Council’s ‘Lurid Language’ Over Water Changes ‘Regrettable’ Says MP

Scilly's MP, Andrew George

Scilly’s MP, Andrew George

Scilly’s MP says proposed changes to water legislation “couldn’t possibly proceed” if the viability of the islands was threatened.

Andrew George’s comments follow publication of a letter on Wednesday from Council Chairman Amanda Martin, Vice Chairman Gaz O’Neill and the Chairman of the General Purposes Committee Steve Sims, which is being addressed to all island residents.

The three councillors describe how the new rules could cost “tens of millions of pounds” to implement and affect the islands’ reputation as a tourist destination.

But Mr George has told Radio Scilly that “now is not the time for lurid language or threats” and he feels it’s “regrettable” that the Council is using such words at this stage.

He says the EU water directives are there for the public good and Scilly’s residents and visitors should be confident that “they can swim in the waters without something unpleasant happening.”

Meeting those standards in a small community with a low tax base will be a challenge, he says, but there’s no chance that islanders will be “impoverished” by the charges.

Andrew believes Defra hasn’t acted improperly in their consultation document by downplaying the potential impact on the islands, as the three councillors imply in their letter.

He says it’s inappropriate to be “scaring the community” in this way.

The MP says Defra is “standing by to help” if the Council feels threatened or intimidated by the proposals.

And he’s surprised that no one from the Authority has approached him to discuss the issues.

Mr George says he’s already spoken to Defra Minister and fellow Cornish MP Dan Rogerson about potential solutions. That could include South West Water taking over the infrastructure, spreading the cost of any upgrades across their customer base in the form of “a few pennies each.”



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