For me, much of the lead up to the G7 summit has been about making sure the event leaves a lasting legacy in Cornwall that we can all benefit from in the long run. The Chamber has been working to position the Duchy as a region capable of leading the green industrial revolution.
Now that the event is almost upon us, I am expecting to have a lot of conversations about the disruption to Cornwall when the summit is taking place, and the environmental impact of world leaders travelling so far to get here.
All valid issues – and I’m pleased that Devon and Cornwall Police have allocated spaces for protestors to voice their objections in June.
With any work that’s done to change things for the better there’s always a precarious tightrope to negotiate for the people involved; should a person living in Launceston miss a meeting in Penzance about reducing Cornwall’s carbon footprint because it’s not possible for them to use public transport/cycle? Or is it better that they’re there in person to have their say, regardless of their method of travel?
Our sudden ability to work from anywhere, coupled with the dangers of Covid, puts question over whether G7 should be a physical event, postponed, or conducted via video link.
I personally consider that to make any proper progress with this crucial issue, we need the world leaders to come together. Zoom and Teams have served us well in 2020 but they just don’t ‘cut the mustard’ when it comes to a large amount of people meeting for the first time and debating a serious topic. Online events don’t allow for conversations continuing once the day’s agenda has concluded, rapport being built, and ideas being generated.
I’m also confident the positives Cornwall will gain from the event happening here will far outweigh the disruption.
A huge concern for us at present is the escalating housing crisis in the Duchy and the impact that will have on our ability to cope with the expected bumper summer as a result of G7 attention. The Chamber is feeding back to the British Chambers of Commerce to ensure the government is aware of this worrying situation.
In the vote for the Brexit referendum, it was made clear that Cornwall would see the same amount of funding from the government as it would lose if EU funding ceased. We are yet to see this materialise and with restaurants having to reduce opening hours because lack of housing/Brexit has sent potential staff out of county/country, we need this now more than ever.
June will be a turning point for our wonderful Duchy – businesses will have the opportunity to assess their own green credentials through the Chamber’s G7 Fringe events, and those already leading the way in creating a greener future will put Cornwall at the forefront of the G7 campaign. Anybody may sign up to our G7 events online at: www.cornwallchamber.co.uk.
Chief Executive Cornwall Chamber of Commerce
Deputy Lord Lieutenant
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