getting things done for people

Q&A

1. What is the big issue facing Truro in 2005?

2. What is your view about the present situation regarding waste management in Cornwall?

3. Should Cornwall be independent?

1. What is the big issue facing Truro in 2005?

The big issue for Truro is to manage the pressures of economic growth in ways which enhance the quality of life for the community of Truro and which protect our environment.

Economic productivity

I challenge the idea that economic growth means physical expansion of the city. In an era of advancing information and communication technology it is not uncommon to find major businesses housed in a single room.

This suggests that, if Truro is to prosper in this century, it must ensure that it is accessible, has a clean, sustainable and attractive environment, and is able to provide the best of communication infrastructure (Broadband e.t.c.) to growing businesses. Truro (and Cornwall) needs to develop a presence on the web which attracts visitors and customers, enables transactions and provides information for its community - a tall but not impossible order!

Access

Truro has a unique opportunity to resolve its traffic problems by working towards using the railway on which to base park & ride. The recent Probus-Burngullow project brings this a big step closer. I have been able to persuade Cornwall county council to undertake a major study of the potential for using the railway.

The benefits of a rail-based park & ride are many:

  1. Journeys broken over 5 miles from destination will save travellers fuel cost
  2. Shorter journeys mean less emissions
  3. The are no traffic jams on the railway

2. What is your view about the present situation regarding waste management in Cornwall?

We take waste disposal for granted. The dustcart comes; we recycle in many ways; we sometimes worry about packaging; we sometimes buy recycled products. We take for gratned the direct link between excellent public health and efficient waste disposal - but we must not be complacent.

The public debate about how best to dispose of waste is a turbulent and impassioned one. Cornwall must make some practical choices which build on the inspiration experienced by increasing numbers to recycle and re-use, and which enable us to develop our approach to waste to the point where we achieve zero-waste-arisings - an idealistic target, but which which demands constant effort.

I sense that Cornwall needs to work more sensitively and creatively with its geography. The scattered settlement pattern, peninsular shape and physical characteristics all suggest that taking a centralist approach doesn't really work - putting a single facility anywhere in Cornwall puts it at the farthest point from the majority of people

I therefore favour a plural approach to disposing of residual waste - a more localised approach which embraces flexibility and can respond to advances towards 'zero-waste'. I sense that Cornwall would benefit from a number of clean, efficient disposal facilities, and a strategy of gradual development to coincide with the gradual run-down of landfill.

I also feel strongly that, as a peripheral region surrounded by sea, it is vital that Cornwall retains the ownership of the means of disposing of waste - in this case Cornwall County Council's arms length company, CES. A strategy involving a 'slow release' of capital (as opposed to a single very large outgoing) would greatly assist Cornwall in this objective.

3. Should Cornwall be independent?

No. Cornwall is a distinctive region within an island which is, itself, part of a group of islands, and which, as a group, is mutually dependent and increasingly able to celebrate each of its cultural components as a distinctive part of a rich, diverse and empowering whole.

Cornwall needs to be confident in its approach to relationships and to competing for resources. To do this it needs institutions which are able to manage public services and strategies effectively. the present structures do not work well. it is difficult to promote work across 'sectors'; it is often expensive to have two services cooperate because their styles and working practises are very different and they are all managed differently.

I believe that Cornwall can fulfil her ambition to contribute positively to the well-bering of the British Isles as a whole if it is administered by an institution which can manage all public services with a single, strategic administration which is democratically led and accountable. I also believe that Cornwall needs to compete effectively in the increasingly important and growing 'market-place' of regions.

Part of finding the way forward for Cornwall is to challenge the structural status quo and to try and create something which is supported by the community, is appropriately influential nationally and internationally, and which is cost-effective and efficient. I believe that Cornwall has too much potential, and is sufficiently distinctive to be led by something more than a mere 'local authority'.