• Leader, John Hart and portfolio holder for the environment, Roger Croad, both spoke in favour of the motion, as did my seconder, Robert Vint - and emphasised the importance of the government retaining protections for the UK’s nature in the same way AT LEAST as EU laws provide for currently. This motion will not only send a strong message to central government that this is absolutely vital for Devon’s landscape but will hopefully inspire other councils to do the same. We must speak with one voice on this issue because there are competing voices lobbying for the opposite to happen. [...]

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    PLEDGE FOR COUNTY COUNCIL ELECTION CANDIDATES IN EAST DEVON. Health services in East Devon must not be sacrificed to protect ring-fenced spending elsewhere in the county or to support a flawed political ideology. I am committed to work for the retention and development of a full range of services and healthcare facilities in East Devon, including services for mental health treatment for adults and young persons and those specialist health services that have been targeted for removal. I will not support any move towards accelerated “Care in the Home” provision until the CCG provides sound, [...]

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    Over 200 MPs nationally have signed up to the promise, including Hugo Swire’s party colleague, Neil Parish.  Exeter MP, Ben Bradshaw has also signed. Mr Swire has been asked twice to support the pledge by environmental groups - and I have twice asked him via Twitter over recent weeks. But so far silence has ensued.  This is very disappointing and I hope our MP will sign up as soon as possible. I am sure that many of his constituents would feel very let down knowing that he appears not to support the pledge. The pledge - link here - http://greeneruk.org/pledge.php -  is: [...]

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    A number of species which are found in Devon such as the dormouse, otter and bats are given extra protection under EU legislation. These directives will no longer apply in their current form in UK law, even if the UK remains in the single market. At the same time as all of these sites are set to lose this high level of protection under EU law, the latest State of Nature report outlined catastrophic news of our wildlife, finding that 15 per cent of those studied are threatened with extinction.  97 per cent of all wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930s. A government committee - [...]

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    Devon County Council has seen over half its budgets disappear due to austerity measures.  Many services have been cut back, or lost as a result. I am also concerned about the effect of Brexit on the vast amount of land and species currently highly protected under EU legislation. This is at risk of not being properly protected as we leave the EU.  In Devon alone, there are 122 sites across 115,000 hectares, including at Woodbury and Aylesbeare Commons. The transfer of this EU legislation to UK law needs carefully monitoring. Since Tuesday morning I have received hundreds of messages [...]

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    Ministers will seek to obfuscate as usual with platitudes but there is now a raft of leaks coming out of central government. My motion that goes before Devon County Council’s full meeting on 27 April is more timely than I thought. In Devon we have 122 EU protected sites across 115,000 hectares, including Dartmoor and Aylesbeare and Woodbury Commons. See BBC interview with MEP Molly Scott Cato here - https://twitter.com/MollyMEP/status/853864044448624640 See my motion, developed with Devon Wildlife Trust, here - “Devon is home to many scarce and threatened habitats such our [...]

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    It isn’t the first time Mr Venner has lashed out at local people trying to save Ottery Hospital. After an event I organised at the hospital last May which Hugo Swire MP attended, Mr Venner referred to Ottery St Mary Hospital in a tweet as a “geriatric home.” In a few days the Conservatives will no doubt send a leaflet around pledging their support for local hospitals and the NHS. It is important that people are aware that in the Otter Valley, their Conservative candidate holds views that may be at odds with those set out in his leaflet. The elections are on Thursday 4 May.

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    Thank you to around 150 determined people who turned up in the pouring rain. Ottery Hospital lost its general medical beds in 2015 and the stroke unit will transfer to the RD&E imminently. The message from the CCG was that it would become a health hub. Then it was it “could” become a health hub, nowadays there are little or no assurances from the CCG as to the hospital’s future. And the wolf is peering in the window…. NHS Property Services has acquired the building for free (and 11 others across Eastern Devon) and is charging commercial rent to a cash-strapped local[...]

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