Sewage Alerts for East Devon beaches. A New Year plunge anyone?

From a correspondent:

Budleigh Salterton is the only beach with a SWW sewage discharge alert. (one of 30 between Kent and Cornwall)

This does not mean that the other beaches are poo free.

Seaton will never know as “Water quality data not available out of season.”

Exmouth and Sidmouth have “Sewer systems in this location are under maintenance and the water company has temporarily disabled real-time alerts” So will you take a gamble and a New Year plunge?

We must remember that Budleigh Salterton is having its sewer outfall pipe replaced to discharge into the sea just beyond Otter head so this will be able to continue for the next 100 years!

With the ground saturated, there is a threat every time it rains.

Footnote from Owl – this warning comes too late for those taking the Christmas swim at Budleigh and Exmouth. See the extensive photo record on East Devon News of Hundreds Dash and Splash

Sidmouth sensibly chose to stay “wrapped up” this year. 

Alison Hernandez’s survey, open until 9 Jan, appears to have closed prematurely

Opps – this is last year’s survey – Owl thought they spotted another in a recent Journal!

Owl wanted to see whether Alison Hernandez was following Simon Jupp’s attempt to collect information on how you voted, in the survey she launched on 23 December. (To ensure balance, you understand).

 However, her survey is currently closed..

Take five minutes to have your say on policing in Devon and Cornwall · Devon & Cornwall Police & Crime Commissioner 

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly wants residents of the force area to tell her if they think the police deliver value for money.

The question is one of several posed by Alison Hernandez who today (Thursday, December 23) launched her 2022/23 budget survey. It comes a week after Home Secretary Priti Patel announced an increase in the amount forces will receive from central Government.

Click here to take the survey now

The additional money will in part pay for an uplift in police numbers that is due to boost officer numbers in Devon and Cornwall by 188 in the 2022/23 financial year. The provisional settlement also included plans to boost investigations into serious and organised crime and tackle fraud.

The Commissioner is now faced with a decision on setting police precepts – the amount households pay locally towards policing through their council tax bills. Police and Crime Commissioners have been given flexibility to increase this by up to £10 a year for a Band D Property for the next three years. Currently those in band D households in Devon and Cornwall pay £236.56 a year in their policing precept.

The survey, which can be completed online here, also asks a number of questions relating to police contact and seeks to understand levels of support for plans to open more police stations to the public in Devon and Cornwall.

“We have had what appears to be a reasonable settlement from central Government for Devon and Cornwall,” the Commissioner said. “It will allow us to continue on our upwards trajectory in police officer numbers that was already being funded by local taxpayers here before the Prime Minister announced the national uplift. This has enabled budgeted force strength to grow by 498 officers since 2016/17 to 3,422 officers this financial year. The force is set to grow by another 188 officers in 2022/23, taking force strength to a record high.

“This increase is helping to keep Devon and Cornwall as counties with some of the lowest recorded crime rates in the country, but there are still significant challenges ahead. Inflation means the force is facing significant additional costs, crime types like domestic abuse are now being reported and recorded more effectively – this is an extremely welcome development but it means our force is dealing with more calls for help than ever before.”

The Commissioner said her focus was now on strengthening, sustaining and stabilising the police force so it was fit to deliver on priorities laid out in the 2021-25 Police and Crime Plan of reducing antisocial behaviour, drugs crime and deaths and serious injuries on the roads.

“We have to ensure that people are served by a force that is responsive to their needs and victims of crime have swift access to justice and the services they need to help them recover,” she added.

People have until midnight on Monday, January 9, to complete the survey. Results will be published in a report to the January 28 meeting of the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel.

South Western Ambulance Service declares critical incident

South Western Ambulance Service has declared a critical incident due to “extreme pressures” affecting its ability to respond to patients following the Christmas break.

As of 11.30am on Wednesday, 482 patients were waiting for ambulances across the South West, with 106 patients awaiting handover at hospitals.

Declaring a critical incident allows trusts to prioritise the patients most in need and to instigate additional measures to protect patient safety.

Yesterday, North East Ambulance Service also declared a critical incident for the second time in just over a week due to “unprecedented” pressure following the Christmas break.

The majority of ambulance services in England declared critical incidents on 20 December ahead of strikes over the Christmas period.

South Western Ambulance Service covers 10,000 square miles, including Bristol and counties such as Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Cornwall and Somerset.

People have been urged to only call 999 if someone’s life is in danger and in other cases call 111 or their GP.

“If the condition of a patient is not life-threatening we may direct them to an alternative service. So please help us by accessing the right service for the care you need,” said deputy director of operations Wayne Darch.

“Please do not call back simply to ask for an estimated time of arrival of an ambulance. We cannot provide one, and it blocks our lines for other callers,” he added.

About 25,000 ambulance workers went on strike on 21 December and two further strike days have been announced for England in January amid a dispute over pay and staffing.

Two hospital trusts also declared critical incidents on Wednesday.

Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust said there was “immense pressure” and “exceptionally high numbers” of people waiting for treatment in A&E departments.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust took the same action due to “record numbers” at A&E, calling 999 and 111 and accessing GP services.

Watch: Private Eye sketch about Michelle Mone goes viral

Private Eye took its annual ‘Year in Review’ show to the National Theatre to much acclaim last week.

Jack Peat 

The all-star cast included Ian Hislop, Lewis MacLeod, Jan Ravens and Harry Enfield, who ran through some of the magazine’s best-selling front pages.

Among them was the revelation that a firm set up by Conservative peer Michelle Mone had bagged £200 million in PPE contracts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mone, a lingerie tycoon, reportedly profited handsomely from the deal, sparking outrage in Westminster.

She was brilliantly lampooned in this clip by Hislop and Enfield:

Watch the Tweet here and the show in full below (the Michelle Mone lampoon is the first after the introduction):