Remember: Extraordinary EDDC Meetings Today at 5.00pm and 5.30pm

These meeting are being recorded by EDDC for subsequent publication on the Council’s
website and will be streamed live to the Council’s Youtube Channel

Agenda for an Extraordinary Virtual meeting of the Council

Thursday, 28th May, 2020, 5.00 pm

Motion: to determine whether to hold a meeting to elect positions

‘Should the Council hold an Extraordinary General Meeting on 8th June 2020 at

6pm to elect the positions of Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council.’

Agenda for an Extraordinary Virtual meeting of the Council

Thursday, 28th May, 2020, 5.30pm

Motion: to elect a Leader and receive the Leader’s appointments

‘Following the resignation of Cllr Ben Ingham as the Leader that the Council elect

a new Leader for the remainder of the civic year and that Council receive the

Leader’s appointments of the Deputy Leader and the Cabinet and their Portfolios’.

Owl is adding as a footnote the comment Angie East made on the recent post concerning Cllr. Mike Davies’ resignation from the Conservatives in West Devon over Boris Johnson’s backing for Dominic Cummings’ “no regrets, no apology”. Cllr. Davies is a former Mayor of West Devon Borough Council.

Her comment reads:

Well done, Cllr MIke Davies.
A man of principle.
What will it take for principles, integrity and responsibility to be recognised and valued by our Prime Minister?

Well, how about if a few of our Conservative Councillors at EDDC took a leaf out of Cllr Davies’ book?

I’m not talking about the ones who will always be self-serving, always be ‘back -your-chums- no-matter-what’ animals.
There ARE some Conservative Councillors at EDDC who are really highly principled, put their public first and don’t always toe the party line.
I’d suggest that now is the time for them to choose to be Independent.

THREE cliff falls in Sidmouth within 24 hours

The cliffs in Sidmouth have yet again toppled into the water, creating a huge cloud of dust. Owl has also received reports that there have been at least two falls seen in Budleigh.

See the devonlive article for photos.

Chloe Parkman 

Three cliff fall’s have occurred within the space of just 24 hours in a Devon town.

The cliffs in Sidmouth have yet again toppled into the water, creating a huge cloud of dust.

Two of the landslides occurred today (May 27), one during the morning at around 8.45am and the other around 2pm.

Residents are remain on the beach, despite being so close to the dangerous crumbling cliffs.

Yesterday (May 26), a key-worker witnessed a landslide during his shift around midday.

Local resident Ray Moseley, 58, said: “I was walking along York Street with my wife this morning.

“We stopped to have a look around and take in the view when we notice a large cloud of dust.”

The 58-year old is unsure as to how much of the cliff face toppled due to being a fair distance away from the scene, but believes that it must have been a substantial amount to create a plume of dust.

There have been several reports of Sidmouth’s cliffs crumbling into the sea this year.

Ray adds: “If you look closely, there are cracks all the way along the cliff face.

“It is ridiculous the amount of people you see walking near to them, they just ignore the signs.  It is extremely dangerous.

“I think it is only a matter of time until something really serious happens.”

Clear signage is displayed near to the cliffs, warning the public of the dangers.

Another resident, Verity Graves-Morris, 37, was on the beach when she witnessed a cliff fall in Sidmouth at around 2pm today (May 27).

Verity said: “I heard a grumbling noise.

“When I turned around there was a large cloud of red dust.

“Other people on the beach also saw it, but they have continued to walk around near to where it fell.”

A spokesperson for East Devon County Council (EDDC), said: “It is not physically possible to stop the public entering East Beach below the cliffs, however to gain access they must pass several warning signs advising them of the danger and lack of an alternate exit point.”

Ian Barlow, Chair of Sidmouth Town Council, said: “At this time of year as the cliff dries out it is very usual to have more falls which we are now experiencing.

“Until EDDC Beach Management Committee are able to put the larger plan into place to protect the cliffs we would, in my opinion, support emergency actions to help slow the natural process.

“However, to date no emergency action plans have been proposed by them.”

A spokesperson for EDDC said: ““Cliff falls are a natural and unpredictable occurrence along the East Devon coast, this is because the rock from which the cliffs are formed is soft and therefore prone to rock falls and landslides, which can happen at any time, although periods of heavy rainfall such as the wettest February on record and now a long dry period, can cause an increase rate of falls.

“The Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan (BMP) scheme aims to reduce the risk of flooding to Sidmouth by maintaining the standard of defences along Sidmouth Beach, and to reduce the rate of erosion to the cliffs to the East of the town (and therefore the rate of exposure of the East side of Sidmouth to coastal conditions).

“It cannot , however, stop cliff falls. In fact, many of the recent cliff falls are beyond the area the BMP will protect, occurring further East on National Trust land.”

A Beach Management Scheme for the town which aims to protect Sidmouth’s crumbling cliffs is in place.

The scheme which costs somewhere in the region of £8.7million, is now moving to the next stage after the funding gap was bridged earlier this month.

Ian Barlow adds: “For now the simple message is unchanged from previous years keep off east beach it is dangerous .

“We are lucky to have miles of beaches around with the best water quality available for people to enjoy the seaside safely even with social distancing!”

The Conservative MPs calling for Dominic Cummings to go

The number of Conservative MPs calling for Dominic Cummings to resign in recent days has swelled, with the chief aide to the prime minister’s appearance at the press conference on Monday failing to stop more coming out against his actions.

Rowena Mason

The 44 Tory MPs who have said Cummings should resign or be sacked

  • George Freeman Mid Norfolk
  • Douglas Ross Moray
  • Harriett Baldwin West Worcestershire
  • Roger Gale North Thanet
  • Martin Vickers Cleethorpes
  • Peter Bone Wellingborough
  • Robert Goodwill Scarborough and Whitby
  • Paul Maynard Blackpool North and Cleveleys
  • Mark Pawsey Rugby
  • Robert Syms Poole
  • Tim Loughton East Worthing and Shoreham
  • Jason McCartney Colne Valley
  • Peter Aldous Waveney
  • John Stevenson Carlisle
  • Caroline Nokes Romsey and Southampton North
  • Damian Collins Folkestone and Hythe
  • Philip Davies Shipley
  • Julian Sturdy York Outer
  • Alec Shelbrooke Elmet and Rothwell
  • Mark Harper Forest of Dean
  • Stephen Hammond Wimbledon
  • Simon Hoare North Dorset
  • Simon Jupp East Devon
  • David Warburton Somerton and Frome
  • Jeremy Wright Kenilworth and Southam
  • Mark Garnier Wyre Forest
  • Andrew Percy Brigg and Goole
  • Elliot Colburn Carshalton and Wallington
  • Jackie Doyle Price Thurrock
  • Bob Neill Bromley and Chislehurst
  • Laurence Robertson Tewkesbury
  • James Gray North Wiltshire
  • Craig Whittaker Calder Valley
  • Robert Largan High Peak
  • Andrew Selous South West Bedfordshire
  • Duncan Baker North Norfolk
  • Bob Stewart Beckenham
  • Andrew Jones Harrogate and Knaresborough
  • David Simmonds Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner
  • Giles Watling Clacton
  • Pauline Latham Mid Derbyshire
  • Henry Smith Crawley
  • Stephen Metcalfe South Basildon and East Thurrock
  • Royston Smith Southampton Itchen

The 17 Tory MPs critical of Cummings, but who stop short of calling for him to go

  • Penny Mordaunt Portsmouth North
  • Sajid Javid Bromsgrove
  • Richard Holden North West Durham
  • Dehenna Davison Bishop Auckland
  • Paul Howell Sedgefield
  • Christian Wakeford Bury South
  • Fiona Bruce Congleton
  • Mike Freer Finchley and Golders Green
  • Tom Tugendhat Tonbridge and Malling
  • Robert Halfon Harlow
  • Craig Mackinlay South Thanet
  • Jeremy Hunt South West Surrey
  • William Wragg Hazel Grove
  • Jonathan Gullis Stoke-on-Trent North
  • Steve Brine Winchester
  • Damian Green Ashford
  • Alicia Kearns Rutland and Melton

“Do it for your loved ones, your community, and the NHS.”

Matt Hancock has just tweeted this message in advance of tomorrow’s launch of a “Test, Track and Trace” system. A central part of this will be an “instruction” that those who are informed that have been in contact with anyone showing signs of Covid-19 must go home immediately and self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms.

This is identical to the “instruction” in force when Dominic Cummings chose: to race home; check on his wife who he thought was showing symptoms (thereby becoming a contact himself); return to the office; go back home then drive his sick wife and son to Durham. The only difference, then, was that the self-isolation period was only 7 days.

Dominic Cummings told us on Monday that what he did was justified because he was protecting his loved ones. He didn’t seem to care much about the community or the NHS . He has no regrets and has made no apology.

Are they all mocking us?

Nothing to see here – Time to move on.


We were promised 100,000 tests by end April, rising to 200,000 by the end of May

These targets are arbitrary but of the Government’s making.

A correspondent has taken great trouble in providing Owl with the following article on how the figures on Coronavirus test are being “massaged” to fit a political narrative. The number of tests should be a straightforward matter of fact. Unfortunately they are not.

This is particularly relevant tonight, as Boris Johnson “surprises” the nation with an earlier than expected announcement of the start of a “test, track, trace and isolate” system. Owl believes this is to distract us from Dominic Cummings – “nothing to see here, time to move on”.

The launch looks to be premature: the NHSX phone app is still under development; testing capacity cannot possibly meet Boris’ new target of 200,000 by June 1, and the results are taking far too long to process. And there are accounts of those recruited to track and trace having little or no training.

Regrettably, It is yet another example of the Government launching new initiatives by megaphone then failing to deliver, when what we need is a Government we can believe in and trust.

People might react to messaging and spin but a virus is completely unaffected.

The correspondent writes:

I regard More or Less as one of the best programmes on Radio 4 because it’s devoted to an accurate analysis of various statistical claims. However, there is one that is  particularly interesting at the moment because it takes apart the government’s claims to have reached the declared target of 100,000 Coronavirus tests per day. (All the material included below was taken from More or Less BBC Radio 4 20 May 2020.)

On 15 May the government claimed that 136,486 Coronavirus tests were completed. I think most of us would read that as meaning that 136,486 people were tested. Unfortunately that is not the case: only 43,298 people were tested for diagnostic reasons. The other 93,188 claimed tests included home testing kits sent out, whether or not they were completed;  tests done for research purposes; and multiple tests done on the same patients – multiple tests done for very good reasons but nevertheless carried out on one patient. In fact, each person tested at a drive-in centre was counted twice in the government’s daily figures because each of those tests involved spitting into a container (one test) and taking a swab from inside the same person’s nose (one test). So these represent two tests within the government’s figures.

The programme shows that the real figure of tests done is less than one third of what the government was suggesting with its figure.

It’s a 30 minute programme which deals with other statistical claims but if you’re only interested in the conclusions relating to the number of tests claimed to have been done each day, they are around the 16 minute mark. The reporter explains some of the key points.

Why are non-diagnostic tests a source of distortion? “While these tests are potentially giving vital information about the prevalence of the disease, the Department of Health and Social care say they aren’t being used to diagnose cases. The government itself doesn’t count people who receive these tests as people who have been tested. Nevertheless, these non-diagnostic tests are being added to the figures and they’re what’s making it possible for the government to keep claiming that the target has been hit. […] If you remove the posted kits because we don’t know how many were actually carried out and the research kits because the government itself doesn’t count those as people tested, then on the fifteenth of May we go from the government’s figure of 136,486 tests to only 69,900 which we know were actually carried out for diagnostic purposes.” What about the number of people tested? “Of the 69,900 tests we know were done on the fifteenth of May, they were done on 43,298 people.”

So the government’s figures are a combination of sleight of hand (including testing kits sent out whether or not they were used and multiple tests on individuals) combined with straightforward misdirection (including in the reported figure tests which the government itself does not regard as people tested).

The full programme is available here:

Why are Clinton Devon Estates felling trees during the bird nesting season?

A correspondent has sent this “letter” to Owl, but asks to remain anonymous.

“It will probably come as no surprise, but I have just witnessed Clinton Devon Estates felling diseased ash trees on Dotton Lane between Newton Poppleford and Colaton Raleigh.

I appreciate these trees have to be felled to control the problem, in fact I believe the estate has allocated a seven figure sum to deal with this over the next few years.

What I don’t approve of is the fact it is in the middle of the bird nesting season. The reason the work is being undertaken now is probably for easier identification, wonder why they cannot just mark the diseased trees and fell them when they are dormant in the Winter.

It is not the first time they have shown scant regard for wildlife is it!

I have been very pro the estate over the years, sadly not so much now.”

(Owl will never forget the sagas of the Estate’s past cavalier attitude to bats and slow-worms)