01 MAY 2010

Mayday in Slapton

Coastal communities are a vital part of the South Hams and nowhere is the threat of rising sea levels more evident than at Slapton. The beauty of Slapton Ley and the essential link formed by the Slapton Line are in desperate need of protection. I know that some people are expressing doubts about climate change and the threat of rising sea levels but I am in no doubt that that these pose serious risks for the future and that money invested now in protecting us from global warming is money well spent.

Whilst climate fluctuations have always been with us, I feel there is clear evidence that CO2 levels are increasing and that man made pollutants are impacting worldwide to cause rising sea levels.

Visiting the coast today and attending an open meeting in Slapton, I was struck by the number of scientists living in the area. Many people have written to me over the past few months about how we can protect the future of science in this country. I do think we need more MPs who have scientific backgrounds; this is an area that has been seriously under represented in the past. But we also need to protect investment in science teaching both at schools and at University and continue to fund pure scientific research. We must ensure that British innovators and entrepreneurs have the opportunities to develop their ideas and especially to capitalise on the area's reputation for environmental awareness by attracting investment in green technology.

Following the public meeting I enjoyed meeting Thea, Dan and Kevin from the Tower Inn and dropping into the Queens Arms. These are both wonderful pubs in a small rural community but suffer from an anomaly that neither can benefit from rates relief as this can only benefit rural pubs if they are the sole premises. Rural pubs are struggling and, in my view, unless we can do something to redress the imbalance with ultra cheap supermarket alcohol, we will continue to see the loss of these hubs of community life.


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