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Saving the Environment
"I feel the time has come to make a stand. And MK is the Party to do it!"

When I was a small boy I liked to walk in the fields with my Mum and Dad. When I was bigger I used to go on long bike rides, quite often by myself. These usually finished at some vantage point where I could lay and look out over the view and just revel in the rolling countryside. I went on to study Biological Sciences and to do ecological field studies.

I therefore get very emotional when I look at the countryside today and see the way that it has been wrecked. The reasons are very complex, but they boil down to the fact that land has become a capitalist commodity, to be used to turn a profit. I often wonder why certain people can become “Royal” and have rights over us ordinary people, and I wonder even more why certain other people seem to have got hold of huge swathes of land which up until a couple of hundred years ago was Common Land belonging to all of us. Now we don’t even own the rainwater that falls on our roof. The land and the water belong to large companies.

Quite a lot of people are happy for it to be the way that it is, but the warning signs are there if you look. Where are the hedgerow flowering plants that used to cover the sides of every road and lane? Where are all the garden birds that used to be so common? Why are beekeepers stocks suffering from colony collapse disorder?  What happened to growing a few vegetables in the back garden?  But most importantly, why are the fields now under large areas of concrete with Supermarkets built on top of them?

In my opinion it is now “open season” for developers in Cornwall, and this has been largely at the behest of the current Government. First we had the attempt to sell off the woodland, followed by the simplification of the planning rules. It used to be that if you wanted to challenge a planning development you could find a Planning Policy Statement that would help you. Not any more. The final, and often only, resistance is now down to the Parish Councils who have distraught communities petitioning them about schemes that will blight their lives. Unfortunately Parish Councils have little final say in the outcome.

Recent examples have been, The East Truro Development (Park and Ride, Waitrose, Food Hall and Duchy housing), the West Truro Langarth Farm estate although providing a greenfield site for a Stadium (which is appropriate) also required putting hundreds of houses on prime farm land, St. Dennis Incinerator right next to a European Special Area of Conservation, large green field expansion between Quintrel Downs and Newquay, and the silly idea of Eco-towns on Cornwall Council Farms. We now have plans for several Supermarkets on greenfield sites on the edges of St. Austell that will kill off any hope the town centre has of rejuvenation.

The only major asset that Kernow has left is its special environment. This is inextricably linked to our land and culture. What would Cornwall be without tin, granite and clay, not forgetting the fish? How can we continue to hold our annual Hurling events if there is no Country for the Countrymen to run in? How will we cry the neck if there is no field to produce the crop? Can you imagine a stone circle with the stones set in a Supermarket car park?

I feel the time has come to make a stand. And MK is the Party to do it!
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Published on 6th November 2012.

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