stations is located – together with surrounding densely rural parishes which rely on the prompt response of its firefighters – I am outraged by the refusal of the Fire Authority to face public scrutiny of its proposals and answer the objections of local communities and their elected representatives.
I have therefore asked Cllr Alistair Dewhirst, Chair of the Committee, to invite other interested parties (representatives of the threatened Devon fire stations and the Fire Brigades Union – Devon and Somerset) to present to the Committee instead, and for County officers to prepare a report to the committee on the proposals.
The Scrutiny Committee’s discussion of the proposals is the only opportunity which elected representatives will have to scrutinise them before the Fire Authority’s final decision which will be made on Bonfire Night, 5th November. (The Authority’s own meetings offer members of the public, including councillors, only the possibility to ask questions or present petitions, not to give their views directly.)
Independent East Devon Alliance County Councillor for Seaton & Colyton”
“… We find that water pollution is a problem that affects both rich and poor countries, however the cocktail of chemicals changes as countries develop. In poor countries it is faecal bacteria and as GDP increases then nitrogen [from fertilisers] becomes the issue.”
“Clean water is a key factor for economic growth,” added the World Bank Group president, David Malpass.
“Deteriorating water quality is stalling economic growth, worsening health conditions, reducing food production, and exacerbating poverty in many countries.
“Their governments must take urgent actions to help tackle water pollution so that countries can grow faster in equitable and environmentally sustainable ways.”
Welcome Sidford Business Park:
“People who spend their childhood in areas with high levels of air pollution may be more likely to later develop mental disorders, research suggests.
Air pollution has become a matter of growing concern as an increasing number of studies have found links to conditions ranging from asthma to dementia and various types of cancer.
There are also signs it may take a toll on mental health. Research published in January found that children growing up in the more polluted areas of London were more likely to have depression by the age of 18 than those growing up in areas with cleaner air.
But a study by researchers in the US and Denmark has suggested a link between air pollution and an increased risk of mental health problems, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and personality disorders. …”
“The Planning Inspector has today published his decision regarding the appeal by Tim and Mike Ford, in the name of OG Holdings Retirement Benefits Scheme, for planning permission to build a Business Park in Sidford.
We are disappointed to inform you that the Planning Inspector has upheld the Fords’ application and therefore the Business Park will now be able to be built. This will be a shock and a huge disappointment to you. Attached is the full decision issued by the Planning Inspector.
However, this matter is not yet fully finished as there will still need to publish planning consultations on the detail of the site. Once these are known we will make sure that we draw these to your attention with the anticipation that you will want to comment upon them.
It’s a shame that residents were let down right at the beginning when the County and District Councils didn’t originally challenge or challenge sufficiently to ensure that the site was not included as employment land in the Local Plan. Once that happened it made our fight all the more difficult.
We must thank everyone who in their own way has sought to object to what we are all agreed is still the wrong thing in the wrong place.
More information here:
“Rules to protect air quality, food safety, the workplace and animal welfare are at risk because watchdog budgets have halved over the past decade, whistleblowers have warned.
Since 2009-10 the number of air pollution inspections by councils fell by 37 per cent, there were 32 per cent fewer meat inspections by the Food Standards Agency, the number of prosecutions of fly-tippers by local authorities dropped by 36 per cent and inspections by the Gangmaster and the Labour Abuse Authority fell by 43 per cent.
Prosecutions for wildlife crime were down by 57 per cent and almost half of sites of special scientific interest have not been checked by Natural England in the past six years. …”
Source Times (pay wall)