MP's column

In last week’s piece I mentioned the launch of the England Trees Strategy consultation. This is now open for three months at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/developing-a-tree-strategy-for-england

Another consultation launched relates to the roll out of smart meters. This ambitious programme has not always had my support as I had reservations about the functionality of the smart meters used, what the true motivation of the roll out was and I shared concerns about the use of people’s data by energy companies. However, these issues have largely been resolved or clarified. And we are now much more alert to the need to decarbonise and the supply and management of electricity is key to this. In short, without an effective smart meter roll out programme, we will fail to cut our carbon emissions sufficiently. When we see the full potential of smart meters the benefits will include maximising the use of renewable energy such as charging our cars and using some household appliances when the energy is most available and, for energy suppliers, distributing the energy more smartly to meet demand. The link to the consultation is https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/893119/smart-meter-consultation-future-coordinated-consumer-engagement.pdf

I welcome the announcements this week regarding the reviewed guidance in relation to social distancing (to change to 1 metre) and the opportunity to open pubs and holiday accommodation if done safely. The date for these is July 4th but the fact remains that these measures will be permitted only if the rate of coronavirus infections continue to fall. We are not very good at sharing the actual data for Cornwall but the latest information is as follows: The R-Rate (rate of infection) in the Southwest is .06 - .09 (the lowest in England) as of Tuesday evening. The last recorded death related to coronavirus in Cornwall was on June 2nd (across Devon one person has been known to have died of this disease in the past 7 days). The fact that coronavirus is in retreat is illustrated by the fact that in the 7 days up to June 6th 11 people were recorded to have died across Devon and Cornwall of or with coronavirus. Across the UK 171 people were recorded to have died on Monday this week and 874 were diagnosed with the disease (across all testing). A World Health Organisation representative said on Tuesday ‘The UK has brought a very difficult outbreak right down. Very good news in the last couple of days about the limitation in cases, and far, far fewer people dying. So, now is the moment to celebrate that by being super careful.‘ I know we will be - the measures reputable accommodation providers are going to are over and above expected and the reason Public Health England and the Government have confirmed the changes to lockdown restrictions is because the hospitality and tourism sector has planned and worked up safe methods of opening that have passed intense scrutiny.