Wednesday, 31 October 2018

“The current local plans are planning far too many homes.” >>> CPRE's Devon Housing Needs Evidence Report

A video is just out from a seminar put together by the Campaign to Protect Rural England in Devon:
CPRE Devon Housing Seminar October 2018 on Vimeo

As covered here earlier in the month:
Futures Forum: “The current local plans are planning far too many homes.” >>> Devon CPRE to challenge Devon’s planning authorities' housing requirement figures

Following on from the seminar, there was a lot of media interest:

Devon’s real housing needs revealed in major new independent report launched by conservation charity

Penny Mills, Director of CPRE Devon says: 

“Everybody should be alarmed at the scale of development that is taking place or planned throughout Devon, much of it on our green fields. 
People who claim to love nature, wildlife and the environment should be concerned because of the loss of precious habitats. 
Anybody who is involved in the tourist industry should be worried. Tourism is one of the biggest contributors to Devon’s economy. Why? Because people come for the beautiful coast and countryside, the scenery, the peace and quiet, the fresh air. Will they still come to see sprawling housing estates with identikit homes, an urban environment and traffic jams? I don't think so. We shouldn't be destroying our most precious asset - our countryside.”

Devon’s real housing needs revealed in major new independent report launched by conservation charity | The Exeter Daily
‘Too many homes planned’ for Devon | News | Okehampton Times
The stark truth about Devon’s real housing needs revealed in major new independent report launched today by conservation charity, CPRE Devon - Devon Live

This is from the CPRE Devon's own website:

Devon’s Housing Needs Evidence

Thank you to Sir Hugo Swire MP East Devon, and all the 160 people, who braved the awful weather and joined us on Friday 12th October 2018 at The Best Western Hotel, Tiverton at the launch of our Devon’s Housing Needs Evidence, and our new Review of Government Housing Policy and its Impacts on Devon.

We now have the evidence from this major, independent report, of how many new homes are really needed in Devon.

The comprehensive data includes housing projections, targets, costs and tenure, numbers planned and population trends across the entire County. This brand new CPRE Devon commissioned research cuts a swathe through official figures and, for the first time, reveals the truth about Devon’s REAL housing needs. It should be a valuable resource to anyone interested in housing throughout the County.

The Devon Housing Needs Evidence Report is available free of charge to our members or to non members to buy – at £36. And £10 for a copy of the Review of Government Housing Policy and its Impacts on Devon (the donation helps towards costs of printing and postage). We would very much welcome new members and those joining by the 31st October will receive the reports as part of their new membership package. Please contact us and find out how many new homes are REALLY needed in Devon.

Devon's Housing Needs Evidence | Devon Planning Applications | CPRE Devon

The Lighthouse Sidmouth shared workspace

There has been a lot of interest in having some sort of 'business hub' for Sidmouth:
Futures Forum: Calls for a Town Digital Hub for Sidmouth

With inspiration coming from Frome:
Futures Forum: Town Digital Hub

There are plans for a hub on the seafront:
Futures Forum: Developing a hub for Sidmouth's seafront
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultation > Economic Evidence Report

And there is a push for these ideas from the Neighbourhood Plan:
Futures Forum: Neighbourhood Plan: final household survey launched >>> the main themes so far

Looking at the proposed 'community actions' from the NP:

Economic Resilience:

Community Action ER03: 
Promote the Sid Valley as a multigenerational community and thriving area in which to live and work and an area which encourages and supports enterprise, innovation and new ideas, hubs, shared space and resources.

Community Action ER05: 
Support, foster and develop our entrepreneurial culture • Support the creation of facilities such as work hubs/shared spaces and premises for STEAM businesses/start-ups - Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and spaces for existing Sid Valley industries/light industry/essential services.

Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan – Shaping our Future Together

And now the work hub is going to happen:

New work hub to open in Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 12:03 29 October 2018
Cathy Debenham and Louise Thompson of Lighthouse Sidmouth CIC. Ref shs 43 18TI 3800. Picture: Terry Ife
Cathy Debenham and Louise Thompson of Lighthouse Sidmouth CIC. Ref shs 43 18TI 3800. Picture: Terry Ife

Home workers will soon be able to share their workspace and ideas at a new hub launching in Sidmouth.

Cathy Debenham and Louise Thompson have signed the lease to start up The Lighthouse Sidmouth CIC, a ‘community interest company’ aimed at self-employed businesses together.
The idea started after Cathy wrote a letter to the Herald a year ago as she felt the town needed a space for others like her without incurring huge costs.
Cathy, who runs Bike Guide Devon, went self employed 15 years ago but said a disadvantage of working from home was isolation and that having a space with desks would give home workers an opportunity to collaborate, share ideas and develop their skills.
She said: “No-one really phones each other anymore, we talk over email. It’s not only lonely, it makes you much less productive. I find that when a problem is going round my head and I’m thinking it just goes round and round, when I am with someone else and articulate it out loud it turns into something much better.
“More than a year ago now I wrote a letter to the Sidmouth Herald saying I am fed up working at my desk. I don’t want to go into Exeter every day. There are lots of workspaces there but that takes a lot of time. It’s actually quite expensive.”
Louise replied to her letter and the pair spent a year finding premises.
Earlier this month they signed the lease on 44 Mill Street, behind the former NatWest bank.
The pair hope the Lighthouse will open before the end of 2018 and will offer two types of membership as well as different social activities.
Cathy said: “I think one of the benefits is increased productivity because there are going to be a whole range of skills in the room, there is going to be someone you can ask if you need help in a particular area. One of the downsides of being self employed is there is no-one necessarily there for you to ask you are expected to have all the skills yourself.
“Collaborating and idea sharing and peer to peer support are all really helpful. They want to develop themselves, we will be getting members who can do workshops to share their expertise with other members.”
To find out more email cathy.debenham@me.com or look at the Facebook page The Lighthouse Sidmouth shared workspace.

New work hub to open in Sidmouth | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

Health and politics in East Devon

Health issues are inevitably linked to politics - and, apparently, high-speed car chases:
Futures Forum: County Council rejects calls to investigate Devon NHS cuts
Futures Forum: County Council to consider "taking a strong position on protecting our community hospitals and a strong position on resisting any future plans to sell off the buildings" 

East Devon's MP has been insisting that community hospitals have a future:
BLOG: Are our community hospitals safe? | Hugo Swire
Positive News as Health bosses have ‘no plans’ to sell St John’s Court | Hugo Swire

But his political opponents point to discrepancies:
Who’s ‘weaponising’ community hospitals, @HugoSwire? Two years ago you were happy to sell out Seaton Hospital to save your parliamentary career « SEATON & COLYTON matters
Hospitals should not be used as “weapons” | East Devon Watch

And meanwhile, there are questions around how District and County councillors view the future of community hospitals:
@philtwiss’claim that @SonjaManton said ‘there are no plans to close any community hospitals in our area’, not backed up by @NEWDevonCCG. What’s the explanation, Phil? « SEATON & COLYTON matters
Indies win protection for community hospitals ..... but Tories insert get out clause - Claire Wright

The body at the centre of decision-making is the Clinical Commissioning Group - and there are now questions about the future of its make-up:

Concern over merger of two of Devon's NHS bodies 

26 Oct
Sophie Pierce
BBC Radio Devon

There are claims a planned merger between two NHS bodies in Devon will result in a less accountable system with no guarantee of improved healthcare for patients. At present, there are two clinical commissioning groups - or CCGs - which plan and buy healthcare for local people. There's one covering the North, West and the East of the county - NHS NEW Devon CCG - and the other covering Torbay and the South - NHS South Devon & Torbay CCG.

Health bosses want them to merge into one big organisation, claiming this will save money and result in a stronger service. They say there's already been benefits from the two organisations working more closely together.

But GPs in Torbay have voted against the move and local councillor in the Bay, Swithin Long, is also worried...

Dr Paul Johnson, Clinical Director of the Torbay and South Devon CCG says: "We've seen a lot of benefits for our patients, for our hospitals, but also financially. This demonstrates very clearly to me the next logical step would be becoming a single CCG and it would only increase those benefits that we see."

BBC Devon & Cornwall Live: 26 October - BBC News
Clinical Commissioning Group merger for Devon – good or bad? | East Devon Watch

A further area for contention is how to manage the caring services:
Scrutiny review to take place into how Devon carers are coping - Claire Wright
Protesters heckle and boo as plan to change foster carers fees approved - Claire Wright
Devon County Council’s cabinet set to stick to foster carers cuts plan, despite major protests - Claire Wright

Finally, there are the national campaigns:
Keep Our NHS Public

And the Devon campaigns:
SOHS North Devon Save Our Hospital Services

With the East Devon Watch blog looking at 'Integrated Care Providers', quoting the Keep Our NHS Public group:


16 OCT 2018

Greetings, KONP supporters in the South West!

Important information from Keep Our NHS Public on… Integrated Care Providers

The Government likes to bury its plans to defund, break-up and privatise the NHS in jargon. KONP are producing a series of videos to help you understand what’s going on…


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: What is an Integrated Care Provider? - YouTube

NHS England is consulting on the contract for a new model of health and social care provision that threatens the break-up of the NHS into units run by less accountable ‘Integrated Care Providers’ – or ‘ICPs’. Each of these ‘business units’ would control spend and rationing of healthcare for populations of up to 500,000. These huge contracts will be eminently open to the private sector to compete for.

The ICPs will deliver the dangerous new restructuring plans of government which could see fragments of the NHS managed by non-NHS, non-statutory and therefore less accountable bodies. They are the embodiment of government plans to disperse the NHS and its staff, drive down public funding, promote private contracts and put cost limits and profit before patient safety.

Integrated Care Provider contracts:

Dis-integrate the NHS;
Give control to non-NHS bodies potentially beyond scrutiny;
Threaten public accountability;
Hand over control to these non-NHS bodies for 10-15 years;
Manage multi-billion-pound contracts for blocks of 500,000 population;
Open the door to private companies winning these contracts.

Please watch the video above and share on social media to help spread the word about the Government’s deliberate and insidious privatisation plans.

You can also visit our website:

Integrated Care Providers – What are they and how to oppose them – Keep Our NHS Public
and our Facebook Page:
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: What is an Integrated Care Provider? Watch the video - Sign the petition: https://weownit.org.uk/ICP-petition-NHS The Government buries its plans to privatise the NHS in jargon.
for more information, videos and links.

For a written explanation of ICPs and what the represent for the NHS please read and share this briefing (broken link) by HCT co-chair and KONP campaigner Louise Irvine.

How can you help?

1. Along with our friends at We Own It
We Own It
and Health Campaigns Together
HCT - Health Campaigns Together
we have created a petition
An NHS carve up? Don't let them get away with it | We Own It
calling on the Government to:

a) Abandon the Integrated Care Provider contract model:
b) Guarantee that any Integrated Care Provider organisations will be statutory organisations i.e. NHS bodies, not private providers.
c) Focus health improvement efforts on pressing the government for:
o Sufficient funding and staffing for health and social care.
o Social care to be brought into public provision, free at point of use
o Legislation to end the failed NHS contracting system and to renationalise the NHS: the only sound basis for service integration.

An NHS carve up? Don't let them get away with it | We Own It

2. NHS England have launched a 12 week consultation on contracting arrangements for Integrated Care Providers. You can read the full consultation document here

HCT have created a document of a sample response
Suggested lines for summary answers to consultation questions.doc
in case you wish to take some guidance from KONP and HCTs position.

You can also see a comprehensive written response:
to the proposed changes from the JR4NHS team who, along with the late Stephen Hawking, took Jeremy Hunt and ACOs to Judicial Review this year.

3. Share the KONP video, HCT and KONP briefing and the JR4NHS response to the NHSE consulation around your networks and on social media.

What can WE do to save our NHS? | East Devon Watch.

Brexit: and "everyone’s out for their own as far as meat and dairy go: trade negotiations sink or swim on these issues"

The government is making plans for farming post-Brexit:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and looking at how to fund farming
Futures Forum: Brexit: and the most radical recasting of agricultural policy in 60 years
Futures Forum: Brexit: and Defra 'working on contingencies'

One of those plans will probably involve having to import more agricultural products:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and Fox eating chlorinated chicken
Futures Forum: Brexit: and not giving in to the EU’s “highly protectionist” trade approach on chlorinated chicken
Futures Forum: Brexit: and the future of food and farming: from the Initiative for Free Trade

As noted over the weekend:

The reality is that when it comes to agriculture, special relationships mean little in practice. Everyone’s out for their own as far as meat and dairy go, and trade negotiations sink or swim on these issues.

Which will be a worry for the farming industry:

NFU urges May to put food production at heart of agriculture bill

Union’s president says bill’s current wording could lead to a lowering of standards

Lisa O'Carroll Brexit correspondent

Thu 25 Oct 2018
Free-range hens in Cumbria. The NFU says the agriculture bill is being speeded through parliament without sufficient scrutiny. Photograph: FLP/imageBroker/Rex/Shutterstock

The National Farmers’ Union has told Theresa May she must treat the food industry as being of equal importance as the car sector, with special protections enshrined in new laws covering standards and production.

The NFU president, Minette Batters, said she had raised concerns in a phone call to the prime minister that food production was not at the heart of a new agriculture bill, the first major overhaul of legislation in the sector since the second world war.

There have been warnings of possible food shortages in Britain in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“We told her food is no different to the car industry. Even if the production is safe, we need to protect our food production and our jobs,” Batters said. “Why should the shopper who has only £80 a week to feed a family of four be disadvantaged and not have the same quality of food as others as a result of Brexit?”

Speaking at an NFU event in London on Thursday, Batters said the bill would give the government unprecedented powers that could lead to a lowering of standards.

The NFU argues that the bill is being speeded through parliament without sufficient scrutiny.

The NFU’s main concerns are that the emphasis is on the future of the environment rather than food production, and that the bill contains sweeping powers to change policy on agriculture.

“It’s fair to say there is a lot of what we asked for in the bill, but what if another secretary of state or government decides that food production isn’t actually that important?” Batters said. “It has been a long-held belief of some politicians that food doesn’t matter. Remember Margaret Beckett once said: ‘We are a wealthy nation, we can import our foods.’ It is imperative that we have this fight with the government.”

Batters said that of the 36 clauses in the bill, 28 were non-committal, stating the government “may” act in a certain way rather than “will” or “shall”, leaving wriggle room for future governments. The NFU is demanding a series of amendments changing the “mays” to “will” or “shall”.

“If they don’t do this in legislation then they are not being honest. This bill will expose the honesty or dishonesty of the government,” Batters said.

After a foot and mouth outbreak in 2007 when exports to the EU were banned, only the top 25% of lamb producers survived, and that was because of government financial support. “If there is market failure like this again, the government just saying it ‘may’ or ‘might’ intervene is not good enough,” Batters said.

Other clauses in the bill could be used to change farming practices unless the language was strengthened, she said. For example, it would be possible under the current bill for the government to deviate on standards such as the quantity of antibiotics in poultry.

The bill is designed to provide a framework for after Britain leaves the European common agriculture policy as part of Brexit.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Sidford business park >> campaign group's latest update > "speaking to contacts about how best we can approach any potential appeal by the applicants"

The application to build an industrial estate on the edge of Sidford has been rejected:
Futures Forum: Sidford business park >> campaign group's latest update > District Council refuse planning application

However, the plans for an industrial estate are still on the books:
Futures Forum: Sidford business park > "The Local Plan is a deeply flawed document."

Even though there are plenty of other potential sites for industrial development in the Sid Valley:
Futures Forum: Sidford business park > Other sites are available

The campaign group opposing these plans has said it will continue to keep an eye on things:
Campaigners welcome rejection of Sidford Business Park but vow to not go away | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

And it might well need more funds for any future action:
Hundreds raised for Say NO to Sidford Business Park campaign but more is needed | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

Including the hiring of legal advice should the applicant appeal:

Campaign Update 20

Yet again, many thanks to the Sidmouth Herald for keeping the issue of the Business Park alive through its pages. Hopefully, you will have seen the two Campaign related stories on page 9 of this week's edition of the newspaper.

A brief reminder that our lobby of the District Council's Development Management Committee that was due to take place this morning, 30 October, to present our petition to the Committee Chair isn't taking place. You will recall that the District Council's legal people scuppered our plans to do this.

The Steering Group is in the process of speaking to contacts about how best we can approach any potential appeal by the applicants. As part of this we are also investigating which legal representative we could employ and at what cost.This all will take a little while to work through.

We will continue to keep you updated as matters progress.

Best wishes

Campaign Team

Say NO to Sidford Business Park - Home | Facebook
SayNOtoSidfordBusinessPark (@say_oto) | Twitter


Following the business rates announcement, Hayman's the butchers believes the high street and independent shops will have a chance to prosper again.

The family-run Hayman's the butcher's have been pointing out for some time how the current situation for independent retail businesses cannot go on:
Futures Forum: How to revive the health of Sidmouth's high street > all businesses invited to urgent meeting > 
Futures Forum: How to revive the health of high streets > "We could maybe look at ways we could help local shops, which use locally-sourced produce, through some kind a business rate relief."

The Mail covered the Chancellor's announcement to help these businesses:
£1.5billion package to help struggling high streets and shops in 2018 budget | Daily Mail Online

And which 'typical' independent retailer should it chose to highlight...

CASE STUDY: 'We could have a £3,000 drop in business rates,' says Butcher Stewart Hayman

Since Stewart Hayman took over the family business with his father Clive in 1980, he has tried to keep the butcher's shop relevant.

But despite his efforts to diversify by baking pies, curing meats and making ready meals, gradually rising business rates have threatened to push Hayman's Butchers off the high street.

Although they do not have to pay rent on the building in Sidmouth, Devon, because his grandfather bought it outright in 1907, his business rates are £12,000 a year.

Mr Hayman said: 'There's no doubt about it, business rates have continued to creep up. The trouble is you've got to cope.

Fare deal: Butcher Stewart Hayman, from Devon, is pictured with his award-winning pies on Church Street in Sidmouth

'In the last 12 to 14 months our trade has also dropped back at the same time. I had to lay-off a part- time lady earlier this year who had been working with us for 20 years. She was retiring age but you know, we had to make some savings somewhere.' But following the business rates announcement he believes the high street and independent shops will have a chance to prosper again.

He said: 'I'm very pleased with the budget. We could have a £3,000 drop in business rates.

'The thing is with business rates, it bears no relation to your gross margin or your net margin, so even if the business wasn't earning anything you're still asked to pay. It's hard.

'I really think this will take pressure off the high street again and the pressure of the supermarkets will ease a bit, too.'

Budget 2018: Hammond to pump billions into NHS, social care and defence | Daily Mail Online

Will the budget save the High Street?

We need to do something to 'save our high streets':
Futures Forum: Is it the end of the road for the High Street?

One of the issues is business rates:
Futures Forum: How to revive the health of Sidmouth's high street >>> making business rates 'more transparent, efficient and responsive to economic circumstances'

The question is what we should be doing and who should be doing it:
Futures Forum: Councils and business rates: "their short-term focus on raking in money could end up destroying town centres weighed down by huge tax burdens"
Futures Forum: Save our high streets: "Isn’t it time our council did an audit and come up with a strategy for their future?"

The Chancellor has made a few suggestions:
Futures Forum: Is turning shops into homes the best way to save our high streets?
Futures Forum: Save our high streets > "Put things on the high street people want to do, and they’ll return"

He has also promised some rates relief:
Our Plan for the high street: Budget 2018 brief - GOV.UK

But will it work?

Philip Hammond vows to 'transform' UK high streets in Budget - YouTube

With comment from the BBC:

Budget 2018: Can Philip Hammond save the High Street?

Simon Jack

Business editor

29 October 2018

Almost one in five shops in Doncaster is empty

2018 has been an annus horribilis for the High Street. Big names like Toys R Us and Maplin have gone bust, while others like Debenhams and House of Fraser have closed city and town centre sites. Thousands of stores have shut, costing tens of thousands of jobs. Cries to save the High Street have become more shrill with every empty unit.

Many retailers have cried foul in the face of a perfect storm. There has been new competition from online firms that employ fewer staff and pay far lower business rates.

There are two ways you can level the playing field. Cut charges for the traditional retailers or increase them for online traders.

Mr Hammond has done a bit of both.
Tech giants face digital services tax
Hammond: Austerity coming to an end
At-a-glance summary: Budget key points

As trailed over the weekend, he has spent £900m knocking a third off the business rates bill of 500,000 small retailers. Very welcome to those who have premises with a rateable value below £51,000.

Second - he unveiled a new £400m digital services tax to be levied on the tech giants (those with revenues over £500m - here's looking at you Facebook and Google) on the money they make on digital services like advertising and streaming entertainment (but not online sales).

So will these two measures save the high street? Probably not - at least not on their own.

While some tenants and landlords welcomed today's move, the business rates discount for small retailers would certainly not have saved any of the high profile retail busts this year. Rateable values on prominent High Street sites are usually a lot higher than the £51,000 threshold. Industry body the British Retail Consortium was underwhelmed.

Chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "Rather than tinkering around the edges, struggling high streets require wholesale reform of business rates in order to thrive. The issue remains that the business rates burden is simply too high."

Budget 2018: Can Philip Hammond save the High Street? - BBC News

And from the Spectator:

Philip Hammond’s Budget plan won’t save the High Street

Martin Vander Weyer

30 October 2018

How much did Philip Hammond’s giveaway Budget help dying town centres? Not enough, say campaigners, but let’s give the Chancellor some credit. A one-third relief in business rates for retail properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000 means an annual saving of up to £8,000 for a huge number of small businesses; pubs where people still drink beer and spirits in old-fashioned style benefit from a duty freeze that one industry body says will ‘secure upwards of 3,000 jobs’; and there’s money to help convert disused premises into homes.

On the other hand, there was a £3 billion sting for the growing army of freelance ‘consultants’ and techies who contribute so much to the new urban economy but whom the Treasury suspects of helping companies that hire them to avoid payroll taxes. IPSE, a lobby group for the self-employed, called it ‘a short-term tax grab that will do lasting damage… by taxing out of existence the smallest and most agile businesses’. I suspect that’s right: abuse may be curtailed, but with too much collateral damage to those genuinely trying to go it alone.

Then there’s the ‘digital services tax’, aimed at the online advertising revenues of the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter, but not at direct sales by Amazon et al. Even the Chancellor’s own figures say this will raise only £400 million a year: a Labour MP called it ‘pathetically tokenistic’. At best it’s a stumbling step in a direction other governments will follow, but I doubt it will make a jot of difference to the ragtag rearguard of bricks-and-mortar shopkeepers.

This is an extract from Martin Vander Weyer’s Any Other Business, which appears in the forthcoming issue of The Spectator

Philip Hammond’s Budget plan won’t save the High Street | Coffee House

Climate change: and the “importance of coupling emotionally intense ‘impacts’ images with practical guidance on ‘actions’ that can be taken.”

The latest from the co-ordinator of Muswell Hill & Hornsey Friends of the Earth

Here’s how the climate change movement can win: go after the villains

Tim Root 22 October, 2018

The climate movement has to learn from previous struggles if we're to stand a chance of winning. It's time to target our anger - and build hope.

“If we do not change course by 2020 we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change,” the UN’s Secretary General warned recently. How the climate change movement responds to this challenge – in the UK and elsewhere – will be pivotal.
The state of play

The government has maintained its ban on new onshore wind, approved the planned third Heathrow runway, and been criticised even by the Telegraph for its cuts on home energy efficiency. Subsidies for household solar will end next April. As fuel duty has been frozen now for nine years, petrol is 10% cheaper in real terms than in January 2013.

And despite considerable efforts, only about 3% of councils have taken any steps to divest from fossil fuels. UK climate campaigners need to have much greater impact.

Media coverage such as the well-publicised research report describing “how emissions are driving the Earth into an irreversible hothouse state” could easily lead to people feeling more and more defeatist regarding climate change. Sunday Times columnist Josh Glancy described climate change as “just too big and intangible an issue to cope with on a daily basis”, and quoted a famous TV presenter whose experience of covering it was “it’s been a palpable ratings killer.”

Anger, not defeatism

Research shows that fear reactions to news such as weather disasters usually lead to sadness and avoidance, while anger increases “the desire to be politically active”, and “motivates people to attack and remove the source” of the problem. Jonathon Porrit recently said that green activists “have to burn, with a much more fiery spirit than perhaps we’ve felt able to until now”. Only by rousing more anger will we generate the extra support we need. We need to focus this anger constructively, pushing our targets to make prompt emissions cuts.

History tells us of many situations in which it was people’s anger which led to large-scale popular movements to overcome injustices. These included the groundbreaking 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, which was the key start of the American civil rights movement.

Another historically important source of anger was the inaccessibility of treatment for AIDS in 1980s America. This led to the emergence of the campaign ACT UP, whose slogan was Silence = Death. Their trailblazing actions led ultimately to advances such as same-sex marriage, which were scarcely conceivable at the time.

In their excellent book This is an Uprising Engler & Engler describe the development of the Civil Rights Movement:

“In instances where countless reports, exposés and congressional speeches have failed, non-violent conflict has succeeded in taking disregarded injustices and bringing them to the fore of popular consciousness.”

Anger – with hope
Several studies on people’s reactions to adverts for activism found that feeling anger had a strong impact on motivation to act in line with the advert, provided the anger was accompanied by feeling one could influence the issue. Anger is more likely if the guilty party can be identified.

A campaign could inspire the hope needed to transform anger into action by targeting companies such as banks and others whose chief activity is not fossil fuel use, and which therefore are more likely and able to switch their investments, or cut their emissions, relatively soon.

As described in my recent Ecologist article, brands are anxious to keep a good reputation, and hence are susceptible to popular pressure to clean up their act. Within six months of a mass campaign at bank branches, France’s Friends of the Earth got four huge banks to make significant climate commitments.

Once a campaign had gained significant support, additional targets could be chosen with regard to their susceptibility, and to the strategy best able to grow the campaign.

Communicating to inspire

How can our actions generate the anger required? Bland or unclear names like Rise for Climate, or 350.org, do not arouse the level of passion we need. It is vital that our communications emphasise the criminal responsibility of corporate polluters.

Our communications must express emotions, including anger, consistent with the urgency and gravity of climate change. All features of our communications, including pictures and music, must stimulate anger at ours and our children’s lives being trashed for corporate profit.

And we must also arouse empathy for victims – like the mother whose young sons were killed by Typhoon Haiyan. We must heed the research showing the “importance of coupling emotionally intense ‘impacts’ images with practical guidance on ‘actions’ that can be taken.”

We will not succeed by attracting only a disaffected minority. We need campaign names and slogans which are both memorable, and which resonate with many people.

Tim Root is co-ordinator of Muswell Hill & Hornsey Friends of the Earth. Tim’s work on climate campaigns has previously been published by the Ecologist and other magazines

Here’s how the climate change movement can win: go after the villains | Left Foot Forward

Monday, 29 October 2018

Sidmouth Arboretum Autumn Newsletter 2018

The Arboretum has put together a very nice full piece for the latest glossy supplement to the Herald:
Opportunities and threats for Sidmouth Arboretum | Sidmouth and Ottery breaking news and sport - Sidmouth Herald

Which coincides nicely with the latest newsletter:

Sidmouth Arboretum Autumn Newsletter 2018

Welcome to the autumn 2018 newsletter from Sidmouth Arboretum which we hope will keep you informed of our activities and events in the Sid Valley. We would especially like to see you at the tree evening on November 30th in Kennaway House.

We have received several new requests to subscribe to the newsletter following the tree evening and AGM. If you do not wish to receive the newsletter then please contact us via one of the emails below.

TREE WEEK April 16th-April 21st

We reported in our summer newsletter about the success of tree week. The numbers of walkers led to us the idea of offering walks alongside the town history and geology walks from Sidmouth museum which we intend to host once a month next summer. There will be 2 routes, the first taking in Bickwell Valley and The Knowle and the second Blackmore Gardens, The Byes and Sidholme. As the result of a suggestion from one of our visitors at tree week, we are also investigating whether an accessibility trail for wheelchair users and partially sighted could be part of the second walk.

We have set the date for our second tree week as week commencing 20th May 2019. The format will be the same with walks, talks and visits through the week and hopefully the trees will have more leaf and blossom.

Schools Activities

After pupils from St Johns visited Sidholme for their tree identification exercise, we received an invitation to add the trees in St Johns school grounds to the Sidmouth Arboretum database and to work with the children to establish the heights of the trees.


The arboretum attended both Sea Fest and the Science Festival which enabled us to meet more people and talk about the importance of trees.

Jill Gray at Sidbury Fair

The Arboretum supported Sidbury Fair with a stand selling trees.


We have started labelling trees in The Knowle. There are 92 trees to label in The Knowle and 24 in Sidholme. This is an exciting new project for the arboretum, enabling people to identify the tree and get additional information from our website via the QR code. We will be labelling significant trees along our 3 walks when finance allows.


We are just about to commence our winter planting trees. Among other areas, we have given our support to the idea of putting more fruit trees into public areas and schools proposed by the town council. We have already identified some areas which could be planted with help from EDDC and hope to plant some apples in Blackmore gardens soon. If you have any ideas where additional trees could be planted then please let us know.

Tree Dressing – 24th November

We are going to try a new event, tree dressing, in the churchyard of St Giles and St Nicholas church at 16:30 on November 24th. Please come along with your children and grandchildren and put up a decoration on the yew tree by the path to Blackmore gardens.

Sidmouth Tree Celebration evening – 30th November

This year’s tree evening will be on November 30th inn Kennaway House at 18:30. The program will have the usual mix of song, talks, stalls and chance to meet old friends. Please come along and contribute to a lovely social occasion.

Sidmouth Arboretum AGM

The AGM will be held on January 15th at 17:30 in the Dissenters Hall. Please come along and hear what we do in a bit more detail and if you wish get involved. You will be most welcome!

Jon Ball jball25410@hotmail.com
Jill Gray jillgray22@gmail.com
Diana East info@sidmoutharboretum.org.uk

Sidmouth Arboretum

Tidal reef in Swansea Bay > questions around the project as it is 'resurrected'

There are serious challenges to conventional power production:
Futures Forum: Wind power is the energy of the future

Is tidal power one of those? 
Futures Forum: The future of tidal power

Back in February 2014, a serious proposal was made for the Bristol Channel:
Futures Forum: Tidal reef in Swansea Bay

But earlier this year, it was rejected - partly because it was just too massive:
Futures Forum: Small is beautiful: the future of water power

And partly because there were many questions around the project (and others):
Swansea Bay tidal lagoon firm boss’s evidence queried by MPs - BBC News
The Swansea Bay tidal lagoon: What happens next? - BBC News
MPs want urgent answers from Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon boss about Cornish quarry project - Wales Online

Indeed, several questions:
Did Mark Shorrock Mislead Select Committee? | NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
The rocky Shorrock show [Swansea tidal lagoon] : Wales
Private Eye - News: Swansea tidal lagoon - Chucking rocks... | Facebook

But now the project is back on the tables it seems:
Swansea lagoon boss reveals his plan to resurrect the £1.3bn scheme - Wales Online
Busy Schedule Ahead as Swansea Bay Business Club Returns

As reported recently:

Swansea Bay tidal lagoon was seeking nearly £500m in Welsh Government backing

The project is still alive despite the UK Government rejecting providing a green subsidy

Sion Barry
19 OCT 2018

Debate on economic benefits of the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

The proposed £1.3bn Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project was looking for a package of financial support from the Welsh Government approaching nearly £500m.

Documents, which were previously subject to non disclosure agreements, have now been publicly released showing the full scale of support being sought from the company behind the project, Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP).

Over the summer the UK Government announced it would not be backing TLP’s request for a strike price (paid for by consumers in their energy bills) of £92.50p for each megawatt hour of energy produced for 35 years, with Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, saying that the project’s direct job creation would be minimal with its export potential also limited.

Plans for Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon are resurrected

That analysis has been rejected by TLP, who maintain that its pathfinder Swansea project, which would have powered up to 150,000 homes, would have led to a series of much larger lagoons off the western coast of Britain - requiring lower strike prices and creating a new renewable energy sector for the Welsh and UK economies.

Its strike price bid matched that approved by the UK Government for the new Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset.

Now the cross-party Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Welsh Affairs committees in Westminster, who carried out a joint inquiry into the project, have released a series of previously non disclosed documents.

This includes a letter from chief executive of TLP, Mark Shorrock, addressed to Mr Clark and First Minister Carwyn Jones, dated before the UK Government confirmed its strike price rejection.

It has previously been disclosed that the Welsh Government, although no formal agreement had been reached with TLP, was considering providing a £200m loan for the project, providing the UK Government sign off on a £92.50p strike price.

However, Mr Shorrock’s letter now reveals that TLP were also looking for the Welsh Government to make an equity investment of up to £261.1m.

It also shows that TLP were looking to draw down over the four to five years to construct the lagoon, the proposed £200m loan. It would have carried an interest rate of just 2% and the amount would not have been fully repaid until the 61st year of the lagoon’s operation.

With an up to £261.1m equity investment, alongside the loan, TLP were seeking a finance support package of up to £461.1m from the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Government’s equity backing, which could have been funded through the issuing of bonds, would have refinanced initial equity backers of the lagoon over the first 35 years of the project. And it would have provided an 9% return for the private equity investors who were scheduled to provide investment of £195m.

Mark Sharrock chief executive of Tidal Power Lagoon

After 35 years of “equity down payments,” Mr Shorrock was proposing that the Welsh Government would have acquired a 90% equity stake in the project with £822.3m of debt outstanding, but with 85 years left of tidal energy electricity generation.

Under the plan the Welsh Government would also have taken on decommissioning liabilities.

As the majority equity holder the Welsh Government could have been entitled to receive dividend payments from the project. And in theory could have recouped the investment, providing it was commercially viable to any buyer, by selling the lagoon.

Monmouth MP David Davies speaking in the house of Commons

Chairman of the Welsh Affairs Committee and Conservative MP for Monmouth, David Davies, said: “There has been much controversy around the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon and the UK Government’s decision not to support the project.

“Our committees [with Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee] have been calling for the publication of papers about the background to the decision. I am pleased that this pressure has led to the non-disclosure agreement being waived so we can now put key documents into the public domain.

“When proposals involve large amounts of public money, it is important tax payers can see what exactly is being proposed and how much it will cost them. Transparency around the project will allow the public to make up their own minds about the UK Government’s decision.”

Rachel Reeves, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said: “The decision-making process around the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project has been glacial and lacking in transparency.

"The saga of the decision around the project offers little encouragement that the government is equipped to take timely, clear action on future schemes. Investors and the public deserve clearer decision-making and better communication about government intentions on projects such as the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon.”

A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said: “It is a matter of public record that the Welsh Government was prepared to consider a loan or equity investment of £200m to support the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project, if the UK Government had been prepared to offer a contract for difference.

“We continue to be open to considering ideas to find an alternative way to support the development of marine energy projects in Wales, including tidal lagoons.”

The Welsh Government were though asked to comment on the fact that the released documents revealed that TLP were looking for it invest up to £461.1m in the project, through a combination of debt and equity. The Welsh Government provided a £2.5m loan to the project during its development phase.

Last month TLP agreed a company voluntary arrangement with its creditors. This has effectively given it a window of a year to try to come up with an alternative business and finance model without the support of a strike price. Swansea Council’s leader Rob Stewart has established a taskforce to support that process.

Swansea lagoon boss reveals his plan to resurrect the £1.3bn scheme

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said if he gets into No 10 he would look to back a tidal lagoon project for Swansea Bay, which would still need a marine licence from Natural Resources Wales.