On behalf of everyone in North Cornwall I am very pleased to be able to welcome the first round of Shared Prosperity Funding, the Government's post-Brexit replacement for EU-administered projects like Convergence and Objective One. Three fantastic bids have been approved and I am especially delighted to see Bude included as the area was previously underfunded while we were in the EU. I know there are further projects in the pipeline and I'm excited about them coming to fruition. In this round projects to protect the environment, boost low-carbon travel, and invest in green jobs in Cornwall are benefitting from the Shared Prosperity Fund. Cornwall Council has also allocated £450,000 to three net zero initiatives from the first round of the £132m government's levelling up programme.
The Wheels 2 Work project is receiving £250,000 to expand on a successful pilot giving residents the chance to try an electric bike and help them access work and active travel while reducing their impact on the planet. Bude Canal has been awarded £150,000 towards dredging the historic Bude Canal to safeguard its historic, economic, and environmental importance to the town. The removal of silt deposits from the canal will also improve flood protection for the Bude community. Cornwall Wildlife Trust, the delivery partner on the National Highways Green Ribs project, is being awarded £50,000 to deliver biodiversity enhancements and connections between parcels of land in mid-Cornwall near the A30 to develop thriving natural habitats. The Good Growth investment plan, approved by Cornwall Council in 2022, sets out how the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be invested in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly including opportunities for climate, nature, and resilience projects. A total of £2.9m is earmarked for infrastructure and nature-based projects to protect businesses and communities from the effects of climate change, such as flooding and coastal erosion. There is a further £5.5m set aside for energy efficiency projects and developing green and blue spaces, such as community gardens, waterways, and coastal areas.
I was present in the Commons for Michael Gove’s confirmation that the Government is trying to address some of the housing challenges in Cornwall. He confirmed: “We will be bringing forward some planning changes to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill which are intended to ensure that we have restrictions over the way in which homes can be turned into AirBnBs.” He also thanked my colleague Selaine Saxby MP and I for our work on this issue and committed to continuing to engage with us both to get these reforms over the line. Tourism benefits our local economy and it’s great to share our beautiful part of the world with visitors and friends, but few would disagree that we need to rebalance our local housing market back towards local people. This could be great news for North Cornwall. We’ve work to do but I look forward to helping the Secretary of State get these reforms over the line.