June Parish Council Meeting

The next Davidstow Parish Council meeting will take place “virtually” at 19:00 on Monday June 1st via a Zoom Conference call. More details on the Parish Council web site:

https://www.davidstowparishcouncil.org.uk/council-meetings.html?month=06&year=2020&submit=Go#item-1306186

There doesn’t seem to be an agenda available just yet however.

P.S. A trip to the village noticeboard revealed the agenda for Monday’s meeting:

It’s to discuss the planning application to install a solar farm and… a battery storage facility and underground electricity connection to Saputo Dairy UK”

Davidstow.info on BBC Radio Cornwall

I saw this “Tweet” from BBC Radio Cornwall’s Laurence Reed yesterday:

Since I’d already been writing to my MP about the probable problems of policing the new Covid-19 lockdown exercise guidance revealed by Boris Johnson over the weekend, the thought of asking Shaun Sawyer a question or two was irresistible! I duly dialled the listed number and was told to expect a call back once Shaun Sawyer was on air later in the afternoon.

Sure enough a couple of hours later I was listening to what Shaun had to say when my mobile phone rang. Now listening via my phone I heard Laurence frighten Shaun off by asking him about his worst ever date! Not long after that Laurence said my name. You can hear what happened after that by fast forwarding the following recording on BBC Sounds to 1:53:45

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08brmvq

The recording will be available for another 29 days, and during that time I’ll endeavour to post a more complete transcript below. For the moment here’s an extract to give you a flavour:

Jim – I was hoping to speak to our Chief Constable, but he’s gone… Can I make my point?

Laurence – Please do.

Jim – Lots of other people have made all sorts of other points that I was endeavouring to get across to our Chief Constable, but I’ll just quote one from Twitter, not written by me. He was “tweeting” to Shaun, saying “What do you make of the ill thought out, poor legislation made in haste by our Government?”. So my question would have been “Has the Government consulted either the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall or indeed the Chief Constable’s organisation before implementing these hasty, ill thought out measures that all of us in Devon and Cornwall are having to put up with?”

He’s gone, so I can’t ask him!

Here is the output of James Annan’s Covid-19 epidemic model, comparing what actually happened with what would have happened if the UK lockdown had been imposed one week earlier:

To summarise, that’s 11,000 simulated deaths if lockdown had taken place on March 16th, instead of around 43,000 actual deaths following lockdown on March 23rd.

Watch this space!

Covid-19 Lockdown “Lifted” in Cornwall

As the editor of Davidstow.info on Monday May 11th I wrote to Scott Mann, the Member of Parliament for North Cornwall, to express this view:

How on Earth does HM Government expect Devon and Cornwall Police to enforce the rules that from Wednesday “Driving from London to surf” in North Cornwall is OK but then “staying in a tent, B&B, hotel or second home” is punishable by an increased fine?

What if somebody drives down from up country in a traditional VW “surf bus” for example, and kips in the back for a few nights?

Scott Mann’s Parliamentary Assistant replied on his behalf as follows:

It would not be permissible for someone to travel down in a camper and stay the night.

In any case, the Government is largely relying on the public’s common sense – the regulations are there to provide some clarity. It is not, to my mind or yours I imagine, a good idea for people to travel across the UK and risk spreading this disease! Hopefully the public can deploy sufficient common sense for it not to be too great an issue.

The police are doing a brilliant job of enforcing these restrictions, and from following their social media I can see they have taken numerous actions to prevent people from breaking the regulations. Whilst they cannot stop everybody, they can certainly act as a disincentive.

I hope this helps.

Subsequently the Davidstow.info Twitter feed expressed this sentiment yesterday morning:

Yesterday we also reported the following:

Q.E.D. Scott and Selaine?

What’s up with Crowdy Reservoir water level?

On my habitual Covid-19 lockdown permitted cycle ride across Davidstow Moor earlier today I glanced in the direction of Roughtor and noticed something strange. I cycled across the moor, parked my bike by the fence, hopped over the stile and walked to the edge of Crowdy reservoir.

Here is what I discovered:

The part of Crowdy Marsh I crossed wasn’t marshy. What’s more the water level in the reservoir seemed very low for the time of year, particularly given the winter we’ve just experienced!

After I returned home the South West Lakes Trust web site seemed to confirm my suspicions:

What’s up with Crowdy Reservoir’s anomalously low water level?

Saputo Solar Farm and Battery Storage Planning Application

A lot has happened since Dairy Crest requested a screening opinion regarding a potential solar farm next to their Davidstow “cheese factory” back in September 2018. Not least of which is that Dairy Crest have been taken over by the Canadian company Saputo.

At long last Saputo have formally applied for planning permission to install a “a solar farm and associated infrastructure, including a battery storage facility and underground electricity connection to Saputo Dairy UK” on land South West of Saputo Dairy UK (SDUK), Davidstow, Camelford, Cornwall:

The map reveals that only one of the two areas shown in the original EIA request is part of this application. Consequently the stated peak power from the proposed solar PV installation is 4.2MW. According to the project’s planning statement:

Lightsource BP and Saputo Dairy UK (SDUK) have entered into a Power Purchase Agreement, which forms a contract of the sale of electricity from an energy generating asset (Solar Farm/solar PV installation) owned by the asset manager (Lightsource BP) to the consumer (SDUK) at a fixed price. This provides SDUK with both immediate savings on their electricity bill and price certainty over the operational life of the solar PV installation.

Should you wish to comment on the planning application the “Neighbour Consultation Expiry Date” is Thursday 21st May 2020.

Bodmin Moor Arson Redux

News has reached us via the What’s On in Camelford Facebook page of another big blaze on Bodmin Moor.

Emma Williams has a good view of the Moor from her garden, and reports this morning:

Another fire been started at the same place near Roughtor absolutely ridiculous! They are putting people’s lives at risk as if the fire service doesn’t have enough to deal with!

Graeme and I had just gone out into our front garden to let the dog out when we noticed it and phoned it in at 12.20 AM. There were cars up on Davidstow Moor. I cannot understand why anyone would be driving around there at that time, and when the blue lights appeared they turned their headlights off.

It was small when we first saw it but within 5 – 10 minutes it had got to the size of what you see in the first photo and then kept spreading. Which is why we were suspicious that it hadn’t long been started due to the speed it spread.

Thanks very much to Emma for these pictures of the fire and its aftermath:

P.S. After a bike ride up on to Davidstow Moor, here are my own images of the two big blackened bits of Bodmin Moor:

[Edit – April 22nd]

This evening we took a much closer look at the site of the second fire on the Moor:

Our sense of smell got a bit of a battering once on site as well!

Lisa the LEAF goes to the locked down doctors

A photo essay on my trip to locked down Camelford earlier today for essential medical purposes, courtesy of Twitter:

As is frequently the case, a trip to see the doctor is often swiftly followed by a trip to see the chemist. Boots in this case:

There was no queue outside when I arrived. I was allowed inside this building immediately! The counter staff were protected by perspex windows. Most wore masks as well.

In the early evening a cycle ride up to Davidstow Moor was the order of the day:

I did see a few masked up folk in the street today, but many more without. Several were evidently not conforming to the social distancing measures displayed in the gate to Enfield Park. Perhaps they hadn’t been to either the park or the doctors’ surgery recently?

What Constitutes a “Reasonable Excuse”?

This article is reproduced by kind permission of our sister website CoV-eHealth.org, for the benefit of surfers, coast path walkers and moor hikers resident in and around Camelford, North Cornwall. And elsewhere I suppose.

The United Kingdom’s National Police Chief’s Council has published new guidance on what constitutes a “reasonable excuse” to leave your residence during the current novel coronavirus lockdown. You can download a copy from:

https://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/COVID-19/Documents/What-constitutes-a-reasonable-excuse.pdf

Of particular interest to me as a “silver surfer” is the part that states:

Exercise can come in many forms, including walks.

Exercise must involve some movement, but it is acceptable for a person to stop for a break in exercise.

It is lawful to drive for exercise.

Whilst surfing is not explicitly mentioned in the new document the current Police Commander for Cornwall has previously issued guidance on that form of exercise for the county:

According to “Cornwall’s top cop” before the new guidance was published:

Police BCU Commander for Cornwall, Temporary Chief Superintendant Ian Drummond-Smith said the recent guidance from the London-based National Police Chiefs Council was consistent with what his officers were doing on the ground but he reiterated that the public should not try and take advantage of the guidance.

He said: “Surfing has not been banned. It’s exercise and in Cornwall we know it’s a popular exercise. People can still surf. The question of driving a reasonable distance as per the NPCC guidelines, is ‘how far is reasonable’.

“The NPCC guidelines does not say whether you can or cannot drive to do your exercise. I am telling my officers people can surf and some may well drive to surf.”

Now all we denizens of the North Coast need to do is wait for the swell to be onshore and the wind to be offshore once again.

And to stay well over 2 meters away from anybody else with the same idea at the same time at the same beach!

Bodmin Moor Arson

This morning I read the following report on the Twitter feed of Mark Hewitt, Cornwall’s Chief Fire Officer:

Hence this afternoon Kasia and I decided to use our coronavirus constrained exercise period to investigate. Here’s our initial photo report:

 

 

 

On our way back to base we spotted these lambs in a field near the Moor. Please note that according to Julie Dowton of the Bodmin Moor Commoners this spring’s lambs haven’t been moved out onto the Moor just yet, and “no livestock were harmed” by the fire. However the High Moor is a site of special scientific interest, and all sorts of wildlife will undoubtedly have been terminally harmed.

Much more to come later, including a video we hope.

P.S. I just had a detailed description of the fire across 300 acres of Bodmin Moor from Rich Gibbons, Station Manager for the Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service. There are now lots more words to follow, but first some moving pictures from the middle of the Moor.

The only way to put the blaze out was to walk across the Moor to the fire front and use a traditional beater.

Something I hadn’t realised before is that soon after the fire on the Moor was ultimately extinguished another fire started in a building on Davidstow Airfield. Hence the confident use of the word “arson” in the title of this article. Here’s the site of the second attack:

Watch this space!

Coronavirus Pandemic Mutual Support

Davidstow Parish Council have issued the following notice regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic:

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

DO YOU NEED HELP? CAN YOU HELP?

The spread of Coronavirus is likely to have a significant impact on our community in Davidstow. Many individuals will have to self-isolate to keep themselves and others free from harm.

As a community we need to look out for and support our vulnerable neighbours and fellow residents. This may include:
• Shopping for essentials;
• Picking up prescriptions;
• Acting as a point of contact if they want advice, support or just a chat.

If you can help this initiative by acting as a volunteer, please let us know by using either of the contact points below.

If you need help, please also contact us and we will do what we can to assist you.

IMPORTANT: If you need medical help, remember to contact NHS 111 if you need advice. If possible, contact the NHS on-line on 111.nhs.uk. Call 999 if it is an emergency / life threatening condition.

Contact points:Telephone 07859 419519

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Davidstow Parish Council