Tradition Of Independent Scilly Councillors Could End

The Old Wesleyan Chapel

Council chambers at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

The tradition of only independent councillors serving on the islands’ Council could end with the elections in May.

Two islanders are seeking election as officially-endorsed Green Party candidates.

Councillors in Scilly have been independent and not affiliated to any party since 1891, when the islands’ authority was called the ‘Select Vestry’ according to museum curator and Council vice-chair Amanda Martin.

Louise Graham and Mark Prebble say their personal vision, values and aspirations for the islands are reflected in the policies of the national Green Party. These include caring for the environment, building strong communities and greater opportunities for participation in local government.

In a statement, the two St Mary’s residents told Radio Scilly that they “believe that whether we fish, farm or work in the tourist industry, the islands’ future is its people and its environment.”

Mark Prebble says he understands that party politics will change the Council’s way of doing things. But he says the ‘normal’ way of doing things here has ‘got us into a pickle’ with a budget deficit and disharmony within the community.

Mark believes being a party member can bring benefits that independent councillors don’t have, such as a wider support network to draw on. And he doesn’t feel that being a party candidate will restrict what he can do or say should he be elected.

19 Responses to Tradition Of Independent Scilly Councillors Could End

  1. yet another islander March 23, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Thank you again Kevin, I was addressing you but please do not assume that you are privy to my thoughts on your opinions; they are perfectly valid and for all you know I may agree with you.
    I would still like a definitive reply from our Green candidates, however, but I guess I’m going to have to wait until the campaigning commences.

  2. Mark Prebble March 23, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Hi YAI

    Its difficult striking up a dialogue with someone who chooses to remain anonymous, however that’s your choice. However I would like you to confirm that you are a registered voter in one of the Scilly wards.

    Until we are provided with an all year round boat service, as a community we have no choice other than to fly. These islands have benefited enormously over the years from a dedicated air link and we have grown accustomed to the speed and convenience of air travel in many ways. However the environmental impact of burning fossil fuels is undeniable and at the Doha conference last year it was acknowledged that two of the most vulnerable nations to climate change impacts, Bangladesh and Maldives, are becoming front runners in adaptation, see:

    The Maldives, a community like ours, consisting of low lying islands and an economy centred on visitors has had an action plan in place since 2009 that provides a solid policy foundation to environmental sustainability, climate change adaptation and low carbon development. It is acting on these polices and is promoting indigenous renewable energy sources and energy efficiency improvements, which will help reduce Maldives’ dependence on fossil fuels and enhance energy security. They are doing what they can and acting in the best interest of others.

    In 2009 Scilly managed to adopt a strategy to waste management on the say so of a consultancy with no discussion by members of council and no public consultation on the impacts of such a strategy. This strategy called for no change in the way we deal with our waste and as a result not much has been done to tackle the Moorwell Alp. Is this fair to our future?

    I look forward to hearing the views of other candidates on the matters that concern us all.

    • Adam Morton,St.Martins March 25, 2013 at 9:29 am

      If we are to base appropriate transport upon fuel consumption then the provision of all year ferry service will not be the way to go. Ferries are only fuel efficient at low speeds and full to capacity. The horsepower comparison between even a helicopter and a ship is not all that great; the difference being that one takes 40 min return trip full and the other 5 hrs not full. I think that in fact the twin otter is probably the most efficient way to transport the number of people we have visiting the islands these days. If the number of visitors can be increased and those with the time and stomachs for ferry travel also increased then we may have a hope. But the rest of the country is in a recession too! The cost of freight is one of the bigger factors affecting local business and indeed waste processing. If some form of natural power generation could be brought to the islands then the both the environmental and economic costs of transport to the islands could be offset and subsidised by it. This would then have a knock on affect of bringing more trade and reducing costs to local business. Alternatively local business could use the incomes generated from power production to subsidise the high costs of our location directly. The natural result of poor economics in a place like this is that due to the desirability of the location the population will become largely retired & second homes which in turn means that the economy is stifled democratically due to the needs of local business not being those of the majority of the electorate.

  3. Kev Wright March 23, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Sorry Yet Another Islander, I forgot how irrelevant and naive my opinions are to you, but I wasn’t addressing you personally, merely suggesting that there’s a very real possibility of promoting Scilly as a green tourist destination and an alternative to long haul flights. It’s the equivalent of going to work on a moped instead of a Range Rover and a far shorter distance. I doubt the Green Party currently have a stance on The Isles Of Scilly, so maybe we should first ask their candidates to bring up the matter with the party’s hierarchy and find out the party line on internal flights as opposed to flights abroad and UK destinations against foreign ones.

  4. yet another islander March 22, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks Kev, but I’d really like to know the opinion of our Green candidates.

  5. Kev Wright March 22, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    It is worrying, but understandable, that the Greens support extra costs for airlines. But maybe that needn’t apply to Scilly. Surely a short flight to Scilly is much greener than a flight to the Med or anywhere else in the world. Maybe The Green Party would urge people to consider holidays closer to home. I’m sure a day’s worth of Skybus flights is nothing like as harmful as a day’s worth of flights to the Canaries.

  6. maggiemay March 22, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Who ever Mark Prebble is I do hope that he circulates his manifesto to all and sundry so that we know who he is and his intentions if wishing to represent the community as a Councillor – don’t mean to be unkind but one does have to have lived here quite awhile to be able to have such a voice for the islands and islanders. Mr. Prebble mentions anonmity but who is Mr. Prebble?

    • Diane Cidade March 22, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      I would hope that every person wishing to stand for Council would circulate their manifesto and make it clear what their thoughts are on many of the issues we as an island community face. I would then hope that the electorate could make informed decisions come election day, and not just cast votes based on what names they are most familiar with, but instead vote for those individuals who can best represent them and Scilly’s needs.

    • Kev Wright March 22, 2013 at 5:30 pm

      I’m a Scillonian, I’ve lived here for 33 years. I know who Mr Prebble is but I’ve never met or spoken to him. However, judging by his fair, informed and knowledgeable comments on here, along with his apparent drive to make Scilly a better place for everyone, without having any apparent personal agenda, that I think Mr Prebble would make a far better councillor than I would.

      Who is Maggie May by the way?

    • Mark Prebble March 22, 2013 at 7:35 pm


      It is certainly my intention to engage further with the community members I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting, through a manifesto that I trust, will in some way explain my intentions and passion for the place I live.

      Having led at times an itinerant life, it is a pleasure to have found a place that makes me, in my heart of hearts welcome. As life is full of surprises, time will tell if it is meant to be until my final day, but until then this is home.

      Should you wish to meet me face to face, heart to heart , eye to eye, my name is Mark and you can generally find me in the bike shop on the Strand. Whoever you are, please come and introduce yourself, I look forward to meeting you.

  7. Nobby Nobbs March 22, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I will voting Green,
    Always did on the mainland
    Happy to be able to do so now
    Our current way of living is unsustainable, we need to change the way we live. (when I say we, I mean the whole Human race).
    Unfortunately aviation is a huge contributor to global warming and massively expensive in environmental terms.
    The question is “Do we want to leave a planet for our children, or do we want to destroy it for profit?”

  8. yet another islander March 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    That’s as well be Mark, but I would like to know your plans for the future. What will your stance be on airlinks to the island?
    (sorry about the anonymity but it would seem that a lot of folks are still not too keen on revealing their true identity)

  9. Jim Connell March 21, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Watch out, the Greens are coming!
    Say goodbye to the plans for the nuclear power station!

  10. Mark Prebble March 21, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Hi Jonny Exile

    Unfortunately anonymity does you no favours and your analysis misses the point that in fact the overriding theme of green policies is the promotion of a fair and sustainable society that recognises the benefits of high quality public services to us all. These services need paying for, so perhaps those members that supported the move to freeze the council’s income while voting to award budget busting pay rises could be asked why they acted this way.

    Ms Summers conduct and behaviour that led to the action taken against her have been documented in the media and again your analysis omits some of the core details.

  11. yet another islander March 20, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    The Green Party ‘ We will support the
    introduction of an aviation fuel tax, emission
    charges and increased landing charges to ensure
    all the impacts of flying are included in ticket
    This is taken from the Green Party’s vision for transport. I would like to ask our two Green candidates whether they, if elected, will be actively campaigning to impose these things on the air link to the islands.

  12. Steve March 20, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I’m a local of over 30 years , who’s mark prebble ?? Surely you’ve got to have lived here for more than 5 minutes to make an impact ??

  13. Jonny Exile March 20, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I guess that having Councillors take party affiliations will at least help us to understand what they stand for and how they are likely to vote on key issues.

    My worry with Greens is that, the environment apart, the overriding feature of their policy is opposition to spending cuts coupled with support for tax rises. Will Green Councillors be able to support the drastic cuts in spending and staffing level that are necessary if the Council is to survive without huge increases in Council Tax?

    Take for example Brighton & Hove Council which is the only Green controlled Council. albeit minority control, who wanted a 3% increase in Council Tax for 2012/13 (defeated) and a 2% rise for 2013/14 (successful). Brighton Greens have described themselves as leading the way in “refusing to be bullied into freezing council tax”, a freeze which hard-working families on the Islands have benefited from over the last couple of years, and go onto say “Eric Pickle’s council tax freeze is ill thought out and morally contemptible”.

    As for Mark Prebble’s claim that the Greens don’t require their Councillors to toe the party line, I’m not sure that’s correct. Take the case of Christina Summers, a Green Party Councillor in Brighton, who disagreed with the Party’s policy of support for same-sex marriage. She was forced to effectively resign the Green Party whip and serve as an independent.

  14. Nobby Nobbs March 19, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Nobby Nobby’s agrees with Fran totally.

    Difficult times are ahead and we need new blood and fresh ideas.
    knowing both candidates, I feel I can say that both would make an excellent choice for council and would be a breath of fresh air in the halls of power

  15. Fran Grottick March 19, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Good Luck Louise and Mark.
    All prospective Councillors will have different
    experience and interests to offer, but a
    commitment to environmental issues at this time
    seems very valuable.