What price public health?

Recently I wrote to Don McKenzie (portfolio holder with responsibility for public health) at North Yorkshire County Council) because of concerns that had been raised with me cinder trackby members of a local community group – ‘Friends of the Old Railway’. I play a very small part in the organisation giving what support I can, to a dedicated group of people trying to protect and promote this wonderful community asset, the Cinder Track, that stretches along the coast from Scarborough to Whitby. The route provides fantastic access to our dramatic coastline and the North York Moors National Park; as well as providing a safe off-road route for pedestrians and cyclists in the urban sections at either end. I am also a member of the North York Moors National Park Authority, which recognises the strategic importance of this asset and we were very disappointed when our £5m bid to Government to improve cycling infrastructure in our National Park was unsuccessful. Well over a 1000 trips per day are made along the Cinder Track in urban Scarborough; some for recreational purposes but most simply as a way of getting about. The route is strategically important for many reasons but specifically in relation to tourism and in the promotion of North Yorkshire County Council’s Public Health agenda. The bid included £2m to bring the track surface up to a decent condition and emphasised the benefits that improving the track would bring not only to sustainable tourism and a cleaner environment but also to public health, by encouraging everyday physical activity. More

Q: Fracking? A: No-one knows enough

Scarborough and Whitby Labour Party has called for a moratorium on fracking – the highly controversial method of extracting gas from shale deposits. Scarborough and large swathes of North Yorkshire sit on such a deposit known as the Bowland, which some believe contains massive gas reserves.

The Party wants a much deeper factual analysis of what fracking risks in terms of pollution, the environment, earthquakes and climate change. Colin Challen, who proposed the moratorium, said “The Tory-led government has announced it is offering various financial inducements to speed up fracking, and so has decided that the debate is over – or more precisely that there is not a debate to be had about this technology in the place. But there needs to be a full assessment of it before we could possibly accept it locally. I am also not convinced that it would not impact on climate change, since if it is true that fracking would lower energy costs then investment in clean energy sources will be much more difficult to sustain. It will put a brake on tackling climate change even if gas has lower carbon emissions than coal, but that would only be a temporary advantage.” More

Potash Jobs YES – but not at any price

“Jobs Yes – but not at any price” said Diana Jeuda, co-ordinator of Whitby Labour Party’s three month investigation into York Potash’s proposal to mine for potash at Dove’s Nest, three miles south of Whitby. The Whitby Labour Party branch, backed by Scarborough and Whitby Constituency Labour Party, is pleased to support the proposed mine, but with a number of environmental and safeguarding provisos.

This far-reaching and thorough investigation included a meeting with the Chief Executive of York Potash to raise questions and to clarify matters of concern. Members of the Labour Party visited Boulby mine to experience underground working and talked to Boulby’s senior management to gather information. Following further study of UN and other reports together with stock market intelligence, the Labour Party now has a 5,000 word response which you can read here or download here. More