At the time of writing we are through Storm Isha with the less powerful Storm Jocelyn on the way. Although the damage does not seem to have been too bad here I know that some homes have been without power and journeys disrupted. I get regular updates from utilities companies at these times and they have teams remaining on standby to deal with any further issues over the next few days. A weather warning was in place for Storm Jocelyn but not as severe as that for Isha. In addition to those who lost power or had other problems at home, thoughts are with those badly affected by disruption to flights and other travel. Extreme weather can be a frightening experience especially in isolated rural areas so do check up on family and neighbours if they are on their own.
There are some important bills being debated and voted on in Parliament at the moment which is good to see. The Offshore Petroleum Licencing Bill passed on Monday and represents an important step in our focus on energy independence. It is by no means an abandonment of the net zero target but more a realistic way of getting us there without so much potential volatility in supply and prices. It is very easy when in opposition to make virtue signalling gestures on policies like this, safe in the knowledge that the party in Government will have to make the practical decisions, in this case heating our homes and keeping bills down.
The other piece of legislation attracting a lot of attention concerns the processing of migrants in Rwanda and we seem set for a lengthy round of what is known as ping pong between the Commons and the House of Lords. In the end the Lords generally back down so as not to spark a constitutional crisis and jeopardise their own futures but it is an exhausting exercise and very questionable in terms of democratic process. If the intricacies of our Parliamentary system are not high on your list of things to learn about, this Bill may be one to give a miss for a few weeks.
Probably of more historical interest is a project being run on buildings in Chard on the 15th February at the Guildhall. Chard has 133 listed buildings and Historic England are collecting personal recollections and other interesting details. More details are available online or on my website.
Finally I was sorry to hear that Councillor Nigel Gage is stepping down from Yeovil Town Council citing the relationship and financial dealings between the Town Council and Somerset Council as the reason. With several councillors sitting on both the Town and County Council conflicts of interest seem an increasing potential problem and Nigel’s frustrations about Somerset's administration trying layer costs onto residents without taking responsibility or doing what was required to implement the money saving unitary council structure over the past two years are well founded. I would like to thank him on behalf of local residents for many years of diligent public service.