“New report reveals alarming shortage of country doctors”

“Hospitals in rural and coastal Britain are struggling to recruit senior medical staff, leaving many worryingly “under-doctored”, a major new report seen exclusively by the Observer reveals. Some hospitals in those areas appointed no consultants last year, raising fears that the NHS may become a two-tier service across the UK with care dependent on where people live.

Disclosure of the stark urban-rural split emerged in a census of consultant posts across the UK undertaken by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), whose president, Andrew Goddard, has warned that patients’ lives may be at risk because some hospitals do not have enough senior doctors.

Just 13% of consultants appointed in England last year went to hospitals serving mainly rural or coastal areas, with the other 87% being hired by those with mainly urban populations.
…”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/oct/13/nhs-consultant-shortage-rural-coastal-areas?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Hard luck if you bank with Barclays and there is no branch or ATM in your town: you can no longer use the Post Office for cash

“A decision by Barclays to pull out of an agreement allowing bank customers to withdraw cash from post offices for free has been criticised as “shocking”.

The bank is the only one to scrap over-the-counter cash withdrawals at Post Office branches, with 28 other UK banks signing up to a new deal that means millions of people can continue to benefit from free access to everyday banking services.

The move by Barclays prompted a wave of criticism, including from a regulatory body, and appears to be linked to a sizeable rise in the bank-funded fees paid to postmasters for providing these services. Barclays has separately announced its own proposals, which it said were designed to boost bank branch demand and improve access to cash. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/08/barclays-withdraw-cash-post-offices?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Yet another broadband promise …

Owl teserving judgment … but does note Swire’s constituency set to get it long before Parish’s … if it happens.

“More than 300,000 properties are set to benefit from a £250m project to improve broadband connections across the South West.

Jurassic Fibre, which is leading the fibre-optic project, says it is specifically targeting rural communities instead of cities.

Initial testing is being launched in parts of Devon in the autumn before the full rollout in early 2020.

Speeds of 20 times faster than the average UK household are expected.

Michael Maltby, CEO and founder of Jurassic Fibre, said the investment would “radically change” internet options.

He said the plans will reduce the “digital divide” between cities and smaller, rural areas, offering speeds of one gigabyte per second to homes and 10 to businesses. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-49900477?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/england/devon&link_location=live-reporting-story

The curious case of the missing houses

Many council officers are honourable, many are not. Owl had hoped to to write “most officers are honourable, a few are not” but that hasn’t been Owl’s experience, sadly.

Now, all eyes are on a planning application in Salcombe, for two houses in an exceptionally good location were deleted from plans shown to a “planning workshop” for councillors.

Why? That old chestnut “commercial confidentiallity”.

“A council has been forced to reveal plans for two luxury homes on a beauty spot which were withheld from councillors during a meeting.

Above: original plan and plan shown to councillors and plans shown to councillors

South Hams District Council in Devon cited “commercial confidentiality” in keeping the Salcombe plans under wraps, but a watchdog rejected that excuse.

Environment group South Hams Society urged “more transparency in planning matters” by the council.

The authority said it “did not want the meeting to be sidetracked”.

Drawings of the homes had formed part of draft plans for the hill-top development off Shadycombe Road in the seaside town.

But a council officer told architects in an email on 11 October last year that “at this point” the scale of the four-bed detached houses should be left out of the plans.

He said the scale “concerns me” and added: “It would be a mistake to present this detail.”

In an email response, the architect sent back revised plans with circles instead of drawings of the houses “without being too prescriptive on their size and design”.

The email:

The revised plans were then put before a planning workshop of councillors and local businesses on 17 October.

The council initially refused South Hams Society’s request to reveal the original plans.

However, it appealed and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) ordered the authority to divulge the omitted details.

In a statement, the council said it had “sought legal advice” and “we were of the view that we were entitled to withhold them”.

“It was clear to us that the plans as they were, would not be recommended for approval by the council.

“We felt that the size of the properties on the plan were inappropriate.”

The workshop had been arranged to talk to key stakeholders about a masterplan for the whole area and we did not want the meeting to be side-tracked by a proposal which we were sure would never come forward in its current state.”

It added it now “fully respects” the demand to release the full plans.”

Above: plans presented to workshop

Didi Alayli, chair of the society, said she hoped the ICO ruling “will lead to real change” in how council planners deal with draft plans.

“The huge profits to be made by landowners and developers in our beautiful area make it all the more important that our planning system is fit for purpose and we are not there yet,” she said.

It is understood landowner Jason Smith, who has not yet responded to a BBC request for comment, has not taken the proposals forward.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-49812449

More desecration of agricultural land by the Carters in Woodbury despite more than 100 objections

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.”

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/05/02/the-woodbury-power-plant-a-nice-little-earner/

The application:

“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.

https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/woodbury-gas-power-plant-recommended-for-approval-1-6242265

“UK must accept US food standards in trade deal, says farm chief”

Hello, Mr Parish, HELLO …

“The UK must accept US food standards as part of any future trade deal with Washington, the head of America’s farming lobby has said.
Zippy Duvall, head of the American Farm Bureau, said US farmers were keen to trade with their British “friends”.

But he said fears over practices such as washing chicken in chlorine and using genetically modified (GM) crops were not “science-based”.

The US has said the UK will be “first in line” for a trade deal after Brexit.

But some fear the UK will have to compromise on standards currently enshrined in EU law in order to secure a deal with Washington.

Mr Duvall, himself a poultry farmer in Georgia, said he wanted to have “a conversation” about US food standards given the concerns in the UK.

One of the most controversial practices is washing chicken with chlorine to kill germs, which is banned in the EU. This is not because the wash itself is harmful but over fears that treating meat with chlorine at the end allows poorer hygiene elsewhere in the production process.

“You know, here in America we treat our water with chlorine,” Mr Duvall told the BBC’s Today programme.

“So there is no scientific basis that says that washing poultry with a chlorine wash just to be safe of whatever pathogens might be on that chicken as it was prepared for the market, should be taken away.

“If there was something wrong with it our federal inspection systems would not be allowing us to use that,” he added.

Harmful competition?

In London this week, Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton suggested that the US could strike trade deals with the UK after Brexit on a “sector-by -sector basis” to speed up the process.

But asked whether he could envisage a trade deal with the UK that did not include agriculture, Mr Duvall said it would be seen as a betrayal by US farmers.

“To have a trade treaty and not discuss agriculture would be turning your back on rural America and that’s where a big part of our population lives. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49353220