The leader of Cornwall Council has expressed her gratitude to staff for the way they have dealt with the latest wave of Covid cases across Cornwall.
Councillor Linda Taylor was speaking at a full meeting of the council at New County Hall in Truro on Tuesday.
There has been a large increase in the number of cases across Cornwall since December, although, as in the rest of the UK, the figures are now beginning to fall once more.
Addressing the chamber, Cllr Taylor said: “It has been an incredibly busy start to the year, especially as, like the rest of the country, we have been dealing with the surge in Covid cases caused by the Omicron variant.
“The latest data shows that case numbers have fallen slightly, and although we cannot relax our guard, there certainly seems to be cause for more optimism now.
“I would like to pay tribute to the way staff across the council have dealt with this latest wave of infections. Despite being impacted by staff absences as the virus spread through our communities, they ensured the essential services this authority provides were not compromised.
“I must also express my gratitude to our health services, including our own public health team, whose unstinting efforts have ensured the successful rollout of the vaccination programme throughout our communities.”
Issues including the council’s work to tackle the ongoing climate emergency, the use of tree preservation orders, and the need to insulate homes across Cornwall were also discussed at the meeting.
Cllr Olly Monk, portfolio holder for housing, told councillors: “This is not only an issue for Cornwall. It is a national challenge too and the support of government will be essential. Since 2015, Cornwall Council has secured around £25m of capital investment to tackle the poor energy efficiency of homes in Cornwall, in private tenures and social housing.
“This has improved energy efficiency in some 2,300 homes. The Council has also recently secured another £8m for a Sustainable Warmth programme to make improvements to 400, mainly private, homes and another 45 Park Homes will benefit from another round of Warm Homes Fund.”
He added: "Looking ahead we are concerned that fuel poverty will increase due to the significant rises expected in energy costs for households and we know that homes that are not adequately heated can affect the health of occupants.
“This further reinforces the importance of improved insulation and more energy efficient heating systems to reduce energy usage and costs.
“Another challenge is the national shortage of skilled installers and severe difficulties in the energy industry supply chain which is driving up the cost of installing insulation.
“We need to ensure that we support development of the skills and workforce capacity needed and also we must see Cornish businesses and employers take the economic opportunities this presents.”
You can watch a recording of today’s meeting back via the council’s website: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/the-council-and-democracy/councillors-and-meetings/webcasts/
Published Wednesday, 19 January 2022