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2010 Reflections


Here’s what’s happening in Cornwall over New Year -

Welcome to 2010 – Reflections.

Fireworks detonated from the beach at midnight. More exploded from the back of the village and the headland behind the pub. Our son, Ryan and his family were staying with us and we popped open a bottle of fizz and went outside to capture that defining moment as the old year slips away and the new one arrives. John and Ryan lit Chinese lanterns, one of which caught the breeze and flew over the sea, while the others set fire to themselves (!) and blew into the trees of the next doors neighbours’ garden! The instructions read light the little paraffin container with a match and wait until the hot air lifts the lantern before letting it go… not set fire to the paper with the blowtorch that I keep in the kitchen for caramelising creme brulees, but, hey, what do I know, I’m only a woman and we know our place when the caveman compulsion kicks in with men and fires, bbq’s, fireworks and, it seems, Chinese lanterns!

The whizzing and exploding… around the village woke our granddaughter, Madeleine and a bed-warmed, little sleepyhead, staggered snoozily outside to join us in her pinker- than- pink, ‘Hello Kitty’ pj’s. Whatever 2010 is going to throw my way, I will remind myself that I’m truly blessed being able to share moments of precious love from a cuddling, snuggling little one with her crazy curls tickling my face, drinking champagne with my darling husband and son, while rockets lit up the sea with shocking brilliance.

Reflecting on topics I had written last year, two have particularly interested me and have moved on and One was fishing quotas and the other Natural England’s unnatural intervention into recklessly mismanaging the moors of West Cornwall. The fishing issue hasn’t improved with further cuts effecting SW fishermen announced by the European Parliament in December. There will be deductions in quotas for pollack, plaice and sole. Fishermen said some new quotas would lose them millions of pounds, but overall, the announcement was ‘not as bad as expected’. It was ‘mixed news’ for local fishermen with 5 percent reduction in sole catches not being as bad as the 15 percent proposed. Paul Trebilcock, chief executive of Cornish Fish Producers’ Organisation said that for every tonne of sole that is cut from quotas, local fishermen lose around £10,000 and will devastate many local boats. However, one lucrative catch is for monk, which has a 15 percent quota increase.

The Save Penwith Moors campaign has gathered momentum with a dedicated group relentlessly researching the evidence for removal of the cattle and barbed wire. I am on the periphery and do not pretend to have specialist knowledge but I know man who does and trust what I have read and the information that has been forwarded to me, namely, Natural England’s disregard for the law and the health of the life forms using the moors. It seems NE can flaunt planning applications by unlawfully installing cattle grids across public rights of way as at Carnyorth Moor, but more seriously is the pollutant build up by cattle dung.

West Penwith has an abundance of old tin mining sites which can contaminate the soil with a toxic cocktail of arsenic, bismuth, polonium and cadmium. As far as pollution is concerned, the potential for harm comes from livestock ingesting soil and dust on herbage as they eat. Plants can contain pollutants but soil contains a higher percentage, AND cattle can take up to 30 percent of their daily food through the soil, resulting in ‘dung’ which is food for insects, which are food for birds.. and so it goes on through the food chain. Unless the cattle, along with their dung, are removed, we can expect this to continue for the ten years of the planning approval. Add to this, some information from Cranfield University on measuring arsenic in hair, the WHO measure of exposure is 1, the average Cornish sample was 2.51, with 1 in 7, Cornish measured at 5, which equates to a ’significant ingestion of arsenic"…nice!

As a new decade begins, I’m allowing myself to be reflective, and the more I read, the more I realise that Natural England, as an agent of politicians, is a mean spirited, self obsessed group who use flimsy science to create uncertainty, intimidation and exclusivity where there should be joy. Cornwall is my home and I want to protect my way of life and what living in Cornwall means to me… and it’s a lot less seductive being viewed through barbed wire!

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