Today’s first letter was sent in by our correspondent Graham Wood. It is of particular interest given the main story about the sell-out of our Fishery Industry and serves as a sample letter:
An excellent letter by Mike Hookem ( and what an apt surname for a gentleman writing on fisheries!). I have therefore written to George Eustice, copy to my own MP, as follows:
“Dear Mr Eustice.
As Fisheries minister I would be grateful for your clarification of the UK’s post Brexit fishing policy if there is one.
As you will know Mrs May in her recent Mansion House speech confirmed that the UK would leave the CFP but her comments were vague if not ambiguous and therefore many millions of “leave” voters, and not least our fishing communities will be concerned at the lack of clarity in her comments.
For example, Mrs May referred to the UK government and the EU “continuing to work together” with the EU on fisheries. What does that mean please? Is this some sort of qualified continuation of the existing CFP with negotiation of quotas? If so that would be totally unacceptable not only to Britain’s fishermen and fishing communities but also unacceptable to the wider electorate.
That we may grant EU member states some limited access and fishing rights to our waters post Brexit is not unreasonable, but it must be stressed that this is not, and cannot be on the basis of what Mrs May called “managed shared stocks”.
Let us be clear. After March 2019 legally there can be no “shared stocks” as we will have left the CFP on that date. What can she mean therefore? Please clarify what is meant by “shared stocks”!
It must be stressed that whatever fishing rights we may cede to other EU member states in the future post Brexit there are no grounds for reciprocal fishing rights to be “negotiated” with the EU at all in the current discussions.
There is simply nothing to negotiate!
Mrs May also spoke of “continued reciprocal access” but failed to clarify what that could mean. As MEP Mike Hookem points out:
“The simple fact is, most British fishermen do not want access to EU waters! They want a fair crack at catching some of the millions of tons of fish taken from British waters each year by EU vessels. The British fleet caught 111,000 tonnes of fish from EU waters last year, but EU vessels caught 683,000 tonnes in British waters (MMO Report, Oct 2017)”.
And – “before the remain lobby wheel out the tired old, and rather predictable line of “there are no borders for fish in the sea,” I say, I’m glad that’s the case. That means that EU vessels should have no problem catching fish in Dutch, French, Belgian or Danish waters if they are excluded from British waters!
I would be grateful for your comments on the specific points I have raised above.
Finally, please advise whether your department will set out and publish a full and clearly defined post Brexit fishing policy in the light of the Mansion House speech? Such a declaration is needed so that the electorate can make an informed judgement as to what leaving the CFP actually means.
Yours sincerely, Mr G Wood”
I hope your readers would feel encouraged to write to Mr Eustice and their MPs!
Respectfully, G, Wood
The other letter is from our correspondent Roger Arthur. It is on Housing – an issue Ms May also spoke about:
we see reports that councils are to be “forced” to build more homes.
But councils don’t build houses, as seen from over 400,000 dwellings which have planning permission across the UK but are not being built, – because of course developers build to meet profit targets.
So Local Authorities are are once again tasked with unattainable build-out targets, which are sometimes near double those achieved when GDP growth was around 3% pa, in the eight years prior to the Recession.
When those unrealistic arbitrary targets are not met, the Planning Inspectorate is likely to override an LA which refuses planning permission, leaving developers in the driving seat.
That is a key reason why we have seen many developments at inappropriate locations, with infrastructure which is unfit for purpose and with inadequate affordable housing. Emasculating Local Planning and local democracy will not address that.
Perhaps we could hear how our local MPs would address this departure from the “Localism” that residents were promised.
Respectfully, Roger Arthur