Exeter and Devon County Council debate climate change – EDDC CEO refuses to allow debate

Press release from Transition Exeter below. EDDC CEO Mark Williams has refused a similar request for debate from an independent councillor.

“Green Councillor Chris Musgrave is bringing a motion to Exeter City Council on Tuesday February 26th calling on it to

Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;

Pledge to make the city of Exeter carbon neutral by 2030 or sooner, taking into account both production and consumption emissions;

Call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible;

Continue to work with partners across the city and region, including Devon County Council, to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans;

To support the motion letters to city councillors would be very welcome; and supporters plan to gather outside the Guildhall before the motion is heard, at 5 pm on 26th February.

Devon County Council will also discuss a similar motion on Thursday February 21st.

Our Facebook page shows the {minority of} councillors who have pledged to support the motion. https://www.facebook.com/transition.exeter/ .

Cabinet has recommended changing the motion to aim for 2050. This is not much of an emergency! Please to your county councillor asking them to support the motion with the original target date for being carbon neutral of 2030. They will not be able to do this with their present budget and powers but the motion would be a strong call to Westminster to make realistic action possible!

Find your county councillor here

https://democracy.devon.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1
The motion is here https://democracy.devon.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=17450

Clinton Devon Estates strikes again

News from the East Budleigh Parish Conservation and Wildlife Protection Group:

Leaving for the development management committee on Tuesday the 12th Feb, where the fate of our rare bats was to be decided, members of our group (East Budleigh Parish Conservation and Wildlife Protection Group) were appalled and deeply saddened to see little left of ‘Frank’s patch’ in High Street, East Budleigh.

East Budleigh born and bred Frank Farr had run this patch of land on the High Street as plant nursery and smallholding for growing fruit and veg for 49 years until his death in 2011 in his late nineties.


Frank Farr with his ferrets Jim Lad & Ada at his veg stall (photo Simon Horn, Archant)

The site, as was, Frank himself, a much loved part of the village. Although Frank was a bit of a rogue, with a twinkle in his eye, you always knew you would never get ripped off as he sold his produce at the roadside. The weight of your purchase was always over not under, it was always quality, and you always got a wink, smile and wave as he saw you off.

Sadly after Frank passed away, it soon became overgrown. Cordoned off from sight, it was left to its own devices.

Recently, apparently, there has been one or two complaints about its appearance,

CDE’s answer, flatten it.

This ‘patch’, contained many rare trees and plants, including a rare walnut and a black oak to name but two.

There was no warning of this action, no survey carried out to see what wildlife was present, just an order to ‘clear it’.

Residents are very upset, one stating she can’t live here anymore because she can’t bear to see what CDE is doing to the village, even threatening to tie herself to the one remaining rare tree on Thursday morning before the workers resume the destruction.

This space has been earmarked for future building of a couple of hoses, but is outside the Parish built-up area boundary, so cannot be built on. So why was it flattened, why not sympathetically pruned and turned in to a memorial community garden in memory of a loveable rogue?

Why done on the day the group wouldn’t be present or have time to stop it?
Why within days of the group stopping the activity at the barn, only yards away? Coincidence?

You have to wonder if Lord Clinton himself, realises that his family name is getting a bad reputation.

For character sketch of this colourful old Devonian see:
https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/exmouth-life/tributes-2-20434/frank-farr-part-of-east-budleigh-s-heart-and-history-1-1006219

Bats (and Batmen and Batwomen) in East Budleigh – today’s development

Owl hears that, somewhat surprisingly, EDDC’s Development Management Committee voted to defer the bat habitat decision.

It also appears that yesterday’s activity in and around the barn, reported by Owl here:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/02/11/bats-in-east-budleigh-barn-cleared-24-hours-before-eddc-planning-committee-meets-to-decide-their-fate/

has been reported to the Police who have allocated a crime number to it.

Here is how it has bedn reported in the local newspaper:

“Campaigners fighting the proposed demolition of a known bat habitat in East Budleigh have been given ‘breathing space’.


Image: Archant, Daniel Wilkins

More than 20 members of a conservation group gathered outside Exmouth Town Hall this morning (Tuesday, February 12) ahead of a crucial meeting to decide the fate of an East Budleigh barn known to be home to rare and protected bats.

East Devon District Council’s development management committee decided to defer their decision pending additional information from Natural England about wildlife mitigation on the site.

Landowner Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) is looking to knock down the barn and build a new dwelling on the site and has offered to build a separate ‘bat barn’ on the plot as mitigation.

Speaking after the meeting, Karen Alexander-Clarke, secretary of the East Budleigh Parish Conservation Group told The Journal this decision gives them ‘breathing space’ in their fight to protect the bats’ home.

The Pound, in East Budleigh, which is subject to a planning application to demolish a barn which is thought to be home to species of rare bats.

She also said they would be writing to Natural England to lobby them and ‘emphasise that there are councillors that feel as strongly as we do’.

Speaking at the meeting, councillor Brian Bailey also raised concerns over whether the bats would take to their new home.
He said: “The bats, I feel, have been served poorly because there is no guarantee what so ever that the bats will survive the demolition or would accept their new home.”

Cllr Geoff Jung said: “This is one house and one family that is going to benefit and how many bats and other wildlife are going to benefit?”

An independent ecology report commissioned by the council recommended that the mitigation being offered by CDE be accepted.

Cllr Mark Williamson said he did not feel confident that, if they refused the application and CDE appealed, the Planning Inspectorate would back their original decision.

He said: “As we do frequently, we would look to our statutory consultees to guide us.

“Natural England is giving quite detailed guidance and they recommend the planning authority follow advice from the ecologist.”

Councillors voted in favour of deferring the application pending information from Natural England on the suitability of the proposed ‘bat barn’.”

https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/east-budleigh-bat-barn-demolition-plan-deferred-1-5889261

Bats in East Budleigh: barn cleared 24 hours before EDDC planning committee meets to decide their fate

Over the past two weeks there has been much activity on the Pound and within the barn. Last week one set of the double doors were removed.

Today, the barn is being emptied of its contents.

When challenged on the activity, members of the East Budleigh Parish Conservation and Wildlife Protection Group were told Clinton Devon Estates had instructed the workers to get the barn cleared.

This planning application is on the agenda for tomorrow’s Development Management Committee, where it is supposedly being decided.

Although set for approval with conditions, it is very worrying that any activity around or within the barn has disturbed or destroyed any wildlife present in advance of a planning decision.

As it has been a very mild winter thus far, it is entirely possible that much of the Pound’s wildlife will not have left.

Nothing should be being done until permission is granted and license issued by Natural England.

it makes the group wonder if the gossip mongers were right all along, in saying this application is a ‘done deal’?

UK-US trade deal: the gift that keeps on taking

“Preparations for a no-deal Brexit are intensifying in London, Dublin and Brussels.

We report today on 30 of 130 demands from American lobbyists from any future UK-US trade deal.

We all know about chlorinated chicken, but corporates have also asked to US Department of Trade for changes in NHS drug rules, weaker data protection, carcinogens in pistachio nuts, lowering food safety standards and fresh ways to sue the British government.

It’s quite a wish-list.”

Source: The Waugh Zone, 8 February, Huffington Post

Bats versus Building [and Clinton Devon Estates] in East Budleigh

From the East Budleigh Parish Conservation and Wildlife Protection Group.

What they do not mention is that the barn is owned by Clinton Devon Estates – the company that puffs itself up as “gold standard” when it comes to conservation …..

Planning application, 18/1464/ful. The Pound, East Budleigh.

Since April 2018, the East Budleigh Parish conservation and wildlife protection group, have sought to do its utmost to protect the rare, and the not so rare species of Bat, as well as the other wildlife that inhabit the barn and adjacent green space known as ‘the Pound’ in East Budleigh.

All through this application we have researched extensively, bat law, wildlife protection, mitigation studies, European and domestic legislation and directives from the Bat conservation trust, the Back from the brink project, and Natural England to name but three.

Each body has standing advice on how to protect and conserve EPS (European Protected Species). We have shared that information with all the concerned councillors from parish to district level.

The advice from Natural England and Conservation bodies state that for rare species, the avoidance method should be taken, yet here we are fighting for those methods and laws designed to protect to be implemented.

Through our many conversations with various conservation trusts, the overwhelming response has been, “the laws are there to protect these species, if the LPA follow the directives and adhere to legislation, permission will be denied.”

Having studied the plans for mitigation, We have found shortcomings in all of the mitigation offered by the agent on this application, and areas of complete misunderstanding, or disregard for the laws that are supposed to protect all wildlife. So much so, that this contentious application has reached the next stage of the planning….. the development management committee.

Getting the application to this point is a small victory for the wildlife, as we feel sure, that had we sat by and done nothing, by now, the site would have been levelled, the new house been built and the wildlife displaced, gone, or even worse, dead.(as suggested possible in Richard Greens ecology report) So we have done incredibly well to get this far.

Now…according to EDDC planning agenda, the application is recommended for approval with conditions. It is due to be discussed at the next DMC, on

Tuesday February 12th at
11AM, in the
Council chamber at Exmouth town hall.

But, of course, as is usual in a ‘democracy’, free speech and independent opinion is subject to what the ‘powers that be’, decide on as to what can be discussed and what should be taken in to consideration, so that an informed decision and vote can be made!

During this long process, it has been, and still is, the groups aim to get the best possible outcome for our precious, rare wildlife and our local green space.

We are putting forward the argument that:

1) the Pound is a significant site, regardless of numbers, with no less than four rare species of Bat,( with up to fourteen species recorded by ourselves), evidence of Hazel Dormice and an active Badger sett.

2) the mitigation measures are not adequate, with little to no evidence that these measures are successful for the rarer, disturbance intolerant, more light adverse species such as the Grey long-eared, Greater and lesser horseshoe Bats. An opinion upheld by DWT’s conservation manager in his ‘neutral’ letter to EDDC.

3) the lighting plan is not in line with current research provided by the bat conservation trust, nor the ILP,(institute of lighting professionals) suggesting the maximum light spill should not exceed 0.45 lux lumen on a moonless night. whereas the current proposed lighting plan stands at 0.95. so still more than double.

4) These species ARE protected by law, but human interest is, once again, being favoured above the interest and protection of rare species and local wildlife.

We are, teetering on approval being granted, everything hinging on a committee of councillors who may not be able to see the bigger picture. Which is, if we all stand by and do nothing to protect our local patch and its inhabitants, we will lose more and more green space, more and more species and biodiversity.

Now we may not be able to make a difference globally, but if we all made a stand for our own little corner, couldn’t we, wouldn’t we, make East Devon a better place to be, not only for our wildlife, but ourselves too?

PLEASE STAND WITH US ON THE 12th.

We are meeting at around

10.15am outside the town hall in Exmouth,

to hold a peaceful protest prior to the DMC. So if you have time, We would greatly appreciate your support to stand beside us and be a voice for East Budleighs wonderful wildlife.

EBPCWP Group
ebpcwpgroup@yahoo.com

Radical thoughts on buses

Corbyn notes that profits come before people:

“Jeremy Corbyn has taken aim at bus companies for raking in £3.3bn in profits since 2010 while slashing key routes. …”

https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/transport/buses/news/101497/jeremy-corbyn-blasts-soaring-bus-fares-operators-bank-£33bn

and Friends of the Earth call for all bus travel to be free:

“Friends of the Earth said there needed to be a “radical reimagining of transport” to bring about a 20% reduction in car journeys, even with a faster switch to electric cars, to meet climate change targets.

The group said free bus travel, costing £3bn a year, would also help address public health concerns around air quality and obesity.

Mike Childs, the head of research at Friends of the Earth, said the outlay was a fraction of road spending. He said: “Dozens of cities across the world offer some form of free public transport. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/feb/05/campaigners-call-for-transport-overhaul-to-tackle-pollution