Monday, 23 July 2007

Water Water everywhere

Well I'm not flooded out the Wye is about 20m below me in elevation but I should have been staying in Upton-on-Severn on Wednesday evening. However this gives cause to reflect on the implications of government planning policy.

Tewkesbury was where my grandmother spent her final years and I can recall several visits where the fields around town were flooded when I visited her in the late 1980s. Yet many of those same fields are the flooded estates of today.

Certainly the Environment minister may hide behind the exceptional nature of the event of the past few days but surely the name flood plain gives him a clue. As we take stock and as our new PM thinks about how we meet the challenges of climate change may I offer him a simple thought.

We have concentrated too much into too small a part of our country.

Of course such observations are not overly welcome but in a modern high tech UK now is the time not to spend massive amounts on building flood defenses for new houses known to be at risk of flooding. Instead we should be decentralizing our economy and ensuring appropriate growth and job opportunities are available in our more remote areas.

Of course a new estates of 20 houses in every Powys village being build year on year however small they are may not meet with overwhelming approval from some. But the costs to the UK of supporting our current flood prone landscape isn't something that appeals to me either

Sunday, 22 July 2007

The education challenge

While the big education news here in mid Wales has been the threat to our smaller village schools very little has been said about the problems facing the larger urban schools.

Take my sons school three weeks ago we were told he would be in a shared year 3/4 class with rumour had it 32 pupils. Why was this you may ask well two teachers were leaving and the falling roll meant there wasn't enough cash to replace them.

Some serious letter writing and what do we find three days before the end of term but the cash has been found for a one year post with no guarantee beyond that date.

Call me cynical but that is the same timeframe as the review of the two nearby village schools the authority wants to close would complete.

So there we have it the stark choice Powys seem to be putting to us is keep the rural school open and push class sizes up in the towns or close a rural school and keep a teacher in the town.

Opening up

Opening up a blog seems to be the in thing but what to write is an interesting challenge. Those that know me in the real world are like to tag this as a Lib Dem blog but as it is likely to veer into hill walking, trigpointing, geocaching and GIS I have opted to split that side of life off into another site.