Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The way forward for a national debate

Last week was as busy as it was interesting.

Over the weekend there had been an anti-fracking demonstration at County Hall, with some protestors camping on site. On Monday morning I met with a representative from the protestors, together with representatives from Balcombe, Kirdford, Fernhurst and a farmer from the Weald area.

It was a very informative meeting with this group and there was a constructive and useful dialogue which I appreciated. We all agreed a national debate on fracking is needed, and to that end I have been preparing another letter to send to David Cameron on this issue. We will be meeting again as a group in December.

We agreed that our meeting should be taped, and in the spirit of openness this is available on our website.

As the Planning Authority the County Council does not have a position on fracking, as this could jeopardise the integrity of the planning process.

What can be said is that there are very strong opinions on this issue from the very concerned anti-fracking, to the people who do accept fracking as the way forward to provide energy in the UK. Then there are a group of people who are just not sure either way and want more information, and that is why I believe a national debate is so important.

On Wednesday I met with the District and Borough Leaders, which was another productive meeting.

We currently share quite a few services across the county or between councils, such as graffiti removal, on-street parking enforcement, some shared officer structures and the Sussex Air Quality Partnership. For some time we have been discussing the issue of providing a transit site for gypsies and travellers, much work has gone on in the background and I am pleased to say we all supported a way forward on this important matter.

These are just a couple of examples of how we are working collectively together, and there is more in the pipeline which I hope to be blogging about soon. Our focus as ever is to provide better services for our West Sussex residents.

Best wishes,

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