Community Resilience

Community resilience what’s it all about?

Anyone who has looked recently at the community web site will have noticed a new page has been added – “Community Resilience”.  Unfortunately due to a technical glitch, the page is blank, and our webmaster has his hands full at the moment.

The Welsh Assembly and our County Council are encouraging communities to look at how they can survive better in the future, with the expected changes to our lifestyles. The scope is enormous but some issues readily spring to mind.

  • Civil Emergency – how would we cope with a disaster such as happened at Lockerbie?
  • Weather Emergency – we were lucky last January and also over December and January just gone as threatened snow never materialised but lots of areas were hit.
  • Civil disruption – major electricity supply failure for example – last we experienced was Jan 1992 but how would we fair in the future?
  • An invasion of our community – how would we deal with say a proposal to build 20 steel pylons across the middle of the community, as part of a re-enforcement of the National Grid to allow power from off shore renewable generation to reach the industrial midlands?

How could we live better? I am amazed at how many people in the community drive up to Llanddewi in the morning for their daily paper. Paper costs 44p / 60p; transport maybe £1.60 each day? Could it be possible for them say to take turns and bring back 10 papers? There must be a multitude of commodities this might apply to. I recently observed a “Tesco on line delivery”. For any branded good, in standardised packets there has to be scope in “clubbing together” and  having the Tesco (or any other) truck delivering ten such orders on the same day  and time surely? Is there an enterprising local trader who could fill this gap?

40 years ago or less maybe we had the “Breadman”, “Milkman”, “Vegman” “Fishman” all calling to our doors, but not anymore! Was this because we consumers decided that choices from the supermarket were better, or cheaper, or the “van man” was too expensive? All too often the cost of travel gets overlooked, but recent hikes in fuel costs, that are likely to continue, are making some of us think more about this. The Inland Revenue will allow one to claim 40 plus pence per mile to use one’s car in connection with ones business. They are not stupid; as I think it’s a realistic cost and is almost certainly more. We should account this cost against our journeys so a shopping trip to Carmarthen and back will be £16.00! If you purchase 30 items on that trip, every one has cost you 50p more just to bring it home, so maybe spending 4p extra on a tin of beans in the Coop at Whitland does really make sense and the car will last longer! (And you may save some time to enjoy on something else!)

Public Transport in our area is somewhat of a joke. However if one person was going to Carmarthen as above, the cost on the trains was last time I went £5.49 for a single from Whitland. (A free Carmarthen town bus ticket  for the day  is optional) This is really is competitive. However we cannot throw the car away as we still need to get to the station. First Great Western claim that their 3 carriage trains running from Cardiff to Exeter, which can carry 300 persons, only uses the fuel that ten cars (40 people?) would use over the same journey. The cost per person is very much less. The car comes into its own when full (and how often does that happen) and of course one has an infinite choice as to when to travel, that may not be the case on the train.

Over the past festive period there was much said about the amount of food that would be over purchased and wasted, and how much families wasted every year. This is a cost that we have to bear but could be avoided. In the economic argument over going to Tesco above, if instead we went to our local butcher for example, our meat might cost a bit more, the fuel is saved and we would save a plastic tray from the packaging, and that might come to 50 per year per household. That alone would be several sacks less on the bin lorry, and over the County if adopted widely should be several lorry loads per year and less cost to the council and less on our rates! Every one a winner, well one might think so but……….

Why do we have to have cucumbers and exotic fruit in January? Every supermarket has food on sale grown all over the world, shipped by airfreight as huge cost to us gullible consumers. What was wrong with eating things when they were in season? And grown locally or at very least in the UK? And making our communities a little richer and resilient?

These situations have not arisen because Tesco or Asda have created the situation, it’s because we stupid consumers have taken advantage of what the supermarket can offer to satisfy our insatiable greed. If we stopped going there, they would shut down. So basically we the consumers have created what we have and it’s only us that are in a position to move on to better things with a new agenda.

The following is a list of some of the topics that CCC will be looking closely at with its residents.-

  1. Develop and maintain a balanced population structure
  2. Promote and improve human health and well-being through a healthy lifestyle,
  3. access to healthcare and recreation opportunities and a clean and healthy environment
  4. Improve education opportunities to enhance the skills and knowledge base
  5. Minimise the need to travel and encourage sustainable modes of transport.
  6. Provide a range of high quality housing including affordable housing to meet local needs
  7. Build safe, vibrant and cohesive communities which have improved access to key services and facilities
  8. Protect and enhance the role of the Welsh language and culture
  9. Provide a range of good quality employment opportunities accessible to all sections of the population
  10. Support a sustainable and diverse local economy
  11. Prepare for and reduce the impact of the Counties contribution to climate change
  12. Maintain and improve air quality
  13. Minimise the generation of waste and pollution
  14. Encourage the efficient production, use, re-use and recycling of resources
  15. Maintain and protect the quality of inland and coastal water
  16. Reduce the impacts of flooding and sea level rises
  17. Use land efficiently and minimise contamination
  18. Safeguard soil quality and quantity
  19. Protect, enhance and value biodiversity
  20. Protect and enhance the landscape and geological heritage
  21. Encourage quality locally distinct design that complements the built heritage
  22. Protect, enhance and value the built heritage and historic environment

Community resilience is all about finding that agenda!

This page is also available in: Welsh