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Here you can put forward your thought and ideas, ask questions and comment on any subject connected you like, but hopefully with some connection to Transition, Peak Oil or Climate Change.

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PaulS's picture

Energy, housing and time

Thank you for your email and comments. It is so refreshing to converse with interested electors.

We, too, are newcomers, having moved to Cottage Farm just 4 years ago.
The view that MK is a party just for the Cornish is a wide spread misconception. To quote from MK's manifesto:
'Mebyon Kernow - the Party for Cornwall is a modern and progressive political party. It is a party of principle, campaigning for a better deal for Cornwall and a fairer, more equitable World.

We exist to fight for ALL the people of Cornwall, with a political programme that puts Cornwall first and offers an alternative to the London-centred parties.'

MK welcomes all the people living in Cornwall, whether Cornish or not, and will argue for policies to benefit Cornwall, all the people of Cornwall. To learn more about MK please have a look at http://www.mebyonkernow.org/

And now to your questions ...

Question: How would you actually 'take advantage' of Cornwall's abundance of renewable energy and just what does this renewable energy actually consist of?

Cornwall has a great deal of renewable energy at its disposal:

Wind energy:
Apart from commercial on-shore and off-shore wind farms at appropriate locations, I would encourage the installation of farm size wind turbines to power as many farms as possible. I would encourage communal wind farm formation: medium scale wind farms owned by residents of individual villages or Parishes, which would generate income for the community equivalent to something like the national average electricity bill, i.e. £500 per person. Such schemes effectively insulate communities from future electricity increase for 25 years or more since the income would tend to rise at the same rate as future electricity price increases. I would further support installation of domestic wind turbines of anything between 1-5 kW at the many relatively isolated houses and hamlets in Cornwall.

Wave energy:
The potential of this energy source is enormous and the first commercial installations are being built now. Wave energy could provide plentiful energy not just for Cornwall but also to export and earn revenue. Here is an example: http://www.transitionnc.org/?q=node/53/399#comment-399 and http://www.transitionnc.org/?q=node/53/276#comment-276

Tidal power:
Very predictable and constant potential source of energy which could be deployed around the Cornish coast at places not used in tourism. Here is an example of the first commercial application: http://www.transitionnc.org/?q=node/53/271#comment-271

Solar water heating:
Cornwall has just about the greatest amount of solar light landing on its surface. Combined with a 'heat store', which can be fed by solar tubes, wood burner and electric immersion heater from excess wind turbine energy, enough hot water can be produced all year round for domestic purposes and even for space heating.

Anaerobic digestion:
As part of our zero waste policy we would wish to ensure that all suitable material is fed into local units, converting waste into energy and producing as a side product excellent garden or farm fertiliser.

Slurry pits:
Every slurry pit is a potential energy source. At present methane gas, a powerful global warming gas, emanates from slurry, either in the pit or after spreading on fields. This methane can be effectively and cheaply captured and burnt (thus eliminating its global warming effect) to produce heat and electricity and at the same time making the slurry odour-less prior to spreading

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Question: Although we agree that something needs to be done with regard to affordable housing and not just for the young by the way, we do not want thousands of houses being build all over Cornwall. What would your policy be with regard to the siting and numbers of these?

MK Housing policy is here: http://www.mebyonkernow.org/?q=policies_housing. Examples:

'Only allow housing developments which could demonstrate a local need through an "assessment of community need and acceptability."

Increase the number of affordable homes for local people, through strict new planning regulations and greatly increased financial support for Housing Associations, other social landlords and councils to rebuild a public rented sector and invest in more partial ownership schemes.

and

End the present situation where the number of houses to be built in Cornwall is decided outside Cornwall. We believe such important decisions should be taken by a Cornish Assembly.'
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Question: Finally, you seem to be a busy and successful man,that being so, how much time would you, in practise, and in all honesty, actually have to give to us all should you be elected?

Currently I run Cottage Farm, a 60 acre organic mixed beef and lamb farm. In addition I am involved in the Transition Movement, my local Parish and the letting of some holiday homes.

If elected I would continue to run the farm, which requires about 50% of my time, and devote the rest to the Cornwall Council business, including dealing with individual residents' concerns. I estimate I would be spending between 20 and 30 hours a week on these issues.

I am keen to try to ensure that Cornwall Council begins to implement sustainability and resilience County-wide as I think these issues are key to our future and our children's future.

I hope I have answered your questions to your satisfaction, but if not, please feel free to email me again.

Best regards, hopping for your support

Paul Sousek