Thursday, 17 February 2011

Aarhus Convention ignored by Cornwall Council & R.P.

Open Letter To: Rt.Hon.Norman Baker MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Regional and Local Transport),

Rt.Hon Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government,

Rt.Hon.Andrew George MP,

C.C. Richard Williams, Head of Legal Services, Cornwall Council

Dear Members of the House,

Re: The Aarhus Convention & Penzance Harbour

Being under the impression that the local authorities of Great Britain are currently required to work within the terms of the above convention when putting forth plans and proposals for new developments in their areas, I contacted Cornwall Council to find out in what manner they had embraced the Aarhus Convention and applied it to their procedure in respect of the proposed works to Penzance South Pier and the building over of the adjacent beach. The reply which I received from them indicates that the plans for Penzance have been drawn up in complete disregard for the terms of the Convention. Here is a copy of the correspondence:

"Reference Number: IAR-003899

Response provided under: Freedom of Information Act 2000

Request and Response:

May I please be informed of:

1) All details regarding the council's strategy for adopting and implementing the

legal requirements of the Aarhus Convention (Hereinafter known as 'the Convention').

Namely, copies of documents setting out this strategy and their dates of publication.

2) The names of officials who have received appropriate training in your convention

implementation strategy.

3) The dates (beginning and end) on which this training was given.

4) The minutes of the meeting at which the terms of the Convention were first

explained to the council officials.
Yours sincerely, Jeremy Schanche

Access to information – Freedom of Information policy

Public participation – the Community Engagement Strategy outlines the

improvements we making in public participation. The strategy is available on the

drafting a public consultation and community engagement policy that will be rolled out

across the Council.

In relation to questions 2 and 3, we have no records here in Highways relating

to any of our staff receiving Aarhus Convention training.

In respect of questions 1 and 4, there are also no records, documents or

minutes of meetings in respect of the Convention and its adoption in Highways.

Information provided by: Chief Executive’s Department, Environment, Planning &


In view of the above, I believe that Cornwall Council have acted unlawfully, and that if they were to pursue their current proposals regarding Penzance Harbour, they will inevitably become enmired in a costly and ultimately unproductive lawsuit. I would ask you all to consider this information when weighing up any decisions regarding the funding and propagation of this project.

Yours sincerely, Jeremy Schanche

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