Exmouth is joining with Exeter,
Axminster is planning something:
Exmouth is joining with Exeter,
Axminster is planning something:
An independent councillor reports on a meeting of Teignbridge Council discussing development in the age of climate emergency: hilarious, sad, worrying.
“Dealing with the Executive is a strange thing. If like me you have a young child and you’re forced to watch Peter Rabbit on CBeebies you’ll be familiar with the sort of relationship the Exec has with members from other parties.
Fox and Badger really want to eat Peter because he’s a.) a rabbit and b.) a twat but, for some intractable reason, they pass most days in cordial coexistence. Fox even helped Peter move a wheelbarrow full of acorns once. This working relationship, you would think, would make the idea of eventually killing, skinning, disembowling, roasting and eating Peter taboo to Fox and Badger but no – they’ll still have a go one day, right after saying ‘Good morning’ to him. I can’t work out if all the animals are congenitally insincere or just good at compartmentalising their impulses.
There’s a similar ominous détente going on around Mr McShear’s vegetable garden. Nobody’s helping us to carrots, but nobody has, as yet, stoved our heads in with a shovel, despite a clear conviction that we are both on the menu and twattish. Captain Hook, whose avuncular eagerness to have everyone on board is a thousand times better than the Count (I said COUNT) of Monte Christophers, helped me get a new ipad so my constituents can actually talk to me again (the IT people sent me a dozen helpful emails about fixing it to the ipad they were fixing??).
Now, you’ll remember, Newton Abbot has ‘won’ £150,000 to help it become a ‘Garden Town’, with up to £9 million more if it does exactly what its told. We at NSN think this is a con to suck TDC further into the houses-for-money bullshit that makes us all do what we’re told for handouts rather than being properly funded and able to self-determine our own projects, as the ’Localism’ Act once promised (well, promised a bit more of).
Councillor Daws made some excellent points about the Mission Creep that drags councils to do one thing after another – Incremental Development it seems to be called. I asked when the council was going to rename the Climate Emergency a Climate Inconvenience, since every other paragraph TDC produces mentions the Climate Change Emergency with all the heartfelt panic of a sloth on mogodone choosing a supermarket sandwich. These windows will mitigate the Climate Change Emergency …. these drainpipes are Climate-Change-Emergency-neutral … this massive new road is being approved because cars going faster will contribute less to the Climate Change Emergency… the phrase is no more than a verbal tic.
I mentioned the article on Bicester (see past posts) – the ’dog’s dinner’ garden town where, in the name of getting people to work where they live, houses abide in the shadow of warehouses. Gordon, who really does know his background material, said that was written in 2015 (he was right!) before Bicester got its ‘Garden Centre’, which had made everything all right now. I didn’t know what he meant by garden centre… has it got a Fermoys?? We are not allowed follow-up questions. But Bicester has been dog-breakfasted by hideous building. It hasn’t been unbreakfasted by building MORE buildings.
Gordon added that he was disappointed – or was it dismayed? One or the other – that I was calling such things as triple glazing mere ‘green cynicism’.
I think the problem is this: Gordon and co live in a world where the march toward the abyss is inescapable, so we might as well put on the nice new boots Westminster has given us and march slowly if we can. When I suggested that, if the Executive truly believed there to be an EMERGENCY (lets put it in capitals til that, too, just makes us shrug) then it should defy Westminster’s housing targets. An emergency doesn’t mean you carry on as normal. It doesn’t mean you stick slavishly to the script. The car is on fire. Shall we stop on the hard shoulder or shall we keep driving the fucking thing to Alton Towers?*
This made Deputy Alistair Dewhirst smirk contemptuously, which is his absolute number one favourite thing to do when talking to us (unless he’s online at midnight, in which case his favourite thing is to type things and then immediately delete them).
In keeping with his late-night ruminations Alistair said that Welwyn Garden City was the best example of a garden town, and that it is ‘the best, most pleasant place to live and work that it is possible to imagine’. Possibly Alistair visited a different Welwyn Garden City to me, or else he passed through on the Magic Bus in the Sixties. Because the Welwyn Garden City I have visited, several times, is an unmitigated shithole. The deputy’s assertion that ‘if Newton Abbot is to become like that, then we will be remembered’ should chill us all to the marrow but it is at least true. Oh, you will be remembered.
Councillor Jackie Hook, holder of the (Compostable) Portfolio For Climate Change, then announced that she had joined Extinction Rebellion and they ALL agreed that it was National Government that had to change its thinking, not local councils. She added that if anyone wanted to lie down in the path of a digger they were free to do so. In precis, all the change has to come from the Big Noise or the Little People. The muscled appendage of TDC, which might actually have some power in its elbow, is not going to flex, now or ever.
We do, at least, get treated gently by the Lib Dems; I suppose because we’re idealists like they used to be, possibly… once – before they got neutrally reprogrammed by procedure. Not so the Tories, who had just been very cheeky. Mr Hook produced an unsolicited letter from some local cohort of business worthies who said they fully supported being bundled into a garden town. ‘Isn’t Jackie on their panel?’ they enquired.
The Tories then lambasted the Lib Dem Council Tax relief calculations saying that they would hurt the very poorest. All were reminded of their excellent track record of voting specifically to hurt the very poorest by Cllr Connet, who called their remonstrations ‘absolute tosh’.
It was all a lot of fun. But the existential problem we have as members of this council – and I don’t see a way around it – is that we are there with a moral argument, in a body that wants only to discuss procedure. So we find ourselves asked to contribute to working groups on the Greater Exeter Strategic Plan (our contribution: it belongs in the bin) and to the Local Plan (it belongs in the black bin, as no part of it is recyclable), and are constantly told NO. WE ARE MARCHING TO THE CLIFF EDGE TO THE TUNE OF THE BRITISH GRENADIERS* SO PLEASE JOIN IN WITH THE SINGING.
So what can we do, until we can get more of us onto council? I suppose we’ll just keep waiting for death and stealing carrots.
*Obviously I didn’t say the F word in the council chamber, as I don’t want to be in the MDA EVERY week for swearing.
*This in keeping with the 30th anniversary of the Second World War, in which the Germans redesigned our towns to look more like Welwyn Garden City.”
Saturday 7 September 2019
Stop the Coup
Other events in Exeter coming up:
Saturday 14 September 2019
Extinction Rebellion – Fight for the Planet
“Extinction Rebellion Exeter are again taking to the streets to march for the planet 10:30am on Saturday 14 September, meeting in Southernhay. Rebels will be marching in blue to represent a wave of water. This is to highlight:
– the global water crisis: as the climate warms, rains become erratic – lands flood with undrinkable water and water stress leads to water crisis for millions of individuals
– rising sea levels due to climate crisis: the threat of too much water. If the sea rises as it is projected to, the greatest achievement of the last two hundred years, our sewage system, will be swept aside; all the drinking water Exeter will be able to rely on will from the ancient medieval water course.
Friday 20 September 2019
Global Strike for Climate – Exeter
Hosted by Exeter Global Strike for Climate and 4 others
Friday, 20 September 2019 from 11:00-14:00
Bedford Square, Exeter
17 High Street, Exeter, Devon
As earlier application reported here:
… “£4.46 million a year from the 1.7 acre site – better than storing caravans or rearing cattle. Its a pity none of the money goes to the actual residents of Woodbury, or the wider community, who have to live with the noise and pollution.”
“An application to install 20 self-contained generators on land south of Woodbury Business Park could be given the go-ahead next week.
On Tuesday (September 3) East Devon District Council’s development management committee is set to discuss the proposal submitted on behalf of Plutus Energy Ltd.
If committee members approve of the application, which has had more than 100 objections, 20 natural gas engine driven electricity generators will be installed on storage land near a substation in Woodbury.
In a report to the committee, planning officers have recommended approval, despite the application falling outside the East Devon Local Plan.
The planning officer’s report said that while the proposal is a ‘departure’ from the local plan, there is support within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
The report said: “On balance it is considered that the adverse impacts from the proposed gas fuelled standby electricity plant do not significantly or demonstrably outweigh the benefits that would be derived from the scheme.
“Accordingly it is recommended that permission be granted subject to the conditions set out.”
If given the go-ahead, the generators would provide an additional 40 megawatts of energy to the National Grid at peak times for the next 25 years.
The existing access to the site would be retained and the equipment will only be operated between 7am and 10.30pm.
Each generator will be housed within an acoustically insulated weather-proof steel container.
Strategy 39 of the East Devon Local Plan says renewable or low-carbon energy products will, in principle, be supported and encouraged.
The officer’s report said the local plan does not provide a principle reason to refuse proposals for fossil fuel energy and the NPPF supports the transition from fossil fuels.
The report added: “While the proposal is not a renewable energy source itself, as identified above it clearly encourages and supports the use of renewable energy generation by supporting the transition from fossil fuels.
“It achieves this by being a back-up to energy supply at times when the renewable energy struggles to meet demand.”
The development management committee meeting will discuss the application at Blackdown House, in Honiton, from 10am.
“People must use less transport, eat less red meat and buy fewer clothes if the UK is to virtually halt greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the government’s chief environment scientist has warned.
Prof Sir Ian Boyd said the public had little idea of the scale of the challenge from the so-called Net Zero emissions target.
However, he said technology would help.
The conundrum facing the UK – and elsewhere – was how we shift ourselves away from consuming, he added.
In an interview with BBC News, Sir Ian warned that persuasive political leadership was needed to carry the public through the challenge.
Asked whether Boris Johnson would deliver that leadership, he declined to comment.
Mr Johnson has already been accused by environmentalists of talking up electric cars whilst reputedly planning a cut in driving taxes that would increase emissions and undermine the electric car market. …”