Community and environmental groups gathered at County Hall in Truro yesterday morning to protest what they regard as 'suicidal' decision making.

Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace were joined by housing campaigners and community groups in protest against "Cornwall Councils lack of action on the climate crisis, coupled with cuts to community services and subsidies to airlines."

The council has recently announced that, alongside the Department for Transport, it would be providing financial support to ensure Eastern Airways services between Newquay and Gatwick airports would continue.

The groups protested against the deal which they say sees Cornwall Council "subsidising flights to second home owners which will exacerbate the local housing crisis as well as adding to climate pollution and global warming."

The activists in attendance claimed people are furious about the closure of leisure centres in Falmouth, Saltash, Launceston and Wadebridge and the hydrotherapy pool in St Austell.

David Smart Knight, protest organiser and Extinction Rebellion activist, said: "In August the world's climate scientists said 'the alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.


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"Cornwall Council have interpreted this to mean they can signpost themselves to voluntary carbon-literacy training whilst simultaneously giving a green light for expanding greenhouse-gas intensive industry by promoting a spaceport and subsidising aircraft.

"You couldn't make it up.

"These decisions are nothing short of suicidal."

Tom Scott, speaking for Cornwall Green Party, said: "Cornwall Council declared a climate emergency nearly three years ago, but since then the only really significant drop in emissions has been through the big reduction in flights to and from Newquay Airport as a result of the pandemic.

"This brought down civil aircraft emissions by more than 50%.

"It’s extremely concerning that the Council has decided to subsidise renewed flights to London from Newquay – as many as three a day in the summer season.

"That money would be so much better spent on things that help to cut emissions while improving people’s lives in Cornwall – on improving public transport, for instance, or insulating cold homes, or investing in green jobs to help Cornwall move away from its dependency on the tourism sector."

When contacted for comment, the council referred The Packet to Cornwall Council's cabinet portfolio holder for transport, Philip Desmonde's previous comments on the air travel deal which said: “It is vital for our residents and business community that direct flights between Newquay and London are maintained and I welcome the news that Eastern Airways will operate our key route.

"This PSO service not only protects Cornwall’s links with London, contributes to the Government’s levelling up agenda for Cornwall and offers opportunities for investments in the local economy, it also ensures connectivity for business and residents as an alternative to a 5 hour plus journey by road for those who need it."