Seaton climate follow-up meeting to organise local action, this coming Wednesday

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As agreed at the meeting on 16th October, we are meeting again next Wednesday, 6th November, at 7pm to discuss the next steps. The meeting will be in the same place, the Old Picture House, not in Marshlands as previously stated.
The agenda will be:
1. Setting up a campaign
2. Prioritising action points from the 5 areas which we discussed at the first meeting
3. Deciding how to organise this and what are the next steps.
All welcome on Wednesday and please let everyone who might be interested know about this meeting.

Devon Carbon Plan process is launched – residents called on to give their ideas

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The press release:

A top team of environmental experts, charged with ensuring that Devon reduces carbon emissions as quickly as possible, is calling on residents to submit their ideas on how to do it.

The Net-Zero Task Force has been appointed by the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group – made up of Devon’s councils, emergency services and business groups – to deliver the Devon Carbon Plan.

The Carbon Plan will lay out in stark terms what every resident, organisation and business has to do to reduce emissions and safeguard the planet for the next generation.

This Call for Evidence is open to everybody, and every submission will be reviewed by the Task Force.

Submissions will feed into the creation of the Carbon Plan, which includes a series of thematic hearings in November and December.

Each hearing will focus on the different parts of our society that produce most of the emissions, like transport for instance.

Recent data compiled by Exeter University show that homes and buildings, road transport, and farming account for 83% of all emissions in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay.

The hearings will seek to understand what needs to happen to achieve rapid decarbonisation in Devon, and how it can be delivered.

The hearings will be divided into:

  • food, land and sea (including agriculture, forestry, fisheries and land use)
  • mobility and transport
  • the built environment
  • energy and waste

A draft of the Devon Carbon Plan will be created through a three-step process;  firstly, Task Force members and expert witnesses, all recognised in their respective fields, will discuss and then review the evidence.

Then the Task Force will present a series of ‘options’ to a Citizen’s Assembly, which will be convened from January.

Finally, the deliberations of the Citizen’s Assembly will lead to the Draft Devon Carbon Plan, which is due for publication next spring, 2020.

Chairman of the Net-Zero Taskforce, The University of Exeter’s Professor Patrick Devine-Wright, said:

“The challenge facing us all is how we can live and prosper in a carbon-neutral economy.

“This is the goal of Devon’s Carbon Plan, to set out a clear roadmap of what we all have to do to ensure that Devon becomes net-zero and continue to thrive.

“We want everyone to be involved, including schools, members of the public, businesses and public sector organisations – we all have a say and part to play.”

Dr Phil Norrey, the Chairman of the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group, said:

“The public submissions and the thematic hearings are the first stage in a process that will lead to a comprehensive carbon plan for Devon.

“Everyone in Devon has a stake in this process and I would like to thank the members of the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group and the Net-Zero Taskforce for their contributions and hard work.”

You can read further information and submit information on this website.

As we move towards Dec. 18th decision on our fire stations’ future, tough criticism of London fire brigade by Grenfell inquiry raises questions about quality of fire service leadership

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The report on the appalling Grenfell fire, while praising many firefighters and criticising the use of cladding which caused the fire to be so devastating, has included trenchant criticism of London’s fire chiefs, especially the Commissioner, Dany Cotton, who many survivors think should resign.

This report is a cruel reminder that fire service policies and leadership are of critical importance to public safety. As we await the publication of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service’s response to the recent consultation and the delayed meeting of the Fire and Rescue Authority on December 18th which will make the crucial decisions, Authority members should reflect on the danger that in the pursuit of financial savings by selling off fire stations, chief officers (who have repeatedly avoided public scrutiny by councillors) are unacceptably increasing the risk of serious fires and other incidents affecting many parts of Devon and Somerset – particularly around Colyton and Topsham in East Devon.

Tactical voting site says vote Lib Dem in Tiverton & Honiton constituency and Claire Wright, Independent, in East Devon

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The pro-EU tactical voting site getvoting.org says that voting Liberal Democrat in the Tiverton and Honiton constituency (which includes Seaton and Colyton) is the most likely way to get a pro-European MP and stop Brexit. In the 2017 election, Labour were second and the Lib Dems third, so the site’s recommendation may reflect the fact that Labour did worse than the Lib Dems in the 2019 local elections and the Lib Dems have general momentum in the polls. (Also Labour have not announced their candidate so we don’t know their stance on Brexit.)

The site recommends supporting Claire Wright is the tactical pro-EU vote in the East Devon constituency, where she was a close second in 2017 and where Independents easily outpolled the Lib Dems and Labour in the local elections.

No one who cares can vote for Boris Johnson – vote for change

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When you make up your mind how to vote in this election, remember what Johnson’s own chief adviser Dominic Cummings famously said  “People think, and by the way I think most people are right: ‘The Tory party is run by people who basically don’t care about people like me.’” 

Johnson doesn’t believe in Brexit – he believes in himself.  He doesn’t care enough about his withdrawal bill to even bother to get it through parliament, even after parliament had indicated it would support it. He didn’t care about wasting £8 billion, yes £8 billion, on an irresponsible threat to carry out ‘no deal’. He’s been caught lying so many times, people have stopped counting.

Johnson certainly doesn’t care about the NHS. He’s pretending to spend on hospitals – but it’s not 40 new hospitals, it’s 6 refurbished hospitals, and it will do nothing at all for the RD&E, where people are waiting a year for operations, or our community hospitals, still half empty after being stripped of the beds – while the RD&E has a ‘severe beds shortage’, I was told this month.

Johnson doesn’t care about schools, the police, or the environment, either. He doesn’t care about any of the things which matter to us. So we shouldn’t give him or his party the time of day. After 9 years the Tories have made a truly awful mess of this country.

Vote for change. Vote tactically for whichever candidate is likely to defeat the Johnson candidate. In Totnes, that is Sarah Wollaston, the Lib Dem. In Exeter, it’s Labour’s Ben Bradshaw. And in East Devon, it’s my Independent colleague Claire Wright (pictured) who is poised to take the seat after Hugo Swire’s welcome departure.

WHO TO VOTE FOR IN OUR CONSTITUENCY (Tiverton and Honiton)? Neil Parish, who will again be the Conservative candidate, has slavishly followed each new Tory leader’s twists and turns, including now Johnson’s. But there isn’t a clear tactical choice to beat him. Labour and the Greens haven’t even chosen candidates, so far as I can tell. The Lib Dems have, and he sounds good, but I haven’t yet met him. I’m waiting to know more, before deciding who to vote for.

Successful town meeting in Seaton brainstorms ideas for local climate action

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Around sixty people joined in a two-hour discussion last night about how the Seaton community could play its part in addressing the climate emergency. Breaking into roundtable groups, the meeting discussed issues around food and lifestyle; trees, gardens and biodiversity; housing; transport; and the commercial sector in the town. The points raised in discussion will go a further open meeting on Wednesday 6th November at 7 pm in Marshlands, Harbour Road, to develop a practical plan of action and set up a local climate forum (name to be decided!).

The meeting, in the Old Picture House on Harbour Rd, was organised by Seaton Town Council’s climate emergency working group with the help of Seaton Extinction Rebellion (XR). Introduced by Cllr Jack Rowland, deputy mayor, the discussions were led by working group members councillors Tony Antoniou, Dan Ledger, Martin Shaw and Amrik Singh and XR member Helena Whitten. If you’d like to be kept informed, email cllrmartinshaw@gmail.com.

Fire station closures are getting to be like hospital bed closures, a litmus test of politicians’ support for local communities – my post on the Tories blocking discussion was viewed 932 times on the day it was published.

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Information for Devon and Somerset Conservative councillors who may be thinking of voting through the fire station closures. I’ve just checked my site stats and this post on how the Tories blocked the County Council discussing the closures was the most viewed ever in a single day on this site – and it’s now been viewed nearly 1400 times. Vote for this at your peril!