Environmental issues are becoming increasingly important to people in West Cornwall, judging from the responses to a leaflet sent out to homes earlier in the year by Conservative Parliamentary candidate Derek Thomas.
The ‘What Do You Care About in West Cornwall?’ leaflet included a section about the feasibility of a Dark Skies policy for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
It also asked residents whether there were empty homes in their neighbourhood which could be brought back into use for families struggling to find a home.
Mr Thomas says the responses to these issues show that they are a top priority for people in the area.
“Well over 90 per cent of people who responded are in favour of West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly being designated as a Dark Sky area,” he said.
“There is clear support for measures to be put in place that will ensure that areas like the Isles of Scilly, the Penwith Moors and The Lizard remain wonderful places from which to view the sky at night for generations to come.”
In addition, Mr Thomas says he was heartened by the numbers of people who, through the leaflet, identified properties in their street or neighbourhood which have been lying vacant for a long time.
“I very much recognise the need to provide homes for local families but I agree with those who believe that building new houses on our green fields should be a last resort.
“It is important to prioritise bringing back existing empty homes into use or to use brownfield sites for new developments.”
Mr Thomas is also pleased that progress is being made towards the introduction of a Plastic Bottle Deposit scheme and recently spoke to Environment Secretary about the issue.
Currently less than 60 per cent of plastic bottles are recycled in the UK – equivalent to around 15 million bottles a day – and Mr Thomas is supporting the petition set up by St Agnes-based campaign group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) calling for a bottle deposit system.
“Children at Marazion School clearly care deeply about the environment and they wrote to me asking me to support the petition which I was very happy to do,” said Mr Thomas, who recently became the RSPB’s species champion for the Manx Shearwater.
“I very much welcome the news that the Government has set up a task force to look at the feasibility of such a scheme.”