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Updated: 12 hours 56 min ago

BBC partners with Cornwall Council to improve language skills

Tue, 14/07/2020 - 12:30

The BBC and Cornwall Council are partnering to help improve the language skills of under-fives as part of a new national campaign. 

Tiny Happy People is a five-year initiative backed by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge. It aims to support parents and carers in developing the language and communication skills of their 0-4 year old children. 

This will be achieved through a range of free digital resources, including fun activities, videos, articles and quizzes specifically designed for the initiative, with a focus on everyday routines. 

Developing communication skills at an early age helps children to thrive

Cabinet Member for Children, Health and Wellbeing, Sally Hawken, said: “We are delighted to be working with the BBC on this project, which fits perfectly with the work we’ve already being doing through our Real Heroes Read Books campaign.  

“We all want the best for our children; supporting them to take every opportunity and we can do this by helping them develop their language skills.  Sadly, too many children are starting school without these skills – and all too often if there’s a gap at the very start of school, it tends to persist and grow.” 

Evidence shows that more than 1 in 4 children (27%) in England do not reach the necessary level of literacy development (language, communication and literacy skills) by the time they start primary school, rising to more than 1 in 3 (42%) in deprived areas. The picture is similar across all nations of the UK.** 

Cornwall is an official Tiny Happy People Hub and we have been working closely with BBC to share the Tiny Happy People resources with parents and professionals via social media during lockdown.  

At the heart of the project is a simple philosophy – talk to your children from as early an age as possible, including during pregnancy.  

Visit the Tiny Happy People website

Head of Early Years at Cornwall Council Carol Kimberley said: “We are really excited about this opportunity and to be working with the BBC team.  Our teams have already been sharing the information with early years providers and families and the feedback has been excellent.  

“Encouraging children to learn to love and explore their language skills is one of our core aims and in so it will help them throughout life” 

Tiny Happy People offers a huge library of evidence-based free resources that are proven to have a positive impact on the speech and language development of 0-4 year olds. They’ve been developed and quality assured by front line professionals and experts.  

The content is fun and easy-to-understand as well as to incorporate into everyday life. There are fun activities and a range of short films, articles and quizzes that will support language development, as well as great tips for new and soon-to-be parents and advice to support parent’s well-being.  

Follow Tiny Happy People on Instagram 

 

 

** In Scotland, by age 5, there is a 13-month gap in vocabulary development between children from low-income and high-income households (May 2014). In Wales, 4 in 10 children are not at the expected level of development in maths, language, literacy and communication at age 4 (Sep 2019). Also in Wales, poor children who are performing well at age three are more likely than their peers to lose that advantage and fall behind by the age of five (Sep 2015). In Northern Ireland, 38% of five-year-olds have below average vocabulary skills. This rises to 65% of children who experience persistent poverty (Sep 2015) 

Categories: Councils, Politics

Call to holiday lets to follow COVID-19 closure orders

Mon, 13/07/2020 - 11:38

Ahead of the Easter holidays Cornwall Council is calling on holiday accommodation providers, including letting agents and online booking platforms, to support the COVID-19 response by following the Government’s closure orders.

The overwhelming majority of holiday accommodation providers such as self- catering businesses, bed and breakfasts, caravan parks, hotels, campsites and holiday homes have shut their doors as a result of the Government ordering all non-essential businesses to stop operating and for everyone to stay at home and avoid unessential travel.

There are a number of exemptions which allow some holiday accommodation businesses to remain open, for example to provide accommodation for key workers, NHS staff and for health and care use.

One such establishment is Carnmarth Hotel in Newquay which has been providing a place to stay for people who have been in hospital, are able to be discharged, but are not ready to go home.

However, Cornwall Council has received complaints alleging that some holiday accommodation providers are still having holiday makers in their premises and operating illegally.

Ahead of the Easter holiday the Council’s enforcement team is now writing to all holiday accommodation owners, letting agents and online booking platforms in Cornwall who are not exempt to the COVID-19 orders to ask for their cooperation in complying with the orders.

The email, which is going out to holiday accommodation providers today (April 2), says: “As you know the Government passed legislation last week which requires certain businesses to close with immediate effect. We appreciate that you may have already acted on the Government’s directions and closed your accommodation, although there are a few exceptions which are covered in this letter. The overwhelming majority of businesses in Cornwall have done exactly that. Indeed, we know that some businesses have been able to provide valuable support to the community by housing vulnerable people and key workers.

“Nevertheless, the Council is receiving complaints that allege that some holiday accommodation businesses are continuing to trade. This is undoubtedly a small minority, but due to the risks involved, we are taking the precaution of writing to you to seek your support in helping to control the COVID 19 outbreak in Cornwall.”

The new legislation requires any person responsible for running a business providing holiday accommodation, whether in a hotel, hostel, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartment, home, cottage or bungalow, campsite, caravan park or boarding house, to cease trading during the emergency period.

The Government’s controls are expected to remain in place until the regulations are reviewed by the Secretary of State and a direction issued to end them.

In its letter to accommodation providers Cornwall Council outlines the new legal requirements and where businesses can get further advice.

It also warns that businesses can face enforcement action if they flout the orders.

Rob Nolan, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for environment and public protection, said: “We are calling on and trust that our holiday accommodation providers in Cornwall will do the right thing and ensure compliance with this requirement which has been introduced to protect the health of our population, NHS and other critical services at this time.

 “We understand that this legislation may have serious financial impacts upon businesses so please read the guidance to understand how you can access the financial help you need.”

Malcolm Bell, Chief Executive of Visit Cornwall, said: “It’s up to all of us to play our part in fighting this virus, as well as obeying the law, and this simply means that not only should all the traditional tourism business be closed to holiday makers, but also people letting out rooms and properties on the online booking platforms that have grown rapidly over the last few years.”

There are a number of exemptions which allow holiday accommodation businesses to remain open, including where they provide services to:

  • People who live there permanently or because their primary residence is unavailable.
  • Critical workers and non-UK residents who are unable to travel to their country of residence during this period.
  • People who are unable to move into a new home due to the current restrictions.
  • Homeless and other vulnerable people such as those who cannot safely stay in their home, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies.
  • Those attending a funeral.
  • Hosting of blood donation sessions.

Also, holiday accommodation can remain open for any other purpose requested by the Secretary of State or Local Authority.

A current list of exemptions can be found on the Government's website.

The government has produced guidance on business closures for further reference. However, if you require additional advice please do not hesitate to contact the Council’s Business Support Hub at businessadvice@cornwall.gov.uk

If you believe that holiday accommodation might not be complying with the new regulations then Please see our how to report a concern page

For anyone seeking refunds due to a holiday booking cancellation Cornwall Council advises:

  1. Check the small print on your booking – what does it say about cancellation due to Government intervention?
  2. Check the small print on your travel insurance – will your booking be covered?
  3. Register your concerns with your holiday provider – are they working to a timetable (ie most imminent bookings first)? What are they suggesting as a solution? But please be patient as businesses have to deal with many pressures at this current time.
  4. If you paid for your holiday by credit card you may have additional protection through the credit card provider.

If you do still need further advice or information about cancelling a booking due to Covid-19 please call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 or contact Cornwall Council Trading Standards at businesscompliance@cornwall.gov.uk

Cornwall Council will be working with Visit Cornwall when this emergency period is over to support those affected.

 

Story posted on April 2, 2020

 

Categories: Councils, Politics

Cornwall’s not wild about ‘wild’ camping

Fri, 10/07/2020 - 16:13

As Cornwall prepares to welcome back visitors, campers are being asked to plan their visits and book ahead rather than leave it to chance where they stay overnight.  

So-called ‘wild camping’, where campers pitch out in the open away from official campsites, is increasingly popular - but can be problematic, and in some cases dangerous.

Rob Nolan, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection, said: “Our strong advice is for all visitors to book ahead with proper accommodation providers and camp sites, not to arrive in Cornwall with no plan about where to stay. Wild camping can cause problems with litter, sanitation, trespass and may create conflict with landowners and residents.

“We are absolutely welcoming visitors back to Cornwall and want them all to have enjoyable stays. But we ask that they respect our residents and communities and follow all the health guidance rules and social distancing requirements.

“Please don’t be tempted to pitch a tent or stay overnight in your campervan anywhere you like the look of.” 

There are serious safety issues with wild camping on or near the highway, on agricultural land (particularly ahead of harvest) or near livestock.

Always follow the Countryside Code, and be aware that while camping on cliffs, moorland, or near fast flowing watercourses may seem idyllic, sudden changes in the weather can create unforeseen hazards.

Camping overnight in tents or vehicles in most car parks or on beaches is not permitted. We also don’t accept camping in public parks, or in controlled countryside such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), or by Historic Monuments or Heritage Sites.

You must not camp on private land without the owners’ permission.

Rob added: “Cornwall values its tourist economy, and welcomes visitors who have booked and planned ahead, and who follow the Coronavirus health guidelines.

“Please observe signs posted on beaches, in parks, showing diversions from public footpaths, and in other outdoor public areas. If you have dogs with you, please keep them under control at all times and on a lead in busy areas, and observe the restrictions in place on many beaches in these summer months.”

“Welcome back to Cornwall. Stay safe. And stay safely.”

Categories: Councils, Politics

Dine out and enjoy a drink safely this weekend

Fri, 10/07/2020 - 14:15

Pubgoers and diners are being reminded to keep social distancing and stay safe when they’re enjoying a meal or a drink out this weekend. 

It will be the second weekend since the reopening of the hospitality and tourism sector and Cornwall Council is asking residents and visitors to continue being vigilant during the pandemic. 

Public protection officers will be on call to provide advice and support to pubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels and other businesses on reopening and operating safely if needed. 

All customers at restaurants and pubs are requested to book ahead, social distance at 2m if possible or 1m-plus and be prepared to give contact details to help with the Track and Trace system.  The 1m-plus rule only applies if there are mitigation measures such as screens or chairs being placed back to back.  

Rob Nolan, Cornwall’s cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “Our residents, visitors, businesses, town and parish councils and Cornwall Council colleagues have done an incredible job in taking safety precautions and remaining vigilant during the important reopening of our hospitality sector. 

“We want to support our local pubs and restaurants and as we enter our second summer weekend of them being reopened, we’re reminding everyone that now is not time to be complacent and please keep up the good work of keeping yourselves and people around you protected.” 

The Government announced yesterday that further parts of the hospitality and beauty sectors can reopen over the next few weeks.   

Outdoor swimming pools, theatres and music venues can reopen from tomorrow (Saturday) under social distancing guidance.  

Beauty salons, nail bars, tattoo and massage studios, physical therapy businesses and spas across England will be able to reopen safely from next Monday, 13 July.  

The Government has published guidance on working safely during Coronavirus.  

For advice in reopening after the lockdown businesses can watch the Council’s free Back in Business webinars for specific sectors which have so far attracted more than 1,800 attendees. More live webinars are being planned with dates to be announced. 

Free business advice in meeting the changing legal requirements is also available at www.businessregulatorysupport.co.uk/recoveryor from the Council’s Business Regulatory Support team at businessadvice@cornwall.gov.uk

Businesses can also get more information on reopening from Cornwall Council’sBack in Business Recovery Guidewhich covers topics such as working safely and limiting the risk of Coronavirus, cleaning and disinfection, food safety and health and safety.  

 

Story posted on July 10, 2020

Categories: Councils, Politics

More than 3,500 businesses across Cornwall will miss out on grant support

Fri, 10/07/2020 - 12:56

Funding for Cornish businesses unable to access any other form of Government coronavirus grant support will only cover a third of those that need it. 

Figures released by Cornwall Council reveal a shortfall of around £27m in the money allocated by the Government for the discretionary business support grant.  

The Council expects to have paid out the £13.5m allocated to Cornwall by the end of this week to more than 1,350 businesses in sectors prioritised by the Government. 

This leaves more than 3,500 businesses currently ineligible for other forms of Government aid except the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. 

Tim Dwelly, cabinet portfolio holder for economy, culture and planning, said: “The number of applications for the discretionary fund and expressions of interest we’ve received is overwhelming evidence of the level of need across Cornwall. 

“These are otherwise healthy and thriving small and micro businesses which make a valuable contribution to the Cornish economy and they should not face the prospect of bankruptcy or closure just because they fall through the gaps of funding criteria. 

“Working with business leaders we have once again contacted our MPs and Government to make the case for more funding for the discretionary business support scheme so that we can offer financial support to Cornwall’s small and micro businesses who have already suffered greatly during this crisis.” 

“One potential solution is for the government to allow the Council to use the money that has not been claimed from the funds it allocated to Cornwall for the original small business emergency grant scheme.  We contacted around 24,000 qualifying businesses using our business rates database to allocate around £244 million, however around £37m allocated by the Government for that scheme remains unclaimed and is unlikely to be.”  

“At present we can only use that money for grants to businesses which meet the original criteria as set out by the government, but if the government will allow us to use that remaining money to fund the discretionary business support grants, we could offer financial aid to all those who so badly need it.” 

 

Story posted 10 July 2020

Categories: Councils, Politics

Council joins forces with sectors across Cornwall to fight climate change

Fri, 10/07/2020 - 12:45

Cornwall Council has launched a new Partnership Group to find new ways for Cornwall to address the climate emergency.

The group is part of the Council’s Carbon Neutral Cornwall programme, working towards carbon neutrality across Cornwall by 2030. It will explore opportunities for carbon reduction across different sectors and make recommendations for actions which will have the biggest impacts on Cornwall’s ambitious targets.

Meeting for the second time today (July 10) virtually, the Partnership Group brings together representatives from a variety of sectors across Cornwall and aims to provide a new perspective on some of the challenges Cornwall is set to face.

The sectors responsible for the largest proportion of carbon emissions in Cornwall are all represented, including transport, housing, energy and agriculture.

The group also includes representatives from the voluntary sector, academic research, waste, business, tourism, biodiversity and public health, and will also address international issues to help understand the impact of the climate emergency on those across the UK and beyond.

Cllr Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall’s Cabinet Member for climate change and neighbourhoods and Chair of the Partnership Group, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of a connected response to the challenges Cornwall is facing. We have already taken great strides to reduce our emissions, but we need to find new ways of thinking to find the solutions we need in order to become carbon neutral by 2030.

“The climate emergency will bring many changes to Cornwall over the coming years, including changing temperatures, rising sea levels and threats to our supply of food. Many pioneering projects, including the Forest for Cornwall and the Climate Change Development Plan Document are already underway, however more is needed and we are really excited about bringing together these Cornish leaders and their years of experience to help us all work together towards a Cornwall that works for everyone.”

The group will meet every three months, communicating between meetings to prepare collaborative responses to emerging challenges and opportunities for Cornwall to take action on the climate emergency.

Other sector representatives and people with specific experiences will also be consulted to help the group understand the wider implications of any potential actions across the whole of Cornwall.

The full list of partners are Cornwall Council, Coastline Housing, Cornwall Neighbourhoods for Change, Cornwall Food and Farming, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, European Centre for the Environment and Human Health (Exeter University), the Eden Project, Federation of Small Businesses, Go Cornwall Bus, NFU South West, PEP Renewables and ShelterBox.

As a result of the work of the Partnership Group a special workshop is taking place looking at the interrelation between health, the environment and other factors to explore the potential systemic impacts of Covid-19 and the climate emergency.

‘Building climate change and health into post-COVID plans’ is being co-hosted by the University of Exeter’s European Centre for the Environment and Human Health and Cornwall Council and takes place on July 15.

 

Story posted on July 10, 2020

Categories: Councils, Politics

Apply now for funding for projects that support suicide prevention in Cornwall

Fri, 10/07/2020 - 10:53

Community groups can now apply for funding for projects to support Cornwall’s aim to prevent suicide. 

Cornwall Council and its partner NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group have provided over £70,000 of funding, and community groups can apply for up to £10,000 towards projects that either contribute towards people’s mental health and well-being or directly work towards preventing suicide. 

Any community group, charity or organisation can apply for the funding and there is a particular focus on projects that aim to reduce suicide by middle aged men, by people in treatment services, and reducing self-harm.  

Cornwall Council portfolio holder for children, wellbeing and public health Sally Hawken said: “We have an active ‘Towards Zero’ movement in Cornwall that acknowledges that suicide is a preventable death - not an inevitable death. 

“It’s important that the community leads these sorts of projects as they are best placed to know their individual communities and what is most needed, so we want your ideas about how to save lives across Cornwall.” 

During 2016-2018 Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly saw an average of 70 deaths per year by suicide which equates to more than one death per week.  Suicide rates are at 14.3 per 100,000 people which is significantly higher than suicide rates in both England (9.6) and the South West (11.1).  

Cornwall Council’s interim Director of Public Health, Rachel Wigglesworth said: “We also know that the suicide rate among men is three times higher than the rate among women. The rate is highest in men aged 35-64 years, followed by men aged over 65 years.  

“It is imperative that we all do more, every one of these deaths is a tragedy for the family, friends and community of those who died. I really look forward to seeing the applications as they come in as I know community groups will have some great ideas on ways they could help people when they need it the most.” 

Dr Paul Cook, NHS Kernow clinical lead for mental health, said: “This is a great opportunity for local community groups, who may know from their own experience, what would make a real difference in our campaign to reduce the number of deaths from suicide. As a GP I see, people working tirelessly and passionately to try and prevent the tragedy of suicide, while very often it’s the simplest ideas which can have a huge impact and I encourage our communities to come forward with their ideas and save lives.”

The application form can be downloaded on our mental health webpages

Anyone who is struggling with their mental health can find information on the support available on the council’s website www.cornwall.gov.uk/mentalhealth  

Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has also recently launched a new 24/7 open access telephone service for anyone worried about their mental health.  Support is available to anyone, regardless of age, all day every day, by calling free on 0800 038 5300. 

 

Categories: Councils, Politics

Help available for shielded residents as guidance changes

Wed, 08/07/2020 - 17:30

As guidance and support for shielded residents change from next week, Cornwall Council, Volunteer Cornwall and NHS Kernow are reminding anyone needing assistance with food shopping, medical prescriptions and social support, that help is on hand.

Letters explaining the new advice are being sent out to everyone who has been asked to self-isolate for the last 12 weeks due to having a health condition which makes them clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

The Government is relaxing its shielding guidance in stages as it points to latest scientific evidence showing the declining infection rate of the virus.

Subject to ongoing clinical evidence, the changes will be:

From Monday 6 July:

  • Anyone shielding can meet up to five people from other households outdoors while social distancing.
  • Those shielding who live alone or are a single parent or carer with a child under 18 can start to form a support bubble with one other household including visiting their home and staying overnight.  

From Saturday 1 August: 

  • Shielded individuals can stop self-isolating as guidance will be updated to allow them to go to shops and places of worship while following social distancing rules.  
  • Food parcels sent by Government to those shielding will stop on 1 August as individuals are advised they can visit shops and pharmacies.  
  • However, other forms of support – such as priority supermarket delivery slots, help from Cornwall Council, Volunteer Cornwall and the NHS Volunteers Scheme – will continue.  
  • Those who need to work and cannot do so from home will be able to return to work as long as their workplace is COVID secure, adhering to the guidance available.

Cornwall Council, Volunteer Cornwall and NHS Kernow will continue to support shielded and other vulnerable residents if they need help with food shopping or collections, getting priority supermarket delivery slots, prescriptions, befriending and getting online for assistance.  

Anyone who is shielding and needs to set up priority supermarket deliveries for when the Government’s food parcel programme ends on August 1 should go to www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable or call 0800 0288327, the Government’s dedicated helpline, by July 17.

Cornwall Council is offering help to anyone who needs assistance with registering for priority supermarket deliveries. Contact the Council’s shielding line on 0300 1233334 for support.

Volunteer Cornwall is continuing to help with collecting and delivering shopping and prescriptions, providing befriending support as well as volunteers helping with other low level needs.  

It is running a ‘Walking Buddies’ programme to support vulnerable residents by providing socially distanced company to help build confidence and allow for social interaction.

If you would like a walking buddy or are interested in volunteering to become one, please call Volunteer Cornwall on 01872 266988 or email mid@volunteercornwall.org.uk

Dr Iain Chorlton, GP and NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group chairman, said: “As the social distancing rules for shielded patients change, from 1 August you can now collect their prescriptions from your GP practice or local pharmacy as you would have done before COVID-19. If you need to continue to have them delivered can you please talk to your usual pharmacy or dispensary.”

Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall’s cabinet member for climate change and neighbourhoods, said: "After three months of staying at home, those who have been shielding will soon be able to go out more and see their friends and family while social distancing. While this may be a happy time for many, for others it will lead to feelings of extreme anxiety.

“Together with NHS Kernow and Volunteer Cornwall we are continuing our support for anyone who is stopping shielding in the coming weeks. Do get in touch with us if you need help with food shopping, prescriptions or if you are feeling anxious, and we will endeavour to help.”

Ian Jones, Chief Executive of Volunteer Cornwall, said: “Volunteer Cornwall’s team of volunteers are seeing considerable concern about the easing of the lockdown. We will be helping people get back out in their community but we still have thousands of Cornwall’s wonderful volunteers who are willing to help where there is a need. Together the institutions and communities of Cornwall can ensure those most in need continue to get the support they require.’

If anyone needs extra support contact Cornwall Council on 0300 1234 334 or email covid19@cornwall.gov.uk or contact Volunteer Cornwall on 01872 266988 or email requestforhelp@volunteercornwall.org.uk.

More information on the planned changes are here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/plans-to-ease-guidance-for-over-2-million-shielding

 

Story posted July 3, 2020

Categories: Councils, Politics

National roads survey gives residents opportunity to have their say on Cornwall’s transport network

Wed, 08/07/2020 - 13:16

A sample of more than 3,000 randomly selected residents across Cornwall will be asked for their views on Cornwall’s roads, footpaths and cycle ways in a national survey taking place from June 2020.

The independent National Highways and Public Transport Satisfaction survey covers all aspects of transport – from highway maintenance and road condition to access to public transport and tackling congestion. The survey also looks at road safety, asking participants for their views on the provision of safe crossing points and dropped kerbs, as well as traffic calming measures and the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

Cornwall Council is one of more than 100 local authorities to sign up to the survey, which is now in its eleventh year.

Members of the public will be asked the same questions whether they are in Cornwall, Cheshire or County Durham. Their answers will be compared with the views of other members of the public in England and Wales.

Last year’s survey results showed an increased satisfaction in road maintenance (up 4% from 2018 to 2019) supporting the findings of the Council’s residents’ survey which also saw an increase from 25% to 35%.

The questionnaire will be sent to a minimum random sample of at least 3,300 of Cornwall’s residents from June 2020, followed by a reminder, with initial local and national results published in late October. Since the survey is based on a sample, residents that receive a copy are being urged to take part.

Haven't received a survey, but would like to take part?

Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport Geoff Brown said: “This is an important survey for us. We are committed to listening to our residents and the findings help build the picture of what is working well and what we need to improve.

“Increased satisfaction in road maintenance reflects the investment we have made over recent years. Council investment will see an extra £20m spent on our highway network by 2021 and in the last year more than 300 roads have been resurfaced across Cornwall as a result of the first phase of this funding.

“Last year’s survey also revealed lower satisfaction levels with access to public transport in Cornwall. In January we signed a new eight year contract for Cornwall’s supported bus network which will see new routes and an increase in the frequency of services. And while the coronavirus restrictions has had a major impact on the demand for public transport – these services will be back up and running as restrictions continue to be lifted.

“By joining in with this national survey we can identify areas of best practice and spot national, regional and local trends. I would urge anyone who receives a questionnaire to take part.”

Categories: Councils, Politics

Cornwall makes history with first online full council meeting

Tue, 07/07/2020 - 16:31

The first ever online meeting of the full Cornwall Council has taken place today.

The meeting, the first to be held since the implementation of lockdown restrictions in March, saw the whole authority meeting from their own homes via Microsoft Teams.

At the start of the meeting, sympathies were expressed to those affected during the pandemic, and thanks were made to those whose efforts had helped keep residents safe during the crisis.

Among the reports discussed and approved were the council’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and an update on the council’s capital programme, both of which had been ratified by cabinet last month.

One of the most heated debates centred on a proposal to lower the voting age to 16 in Cornwall. After a very close vote, the motion, introduced by Cllr Malcolm Brown, was approved, by 54 votes to 50.

The council will now lobby Westminster to be allowed to extend the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds in time for next year’s elections as a pilot authority before any extension of the changes across the rest of the country.

A second debate, calling for Government support for the coach tour industry and the hotels that depend on them, was also backed by councillors.

Cornwall Council will now ask Westminster to consider a number of measures to support the industry, including extending the furlough scheme and offering affected businesses a VAT holiday.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Hilary Frank, chairman of Cornwall Council, said:  “I am delighted we have managed to hold our first virtual full Cornwall Council meeting.

“It has been an incredibly intense and pressurised time for us all, and I am grateful to the staff who managed to work so hard to make sure today’s meeting was a technical success, and to my colleagues for adopting these new ways of working so willingly.

“These meetings are a vital part of our democracy and I am delighted to see them return to our diaries in a format that we can use going forwards.”

The meeting will be available to watch back via the council’s website at /council-and-democracy/councillors-and-democracy/webcasts/

Published 07 July, 2020

Categories: Councils, Politics

Flights between Cornwall and London to resume with British Airways

Mon, 06/07/2020 - 18:12

Cornwall’s air links with London will resume on Friday, July 24, with British Airways operating services between Newquay and Heathrow.

British Airways will initially begin operating three flights a week in July, increasing to five a week in August and daily from September.

The service will operate under a Public Service Obligation, which provides financial support, if required, to ensure the route is maintained year-round. 
Commercial flights resumed at Cornwall Airport Newquay last Saturday (July 4), and new measures have been put in place to ensure a safe and welcoming experience for all passengers and staff.

Temperature screening will be in place as passengers enter the terminal building and anyone over the age of 11 will have to wear a face covering.

Passenger flow around the airport has been re-worked to help aid social distancing, and enhanced cleaning regimes have been introduced.

Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport, Geoff Brown, said: “I welcome the arrival of British Airways in Cornwall to operate our key route between Newquay and London. This PSO service not only protects Cornwall’s links with London, but will also offer excellent connectivity around the world into the future.

“While it is vital for our residents and business community that direct flights between Newquay and London are reinstated, we are taking a measured approach at this time and I am pleased that British Airways has recognised the importance of a phased return of the London service.

“We are confident that as the airline industry begins to make steps to resume operations, the introduction of this well respected national airline, operating into the UK’s major hub airport will offer fantastic worldwide connectivity and a major boost for both Cornwall’s airport and the economy of the region.

“The collapse of Flybe was a blow, but we have been able to work with Cornwall Airport Newquay, the Department for Transport and St Austell and Newquay MP Steve Double, to secure the new operator. 

“British Airways will be operating the PSO route under an emergency order for seven months while we work with the DfT to run the tender process for the four year contract which will begin in March 2021.”

Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Cornwall’s air links are going to be vital to rebuilding our connectivity with other parts of the UK and the rest of the world. We know that coronavirus travel restrictions have had a severe impact on all parts of our economy and once we enter the recovery phase this link will help show that we are open for business.”

Pete Downes, Managing Director at Cornwall Airport Newquay said: “The London route forms the cornerstone of our recovery strategy at Cornwall Airport Newquay. In securing a British Airways service to Heathrow, I’m confident we have the fantastic airline partner and London gateway that Cornwall deserves.

“We very much look forward to working with the team at British Airways, alongside our stakeholder partners locally, to rebuild the historically strong demand on the route and make the service a success.”

Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay, said: “I am pleased to have worked with all concerned to see the important London-Newquay route maintained with government backing as we look to come out of the Coronavirus crisis. To be able to secure this route to Heathrow and with the UK’s flag carrier airline is a real vote of confidence in the future of the airport.

"Cornwall Airport Newquay is vital to the Cornish economy and will play a key role in enabling us to bounce back from the crisis. I look forward to continue working with the airport management, Cornwall Council, government ministers and the airlines to ensure the airport will be able to survive and prosper for the future.”

Tickets are available at www.ba.com

Story published on July 6, 2020

Categories: Councils, Politics

Thanks to hospitality businesses for reopening safely

Mon, 06/07/2020 - 17:52

Cornwall Council is saying a big thank you to businesses for their efforts in keeping customers safe as they finally opened their doors at the weekend following the lockdown.

Pubs, restaurants, accommodation providers and hairdressers were allowed to reopen from Saturday as the Government eased restrictions for the hospitality sector.

Businesses had to put in place new Coronavirus safety measures before operating again, including asking customers to book ahead, follow social distancing and give contact details to help with the Government’s Track and Trace system.

Over the weekend Cornwall Council officers patrolled seven town centres to give advice and support to reopening businesses and responded to questions from more than 100 pubs, restaurants and hotels.

Public protection officers will continue to visit hospitality businesses over the next few weeks, and they are encouraging businesses to make contact if they have any questions about trading under the changing rules.

More than 1,800 businesspeople have attended the Council’s free Back in Business webinars for specific sectors which can be watched again and more sessions are being planned with dates to be announced.

Free business advice in meeting the new legal requirements is available at www.businessregulatorysupport.co.uk/recovery or from the Council’s Business Regulatory Support team. 

Rob Nolan, Cornwall’s cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “After being shut for so many months we can understand that some businesses have been apprehensive about reopening. Our public protection team has been working hard to give reassurance and advice to many businesses over the weekend and last two months through our business webinars.

“Businesses have made a huge effort in getting back upon their feet and we are extremely grateful for all that they’ve done to reopen to customers safely.”

Businesses can also get more information on reopening from Cornwall Council’s Back in Business Recovery Guide which covers topics such as working safely and limiting the risk of Coronavirus, cleaning and disinfection, food safety and health and safety. 

If you need any further help contact businessadvice@cornwall.gov.uk. More advice is available at https://www.businessregulatorysupport.co.uk/ 

 

Story posted on July 6, 2020

Categories: Councils, Politics

Cornwall’s high streets prepare to re-open with safety top of mind

Fri, 03/07/2020 - 17:56

Safety is the number one priority for Cornwall’s high street businesses as many of them prepare to open their doors tomorrow for the first time since lockdown.

Following weeks of preparation, local towns will look and feel quite different to the way they were three months ago when the Covid-19 pandemic forced them to close down.

High street safety measures include new one-way systems for vehicles and pedestrians; pedestrian-only areas and special car parking arrangements, while street marshals and volunteer guides will be out and around in many places to encourage visitors to ‘go with the flow’, respect directional signage and remember to follow social distancing guidelines.

The work has been done according to the needs of every local area and has been supported by funding from a grant of £152,000 awarded to the Council from the Government’s emergency active travel fund and £509,000 of support to towns for temporary public realm measures from the European Regional Development Fund’s Reopening High Street Safely Fund.

In addition, businesses have been encouraged to take the necessary steps to help protect the health of staff and customers such as carrying out a Covid-19 risk assessment.

Tim Dwelly, Cornwall’s portfolio holder for culture, economy and planning, said: “This is a critical time for our town centres in Cornwall. They are dependent for their survival on everyone’s support.

“Each and every one of us has a responsibility to do our part in helping prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“If you are planning a high street visit, the advice is to plan ahead. I also urge everyone to follow the safety measures that Cornwall’s high streets have worked hard to put in place, so we can stay safe together and enjoy all the wonderful things that our Cornish high streets have to offer.” 

Richard Wilcox, Falmouth Business Improvement District (BID) Manager and Chair of South West BIDs, commented: “Our Cornish towns have led the way nationally in respect of safety and recovery planning. As we work through the Government’s phased reopening programme, we look forward to seeing respectful and considerate visitors, in a safe and welcoming Cornwall.”

The following five safety tips will help you enjoy and make the most of your visit when you arrive:

  1. Go with the flow – keep your distance and follow all local signage.
  2. Be safe – plan ahead, be considerate, responsible and patient.
  3. Say ‘hi’ (Dydh da) to any local high street marshals and volunteers you come across. They’re there to help and guide you.
  4. Help us help you stay safe - remember to wash your hands often, use free sanitiser stations, use contactless payment and follow other hygiene advice when needed. 
  5.   Visit with confidence. Cornwall’s high street businesses are working hard to help protect the safety of customers and staff. Look out for their Covid-19 risk assessment certificate.
Categories: Councils, Politics

Council staff give support in high streets during reopening

Thu, 02/07/2020 - 16:55

Public protection officers will patrol town centres throughout Cornwall from this weekend to help support hospitality businesses in reopening safely after the lockdown. 

Cornwall Council staff will be on hand to offer advice to pubs, restaurants, bars, and takeaways as they welcome customers for the first time from this Saturday, July 4. 

Hospitality businesses including pubs, restaurants, bars, takeaways, hotels, bed and breakfasts, self-catering accommodation and visitor attractions can reopen from this weekend provided they can comply with the Government’s Covid secure guidelines. 

The Council is reminding businesses of the key reopening requirements which include:

  • A COVID-19 risk assessment for the business before reopening 
  • A one metre-plus social distancing rule with mitigations
  • A limit to the number of staff and customers on site to ensure social distancing
  • A requirement to collect contact details for all customers to assist with the Government’s Test, Track and Trace system 
  • No live performances, including drama, comedy and music, to take place in front of a live audience 
  • Taking steps to prevent people from raising their voices, for example refraining from playing music or broadcasts at a volume that make normal conversation difficult and could encourage shouting
  • Premises where close contact is highly likely such as nightclubs must stay shut for now

Businesses which have completed the necessary safety steps can display a Government poster showing they have complied.

For restaurants, cafes and pubs planning to place chairs and tables outside their premises from Saturday, Cornwall Council supports the use of outside areas, subject to risk assessments and it being safe to do so, in order to support social distancing.

Businesses must ensure that any use of an outside area does not block or impact on normal pedestrian traffic and should be respectful of neighbours. The Council will work with businesses to educate, inform and enforce where this is not done, under the existing licensing system.

Further licensing is required for the sale of alcohol (for consumption on or off the premises) and for supplying late night refreshment (hot food or drink between 11pm and 5am the next day).

If you already have a licence, please ensure it covers use of outside areas. If not, you may need to apply to vary the licence. The Council’s Licensing Team can help you with the application or authorisation process including providing other regulatory support needed. Please contact licensing@cornwall.gov.uk for more information or see here

New COVID-19 legislation is expected later this month which will require businesses to apply for a new permission known as a pavement licence. This is likely to have a consultation requirement. As soon as this regulation is approved by Parliament Cornwall Council will write to businesses and town and parish councils to explain how the rules apply to them.

Rob Nolan, Cornwall’s cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “As our vital hospitality sector in Cornwall reopens for trade on Saturday our public protection teams will be out on the streets doing town centre walkthroughs giving safety advice, support and reassurance to businesses and the public during this momentous time.

“We are explaining, encouraging and supporting businesses to understand what they are required to do in order to reopen in a safe way that protects everyone from Coronavirus infection and which prevents or reduces the likelihood of any other untoward issues such as noise nuisance, littering and anti-social behaviour. 

“Enforcement actions will only be called upon where businesses are clearly creating COVID-19 infection risks such as failing to manage social distancing and necessary hygiene controls or failing to monitor the business and customers that could create noise nuisance, littering and anti-social behaviour. 

“Our primary aim is to help with business support and compliance with COVID 19 rules, so talk to our officers in the town centres when they are out and about, or get in touch with our business regulatory support team by phone or email.”

The Government has published guidance on working safely during Coronavirus. There is specific guidance for people who work in or run restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes or takeaways. 

If businesses have any queries relating to licensing matters for alcohol, email licensing@cornwall.gov.uk. Please be aware that we are expecting a high demand in calls for support at this time and we will get back to you as quickly as we can. 

Alcohol consumption increases the risk of anti-social behaviour and disorder. Additional resources will be available to support local businesses to resolve issues quickly and to provide help to people who are vulnerable.

If you need any further help contact businessadvice@cornwall.gov.uk

You can also join free Back in Business webinars hosted by the Council for specific sectors. Around 1,500 businesspeople have already taken part over the past month.

More advice is available at https://www.businessregulatorysupport.co.uk/ 

Anyone wishing to report issues where businesses may be failing to manage social distancing and take necessary hygiene controls can contact Cornwall Council on 0300 1231118 or email covid19@cornwall.gov.uk.

To report illegal social gatherings, anti-social behaviour or crime contact the police by calling 101 or email 101@dc.police.uk and call 999 in an emergency.

Devon & Cornwall Police has been anticipating the demand during this weekend and planning extensively with partners throughout the lockdown period for the re-opening of the region.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has provided a £500,000 investment to give support to 20 locations across the Force aimed at reducing drink related antisocial behaviour – providing elements such as extra street warden security, public toilets and CCTV monitoring.

People have a duty to drink responsibly, adhere to social distancing and not fight or commit criminal damage simply because we are coming out of lockdown. Police will take proactive action against any drink-related disorder and would ask people to think seriously about their actions.

Story posted on July 2, 2020

  

Categories: Councils, Politics

First year of screen agency drives talent development, accessibility and Cornish Language production

Thu, 02/07/2020 - 16:10

Set up through joint investment from Cornwall Council and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership in July 2019 to drive economic growth in the film, TV, games & animation sectors, Screen Cornwall has spent its first year focusing on the foundations – harnessing great talent and establishing a clear brand positioning within the industry.

The core offer to external production companies is a location & crew-finding service which launched at FOCUS production show and, along with a partnership agreement with Creative England, generated over 50 enquiries before lockdown hit.

We have also been working with a wide range of local landowners, including the Cornwall Council, to promote their natural and building assets.

Cornwall Council Portfolio Holder for Culture, Economy and Planning, Tim Dwelly commented: “Connecting the unique offer in Cornwall with national and international production is vital to attracting spend into the region. Having a single point of information through Screen Cornwall has really built our connections and laid the groundwork for future impact.”

Secondly, the Screen Cornwall team has focused on talent and accessibility through a wide range of interventions, most notably BBC New Creatives which has resulted in 10 young people between 16-30 receiving commissions to make work for BBC platforms (7 audio pieces, 2 films and 1 interactive), including two projects which are supported with additional access funding.

So far, two completed pieces are available to the public: Miles Sloman’s comedy short ANORAKS on BBC iPlayer https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p084qj0y and Florence Browne’s AGAN GERYOW YW KANA HWATH (Our Words Sing Still) on BBC Sounds https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08dwg1z

There has also been significant engagement with the British Film Institute through activity with BFI NETWORK in the South West and the national Young Audiences Content Fund, which supports the development of factual and scripted programmes aimed at young people up to 18.

As well as supporting Hypatia Trust to commission 8 short documentaries on local women in music stories, Screen Cornwall has also partnered with the School of Film & Television at Falmouth University to commission a number of graduate short films in animation, documentary and drama.

Managing Director Laura Giles said: “Following Mark Jenkin’s BAFTA win earlier this year, the spotlight is increasingly on distinctive regional voices and authentic storytelling.

“Working with regional stakeholders and our connections right across the creative & cultural industries has unearthed a diverse range of talent in Cornwall that is really exciting, so we relish the opportunity to connect individuals with national funding and opportunities to drive their careers.”

Finally, Screen Cornwall has worked with the Cornish Language Office in the Culture and Creative Economy Team to take forward the recommendations of the MEDIA GONIS POBLEK KERNEWEK (CORNISH PUBLIC SERVICE MEDIA) report with key stakeholders at the BBC and DCMS, as well as commissioning the first screen and app content specifically for early years learners through Goldentree Productions and Bosena. And, following the success of Zoe Alker’s YN MOR in the Single Drama category at the Celtic Media Festival Awards recently, Screen Cornwall are this year commissioning two contemporary short dramas in the Cornish Language through the Fylm K scheme:

• MOS (Lass) is the coming of age story of sixteen year old Truro girl, Jenna, who discovers there’s more to where she grew up than she thought, written & directed by Bryher Flanders

• KESTAV (Contact) is an ambitious sci-fi film about language and communication, written & directed by Chris Morris.

Chair Phillippa Giles said: “I am immensely proud of what Screen Cornwall has achieved and would like to thank the team, the Board and our fantastic industry Steering Board for helping work towards our vision. Despite the challenges of coronavirus, we are focused on our core goal of a Screen Growth Fund to attract high quality production to the region and support local companies to develop market-focused projects.”

Emmie Kell, board member of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and chair of the LEP’s Creative Industries Task Force, said: “Our investment in Screen Cornwall has already produced some great results in its first year and we’re excited to see the momentum build in the sector, which we hope will bounce back strongly in 2021 from coronavirus disruption.

“The combination of grassroots outreach to ensure talent development is accessible for all, with the high service levels that national and international production expects, proves that a screen agency is a vital part of the creative & digital eco-system for the region.”

 

Categories: Councils, Politics

Next steps in ambitious Looe Flood Defence scheme

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 21:01

Following Cornwall Council’s decision to support the development of the Looe Flood Defence Project last year, significant progress is being made in turning the original designs enthusiastically supported by the local community into an exciting and ambitious flood protection and economic regeneration scheme which will benefit both the town and the wider South East Cornwall economy.

Sometimes described as “the most frequently flooded town in the UK”, Looe’s geography makes it particularly vulnerable to flooding caused by both high sea water levels and wave action in the inner harbour, and surface water flooding from intense rainfall during storms.

As well as regularly affecting homes and businesses in the town, causing £39m of damage in the last five years, sea levels are expected to rise more than 1 metre over the next 100 years as a result of climate change. This means flooding will threaten even more parts of the town in the future.

Potential areas at risk include the local GP surgery, police station, main food stores and cafes, the fish market and potentially the fire station, as well as major transport links such as the A387 which crosses the Looe River joining West and East Looe together, and the railway station which connects the town to the mainline at Liskeard.

With tourism worth around £47.8m to the local economy and supporting more than 1,500 local jobs, a decline of the town centre could not only deter people from visiting the town and reduce future investment, but could also affect holiday parks, communities and businesses right across South East Cornwall. 

With both key partners and local residents united in the need for a tidal flood defence scheme to maintain Looe as a viable fishing and tourism destination and secure its environmental, social and economic sustainability, a draft design put forward by Looe Harbour Commissioners was backed by more than 95% of local residents and landowners.

Following last year’s allocation of £2.3m to support the development of the project , Cornwall Council members and officers have been working with Looe Harbour Commissioners, Looe Town Council, Looe Development Trust, West Looe Town Trust, East Looe Town Trust, the Environment Agency, the RNLI and local MP Sheryll Murray to turn the draft design into an economically viable and environmentally friendly solution to the town’s tidal flooding challenges. 

With the current costs for delivering this project estimated at between £60m and £75m, work is now taking place on preparing a bid for funding to submit to the Government later this year.  Discussions are also planned for South West Water, Devon and Cornwall Police and Network Rail to encourage joint working and additional funding. In parallel to this, more detailed work is being progressed for the outline design of the scheme, with a detailed laser scan and sonar survey of the Harbour, Banjo Pier and Seawall.

“This is a vital project for Looe and the wider economy of South East Cornwall” said Tim Dwelly, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for culture, economy and planning.  “The Council is committed to supporting the development of this long awaited and much needed flood defence project.

“We will continue to work with local partners to develop a robust strategic outline case for the Government so we can secure the funding needed to take it to the next stage”.

Tina Hicks, Chief Executive of Looe Harbour Commissioners, is clear that the flooding is getting worse and that something needs to be done to prevent key local services being overcome in the future. 

“The local community has been pushing for a permanent solution to be provided for the town for more than 20 years” she said.  “There was overwhelming support for the draft design put forward during the last public consultation event and I am pleased that the proposals presented are being taken forward.  

“Not only will the proposed scheme safeguard the entire town centre, fishing fleet and harbour from increasingly frequent tidal flooding and allow the emergency services to remain operational, it will also support the regeneration of Looe and the wider South East Cornwall economy.

“By reducing the risk of tidal flooding and encouraging incoming business growth, providing improved rail links, 24/7 access to new sea and coastal ferry links, and the development of a new south east Cornwall cycle hub, and delivering improved water quality and access to water for all parts of the community, we can regain our reputation as a thriving fishing port and a key tourist destination rather than being seen as the most frequently flooded town in the country.”

The proposal, which aligns with the Looe Neighbourhood Development Plan, includes:

  • A tidal barrier which will be closed when a flood warning is issued
  • An inner breakwater which will prevent overtopping of the flood gates during tidal surges and a shelter for vessels when the flood gates are closed 
  • An extension to the Banjo pier, creating a low water landing stage providing all day easy access to the harbour. This may have the additional benefit of improved bathing water quality
  • A cut-off wall below East Looe beach to prevent tidal flooding bypassing the tidal barrier
  • A new walkway from Pennyland in the town to Hannafore to provide access to the coast path and protected access off the main road.

Work on developing the strategic outline case is due to be completed in the Summer when it will be presented to Ministers. If this receives Government support, a detailed business case will be developed to be presented later to the Government. If funding is approved the scheme could be constructed as early as 2025/2027.

 

 

Categories: Councils, Politics

New contract award means new bus routes, more frequent services and greener buses in Cornwall from April 2020

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 18:22

Eco Citybus Resized

Bus services in Cornwall are set to further improve from April 2020 when a new package of supported services is introduced with improved frequencies and routes, reduced fares for passengers, better links with rail, integrated school transport services and more environmentally friendly buses.

A new eight year contract has been awarded to Go Cornwall Bus, a subsidiary of national company Go-Ahead, to deliver a network of Council subsided local bus routes which are essential to local residents but are not commercially viable. There will be new services and improvements to existing routes including:

  • Direct links to Derriford Hospital
  • Launceston to Bodmin Town Centre and Parkway station
  • Newquay to Redruth direct
  • St Austell to Lostwithiel via Tywardreath Highway
  • Truro to Bodmin via Summercourt and Indian Queens
  • increased number of journeys between Hartland, Bude and Marhamchurch
  • additional journeys on services between Bude and Launceston and Bude to Truro
  • Truro to St Mawes to operate hourly on Mondays to Saturdays connecting at Tregony with two hourly Veryan to St Austell services
  • Cornwall Airport Newquay to Truro Railway Station 

These are the latest in a series of improvements to bus and rail services in Cornwall. 

Improvements to public transport in Cornwall over the past 3 years has seen passenger satisfaction increase from 85% to 95% and passenger numbers increase by 5% year on year, bucking the national trend which has seen a reduction in bus travel.

Rail passenger numbers continue to grow with regular half-hourly local stopping trains, doubling the frequency of off-peak services in each direction between Penzance and Plymouth, providing over 7,000 extra seats each weekday.

Infrastructure improvements already in place include

  • new rail signalling allowing more trains to run supported by the recently expanded depot at Penzance
  • upgraded bus stops and shelters including real time digital information
  • new buses and trains
  • bus stations improvements at Truro, Newquay and Penzance

Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport, Geoff Brown said:

“Improving Cornwall’s public transport system is one of the key priorities for the Council because we know it is important to our residents.” 

“We are concentrating on making public transport easier to use and good value so that residents move away from using the car.  This new contract will deliver wider network coverage and more frequent buses with timetables that will dovetail with half hourly train services.”

“These improvements will ensure the trend of increased use continues as we build a completely integrated public transport system which is focussed on the needs of the passenger.”

The Council subsidises over 50% of bus routes across Cornwall to connect communities and offer a viable alternative to the car.  These routes would otherwise not be provided by bus operators as they are not commercially viable but are a lifeline for our residents to access employment and education as well as shopping and leisure. 

Awarding the contract is the next stage in the One Public Transport System for Cornwall project which is delivering upon its objectives to improve public transport and provide a seamless integrated public transport network.

Geoff Brown continued: “We know that good public transport is important to our residents.  Our priority is to make sure that these routes are safeguarded and that passengers who use the bus routes subsidised by the Council get the best possible service.  Many people rely on these bus routes for work, for getting to hospital appointments and to go out to see friends and family. Rest assured that they will continue and improve under this new contract.”

“When awarding the new contract we took into account how we can increase the use of lower emission vehicles and encourage more people to use public transport in line with our commitment to tackle the climate emergency. We also looked at ticket pricing, the possibilities around increasing the frequency of buses and the quality of the vehicles – all of which will play a part in encouraging residents to use public transport and move away from using cars.”

Richard Stevens, Managing Director of Go Cornwall Bus said "We are delighted and privileged to be awarded this significant contract by Cornwall Council. We believe that working in partnership we will enhance customer experience, improve opportunity to travel and improve air quality across the Duchy.. 

Go Cornwall Bus prides itself on being a good community partner, through this expansion we are looking forward to working with people across the length and breadth of Cornwall". 

Geoff adds: “We’re also planning to introduce a 4 year pilot scheme to reduce fares to encourage more people to use buses.

Last year, the government awarded Cornwall a £23.5m funding package for a “Reduced Bus Fares” pilot to support the Council’s ongoing commitment to improving bus travel for residents.  We’re planning to introduce a scheme in May 2020 which will significantly reduce the cost of bus travel by establishing town zones and capping the cost for making multiple journeys within these zones. Ultimately, we want to deliver an integrated SMART ticketing system for bus, rail and ferry to make it as easy and convenient as possible for residents and visitors to use all forms of public transport.”

The contract to operate the Truro Park and Ride for the next eight years from April 2020 has been awarded to First Kernow. The new contract will see the Truro Park and Ride running later into the evenings from Monday to Saturday which will benefit residents working in or visiting Truro, especially those who work at or visit Treliske Hospital.

A further tender exercise will take place to determine the contracts for the delivery of School Bus Services – these awards will be made at the end of January 2020.

 

Story posted 07 January 2020 

Categories: Councils, Politics

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Outbreak Management Plan is published amid calls for more clarity from government

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 15:41

Cornwall Council has called on the government to provide more clarity on what powers local authorities will have to deal with a potential coronavirus outbreak.

It comes as Cornwall Council and the Isles of Scilly publish their Local Outbreak Management Plan, which sets out how any potential outbreak would be contained.

The plan details how organisations from across Cornwall would help limit the effects of an outbreak and describes how the council’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board will monitor progress and liaise directly with Government ministers.

But Cornwall Council leader and chair of the Local Engagement Outbreak Board, Julian German, called on the government to provide more details about the powers local authorities will have to effectively implement a localised lockdown.

He said: “This plan details our response to any future coronavirus outbreaks and how we will work with our partners to prevent it spreading. I thank all those involved in helping put it together.

“But we still need clarity from government about what powers Cornwall Council will have to enforce any regional or localised lockdown, which would have a serious impact on our communities, businesses, and the livelihoods of residents in affected areas.

“Where is that guidance? We are yet to see it, and this continuing confusion risks undermining the hard work we and other local authorities have done to keep our residents safe and limit the impact of Covid-19.”

The Local Outbreak Management plan was developed in close cooperation with other Local Authorities in the South West to make sure it meets the needs of Cornwall’s residents, but also fits in with the work of neighbouring authorities.

It outlines how close partnerships between local organisations like public health, the police, schools and care homes, alongside businesses and key industries such as tourism, will work.

Cornwall Council’s interim Director of Public Health, Rachel Wigglesworth, will lead a small committee made up of key personnel who can mobilise all the resources needed to provide a swift response to managing an outbreak. 

She said: "This comprehensive plan details how we will work with the new NHS Test and Trace Service and ensures we have the necessary capacity and capability to provide a fully co-ordinated approach to contain and manage local outbreaks of Covid-19. 

"The plan isn't set in stone. It provides a blueprint for action, but it will be regularly updated as new national guidance is produced or legislation changes. 

"Containing local outbreaks successfully will need to be a co-ordinated effort with specialists from Public Health England, the NHS, social care, education, the police, the private sector, employers and the community and voluntary sectors." 

Julian German added: “I’d like to express my thanks to our residents, who have acted with great sense and responsibility throughout this pandemic. Your efforts mean we have had the lowest number of outbreaks throughout the crisis by some way. 

"We all continue to have a vital role to play in reducing the spread of the virus and preventing further outbreaks. Please continue to follow guidance and advice and keep up social distancing, wash your hands regularly and, if you think you might have the virus, get a test and self-isolate".

You can find out more about the plan by visiting the Council’s website.

The council also has a frequently asked questions section on the Local Outbreak Management Plan.

Story published on July 1, 2020

Categories: Councils, Politics

Cornwall wins funding for retrofit plan to make homes greener and warmer

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 15:29

The Government has announced funding for Cornwall Council to start work later this year on a pioneering programme to make residents’ homes more energy efficient. 

The Council is one of three local authorities across the country to secure funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Energy Innovation Programme for the Whole House Retrofit Innovation project

Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng announced nearly £80 million of Government investment this week to help cut carbon emissions from homes and energy intensive businesses. 

Cornwall Council’s £4.2m pilot scheme is also receiving funding from the Council and its energy partner SSE which will see improvements such as external wall insulation, solar panels and heat pumps fitted to 83 homes managed by Cornwall Housing.  

Work is set to start on the first 16 homes in the autumn, using innovative solutions that aim to significantly reduce the properties’ emissions, heat loss and running costs for residents.  

All work will be carried out following social distancing safety requirements. 

A key part of the Council’s response to the climate emergency, the carbon-reducing Whole House Retrofit programme aims to be a cost-effective model to improve energy efficiency to Cornwall’s existing homes. 

It will cut energy bills for residents and help to reduce fuel poverty. 

The Council hopes its ground-breaking scheme will be the first step in wider plans to fit mass retrofit improvements across Cornwall’s housing stock as it helps Cornwall strive towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030.  

Councillor Andrew Mitchell, Cornwall’s cabinet member for homes, said: “While we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic we continue our work tackling the climate emergency and we welcome this Government announcement today which will allow us to progress our plans to make our homes warmer and greener.

“The Whole House Retrofit programme is one of the priority projects of our ambitious Carbon Neutral Cornwall programme which was approved by Cabinet last year in response to the climate emergency.

“We need to substantially reduce emissions from Cornwall’s existing homes, which make up 21% of our overall carbon footprint. We need to do this while reducing energy bills for Cornish residents; particularly householders on low incomes and those who are vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home.

“The 83 homes in this pilot will benefit from a radical improvement, reducing their emissions by up to 80 per cent. And delivering this project will provide very useful learning to inform our approach to retrofitting our 10,000 Cornwall Council homes.”

Councillor Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall’s cabinet member for climate change and neighbourhoods, said: “We welcome this funding from BEIS which will enable us to demonstrate how we can retrofit our own Council homes to ensure their energy performance is fit for a carbon neutral energy system.

“But to help Cornwall become carbon neutral by 2030 we are asking the Government to support us in providing the finance and training needed for us to undertake the mass housing retrofit of all Cornwall’s homes that are rated below EPC level C. 

“Cornwall has over 97,000 solid wall properties and 133,000 homes off gas which are a priority for energy efficiency improvements and a key part of our response to tackling the climate emergency.”

Cornwall Council Leader Julian German said: “I am pleased that we now have the opportunity to move ahead with this pilot. It will provide important learning to develop larger-scale programmes and proposals for our own housing stock but also for other social landlords, the private rented sector and more widely across Cornwall.”

Chris Franks, Director of Homes and Investment at Cornwall Housing, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this project, which will not only improve the energy efficiency of our homes but ultimately benefit the people of Cornwall by contributing to a better environment for the future.”

Cornwall Council’s Whole House Retrofit Innovation programme will be managed by SSE Energy Solutions with support from PRP Architects LLP which designed the Whole House Retrofit system. It will be monitored and evaluated by BRE.

The Whole House Retrofit Innovation programme is receiving £1.051m from BEIS, £2.28m from Cornwall Council and £0.88 from SSE.

Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng said: “We want to invest now to ensure we continue to propel the UK towards a stronger, greener future. 

“This new £80 million investment will help to reduce emissions across our economy, which will save people money on energy bills and protect jobs in heavy industry.” 

Other key schemes of Cornwall Council’s Carbon Neutral Cornwall programme are the 8,000-hectare carbon-absorbing Forest for Cornwall; a new, climate change planning document to promote renewable energy including the commitment to power all new homes with alternative sources to gas; and a new decision-making framework to prioritise environmental and social benefits in all Council policies.  

For more information on Cornwall Council’s climate change plans go to www.cornwall.gov.uk/climatechange 

 

Notes to editors: 

The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) brings together responsibilities for business, industrial strategy, science, innovation, energy, and climate change. The Whole House Retrofit (WHR) cost reduction trajectory competition is funded by the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme and further details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/whole-house-retrofit-whr-competition. 

 

Story posted on July 1, 2020 

 

Categories: Councils, Politics

Cornwall’s Harbourmasters warn of the dangers of ‘tombstoning’

Tue, 30/06/2020 - 15:19

Cornwall’s harbourmasters have warned against the dangers of ‘tombstoning’ as towns and villages prepare to welcome holidaymakers back after the lockdown. 

Tombstoning involves jumping off cliffs, seawalls and harbours into deep water, but has claimed 20 lives across the UK since 2007. 

Now Truro and Penryn Harbourmaster Mark Killingback, who has worked closely with HM Coastguard and Police over many years to highlight the dangers, has added his voice to calls to stop this high-risk activity.  

Mark said: “With better weather, and everyone flocking back to the coast, tombstoning has again reached epidemic proportions.” 

“We cannot over-emphasise how dangerous it is to - quite literally - jump into the unknown. You can never tell what is hidden from view under the sea’s surface. Not only hidden rocks, but we have pulled out rusting bicycles and wooden stakes from water adjacent to harbour walls – imagine the injuries they could cause. Since 2004 the Coastguard has dealt with over 200 incidents, with 70 injuries and 20 deaths.” 

He added: “This is completely unnecessary risk-taking.” 

The Safer Cornwall partnership, which includes Cornwall Council and Devon and Cornwall Police, reminds parents to keep track of their children’s activities. They have had reports of anti-social behaviour associated with tombstoning, including people being threatening or abusive, alcohol consumption and criminal damage. 

Newquay and St.Ives Harbourmaster Mike Ridgway said there have been reports on the rise of tombstoners getting verbally abusive to boat skippers, who sound their horns as a warning to move out of the way when they are entering the harbour.  

In Penzance there has been tombstoning from quays and from the stern of the Scillonian ferry, as well as swimming in the harbour mouth while vessels are approaching.  

Chris King is Pier Master of Falmouth’s Prince of Wales Pier and has recorded numerous incidents of tombstoning during May and June this year, including one where damage was done to one of the pier buildings.  

Rob Nolan, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection, said: “Tombstoning can have severe and life-threatening consequences. We’re urging everyone to consider the risks to themselves and others. Look out for warning signs and don’t jump into the unknown.” 

To report any anti-social behaviour ring the police on the non-emergency number 101 or email 101@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk.  

You can also report anti-social behaviour to Cornwall Council’s Anti-social Behaviour Team on 0300 1234 232 or at antisocialbehaviour@cornwall.gov.uk

If the threat is causing immediate danger call 999. Visit the Safer Cornwall website to find out more. 

Categories: Councils, Politics