Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson doesn’t want “young double-barrelled ” activists telling him about climate change

“… Boris Johnson has said he is done with “nice young people” thinking their opinions are “more important” than his own.

In his latest Telegraph column, the ex-foreign secretary took aim at what he called “smug, irritating and disruptive” climate change demonstrators who brought parts of central London to a standstill last week.

“Look, I share some of the irritation at these climate change protesters. I am not in favour of paralysing public transport in the greatest city on earth, and stopping people from getting to work,” he wrote.

“I don’t want some double-barrelled activist telling me that air travel is only to be used in emergencies – when his own Instagram account contains pictures of his recent skiing holiday.” …”

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/boris-johnson-addresses-xr-protests_uk_5cbdabbae4b06605e3f0ece8?guccounter=1

Global warming: a local initiative

A correspondent has sent the following email to EDDC CEO Mark Williams:

“Dear Mark,

Back in 2006 you supported me in a move to show Planners the Al Gore film “The Inconvenient Truth’ about climate change. You allowed staff a half hour of work time on top of their lunch break to enable the departments staff to watch that film. Thank you!

Tonight I was reminded of this event and your support while watching David Attenborough s documentary ‘Climate Chsnge: the Truth’.

What is scary for me is that the film tonight was so similar to that of Gore’s almost 15 years ago. Pleasing in that Attenborough verifies all the fears that Gore postulated then with our increasingly sophisticated technology. But the reality is the same.

In what way have we changed our practices to respond to our pending oblivion on this planet. ? The answer: not enough.”

Clinton Devon Estates, East Budleigh: bats not welcome here?

A correspondent informs Owl:

“I have been interested to see your website and in particular reference to the barn in East Budleigh where bats are present.

I drove past the barn recently and found that the barn door, which was previously ill fitting, which would have allowed easy entry and exit for the bats from the barn, has now been sealed with large sheets of plywood. [picture above]

This may have been to replace an unsafe door….but my fear is that it may have been done to prevent the flight of bats from and to their roost.

If the obstruction of the flight of bats is successful the bats will die and there will be no bats to protect.. Thereby allowing CDE to demolish the barn….

This is similar to the practice of netting trees and hedges, to prevent birds nesting, which then allows developers to cut down trees and hedges they would otherwise be unable to do if nests were present.”

“Property developers who deliberately demolished a house containing protected bats have been fined £18,000”

Owl says: Good news for East Budleigh, fighting to keep a barn which harbours rare bats which Clinton Devon Estates want to pull down. But then again, a fine of a few thousand pounds will just mean them recouping the cost in even higher property prices! BUT take nore of the last sentence!

“Jenna Kara, 29, and Tina Kara, 34, directors of Landrose Developments Ltd, started tearing down the bungalow in Stanmore, north-west London, in 2016.
The company pleaded guilty at Willesden Magistrates’ Court to damaging or destroying the breeding site.

District Judge Denis Brennan said the punishment for ignoring environmental law would “always outweigh” gain.

The court heard the developers had pressed ahead with the demolition despite an expert reporting the site was home to soprano pipistrelle bats – a protected species in the UK and Europe.

Surveys at the site also indicated the presence of common pipistrelle bats, which are another protected species.

Passing sentence, District Judge Brennan said: “In my judgment, the act of demolition was clearly deliberate and flew in the face of advice and knowledge of the existence of the bat roost.

“The most obvious effect is local but it also has national implications because these bats are an endangered species by the very fact of being protected.” …

The offence is contrary to the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and means the company will be barred from bidding to do certain projects.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-47811545

“UK will miss almost all its 2020 nature targets, says official report”

“The UK will miss almost all the 2020 nature targets it signed up to a decade ago, according to a report by the government’s official advisers.

The nation is failing to protect threatened species, end the degradation of land, reduce agricultural pollution and increase funding for green schemes, the assessment concludes. It also says the UK is not ending unsustainable fishing, stopping the arrival of invasive alien species nor raising public awareness of the importance of biodiversity.

The targets were set in 2010 by the global Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the new report from experts on the Joint Nature Conservation Committee found insufficient progress was being made on 14 of the 19 targets.

Critics of the government said the report showed wildlife and natural habitats were in “deep crisis”. The UK is “among the most nature-depleted countries in the world”, according to a separate 2016 report, with continuing declines in species such as skylarks, hedgehogs, many insects including butterflies and corn marigolds. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/22/ukmiss-almost-all-2020-nature-targets-official-report-admits

Could it (should it) be time to have a congestion charge for commuters to Exeter?

And what about “funnel roads” such as that running through Sidbury and Sidford – should they have exclusions from plans for more and more polluting vehicles passing inches away from residential properties – where children and vulnerable older people live?

“Dozens of councils could face legal action over delays in tackling toxic gas from diesel vehicles.

Only London and Birmingham have imposed or promised charges on the most polluting cars while other cities allow drivers to emit harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) without any fee.

Many local authorities, including those covering Manchester, Bristol, Southampton, Newcastle, Bath and Derby, have missed legal deadlines set by the government to submit plans to clean up their air.

ClientEarth, the campaign group that won three legal cases against the government over illegal levels of air pollution, has written to 38 councils in England and Wales warning them of the legal risk of failing to act.

Katie Nield, a ClientEarth lawyer, said: “We are extremely concerned given the urgency of the situation at the glacial progress of action from local authorities. It is now almost a decade since legal limits came into place and they are still being broken in large parts of the country. Every week that goes by without action is another week where people are breathing in harmful air pollution which damages their health. This is particularly true of vulnerable groups like children.”

Tackling air pollution was ultimately the government’s responsibility but local authorities “should not be using government inaction as an excuse not to do all they can to protect people from breathing dirty air”, Ms Nield added.

Air pollution contributes to far more deaths than previously thought, according to a study last week which said it had shortened the lives of 64,000 people in the UK in 2015.

Clean air zones, in which polluting vehicles are charged a daily entry fee, are the fastest way of reducing NO2 to within legal limits, according to a Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) report in 2017.

Cars are the biggest source of NO2 in cities but London and Birmingham are the only cities committed to charging pre-2016 diesel and pre-2006 petrol models. Manchester, Bristol and Bath had been considering car charges but dropped the idea after being accused of penalising drivers on low incomes.

The High Court ordered the government in 2016 and again last year to take stronger action on air pollution, prompting ministers to order councils to produce plans to comply with the legal limit in the “shortest possible time”.

The councils have spent the past year discussing how to tackle pollution but most have repeatedly delayed taking action and missed deadlines for delivering final plans for Defra approval.

Jenny Bates, of Friends of the Earth, accused councils of “running scared of the motoring lobby” by refusing to start charging polluting cars.

Bath and North East Somerset council is planning a clean air zone in Bath, charging buses, lorries, vans and taxis “by the end of 2020” but cars will be exempt. It said many residents had objected to a £9 daily charge.

A spokesman for ten local authorities in Manchester, which has more than 150 roads with illegal levels of NO2, said it also planned to exempt cars from charges phased in by 2023. He said computer modelling had shown its plans would reduce NO2 to within the legal limit by 2024. Derby city council said it would submit plans for tackling air pollution to Defra next Tuesday.

Bristol city council said its mayor, Marvin Rees, recently had a “conversation with the minister” about tackling air pollution. Thérèse Coffey, an environment minister, wrote to Mr Rees in January saying she was “absolutely astonished at your delay in improving air quality for the people of Bristol as quickly as possible”.

Newcastle city council expected its air quality plan would be implemented “in late 2019 and into 2020”. Other councils sent the legal warnings by ClientEarth include Cardiff, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Leicester and Liverpool.”

Source: Times (pay wall)

Seaton Wetlands runner-up in Countryfile Magazine awards

“Popular wildlife haven is runner-up in Best Nature Reserve category in BBC Countryfile Magazine’s 2019 Awards

Stunning Seaton Wetlands, one of East Devon District Council’s most popular nature reserves, has won a top national accolade after being voted for by readers of the BBC Countryfile Magazine.

The beautiful wildlife haven is runner-up in the Best Nature Reserve category in the 2019 Awards, which celebrates the best of the British countryside.

The Wetlands was nominated by the magazine’s readers alongside other nature reserves from across the country and a panel of six judges whittled them down to a shortlist of five in each category. Readers were invited to vote for their favourite place online or via a postal form from January to February this year.

The Falls of Clyde, managed by Scottish Wildlife Trust, won the Best Nature Reserve category, with Seaton Wetlands as runner up and Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Carlton Marshes coming third.”