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Cornwall Forum

Good place to discuss any issues affecting or of interest to any part of the whole of Cornwall

I read with interest your manifesto

Dear Mr Sousek

I read with interest your manifesto which was delivered yesterday. In recent months I have had cause to realise how important once local councillor is. So making my choice for the forthcoming local elections is more important to me than it has been in the past when in truth I was rather apathetic about local elections. However, Phil Tucker has been most supportive to both myself and my immediate neighbours as well as to the wider community as we find ourselves in an area targeted by solar developers. Our home is to be 200m from a large 40 acre development and in North Tamerton we have 4 large developments over 150 acres being proposed as well as Bardford farm and Crinicott at 40+ acres which is alread built all within a 4 km radius.

We ourselves have panels on our roof, we run a smallholding and we try to be self sufficient as well as providing bed and breakfast accommodation however, having spent an enormous amount of time researching the current policies or lack of them and the science behind wind turbines and solar farms it seems to me that this is not a green energy issue but one linked to greed and finance as the motivation seems to be the trading of the ROCs

So my question to you is - were I to give you my vote and were you to be elected as the as our representative what would be your position on this issue and how would you be able to support residence like myself. When our and all our neighbours find their particular solar development going before the strategic planning committee how would you feel about supporting us and putting forward our concerns?

I am sure you will be attending at least one of the meetings to be held over the next week in which these large developments are to be discussed and you will see for yourself if you are not already aware of the feeling of the community.

I will look forward to your response so that I might make an informed decision on May 2nd and wish you all the best in your campaign.

Kind regards

Sarah-Jane Stephens

reply by Paul Sousek:

Dear Ms Stephens

Thank you for your email expressing your concerns.

To quote from my leaflet:
"We are at a turning point in our history. Climate Change on an unprecedented scale, increasing price of energy due to depleting fossil fuels, financial and economic systems under threat of collapse, rising price of food, etc. We have to face the challenge of living sustainably, we can galvanise action, harness all the talent of Cornwall and redesign our future. Paul’s work at Cottage Farm shows it is possible and rewarding to do so."

Our whole way of life is currently based on large quantities of energy derived from burning fossil fuels. That has to change because it is unsustainable. No only because burning fossil fuels is causing potentially catastrophic climate change, which will effect us but mainly our children, grandchildren and future generations, but also because fossil fuels, being a non-renewable resources, are subject to depletion. That is why prices have tripled over the past 6 years and are likely to be doubling and tripling in future years as well. This will cause greater and greater proportion of us falling into real energy poverty.

I am sure that neither of us wants to subject the next and future generations to uncontrollable rise in temperature, leading to sea rise eventually by 50 metres, flooding most major cities and most of the best agricultural land. Neither do we want to leave the next generation with depleted fossil fuel sources and no alternatives in place to allow them reasonable standard of living as well.

My solution is to switch as rapidly as possible to renewable sources of energy.
What is yours?

PV arrays represent one of the best renewable energy sources currently available to us. Combined with wind turbines, AD plants and energy storage facilities (such as pumped storage, compressed air, chemical storage, batteries and others) will allow us to continue with reasonable way of life without damaging the planet any further.

I am not clear from your email what your objection to PV arrays is. Is it the visual aspect? Is it the construction period? Or is it the fact that these developments are planned for green field sites?

I hope it is not the aesthetics that concern you, since our situation is so dangerous that visual objections simply cannot be taken seriously. Our and future generations prospects are of far greater concern.

The construction process can be disruptive, but is unlikely to take long. Once the PV arrays are in place, traffic will be reduced, not increased.

Building anything on green fields is undesirable. However PV arrays are just about the least objectionable development on agricultural land. The land will continue being used for agricultural purposes and at the end of the PV array useful life the whole field can be brought back to full agricultural use.

It is clearly better to place PV arrays on South sloping roofs and both you and I are using our roofs for that purpose. But there simply isn't enough roof space available. Once we reach the planned volume of PV arrays the Government will further reduce or completely remove the current subsidies, bringing further PV array installations to a halt. But we are not there yet.

Yes, farmers are making money out of renewable energy of various types. You call it greed. Well, every single commercial organisation in the capitalist system is driven by greed. Everybody charges as much as 'the market will bear' for whatever service or product they produce. If you work(ed) in a commercial organisation or if you run your own business, you will recognise that in your own actions. That is how the system works. That is why the Government has instituted a system of subsidies - to make use of this greed to as rapidly as possible install the planned volume of renewable energy.

I hope you find my answer useful and I hope it helps you decide in favour of renewable energy.

Best regards

Paul Sousek
Cottage Farm
Sustainable organic carbon neutral farm powered by renewable energy producing organic beef and lamb. London and local deliveries by carbon neutral transport.
Cottage Farm, Jacobstow, Cornwall, EX23 0BU
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BBC Food and Farming, sustainable Farmer of the Year finalist
Best Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme in Cornwall and other successes at Cornwall Sustainability Awards
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Speaker at national conferences, House of Commons and local groups on the future of energy, food and farming.