“Tory MPs five times more likely to vote against climate action”

Neil Parish scored 17%: was present for 12 votes and voted positively in 2

Hugo Swire scored 25%: Swire was present for 12 votes and voted positively in 3

Boris Johnson score 0% (yes, that’s right zero), Jacob Rees-Mogg scored 17%, Jeremy Corbyn 92%, Caroline Lucas 92%, Exeter’s Ben Bradshaw 75%, Jo Swinson 50%, Oliver Letwin 17%.

MORAL OF THIS TALE: If you believe in climate change and want to see something done about it, don’t vote Tory, be wary of Lib Dems and vote Labour or Green (or Independent in East Devon)!

“Conservative MPs are almost five times more likely to vote against climate action than legislators from other parties, a Guardian analysis of 16 indicative parliamentary divisions over the past decade has revealed.

The Tories also registered many more donations, shares, salaries, gifts and tickets to sporting events from fossil fuel companies, petrostates, aviation companies and climate sceptics, according to declarations made in the parliamentary record of MPs’ interests between 2008 and 2019.

The Guardian, in collaboration with the investigative environmental journalism group DeSmog UK, rated MPs from 0% to 100% based on 16 parliamentary votes since 2008. The selection sought to cover a range of measures that would affect the UK’s carbon emissions, with an emphasis on votes where MPs were willing to break ranks and put the climate before their party.

The analysis shows that although most politicians publicly express support for ambitious long-term climate targets, when it comes to short-term measures to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint, those in power are less likely to make this a priority.

The scores are not intended to be a definitive evaluation of an MP’s green credentials – both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrat parties complained they had been hard done by.

But experts said the scores were an important tool for voters to make a choice through a climate prism with a potential general election looming. …”


EDDC: “Relocation cost, No Deal Brexit, electric charging points and climate change motions rejected from being discussed”

Owl says: remember, the Chief executive, Mark Williams, is supposed to be a NEUTRAL civil servant and yet ALL of the refused motions are from ALL the minority groups ONLY……!

“Motions to support recycling, to call for a new property ombudsman to streamline complaints against shoddy builders, and for East Devon to get its fair share of the police precept rise will be discussed at next Wednesday’s full council meeting.

But motions over the full relocation costs of the move from Sidmouth to Honiton, to put electric charging points in all car parks, what to prioritise in a ‘No Deal’ Brexit and on climate change will not be discussed.

Various motions that councillors had put forward for debate at East Devon District Council’s full council meeting on Wednesday, February, were rejected by the council’s chief executive, as either the agenda already provides the opportunity for debate or the wording of the motions were inaccurate.


Cllr Cathy Gardner had proposed a motion calling for the council to commit to publish an annual ‘summary of accounts’ for the relocation project until break-even is reached as relocation from Sidmouth to Honiton was proposed and predicated on the basis that the project would breakeven within 20 years and deliver cost-savings to the council tax payers of East Devon.

Cllr Gardner said: “Whilst some of this information is already available we feel it is vital for the ongoing costs to be published to show confidence that this project will breakeven. A majority of Councillors voted for relocation on the basis that money would be saved on energy bills. We are left unsure of whether breakeven will ever be proven.”

But an EDDC spokesman said: “The rejected motion contained inaccuracies and omissions that had the potential to mislead councillors and it was also premature. It is however proposed to bring a report to the next meeting of the Cabinet that will summarise the position reached with regard to the sale of the Knowle and the relocation. Cllr Gardner can raise the matters she is concerned about as part of the debate into that report.”

The motion would have called for the accounts to include

energy costs for the Knowle for the past 20 years (for comparison);

energy costs for both Blackdown House and Exmouth Town Hall per year;
the capital receipt for the sale of the Knowle;

a Red Book valuation of Blackdown House as of 1 March 2019;

the full costs for the relocation project since its inception, including: project management; removal, furnishing and equipment;

staff retraining and travel expenses;

new-build costs for Blackdown House; refurbishment costs for Exmouth Town Hall; and any other associated costs.”


Cllr Matthew Booth’s motion had called for the council to recognise that Climate Change and Global Warming are the key issues of our time, to acknowledge the strong concerns of young people in particular the recent walk out of school children and for the council to commit to introducing a policy of carbon measurement and reduction within all aspects of its own activity.

He said: “I personally do not care how we begin to do this, or who does it, but that we act now not wait for some planned strategy in the future.”

An EDDC spokesman said that the issue of climate change emergency is acknowledged to be of critical importance but that it would be appropriate to wait to see what Devon County Council decides. They added: “Currently, however, the County Council is considering its position and will shortly debate the matter. As we are in a two tier area it is appropriate for the District Council to assess the position taken by the upper tier authority and then respond accordingly. The public would expect us to work in partnership with the County Council rather than unilaterally.”


Cllr Eleanor Rylance had submitted a motion calling for the council to plan for and implement over the next five years a full rolling renovation programme of its car parks estates to fit and bring into operation electrical charging points at every space for domestic cars, and cycle parks with charging points for all types of cycle and that there should be mandatory EV charging points for the parking spaces of every new-built house in East Devon.

She added: “This council should approach the future of electrically-powered domestic vehicles with enthusiasm and proactivity, play a positive role in helping develop the use of electrical and should make this infrastructure, that will be a necessity within the next ten years, available in advance of full electrification of domestic vehicles in 2042.

But an EDDC spokesman said: ““The agenda already provides an opportunity for this issue to be raised so this motion was inappropriate.”


Cllr Rylance had also submitted a motion that said in the event of a No Deal Brexit or a version of Brexit that causes significant disruption, the council should approach this event as a situation of emergency in respect of its most vulnerable residents, dedicating any available human, material and financial resources required to palliate any negative outcomes for these groups, but the motion was rejected.

Talking about all the motions, a council spokesman said: “The council agenda for February contains the most important annual decision, namely the setting of the budget and the approval of the Council Tax for the forthcoming year. The process leading to this meeting has included several meetings where members were encouraged to raise all items of future relevance so these could be assessed as part of our service planning process and for assessment as part of the budget.

“It is unfortunate that some members did not take these opportunities and have chosen instead to submit their proposed motions.

“It is also noted that the wording of the motions was not checked in advance with relevant officers who would have been able to give timely advice as to their wording.”

But motions on the police precept, protection for new home owners and supporting recycling will be discussed.


Cllr Tom Wright’s motion says: “In view of the £24 per band D property increase in policing precept, this council urges the Chief Constable to recognise the needs of East Devon when deciding how to allocate extra resources. East Devon residents are the biggest contributors to the police budget in Devon, other than Plymouth. It is only fair that we should get a fair share of the larger cake.”


Cllr Douglas Hull’s motion says: “The Government has stated that it would therefore be introducing as a priority a new property ombudsman to streamline complaints against shoddy builders. As a council that not only provides an excellent and highly regarded building control service but also has seen significant levels of new building in its district, we call on the government to fulfil its pledge to provide this much needed remedy for homeowners as a matter of the highest priority.”


Cllr Peter Burrows’ motion says: “This Council continues to support the fine work done by the EDDC Recycling team in achieving the best results in Devon and to support and encourage local Organisations and voluntary groups who are involved in trying to reduce the amount of single use plastics used in their communities & beaches by making resources and expertise available, where appropriate. The order of priority should be – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. To actively help promote such activities through the Councils social media platforms.”

The full council meeting will be held at East Devon District Council’s new Honiton Heathpark HQ on February 27 at 6pm.”


MP who earns (possibly massively) over £350,000 gets loan from lobbyist for office and staffing costs

Pigs, snouts, troughs – though with this income and STILL needing a loan maybe he needs some help or counselling?

£275,000 from Daily Telegraph, his MP’s salaryand expenses AND staffing costs. AND his Register of Interests (in full after the article) shows another £100,000+ from other sources.

“Boris Johnson received £23,000 in loans and donations last month from a company run by the Australian political strategist Lynton Crosby, official documents have revealed.

The former foreign secretary, who is widely regarded as a potential Conservative leadership contender, declared he had been given an interest-free loan of £20,000 from CTF Partners, in the latest register of MPs’ interests.

Earmarked for “office and staffing costs”, the loan is due to be repaid by 20 January. Johnson also received a £3,000 donation from CTF Partners before Christmas. …

[Johnson] He has since become a regular columnist for the Daily Telegraph, using the platform to to offer a strident critique of the government’s Brexit strategy. According to the register of MPs’ interests, Johnson receives £275,000 a year for the column, which he has estimated takes him 10 hours a month to write.

Johnson was criticised in December after it emerged he had accepted a £14,000 trip to Saudi Arabia from the country’s foreign affairs ministry only a few days before the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Istanbul.

Crosby was closely involved in May’s disastrous 2017 general election campaign. The £4m the Conservative party paid for his company’s services was its single biggest outlay. …”



Johnson, Boris (Uxbridge and South Ruislip)

Johnson, Boris (Uxbridge and South Ruislip)
1. Employment and earnings
Payments from Hodder and Stoughton UK, Carmelite House, 50 Victoria Embankment, London EC4Y 0DZ, via United Agents, 12-26 Lexington St, London W1F 0LE:
29 September 2017, received £15,372.17 for royalties on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 20 December 2017) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

17 October 2017, received £1,167.40 for Bulgarian and Hungarian subrights and royalties on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 20 December 2017) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

8 February 2018, received £499.49 for Czech subrights on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 12 March 2018) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

30 March 2018, received £6,013.27 for royalties on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 17 April 2018)

17 April 2018, received £560.13 for Czech subrights on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 09 May 2018)

10 July 2018, received £11,290.17 for French and US royalties on books already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 22 August 2018) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

28 September 2018, received £8,968.27 via United Agents, 12-26 Lexington St, London W1F 0LE, for royalties on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 02 November 2018)

12 December 2018, received £525.12 for Hungarian subrights on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 17 December 2018)
Payments from HarperCollins UK, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF via United Agents, 12-26 Lexington St, London W1F 0LE:

26 September 2017, received £1,382.58 for advance on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 20 December 2017) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

11 January 2018, received £5,970.76 for US and Dutch royalties on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 05 February 2018)
5 July 2018, received £37.82 for French royalties on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 22 August 2018) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

23 October 2018, received £491.75 via Rogers, Coleridge and White Ltd, 20 Powis Mews, London W11 1JN, for royalties on books already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 02 November 2018)

Payments from HarperCollins UK, 1 London Bridge St, London SE1 9GF, via Rogers, Coleridge and White Ltd, 20 Powis Mews, London W11 1JN:
30 September 2017, received £42.79 for royalties on books already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 20 December 2017) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

30 April 2018, received £244.91 for royalties on books already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered 09 May 2018)

5 September 2017, received £63.72 from Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, via United Agents, 12-26 Lexington St, London W1F 0LE, for royalties on book already written. Hours: no additional hours. (Registered

20 December 2017) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.
From 11 July 2018 until 10 July 2019, articles for the Telegraph Media Group Ltd, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0DT, for which I expect to receive £22,916.66 a month. Hours: 10 hrs a month. First payment received on

13 August 2018. I consulted ACoBA about this appointment. (Registered 17 September 2018) This is a late entry which was the subject of a Report, published on 6 December 2018, by the Select Committee on Standards.

28 September 2018, received £800 from The Spectator (1828) Ltd, 22 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP, for an article. Hours: 2 hours. (Registered 15 October 2018)

9 October 2018, received £2,000 from Associated Newspapers Ltd, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, for an article. Hours: 2 hrs. (Registered 02 November 2018)

2 November 2018, received £94,507.85 from GoldenTree Asset Management, 300 Park Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, NY 10022 via Chartwell Speakers, 14 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8HN, for a speaking engagement on 8 November 2018. Travel and accommodation also provided. Hours: 2 hrs. (Registered 09
November 2018)

2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: Jon Wood
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation, or nature and value if donation in kind: £50,000 for office and staffing costs
Date received: 1 October 2018
Date accepted: 1 October 2018
Donor status: individual
(Registered 17 October 2018)

Name of donor: CTF Partners Limited
Address of donor: 4th Floor, 6 Chesterfield Gardens, London W1J 5BQ
Amount of donation: Interest free loan of £20,000 for office and staffing costs, to be repaid by 20 January 2019.
Date received: 20 December 2018
Date accepted: 20 December 2018
Donor status: company, registration 07196537
(Registered 04 January 2019)

Name of donor: CTF Partners Limited
Address of donor: 4th Floor, 6 Chesterfield Gardens, London W1J 5BQ
Amount of donation: £3,000 for office and staffing costs.
Date received: 21 December 2018
Date accepted: 21 December 2018
Donor status: company, registration 07196537
(Registered 04 January 2019)

3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources

Name of donor: Surrey County Cricket Club
Address of donor: The Kia Oval, Kennington, London SE11 5SS
Amount of donation, or nature and value if donation in kind: Two tickets with hospitality to Test Match at the Oval, value £1,800
Date received: 8 September 2018
Date accepted: 8 September 2018
Donor status: company, registration IP27896R
(Registered 01 October 2018)

Name of donor: Democratic Unionist Party
Address of donor: 91 Dundela Avenue, Belfast BT4 3BU
Amount of donation, or nature and value if donation in kind: Hospitality and travel to Belfast for myself and a member of staff, estimated value £355.94
Date received: 24 November 2018
Date accepted: 24 November 2018
Donor status: registered political party
(Registered 20 December 2018)

4. Visits outside the UK

Name of donor: American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
Address of donor: 1789 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20036
Estimate of the probable value (or amount of any donation): For myself, flights £6,666.09, hotel accommodation £1,459.52 and other costs of £1,059.56; for my staff member, flights £6,666.09, hotel £994.82; total £16,846.09
Destination of visit: Washington DC, USA
Dates of visit: 13-15 September 2018
Purpose of visit: To receive Irving Kristol Award at AEI Annual Dinner.
(Registered 15 October 2018)

Name of donor: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Address of donor: PO Box 55937, Riyadh 11544
Estimate of the probable value (or amount of any donation): Travel, food and accommodation, estimated value of £14,000
Destination of visit: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Dates of visit: 19 – 21 September 2018
Purpose of visit: Meeting with regional figures to promote education for women and girls.
(Registered 17 October 2018)

6. Land and property portfolio: (i) value over £100,000 and/or (ii) giving rental income of over £10,000 a year
From 1 November 2016, house in London, owned jointly with my wife: (i) and, from 1 March 2017, (ii). (Registered 20 March 2017)


Swire puffs

No, it’s not a recipe.

Swire has sent out a puff job about what he has “achieved” for East Devon over the last year, despite barely ever being here and getting himself knee-deep in Brexit machinations, about which we still have no idea who he supports and exactly what he supports.

His only interest currently seems to be helping to prop up the DUP in Ireland and keeping an eye out for which May successor might get him off the back benches.

Oh, and his “work” with the Conservative Middle East Council and being Deputy Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council ( see next post for more on that) and being provider of strategic investment advice for the Latin American market (Register of Interests). Not forgetting that little company he co-owns with controversial Lord Barker (Eaglesham Investments).

Owl will not be linking to the puff job.

“State-sponsored dissident” Swire at it again!

Swire and May… Swire and Rudd … Swire and … just about anyone who might get him out of the hell of being a backbench MP!

“… What the government wants

A crucial insight into Downing Street’s thinking lies in an amendment put forward to the “meaningful vote” by the Tory MP Sir Hugo Swire. The government’s fingerprints were all over it.

Beyond parliament directing the government on whether to seek an extension of the transition period to avoid the backstop, Swire more significantly proposed to place “a duty” on the government to agree a future relationship, or alternative arrangements, within one year of the Northern Ireland backstop coming into force.

It was essentially an attempt to give parliament a putative date by which the government would make all “best endeavours” to get out of the backstop, or have a very good reason for failing to do so.

The withdrawal agreement already says that the EU will make those “best endeavours” to have a free trade deal in place by 2020 – the end of the 21-month transition period. The government may well seek for the reiteration of that commitment, plus an additional statement of the EU’s intention to get out of the backstop by 2021. …”


NHS: Ministers want NHS head to promise he can run the service with unicorns

Owl says: Actually the government just wants him to lie for their next manifesto – and then, when it all comes tumbling down, they will then probably fire him – for lying.

“The head of the NHS and the government are at loggerheads over how much the health service can be improved for the £20.5bn extra Theresa May has pledged to give it, the Guardian can reveal.

Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, has been having major disagreements behind the scenes in recent weeks with Downing Street, the Treasury and Department of Health and Social Care about how much the forthcoming NHS long-term plan can promise to boost care.

“Tension” and “difficulties” have emerged during detailed horsetrading between the two sides amid sharp differences of opinion over the extent of the document’s ambitions, well-placed NHS and Whitehall sources have told the Guardian.

Negotiations have left ministers “fed up” and “deeply irritated” that Stevens is refusing to include explicit guarantees they believe will reassure voters that the service will improve dramatically over the next five years thanks to the extra money.

The plan, which will set out how the extra money will be spent, had been due to come out earlier this week but was delayed and is likely to finally appear in the week after next, subject to events at Westminster and further discussions between Stevens and ministers about its contents.

Ministers have told NHS England the plan should include specific annual improvements it will promise to make every year between 2019-20 and 2023-24 in its most challenging areas.

They want milestones written into it spelling out how close in percentage terms the NHS will get every year to once again meeting key waiting time targets covering A&E care, cancer treatment and planned operations, and also by how much the service’s dire finances will be turned round.

However, Stevens has left ministers frustrated by telling them privately that their ambitions are not realistic. Allies say he believes the £20.5bn more by 2023-24 is not enough for hospitals to get waiting times back on track after years of struggling to meet them and simultaneously honour headline-grabbing promises May and Philip Hammond have made recently, ahead of the plan being published, to expand and improve cancer and mental health care. They also want the money to pay for care to be transformed, with a major expansion of out-of-hospital services.

NHS England set up 14 different “workstreams” in the summer to draw up detailed proposals for how key areas of care needed to change to improve the nation’s health and keep the NHS sustainable, given the pressures of the ageing and growing population.

Stevens’s realism about the limits of the plan’s ambition has been reinforced by that process identifying improvements that would between them cost £80bn a year extra, four times the £20.5bn May has pledged. That has forced him to order a drastic culling of those proposals that are too costly to include in the plan.

Stevens has also warned them that the NHS’s chronic lack of staff – it is short of 103,000 doctors, nurses and other personnel – will also make it hard to drive the measurable progress they are seeking. Gaping holes in the NHS workforce are “dreadful and getting worse”, one senior figure said.

“Simon wants one thing and the politicians want another. The Treasury want to pin him to the floor over the action he will take to get all the waiting time targets back on track over the next few years, and he is resisting that. He wants flexibility,” said one source close to the discussions.

The Treasury is particularly exasperated by Stevens’s stance. But allies of the NHS chief say that he does not want to have his hands tied, sign up to timescales for progress that are likely to prove impossible to meet and to open himself up to criticism in the future for not delivering them.

One ally said: “The Treasury are the ones who are especially looking for high-profile and concrete improvements in care that the government can sell to the public in return for the £20bn. There is a lot of anxiety [among NHS leaders] because everyone knows the extra money is barely enough to maintain current standards, let alone transform services.”

Stevens is understood to feel unable to make public his reservations about how much progress ministers should expect for the £20.5bn given that he welcomed the money – which May gave to mark the NHS’s 70th birthday in July – at the time as “a change of gear, a step up” after eight years of tiny 1% annual increases. Its budget will rise from £115bn now to £135bn in April 2023.

Another NHS leader said: “Ministers want all the key targets back to where they used to be, the £1bn annual deficit down to zero and a host of new commitments delivered, all within the 3.4% annual budget rises over the next five years that the £20bn involves. But the numbers, and the whole thing, just don’t add up. You simply can’t get all those improvements on those timescales on 3.4%. It isn’t deliverable. But that’s what the government wants.”

NHS Improvement, the service’s financial regulator, is helping to draw up the plan. It warned last week that hospitals had already overspent by £1.23bn by the end of September, halfway through the service’s financial year, and that it may take five years to restore waiting time performance.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, urged ministers and the public to be realistic.

“The NHS long-term plan is a vital opportunity to improve patient care and change the way we deliver services to the public. But we should not underestimate how difficult it will be to recover performance on waiting times and to move NHS trusts and other organisations back into the black.

“We must be realistic about what is possible within the extra £20bn – the last thing we need is to set local services up to fail. And, above all, we will need a plan for securing the staff we need to respond to changing healthcare needs.”

NHS England denied a rift, saying: “The NHS, patient groups, clinicians and government are working closely together to finalise the NHS long term plan ready for publication before Christmas.” The Department of Health and Social Care also said there was no dispute, and they were “working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement to develop an ambitious long term plan for our health service.”


Yet Another Planning Saga at Greendale!

Clearly FWS Carter and Sons, the owners of Greendale Business Park are not taking “no” for an answer!

They have submitted two further retrospective planning applications 18/2661/COU and 18/2660/COU for two compounds on Hogsbrook Lane between Greendale Business Park and their farm at Hogsbrook.

There is a very long history going back 12 years for these two Industrial Compounds known as Compound East 6 at Greendale Business Park.

The area was an agricultural field up to 2007 when a Gas Pipeline Contractor building a new Gas Main through Devon used a “permitted development rights” application to construct a service yard for contractor’s equipment and storage, but with an agreed condition that it had to be returned to agricultural use following the completion of the project.

However, FWS Carter and Sons submitted a planning application APP 09/0099/FUL for the retention of hard standing and security fence for growing fruit! The retention was claimed by the applicant to be justified as fruit growing was an agricultural use and the project needed security fencing and a hard standing.

However, immediately after the approval, the site was used for the storage of scrapped vehicles by Woodbury Carbreakers. As the site did not have the appropriate planning nor Environment Agency permit a court case followed against the tenant and the site was eventually cleared after 3 years.

The Site Owners then used it for commercial and industrial purposes and finally submitted a retrospective planning application App 16/0568/FUL for Storage of HGVs in the Fruit Farm Enclosure. However, this application was refused. East Devon District Council were informed that the applicant would appeal. The applicant had 6 months up to 23/11/2016 to lodge an appeal, but no appeal was submitted, but the industrial use continued.

During this time EDDC Local Plan was approved in 2016 which included Policy E7 which allows extensions to Employment sites (except Greendale and Hill Barton that were considered too large for their rural locations). The East Devon Villages Plans approved in Feb 2018 also included a section on the “Greendale Employment Area” which excludes these specific locations off Hogsbrook Lane.

FWS Carter and sons in 2017 then applied for a Planning Variation order 17/2350/VAR to remove a planning condition to the original 2009 application which required the security fence and hardstanding to be removed if the fruit farm business failed. This application was held up for approximately 12 months due to legal matters. The Application was finally agreed in Oct 2018 but with a condition stating that the use must remain agricultural.
East of Compound 6 and further from the Hogsbrook Lane is an area that over the years has become a storage area for Industrial and agricultural products and equipment. It was originally used for the Gas Pipe line contractors and following their departure in 2009 it has been used by the landowners and their tenants.

In 2017 the owners submitted a Certificate of Lawfulness 17/2441/CPE. These Certificates are used by landowners who have used a specific area for more than 10 years without the correct planning permission and therefore are able to claim that the current use is now “lawful” after 10 years illegal use.

However, it was highlighted to the Planning Authority by the local “Woodbury Salterton Residents Association” that some of the use was agricultural and anyway the Gas Pipe Line Compound was “permitted development”, so the application failed the 10-year time requirement. Therefore, the submission failed.

It is normal practice that a planning Authority would inform landowners that an “Enforcement Notice” would eventually be served in cases like this where there has been breaches in planning regulations.

To presumably delay the Enforcement Notice, FWS Carter and sons have now submitted two further retrospective applications for a change of use application 18/2661/COU at compound East 6 and a further application 18/2660/COU for the compound relating to the failed “Certificate of Lawfulness”

Therefore, the Enforcement Notices will not be served whilst these applications are considered, with the decision to serve the Enforcement Notices being subject to the decision on these latest two applications.

The Saga of Hogsbrook Lane therefore continues!

LEP Growth Strategy branded “ludicrous” but still supported by (Tory) South Hams council!

Owl says: Owl has a strategy to catch twice as many mice as it catch now. The fact that there are far fewer mice, much less farmland, Owl is getting very much older and no owl has ever caught that many mice ever is immaterial – but it gives Owl “something to aim for”!

Councillors really do need to sit a test before they pretend to represent us!

“Plans to double SW productivity branded ‘ludicrous’

Plans to double the productivity of the South West by 2038 have been slammed as “ludicrous and a fairytale”.

The Heart of the South West Joint Committee has a vision for the whole of the region to become more prosperous, for people to have a better quality of life and to create a more vibrant economy where the benefits can be shared by everyone.

The productivity strategy says: “Our ambition is simple – to double the size of the economy over 20 years. We have ambitious local plans that outline needs and opportunities for housing and economic growth. To accelerate our progress towards our ambition and vision, improving productivity is our collective focus.”

South Hams District Council’s executive were noting the progress report they made since it was established in March.

Cllr Julian Brazil questioned how realistic and achievable the plans to double the economy in the next 20 years really were.

He said: “We haven’t seen that kind of growth in my lifetime. It is ludicrous and rubbish, and if they follow these fairytale and fictitious views about the economy, it doesn’t give it any credence. They should be much more realistic and things like this doesn’t give me any confidence they will come up with anything of any use.”

Cllr John Tucker leader of South Hams, said it was a stretch target but gave the LEP something to aim for.

And Cllr Trevor Pennington said the economy has grown over the years and there is more employment than there has ever been.

The executive unanimously noted the progress report, agreed to delegate development and endorsement of the HotSW Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) to the HotSW Joint Committee, and said it had made a £1,400 annual budgetary provision for it.”

Source: Western Morning News

CEO of Clinton Devon Estates shows how to be a gamekeeper and poacher at the same time!

It seems that, to CDE CEO Varley it’s a case of “Don’t do as we do, do as we say”:

and the fact that they are happy to cut down vegetation wilky-nilly at Blackhill Quarry to expand the engineering company!


When it comes to Network Rail it seems things are totally different!

“Twigged: rail chiefs behind the misery of leaves on the line”

Leaves on the line have been causing misery for rail commuters for decades. Far from Network Rail solving it, however, the problem has become worse under the public company that runs the tracks.

A government review that is published today has revealed that delays caused by falling branches and leaves on the line have increased by two thirds since the start of the decade.

Network Rail’s failure to manage vegetation by the side of the 20,000-mile network had the “potential to impact as much on safety and performance as on biodiversity”, the review concluded.

There are about six million trees on Network Rail land, typically a boundary of 10 metres either side of the line, but the review, commissioned by the Department for Transport, said they were often viewed as an “afterthought”.
In 2009-10, there were 11,500 incidents of trees and branches falling on to lines, rising to almost 19,000 in 2017-18. Last year more than 1,750 trains were cancelled by falling trees. Separate figures showed that leaves on the line, which can cause train wheels to slip, caused 3,261 hours of delays last year, a 70 per cent rise in a decade.

John Varley, the chief executive of Clinton Devon Estates who led the review, said that management of vegetation had been “under-resourced for decades”. His team found that “overstretched resource and no dedicated budget results in the maintenance of line-side vegetation being squeezed by other priorities”. Network Rail has spent £40 million a year over the past four years on vegetation management, up from £15 million, but the company still has a huge backlog.

The company’s bosses also face losing their bonuses for over-running engineering work under new plans. The Office of Rail and Road said that senior staff could be required to surrender a proportion of performance-related pay, which totalled more than £52 million last year, to fund improvements.

Network Rail said that it welcomed the review’s findings and that it would provide a plan to implement its recommendations in the next six months.”

Source: The Times (pay wall)

Housing minister threatens councils on housing numbers – NOT developers!

The Express headline is:

‘Make their EYES water!’ Housing minister WARNING to councils who FAIL to meet targets

and the article goes on to blame councils for low housing numbers rather than developers who are hoarding hundreds of thousands of planning permissions, trickling out completions to keep house prices artificially high.

Message to Minister: stop shooting own foot, stop shooting councils, start squeezing developers till THEIR pips squeak!

Oh, and that bit about “developers starting on site” within two years. Legally, all they have to do is put in minimal foundations then they can leave the site unbuilt for as long as they want.

“Kit Malthouse MP was speaking to Nick Ferrari on national radio this morning to explain how the Tories are intending to “up the ante” for both developers and council planning teams so as to roll out new housing.

Mr Malthouse cited the introduction of a new scheme, the ‘Housing Delivery Test’, as one way in which the government’s building objectives might be more effectively met.

He said councils “have to hit a certain percentage of the forecast housing in their plan, and if they don’t we essentially take it out of their hands.

“If they drop below 85 percent of delivery they have to use an action plan, but if they drop below 25 percent delivery the government takes it out of their hands and they lose the ability to control a certain amount of housing in their area.”

“We want them to issue two year planning permissions, not three or five years, and if the developer doesn’t start on site within the two years that they’re able to say ‘your site’s out now’.

“You only have to do it once or twice for the development community to realise that we’re serious about this.”

The Minister explained that the Tories would give developers “big tools” to compel them to develop.

He concluded: “We’re putting big pressure on local authorities, big pressure on developers to come together.

“I do feel sometimes a bit like a marriage guidance councillor between the two because they do all shout at each other and point across the table at events that I’m at.”

Ministers say they will build 300,000 new homes a year, considerably up on the current build rate and more than in any year since the 1960s.

But a survey for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that only 12 percent of members expressed any confidence in that number of new homes being delivered.”

“Tory MP Philip Davies lavishes praise on Esther McVey – but misses crucial detail” (they live together – mostly)

“Philip Davies lavished praise on the Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey for her work on Universal Credit. He told MPs: “I know better than most how hard the Secretary of State worked to get the support from the Chancellor in the Budget. “Can I commend her for doing that.”

But the Tory MP failed to mention that they are not just parliamentary colleagues. The pair have long been close, arriving at a Tory fundraiser in February arm-in-arm and leaving hand-in-hand.

In March Ms McVey was quoted in the Daily Mail saying: “We’re partners but we haven’t done any official commitment stuff… yet.” It’s understood that they have had an on-off relationship for around five years and live together in London. …”


Affordable housing: with this government there is ALWAYS a catch!

“Government’s new council house building drive will come at expense of housing associations”

The Government’s council house building drive will come at the expense of fewer new units constructed by housing associations, The Independent has learned.

The revelation that housing associations will be partially crowded out casts doubt on the Government’s claims to be fully committed to a surge of new housing for people on low incomes.

In her Conservative conference speech in October Theresa May announced the borrowing cap on local councils would be lifted in order to allow authorities to start building houses for low-income families again in serious volumes for the first time in thirty years.

It was a reform that housing campaigners and many council bosses had long pressed for as a vital element of solving the shortage of social housing.

In the Budget on Monday, Philip Hammond followed up on the pledge, with official Treasury estimates suggesting the removal of the cap would lead to extra borrowing to build by councils of £4.6bn over the next six years.

The independent Office for Budget Responsibility said it expected new council house construction of 20,000 units over the period as a result of the lifting of the cap.

However, the OBR, also added that it expected this to crowd out private house building, with every two new council houses resulting in roughly one less new private house, meaning the net impact on new housing supply as result of lifting the cap would be only 9,000.

And The Independent has learned that the basis for this assumption is that councils, as well as funding new council building from borrowing, will also partly fund the new supply by tapping funds from the Affordable Housing Programme (AHP).

This is a pot of government grant money currently mainly drawn on by housing associations (charities and third sector organisations that provide housing at below-market rates) to fund their own construction of social housing

The upshot is that the OBR thinks housing associations’ available government grants will effectively be squeezed to accommodate councils. …”


Statistics, damned statistics and Department of Education statistics …

“The education department’s three latest cases of statistics misuse

In his letter to Damian Hinds, the education secretary, Sir David Norgrove, the UK Statistics Authority chairman, cites three recent examples of the education department putting out false or misleading figures.

Here is the first.

Last week, the minister of state for school standards [Nick Gibb] wrote that, in an international survey of reading abilities of nine-year-olds, England “leapfrogged up the rankings last year, after decades of falling standards, going from 19th out of 50 countries to 8th.”This is not correct. Figures published last year show the increase was from 10th place in 2011 to 8th place in 2016.

Here is the second.

My attention has also been drawn to a recent tweet and blog issued by the department regarding education funding. As the authority’s director general for regulation has noted in a letter to the department today, figures were presented in such a way as to misrepresent changes in school funding. In the tweet, school spending figures were exaggerated by using a truncated axis, and by not adjusting for per pupil spend. In the blog about government funding of schools (which I note your department has now updated), an international comparison of spend which included a wide range of education expenditure unrelated to publicly funded schools was used, rather than a comparison of school spending alone. The result was to give a more favourable picture. Yet the context would clearly lead readers to expect that the figures referred to spending on schools.

And here is the third.

The shadow secretary of state for education [Angela Rayner] has written to express concerns about your use of a figure that appears to show a substantial increase in the number of children in high performing schools, as judged by OFSTED. While accurate as far as it goes, this figure does not give a full picture. It should be set in the context of increasing pupil numbers, changes to the inspection framework and some inspections that are now long in the past, as an earlier letter to the department from the Office of Statistics Regulation pointed out.

In his letter Norgrove says these cases follow four other instances in the last year when the authority wrote to the department with concerns about its presentation of data. “I regret that the department does not yet appear to have resolved issues with its use of statistics,” Norgrove says.”


Report that Randall-Johnson was with Swire and Minister of Health at Ottery St Mary

“If you thought Health Secretary Matt Hancock was a safe pair of hands for the NHS after Jeremy Hunt think again. Comedy antics ensued when the Hancock turned up at Ottery hospital. First he hid, then he hurried.

Matt may well have been doing a favour for a rich mate, East Devon money-bags MP Hugo Swire, but at what price, making him appear a hapless lacky to East Devon’s Tory elite.

Hugo by-passed the Department of Health to take Matt hospital surfing. They went to Budleigh Salterton Hospital, before popping into in Ottery.

East Devon Councillor and Devon County Council Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee Councillor Claire Wright was on hand, along with some residents, to ask the Health Secretary some questions.

Unfortunately, he was holed up solely with a number of East Devon Tories, including Sara Randall Johnson, chair of the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee. East Devon MP, Mr Swire and his aides were also present.

Have a read of Claire’s account. It certainly seems weird, so does the behaviour of the communication people of the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group.

‘Why was he so frightened about talking to a dozen residents, and the local county councillor?’ asks Claire.

‘I had been quite encouraged that he was visiting the hospital and wanted to hear from him that he will protect Ottery’s and other hospitals. After all, Mr Hancock commands the NHS and also NHS Property Services, which now owns many hospital buildings in the area.

‘They are all at risk of possible closure and sell-off due to the lack of funding available to pay the enormous rents NHS Property Services demands.

‘But his cowardly escape bid simply gave the impression of a man who does not wish to be even remotely accountable.’

But that’s not all. Here’s the response of an East Devon constituent, as posted by Channel 5 News Health Correspondent Catherine Jones (check out the picture).

[There follow many hilarious comments on Swire’s justification for his actions and a You Tube video of Hancock doing a karaoke version of “Can’t Stop Me Now]


“Government accused of covering up schools cuts with misleading figures”

“The government has been accused of attempting to cover up school budget cuts in England, after the UK’s statistics watchdog said it would investigate ministers’ use of spending figures that included private school fees to fend off criticism.

The UK Statistics Authority said it had received complaints about a recent claim, made by the Department for Education and the schools standards minister, Nick Gibb, that the UK’s spending on education was the third highest in the world.

But the claim, based on OECD figures, was revealed by the BBC to include university student tuition loans as well as the fees paid by private school pupils, which fall outside the DfE’s budget.

The department also faces scrutiny over its continued use of a claim that there are 1.9 million more children in schools rated by Ofsted as good or outstanding than at the time of the 2010 election.

“The UK Statistics Authority and the Office for Statistics Regulation are investigating the concerns raised, and will publish their findings shortly,” a spokesperson for the regulator said.

Last Friday saw a protest by more than 2,000 headteachers over school funding cuts in England. In response, the DfE defended its record, and included the statement: “The OECD has recently confirmed that the UK is the third highest spender on education in the world, spending more per pupil than countries including Germany, Australia and Japan.”

Gibb later repeated the same claim during an interview on the BBC, and the DfE published the statement in a blog on its website.

But the OECD data was comparing education spending as a percentage of national output, and included government spending in England and elsewhere along with university tuition loans for students as well as fees paid by pupils at private schools.

The OECD figures also include government spending on education in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which in most cases is devolved to national assemblies in those countries and is not counted within the DfE’s budget.

Jules White, the headteacher of a secondary school in West Sussex who helped organise last Friday’s protest, said the DfE was attempting to cover up the “savage cuts that have been made to school budgets” .

“At every stage, the government and Department for Education has refused to acknowledge an overwhelming independent body of evidence which clearly confirms that the cuts have gone too far,” White said.

“Ministers have now been caught out and we appeal to them to stop the pattern of using dreadfully misleading information which is unfair to educational professionals and most crucially to parents and pupils.”

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has estimated that funding per pupil in England fell by 8% between 2010 and 2018, with 66,000 more children in state schools this year than the year before but with 5,000 fewer teachers. …”


Telegraph pays Boris Johnson £275,000 a year for 10 hours work per month

“Boris Johnson was re-employed by the Daily Telegraph on a salary of £275,000 a year for his weekly column, it has been revealed.

The Conservative MP and potential leadership candidate had to give up his newspaper job when he became foreign secretary in 2016, forfeiting the substantial second income.

However, the parliamentary register of members’ interests shows he was immediately rehired on the same rate after resigning this summer, with no attempt made by the Daily Telegraph – which has experienced years of job cuts and falling profits – to push down his salary.

The former foreign secretary said he spends 10 hours a month writing his 1,100 word column, equivalent to a pay rate of £2,291/hour – or around £4.80 a word.”


Very stupid Tory Minister says councils are not getting cuts just more flexible ways to earn income!!”

Owl says: As John Crace (Guardian) puts it – top Tories these days seem to be fighting over their only brain cell!

“Treasury minister Liz Truss has been branded “innumerate or inept” after falsely claiming that local councils are not facing cuts.

Philip Hammond’s deputy insisted the government was simply giving town halls more “flexibility” to raise money themselves, rather than slashing their funds.

“We are not making cuts to local authorities,” Ms Truss told BBC Newsnight.

In fact, the Local Government Association highlighted this week that funding will be reduced by 36 per cent next year, the largest annual deduction in almost a decade.

And the organisation’s Conservative leader has warned that more councils will go bust unless ministers “address the funding crisis”.

Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s local government spokesman, condemned Ms Truss’s comments, saying: “This shows she’s either totally innumerate or completely inept.

“Councils of all political persuasions are edging towards the financial cliff edge, and it’s a Tory Council, Northamptonshire, that’s the first to go bump on their watch, with others not far behind. …”


A few newspaper headlines from the Tory Party conference

An alternative view of the conference!

MP’s ‘horror’ at getting £4.2bn to digitise NHS with no plan
(BBC News)

Conservative MP slams party conference ‘narrative’ as he cannot recall a single ‘real announcement’
(Sky News)

Outrage as Tory uni society picture shows one student with Hitler-style moustache while another sports ‘F*** the NHS’ T-shirt
(Daily Mirror)

Don’t Always Believe What Tory MPs Say On TV, Says Party Grandee
(Huffington Post)

Education Secretary Damian Hinds Could Face Probe From Statistics Watchdog Over Conference Speech
(Huffington Post)

Boris Johnson And Jeremy Hunt Described As ‘D*ckheads’ By Former Tory Treasury Minister Jim O’Neill
(Huffington Post)

“NHS faces £2.7bn cuts after government pension slip-up”

“The NHS will suffer £2.7bn in new cuts after the government miscalculated the pension costs of public sector workers, a new analysis from the House of Commons library has shown.

The government has offered to cover the NHS’s additional costs up until 2020, but the final two years of additional pension costs totalling £2.7bn until the next election will have to be covered by the public service.
This could have paid for the salaries of a total of 61,912 nurses, said the Labour Party, who released the research.

They say the government could have miscalculated pension costs for all public sector workers by as much as £4bn a year.

Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the treasury, Peter Dowd, said: “Billions of pounds are being quietly cut from our NHS due to a poisonous cocktail of disastrous economic mismanagement and spiteful behaviour.”

“These cuts are the equivalent of paying the salary of over 61,000 nurses a year. Nurses whom we desperately need after 8 years of crushing austerity in our NHS.”

Labour say the initial announcement was snuck out in a statement late last Thursday with no parliamentary scrutiny.

The Conservatives’ annual party conference is currently underway in Birmingham, and will publish its next budget on 29 October.

Dowd added: “The Chancellor must immediately own up and commit to meeting these extra costs, not just push them on to slashed and struggling public services.”

“All this just goes to show, you cannot trust the Tories with our NHS.”
This comes after the government pledged more than £145m for emergency care and 900 extra beds ahead of the winter earlier this month.

But experts have been critical, saying the funding won’t be nearly enough, especially if the UK is faced with the “extremely challenging conditions”.
General and acute bed occupancy was at a whopping 94.4% with an average of 20 trusts having over 99% occupancy each day.”


Tory grandee blames socialism, tax credits and Karl Marx for divorces

“No-fault divorces are “lacking in morality” and could destroy “the institution of marriage”, a senior Conservative politician has declared.

Archaic laws demand proof that a marriage has broken down due to a partner’s adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or desertion – but Justice Secretary David Gauke has said this approach will be scrapped as soon as possible.

But speaking at an event at the annual Tory Party conference in Birmingham, the party’s former treasurer, Lord Farmer, condemned the move and said liberalising the law was immoral and causing the “breakdown of society”.

He also blamed tax credits for a rise in break-ups and said the key to ending domestic violence “cannot simply be more refuges for victims to flee to”.

Farmer, who converted to christianity age 35 and is on the right of the party, said one or both partners should take blame when they “fail to live up to the promises made” at their wedding.

He said: “It is simply another example of the hyper-liberalism that treats family breakdown as inevitable.

“Making marriage easier to exit and sanitising divorce may make it less painful to the adults involved, but it is far more likely to weaken the institution of marriage than strengthen it.

“It will render marriage more voluntaristic and like cohabitation with its assumption that a couple may only stay together whilst it works for both of them.

“Marriage on the other hand is a solemn vow, an explicit statement of commitment, ‘until death’. Saying it’s no-one’s fault when one or both parties fail to live up to the promises made empties those promises of all meaning.”

He added: “I would go further and say support for no-fault divorce is lacking in morality.”

At the event on “strengthening families”, which saw arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg introduce Farmer’s speech, said the decline of marriage began with socialism.

“In many respects, it goes back to Engels, it goes back to Marx, the destruction of the family and building up reliance of everyone on the state, not the family,” he said.

He added that policies of the 1997 Labour government had accelerated divorce rates among low-income families and said former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown took an “unreservedly liberalising approach to family change” which judged that all families “were deemed to require and deserve state support”.

Farmer hit out at the Working Families Tax Credit, introduced by Brown, which increased the benefits available to single mothers who went out to work for 16 hours a week or more.

Marriage breakdown was also leading to poor health and high suicide rates among single men, and, Farmer claimed, encouraged children to join gangs.

He said: “Defenders of the defamilialising approach argue that it is potentially very harmful for women to be dependent on men who might be abusive if they are to make ends meet. Of course this is true.

“It is also very harmful for men, women and children and society if men become surplus to requirement in families.”

He went on: “Defamilialisation and tyrannous hyper-liberalism have not ushered in a better, freer world but have facilitated an individualisation in social life which has resulted in father absence on a massive scale”.

He added that most of the 50,000 young people caught up in county lines drug activity “come from a broken home”, adding: “Also a lack of a good male role model helps lure young men into substitute family of a gang.”

Farmer went on to say more charities should aim to mediate between couples trapped in domestic violence, adding: “The response to our completely unacceptable levels of domestic abuse cannot simply be more refuges for victims to flee to.”

Farmer also called for the Government to appoint a senior cabinet minister for families and said welfare overspending, rough sleeping and educational underachievement had their roots in family breakdown.

“The welfare system picks up the pieces when relationships crumble, because people who were previously dependent on each other become dependent on the state,” he said.

He even claimed the housing crisis was exacerbated by marriage breakdown as demand for properties went up because “couples with children split up and both want family-size homes”.

Rees-Mogg, who is father to six children, called the fringe meeting “one of the most important meetings of party conference” and said “the family is the building block of society”.