By Paul Homewood
There is an interesting side story developing, with regards to Mark Shorrock’s testimony at the BEIS Select Committee last week.
I watched this at the time, and although I was not aware of the substance of the allegations, I was struck by Shorrock’s somewhat theatrical look of shock, as he was challenged.
Just to recap, Shorrock, CEO of Tidal Lagoon Power who want to build the Swansea Tidal Lagoon, was being asked about Dean Quarry, which he owns in Cornwall.
It is worth watching the whole two minutes, but the relevant bit is at 1.30. I have also printed the transcript below.
There are a number of environmental concerns about Shorrock’s plan to reopen the quarry, in order to supply the rock needed to build the Swansea Bay sea wall.
The local campaign group, CADS, who have been fighting the quarry proposals for some time, issued this Press Release two days ago:
Today, The Times is also running with the story:
The BBC also cover it here.
And Private Eye also have the story, unfortunately not available on line.
Below is a copy of the draft agreement, emailed by Shire Oak to the Parish Council on 15th June 2015, “coincidentally” just three days after CADS issued Cornwall Council with the Pre-action letter dated 12.06.2015 stating their intention to challenge the granting of planning permission to Shire Oak in the High Court (Judicial Review):
The Draft Agreement offered to pay the Parish Council amounts annually based on the amount of rock quarried.
This, of course, is perfectly common and in order. For instance, wind farms often make similar payments.
However, the controversial clause is Clause 10, which I am told was not in the first version of the draft, already sent previously:
The handwritten comments make it clear what the PC thought about this offer, and the minutes from the PC’s next meeting on 15th July make clear that they had no intention of signing it. I gather that Shire Oak quickly withdrew this clause soon afterwards.
To repeat, the offer to pay the local community compensation is not the issue. This is perfectly above board and reasonable. The problem lies with Clause 10, because it clearly ties in that financial compensation with the PC’s agreement to support Shire Oak’s planning application.
Put another way, if the PC oppose the application, but planning is approved anyway, the Agreement is dead, and the local community will not receive a penny promised.
Remember again the question posed by David Davies, Chair:
Some campaigners in Cornwall have suggested that, in order to get planning permission through, you encouraged a parish council to accept a financial inducement in order to support the planning application right the way through. Is there any truth in that legation?
As Private Eye notes:
To deliberately mislead a Select Committee is a serious offence. Shorrock clearly has questions to answer.
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May 17, 2018 at 08:42AM