Memorandum by Camborne, Pool and Redruth
(CPR) Regeneration (COA 23)
Camborne, Pool and Redruth (CPR) Regeneration
is one of the Government's 12 urban regeneration companies established
in 2003. CPR Regeneration brings together key local partners to
generate dialogue, and support a focussed, integrated regeneration
strategy for the Camborne Pool and Redruth area. Our partnership
comprises local authorities, the South West Regional Development
Agency, the Prince's Foundation, as well as local business and
education leaders. In setting up CPR Regeneration the Government
has recognised the very distinct and urgent needs of our former
mining communities in an area that has been successively overlooked
by central Government.
CPR Regeneration is determined to ensure that
our recent history of post-industrial decline, and the accompanying
prevalence of social and economic failure, is given the same commitment
from Government and their agencies as other former mining communities
across the UK.
The Coalfields task force report (Making a differencea
new start for England's Coalfield Communities) published in 1998,
argues under the headingWhat Makes Coalfields Specialthat
the coalfields "have a unique combination of concentrated
joblessness, physical isolation, poor infrastructure and severe
The evidence we present here sets out how the
former tin mining communities of West Cornwall have suffered the
ill effects of deindustrialisation in the same way, yet received
little of the recognition or support.
We would urge the Select Committee in reviewing
the progress made against the Action Plan for the Coalfields published
by DETR in 1998, to assess whether there is a case for examining
the relative needs of the former tin mining communities of West
Cornwall, with a view to making them eligible for the funding
and support packages provided for under the coalfield regeneration
The area would not only benefit from the funding
streams available, but also allow us to fully engage with similar
areas and tap into the wealth of experience that has been generated
in tackling some of our endemic problems. Whilst there are clearly
differences between the West of Cornwall and the UK's industrial
heartlands, many of the problems we face are very similar. Not
only can we benefit from thinking developed in coalfield communities
but some of the solutions we are evolving will also be relevant
2. THE CPR AREA
Camborne, Pool and Redruth (CPR) taken together
form a continuous corridor of urban development for over five
miles along the inland western spine of Cornwall. Once the prosperous
heart of the UK tin mining industry, the area now contains miles
of derelict mining buildings sitting like distinct and separate
sculptures in an abandoned landscape. This spectacular and unique
setting, now the subject of a world heritage bid, masks the severe
social and economic decline of the last half century.
In this context, and in the same way as other
former UK mining areas the Camborne-Pool-Redruth area poses a
major regeneration challenge. It demonstrates a difficult combination
of adverse economic circumstances, environmental damage and social
problems. Moreover, the area has suffered generations of industrial
decline and lack of investment, exacerbated by a range of factors
deterring new sectors of the economy.
The structural weakness of the local economy
has led to unemployment, low incomes and social exclusion for
many people in their local communities. The cycle of decline has
bequeathed us a weak skills base and a lack of corporate commitment
to the area. Low incomes and limited local authority budgets have
meant a lack of resources for public and community facilities,
and the decline of traditional sectors of the economy has ultimately
led to market failures and a serious lack of private sector investment
in sites, buildings, infrastructure and services.
By the 20th century, mining had turned much
of the local area into an industrial wasteland, and this was particularly
true of the narrow, almost continuous strip, running from the
west side of Camborne, eastwards along the northern flanks of
Carn Brea, through Redruth and out beyond Scorrier. This area
must rank as one of the most heavily industrialised historic sites
in the UK.
Although in later years many of the mines were
consolidated, in the boom years most of the individual lode systems
were mined by separate companies, each with their own mine buildings,
process facilities and waste dumps. This legacy of industrial
archaeology is still with us today in the form of abandoned mine
workings, surface buildings and contaminated land and groundwater
Tin mining in Cornwall was at its height in
1870. At one time Cornwall boasted 2,000 tin mines and it was
the world leader in tin production. But the discovery of easily-exploited
reserves of ore overseas forced prices below the cost of production
In 1872 tin was discovered in Queensland, New
South Wales and Tasmania. Competition from Malaya and Bolivia
increased the pressure on Cornwall's tin mining industry and between
1871 and 1881 it is estimated that a third of Cornwall's mining
The demand for tin during the two World Wars
postponed the industry's slow decline in Cornwall. A handful of
mines survived, largely through amalgamationSouth Crofty
in Camborne was one of them.
During the 20th century, the tin mining industry
careered from boom to bust, with boom experienced during the war
years, firmly countered by the bust of the 1930s. Bitter disputes
and strikes ensued during the depression and in South Crofty mine,
this came to a head in 1939.
A row over differential pay rates resulted in
a strike which pitched miner against miner, family against family,
and only ended with the start of the Second World War and subsequent
greater demand for tin.
By 1960 South Crofty had control of nearly six
square miles. Demand was high, wages were good, but there was
a shortage of men prepared to work underground. Yet again, the
changing fortunes of the industry were short lived and miners
found themselves facing redundancy once more. Although various
ores became briefly profitable during the 20th century, they were
unsustainable and on March 6, 1998 the pumps at South Croftythe
UK's last tin mine, were finally turned off for good.
4. THE ECONOMIC
The social and economic characteristics, which
define the CPR area today, match the characteristics of the other
former mining communities of Britain. The history and tradition
of mining has left deep rooted marks on today's communities, in
particular a legacy of:
Earnings and Income
The average weekly wage in Cornwall is amongst
the lowest in Britain. The 1998 New Earnings Survey showed average
weekly earnings in Cornwall was £271, compared with £352
for Great Britain. When broken down further, on average West Cornwall
(Kerrier and Penwith) have lower wages in the east, with Camborne
North having the lowest average weekly earnings in Cornwall at
£180 (Socio-economic indicators, KDC Action Team, 1999).
At ward level, mean household incomes are very
low. 1998 CACI PayCheck data (which estimates gross household
incomes at ward level) shows that mean household incomes in Camborne
North and Redruth North wards are the fourth and fifth lowest
in the county. In Redruth North 43.3% of households were estimated
to have annual incomes of less than £10,000, and 42.7% in
Economic Activity and Unemployment
In March 2002 Camborne and Redruth's unemployment
rate of 3.9% was considerably greater than the South West and
Great Britain averages of 2.2% and 3.3% respectively. Typical
of former mining communities is a high level of economically inactive
people. This is true also of the CPR area.
The proportion of "Other Inactive"
people in the study area is roughly 50% higher than the average
for Cornwall or England & Wales. In particular, 18.9% of the
population in Camborne West are classed as "Other Inactive"
and 17.4% in Illogan North.
Whereas, Cornwall generally has a high proportion
of retired people in its population, this is not the case in many
of the wards in the CPR area. While an average of 20.3% people
in Cornwall are retired, the figure in the study area is as low
as 15.2% in Camborne South and 17.1% in Illogan South and Redruth
South. Only Camborne West has a higher figure (26.0%).
|Zone||Total Economically Active
|Zone||Total Economically Active
|England & Wales||71.1%
Source: 1991 Census, CCC
Areas within CPR fall in the worst 10% of wards in the UK
for five indicators in the index of deprivation. This can be seen
in the table below:
ILD 2000: Rank of Indices (within 8,414 wards in England)
Poor standards of health are common in former mining communities.
Miners working in the tin mines of Cornwall were often forced
out of work due to ill health and it was rare for men to continue
working into their 40s. Today, the standards of health in the
CPR reflect the area's mining tradition.
As in other areas with high levels of poverty, and low economic
activity, the relative poor health of local residents in CPR has
a significant impact on the economic climate of the area. In addition,
the limited access to affordable housing coupled with pockets
of severe deprivation and social exclusion add to the sense of
hopelessness of many residents and the inevitable spiral of decline.
More generally, studies of mortality and morbidity have highlighted
higher rates of mortality and morbidity amongst specific groups
that are more at risk of poverty, e.g. the low paid, the unemployed,
lone parents etc.
Education and Skills
Exacerbating the blight of unemployment and economic inactivity
are other factors, including a low level of learning and low skills
base, and poor educational attainment of the general population.
GSCE attainments in the CPR area are below the LEA averages
at both A-C and A-G grades. A A-C grade the attainments are also
below the average for England. The average point score per 15
year old also falls below LEA and England averages and there relatively
high levels of absenteeism, although predominantly authorized.
Mining communities across the UK are traditionally isolated,
and inaccessible from other employment opportunities in the region.
Cornwall is one of the most isolated parts of the UK. The town
centres of Camborne and Redruth suffer from poor road access and
high levels of traffic congestion. Poor public transport means
the car is the primary source of local transport. There is poor
provision of cycling and walking facilities, and the transport
interchanges are woefully underserviced.
5. ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
Past Mining Activities
Past Mining Activities have given rise to more areas of contaminated
land per hectare in CPR than any other part of the county. The
area around the South Crofty Mine has been mined for copper and
tin since at least the 16th century and there are many surface
and stream workings which pre-date this time. There are a number
of other deep mines in the area, such as Dolcoath and Wheal Agar
which have also had a long history of active mining.
A consideration of the nature and scope of contamination
due to past mining activities requires an appreciation of the
types of mining that have been undertaken, the nature of the mined
ore and the impurities that it may contain, and the methods used
to concentrate the ore and produce the final metal product.
Contamination due to mining activities is fairly widespread
in the study area. Obviously, contamination is likely to be present
in the vicinity of the surface workings. It will also be present
in the near vicinity of most of the shafts in the area. However,
the main concentration of contamination is likely to be associated
with those mine that have had a long history of working in the
area such as South Crofty, Dolcoath, Wheal Grenville, Tin Croft,
King Edwards, East Pool and Agar. Other areas are affected, such
as the valley of the Red River and a number of other watercourses,
which have suffered from tin streaming works and the routes of
former and existing railways and tramways.
Throughout the study area there is also potential subsidence
risk, predominantly related to the presence of mine workings.
This usually represents a programme of pitting and trenching,
geophysical methods if appropriate and drilling to define the
CPR Regeneration has set out the case above for the inclusion
of our declining area within the remit of Coalfields Regeneration.
It is clear to us that the problems in our region are of the same
order of those in the coalfield communities. If we are excluded
from these vital discussions, purely because our land was mined
for tin, rather than coal, then an area in deep decline will continue
to be ignored by Government.
We believe there are lessons that have been learnt in trying
to regenerate coalfield communities that are as relevant to the
former tin mining communities in West Cornwall. Equally, our own
attempts to bring regeneration within the Camborne Pool Redruth
area will demonstrate solutions that can be of specific benefit
to former coal mining communities. Using joined up thinking when
addressing both communities will be of benefit to both.
The voice of the ex-tin-mining community, added to that of
the coal mining community, will only strengthen the case for investment
and assistance in our economically blighted regions. CPR Regeneration
hopes to be able to give oral evidence to the committee, to further
press our case, and to add our voice and enthusiasm to this vital