Chaos at the April meeting of Dorset Council

Dorset Council's meeting in April ended in chaos after two climate change activists glued themselves to a desk and then tried to read out a statement.

The meeting was delayed for some time and when it resumed, in a nearby room, the Conservative majority closed down any further debate and moved straight to a vote on their motion.

This was democracy under attack.

Firstly by green activists adopting tactics that are anti-democratic and trying to intimidate elected Councillors.

But secondly, by the Conservatives refusing to allow the debate to resume, closing down discussion and then forcing a vote.

And what was being debated?

The Lib Dems were supporting a motion asking Dorset Council to lobby Government to change planning regulations. We wanted to make it easier to stop a development when it is damaging to the environment and likely to worsen climate change.

Conservatives opposed this and instead called for priority to be given to making the UK energy independent. What this means in practice is more nuclear power, more coal and more fracking.

This sounds like it might be an understandable position to take in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine but it would be a serious mistake.  It is incredibly short sighted. Achieving our carbon reduction targets is already hard enough without the Government spending billions making the situation worse.

The position also undermines the community group that is fighting valiantly to stop an oil well being drilled near Puddletown.  It was only recently confirmed that these plans had been withdrawn due to the strength of opposition to them.  We are now deeply concerned that Dorset Council's new position will lead to this proposal being brought back!

The Conservative Government has also been pushing for the first new coal mine in thirty years to be opened in Cumbria and they're still pressing for a new runway at Heathrow.

None of these measures are consistent with tackling climate change.

I believe we should be re-examining the plan for an offshore wind farm off the Dorset coastline and for more onshore wind production, which is by far the cheapest way to generate electricity.   

We need to tackle change now, while we still can. We must not go backwards with the Conservatives. 

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Only the Liberal Democrats can stop The Conservatives in Dorset.

Yours Andy,       

Cllr. Andy Canning

Chair, West Dorset Liberal Democrats

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