Section: Region

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Cornwall becomes Coronawall

Tom Scott

Ten days after the G7, Cornwall has some of the highest coronavirus infection rates in the country. And the government is attempting to cover up one of the main reasons for this. For the first 18 months of the pandemic. Cornwall felt like a relatively safe place to be. Covid case rates were substantially lower […]

Truss is no support for cheese

Anthea Simmons

Blessed are the cheesemakers, for they will inherit Liz Truss’s vision of the earth. Trade secretary Liz Truss is famous for her obsession with cheese. Unfortunately this zeal does not translate into recognition of the damage done to the UK’s cheese businesses by Brexit. Instead, it manifests itself in maniacal enthusiasm for miniscule trade deals […]

Brunel Bridge: “cultural vandalism” in the Cornish countryside

Mick Fletcher
The beautiful Brunel Bridge in COrnwall

In July 2020 and February 2021 we published articles drawing attention to the actions of Highways England Historical Railway Estate (HRE) – a little known body responsible for redundant railway structures. Although operating on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT) this organisation appeared to pay scant regard to the priority now accorded to sustainable […]

G7 in Cornwall: greenwash, gibberish and glorious rebellion

Tom Scott
Giant globe centrepiece of climate change protest in Falmouth showing world on fire or flooded

It’s been a crazy few days here in Cornwall. The skies have been buzzing with police drones and weird-looking military aircraft, like monstrous black insects. Police with machine-guns have been hovering around the entrance to my local Tesco. And down at Carbis Bay, inside their ‘ring of steel’, world leaders concluded their deliberations on the […]

Somerset Levels and Moors – rhetoric vs reality in the nature emergency

Tony Whitehead
Somerset Levels

If you live on the Somerset Levels and Moors, ask simply “will what I am hearing improve water quality here?”. Because unless national policy makes a real difference where you are, it is largely useless. We are in a nature and climate emergency. We need the government to show leadership and ambition that delivers action because they fully understand what this means.

“Get Britain on its bike”- part 1: cycle-paths

Mike Zollo
Boris Johnson on a pushbike

what might encourage people to take up cycling, and what support and infrastructure exist to foster cycling … and what might put potential cyclists off! ‘Cyclist’ is a very broad term, ranging from those using two wheels to commute to work or to travel from a to b, through leisure cyclists and touring cyclists to serious club and competition cyclists.

Highway holdup for Somerset cyclists

Mick Fletcher
group of cyclists on Brean Way cycle-path

Slow progress on cycle-paths One of the reasons that progress in developing a network of cycle-paths in England is glacially slow is that opposition turns up where you might reasonably have expected support. ‘Blocked by the Burdensome Estate’ set out how an agency sponsored by the Department for Transport is still undermining moves to create […]

A proper G7 job

Mark Newham

Pride, amazement, exhilaration… three words that pretty much summed up initial local reaction to news of the 47th G7 summit location for 2021. “Fancy,”I heard one shopper remarking to another in my local supermarket, “the Prime Minister choosing little old Cornwall for such an important meeting. Proper job, eh?” From the comments appearing in the […]

Somerset wants local government to be local

Mick Fletcher
Leaders of the four regional concils behind Stronger Somerset

Double defeat for Jenrick It’s a double defeat for ‘Honest Bob’ Jenrick.  Firstly, the free vote of Somerset residents that he tried so hard to stop has taken place. Secondly local electors resoundingly rejected the option he so obviously preferred – the ambition of failing Somerset County Council (SCC) to take over the four districts.  […]

Is the G7 being held in Cornwall or Cloud Cuckoo Land?

Tom Scott
massive cruise ship in Falmouth to house police for G7

The government’s claim that the G7 in Cornwall will be “carbon neutral” is unadulterated greenwash. I just walked to the end of my road in Falmouth to have a look at the MS Silja Europa, the massive cruise ship on which a thousand police personnel will be housed during the G7 summit in Cornwall next […]

A ban on the use of peat…or is it?

Mick Fletcher

News that the government is contemplating a partial ban on the use of peat in horticulture is welcome but needs to be put in context. A government that is serious about tackling climate change would have to take some really tough decisions. To reduce emissions from air travel for example it would have to face […]

Ian Liddell-Grainger sums up the Somerset ‘spoof’ situation and urges everyone to vote in the referendum the establishment tried to stop

Editor-in-chief

West Country Bylines contacted Mr Liddell-Grainger for a comment for our article earlier today (24 May) and he responded with this, giving us permission to use it however we liked. We’re showing you the original document and the text, in case it’s not clear on your device. “The “spoof website” that eclipsed the start of […]

Letter to the editor: Make Votes Matter

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor, On 6 May, much of the country went to the ballot box to select county council representatives.  “On the doorsteps people told me that ‘politicians don’t listen to us anyway’ ”. So said Ruth Rollin, Liberal Democrat candidate for Brockenhurst. She continues, “I’d like to hope that we would all welcome a voting […]

Minister makes fishy suggestion on water quality

Tom Scott

Recent remarks by fisheries minister Victoria Prentis suggest the government is pressuring the Food Standards Agency to change its water quality assessment for the Fal estuary and other waters used by shellfish producers.  Cornwall Green Party has described this suggestion as “frankly outrageous”. On Wednesday 12 May, the DEFRA minister responsible for fisheries, Victoria Prentis, […]

Fysh in a flap over democracy

Anthea Simmons

What is it with the current Conservative government and democracy? Voter suppression via ID cards, switching from a progressive proportional representation voting system to the regressive first past the post system (FPTP) for mayoral elections. (And that’s because, as we have seen, under FPTP a party can get a stonking majority on a minority of […]

Are XR being targeted in Cornwall? Letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear Editor, According to Cornwall Live, on 5 May “Truro Farmers Market’s biggest event is cancelled because it’s now a site for G7 summit protests. The market has had a terrible year and now its biggest event has to be called off”  Truro’s Lemon Quay was to have hosted a special 5 day market during […]

Letter to the editor: Dartington – threatened with devastating change

Editor-in-chief

“Conservative party plans at their worst were realised in Dartington yesterday. The disastrous Joint Local Plan and its unsustainable plan which dumped far too many new housing sites in Dartington, left its very grubby marks at SHDC Planning Committee yesterday. Very regrettably, all my fellow Councillors except for Cllr Kate Kemp, voted in favour of […]

Phone masts, freedoms and high finance: a tangled tale

Mick Fletcher

There is often more than one side to a story. Our aim at West Country Bylines is to give a balanced account of issues while avoiding distortion through what is known as ‘false equivalence’. It is a disservice to readers, for example, to give equal weight to the views of medical experts and unqualified anti-vaxxers […]

Somerset Green New Deal Economy Forum 22 May

Editor-in-chief

Somerset Green New Deal Economy Forum: Social Justice and a New Economy. Taunton and West Somerset Build Back Better Campaigns (Green New Deal) are committed to a post COVID-19 recovery that embeds social justice and health and wellbeing in all its manifestations – including philosophy, politics and practical actions. The forum will be held on […]

Meet a mass murderer: the Asian hornet

Anna Andrews

I wrote in West Country Bylines that bees are in trouble in the UK (they are in trouble in most parts of the world: apart from honeybees, most species are dropping in numbers); but one of the most urgent threats is not yet widely known about.  It comes from Asian hornets, which kill – amongst […]

Somerset’s local democracy in danger from this man

Mick Fletcher

On 3 March we published an article by Theo Butt Philip highlighting the decision of Robert Jenrick to cancel elections to Somerset County Council. You can follow the preview link to the full article below. In essence Jenrick had decided that whether the people of Somerset liked it or not they would move to a […]

Dartington Hall Trust and the dodgy dossier

Georgina Allen

In their first response to complaints submitted, the Information Commission Office (ICO) has ruled that Dartington Hall Trust violated data protection laws in their creation of a list of campaigners. Nearly a year ago now, the BBC and then the Times reported on a ‘Black List’ that Dartington Hall Trust (DHT) had created of people […]

Act now to stop the Parley waste incinerator

Sadie Parker

According to the latest edition of the Spectator, the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow in November this year is seen by Number 10 as a chance to relaunch ‘Brexit Britain’ as a green superpower. Hmm. To be a green superpower, you actually have to be green – and two-jets Johnson is taking us backwards in […]