20 Nov 2008

What else today? Flooding, fluoride, Parish and Village Hall.

As you will see from other entries today I've had a day of annual leave to catch up on a whole host of projects - work has been too busy recently and I apologise for delays in replying to emails - please bear in mind I get between 80 and 100 of them daily plus a handful of phone calls.....

Photos; more from Randwick woods at the weekend

Well the Safe Water Campaign met today in Stroud - under discussion was the news that Southampton City is voting for fluoride to be added to our water - see here the news release from Southampton that I added yesterday - and response to Southampton Echo here from one of our members.

It is deeply worrying - this vote flies in the face of public opinion and other local councils votes - it also gives support to the Health Authorities attempts to get the fluoride added to the water supply - and if it happens there it will make it more likely that elsewhere will also consider it.

Update re Southampton

However before I finished this blog entry the most fantastic news came in! Hampshire County Council have voted against fluoridation, and the reasons set out for their opposition could not be better stated if we had written the report ourselves! It is an astonishing indictment on every aspect of fluoridation and of the SHA's consultation.

One campaigner in Southampton writes: "I was particularly pleased that the Panel has put the SHA in a hole by requesting that they inform parents of young children about not mixing baby formula with fluoridated water. How are they going to get out of that one? That was also the point we made at the TVBC full council - and it's impossible to argue against because it's the BDA's own official advice!"

The question is clearly now how much pressure can HCC exert on the Strategic Health Authority? This document is so powerful that in the face of it, it is hard to believe the SHA can now go ahead. It would be almost impossible to justify such an action after this Report. Congratulations to all involved with this!!!! A very well deserved victory of commonsense.

Glos Flood inquiry

Also today I was interviewed for nearly an hour about the the way Gloucestershire County Council handled the inquiry into the floods - see their report here - Glos Uni are looking at how it was carried out to see if lessons can be learnt. It is worth remembering this was the largest civil emergency in the UK since World War II, with the homes of hundreds of thousands of people in Stroud, Gloucester, Tewkesbury and Cheltenham affected directly by flooding, and by the loss of water supplies and power that followed. Gloucestershire came very close to compulsory evacuation and tempers became seriously frayed in many communities. Anyhow following the Scrutiny Inquiry into the Summer Emergency 2007, the GCC Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee established a task-group to examine planning and flood risk issues in more detail. Their report is out and I have a hard copy but for some reason I can't find it on the web.

Anyhow - yes I know I just said anyhow - well anyhow my comments were mostly favourable about the process although communication with other Councils could be improved - I only heard about the inquiry through the press initially - and there is still a need for a more holistc approach - yes this is a huge step in the right direction - for the Green party's submission to The House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee see here. Our submission to the GCC inquiry was similar.

Randwick Parish meeting

I've missed several of these Parish meetings recently due to other Council meetings on Thursday nights - they all love Thursdays - Full Council, Cabinet, Scrutiny and both Parishes!

Anyhow I was able to catch up a little - and gave a grief update on matters like the orchard project, the grit bin tipped over again near Humphrey's End (see photo), bus shelters, allotments and waste - but only stayed for an hour as it was also the Village Hall meeting...

Ruscombe and Whiteshill Village Hall meeting

Also this evening was this meeting and it was my first chance to go to it - they only happen 4 times a year and I am not a committee member - this was their AGM - and it was good to meet the team and to enjoy wine and nibbles after the business was discussed!! The hall has an excellent range of activities - Lindy Hop, Toddlers, Keep Fit, Line Dancing, Tai Chi, Pilates, Yoga, Ballet. Wives Club and more. I have volunteered to help explore funding for the hall with the District Council re energy efficiency measures...and that was even before a glass of wine - anyhow a big thanks to the team for looking after our Village Hall. Time for bed for me now!

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