Thursday, 25 August 2011

Chancellor approves Newquay Airport Enterprise Zone

I am delighted that Newquay Airport and its environs will constitute Cornwall’s first Enterprise Zone, great news for the whole Duchy. I was pleased to support the bid for the Enterprise Zone, and look forward to the successful application’s impact on the local economy.

Treliske praised for its stroke care

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Falmouth smells sweeter thanks to South West Water campaign

Life in Falmouth now smells a lot sweeter thanks to a campaign which discovered and stopped thousands of litres of raw sewage flowing directly from hundreds of homes and businesses into the wrong drains and out to sea.

After customers and businesses complained of a bad smell in the Prince of Wales Pier, Market Place and Killigrew Street areas of Falmouth, South West Water and its partners Clearflow Ltd surveyed the local sewerage network using CCTV equipment and dye testing to find the source of the stink.

They discovered that more than 300 properties in the town were wrongly connected to the surface water drainage system. Waste water from the properties’ toilets and sinks had been flowing into surface water drains – designed to collect run-off from roofs, roads and pavements – causing the unpleasant smell and discharging untreated into the sea.

Once the misconnected pipe work was found – in some cases more than a kilometre away from the site of the complaints – South West Water’s partners May Gurney worked to connect the properties correctly to the foul sewer, which takes waste water for treatment at Falmouth Sewage Treatment Works.

South West Water Sewerage Engineer Ian Macfarlane said: “Several weeks of investigation and repair work has resulted in finding the sources of this odour and pollution.

“The owners of the properties would have had no idea they had accidentally been causing problems, but thankfully we have been able to put it right.

“Residents and businesses in the Prince of Wales Pier area should notice a great improvement.”

South West Water worked closely with Falmouth Town Manager Richard Gates, the Environment Agency and Sarah Newton MP to keep them informed of progress.

Mark Pilcher, Environment Management team leader from the Environment Agency, praised the company for its prompt response to resolve the problem.

He said: “The Environment Agency are really encouraged to see the extent of the investigation completed by South West Water. The sewer network in this area is highly complex and it is reassuring that South West Water has been able to identify the foul sewer misconnections to the surface water drains that have been causing odour issues for local residents and businesses.

“By identifying the problem, South West Water has reduced the risk of untreated sewage being discharged to the sensitive environment of the Falmouth Estuary.”

Sarah Newton MP said: “I am pleased that the pervasive odour around the Prince of Wales Pier has now been tackled.

“I hope that Falmouth residents, and visitors to our town, can now enjoy the amenities of the Pier and the surrounding streets without being subject to unpleasant smells.”

Town Manager Richard Gates added: “These issues have really affected businesses and the visitor experience to that area of the town. I am very pleased that South West Water has persisted to find these problems and rectify them.

“It should not be underestimated the scale of the work in order to make the improvements. I have been in frequent contact with South West Water and their cooperation has certainly helped determine a positive outcome.”

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Parliament recalled

Like everyone I am shocked by current events in London. I will be travelling back to Westminster on Thursday, to join discussions in the House of Commons. I am staying in close contact with Devon and Cornwall Police regarding the situation within Cornwall 

Cornwall Council’s reviews its Housing Services

I welcome the below statement from Cornwall Council, who are consulting on proposed reforms of their housing service:

''Cornwall Council tenants and housing officers are working on a proposal to create a council-owned company to deliver the majority of housing services for the council.

Over the last year Cornwall Council has been talking to its tenants about changing the way it manages their homes to provide a single service and point of contact. At the moment, Council Housing in the former district of Carrick and homes in the east of Cornwall (the former districts of Caradon and North Cornwall) are managed differently, with Carrick Housing being an Arms length management Organisation and the housing in the east being managed by the council.  

The Council is consulting with tenants and staff about a proposal to create a council-owned company that will deliver all other housing services as well as council housing management.''

Monday, 8 August 2011

Celebrating Falmouth Week

Despite the rain, Falmouth Week has got off to a great start. While sailing is at the core of the week’s activities, it is great to see community based events blossom and grow each year, with something for everyone to enjoy, visitors and locals alike. I very much appreciate the ‘can-do’ attitude of the organisers, who have positively overcome issues arising from cut backs in public expenditure that used to be provided to the event by for example, the Police or Cornwall Council. Amongst other expenditure, event organisers have provided the signs and marshalls for road closures as well as the publicity. Falmouth Week has always benefitted from a great deal of local voluntary support from businesses and people who help with every aspect of making it such a successful week – one that really puts Falmouth on the map.
Despite the choppy waters of the world’s economy right now, it is good to see people creatively rising to the challenges of reducing our huge national debt. The new centre for information on the Prince of Wales Pier in Falmouth, led by Tim Light of King Harry Ferries and supported by Falmouth Town Council and volunteers, including the fabulous Falmouth Ambassadors is a great example of new partnerships coming together to take vital and valued services forward.
This Recess is proving a great opportunity for me to spend time with groups of people who share a similar goal; to listen and learn from each other and find, in our different roles,  ways of overcoming problems. For many years I have been very concerned about people living in fuel poverty – people who are spending more than 10% of their income on fuel, for lighting, cooking and critically in the winter keeping warm. So many people in Cornwall live in homes heated by LPG gas or heating oil – the most expensive options, that do not offer the same consumer protection or ‘social tariff’ options as mains gas. In Truro, I was pleased to join CAB- Cornwall and Cornwall Community Energy Plus as well as people from the NHS and other groups to better understand current problems. I am looking forward to working with them on solutions.
It is not too soon to think ahead to the winter and heating your home. There is advice available on how to obtain help with insulating your home as well as reducing your energy bills from a range of sources. If you don’t know where to start, just contact my office. I have pulled together a Fact Sheet to sign-post you to help and will post it to you.
Last winter I was so concerned about the massive heating oil price increases that I pressed the Energy Minister to undertake an investigation. I am pleased that he agreed there was a problem with the ‘off-grid’ energy market and referred the matter to The Office of Fair Trading. They are currently investigating the problems and are due to report this autumn. I will continue to push for action to be taken in time for this winter.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Catching up with constituents

One of the great advantages of recess is the opportunity it provides to meet with groups and individuals in my constituency, allowing me to listen closely to their thoughts and concerns.

Amongst the groups I have caught up with so far during the Recess are the Truro Chamber of Commerce. I greatly enjoyed attending a lunch with Chamber Members on Friday, and hearing their thoughts on the future of Truro, and on what more can be done to support and promote the City’s businesses.

More information about the Chamber and the excellent work they do can be found below:

Later that day I attended a debate hosted by Cornwall Members of the UK Youth Parliament, held at County Hall. It was great to see young people so engaged with politics, and I look forward to attending more such events in the future.  

Young people who are interested in getting involved in the Youth Parliament can find out more through the below link:

Monday, 1 August 2011

Discussing boundary changes on The World This Weekend

On Sunday I joined the panel on The World This Weekend, to discuss the impact of proposed boundary changes:

The recommendations of the current Boundary Review will be published in September. The impact on Cornwall will be discussed at public meetings held at the Alverton Manor Hotel, Truro on the 10th and 11th November. I would encourage all interested constituents to come along and make their voices heard.

More details about the Boundary Review can be found at: