“Boris Johnson Ridicules Extinction Rebellion Protestors As ‘Hemp-Smelling Crusties’ “

To all those, old and young, who are doing so much to highlight the enviromnmental crises upon us, Owl can only apologise for the stupid, stupid, stupid remarks by our so-called Prime Minister.

To those who disagree with him: use your general election vote wisely and, if you have not yet registered to vote – do it NOW!


“Boris Johnson has ridiculed Extinction Rebellion protestors as annoying “nose-ringed”, “hemp-smelling” “crusties”.

In a broadside at the demonstrators who started a fortnight of disruption in central London, the prime minister used a speech praising Margaret Thatcher to make plain his disdain for the group’s tactics.

Johnson told an event hosted by the Policy Exchange think tank that Thatcher was an environmentalist “long before Greta Thunberg”, taking action on greenhouse gases.

More than 100 people were arrested on Westminster Bridge and near the Houses of Parliament as Extinction Rebellion vowed to to blockade “every single road” in Westminster “to make sure no traffic can get through to the central area of the government and the executive”.

The protests – which the group said would be “five times” the size of its April rebellion – will also include a three-day sit-in at City Airport.

Johnson was surrounded by heavy security as he made his way across Whitehall to an event to praise the latest biography of Thatcher by former Telegraph and Spectator editor Charles Moore.

Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute just yards from Downing Street, he revealed: “I am afraid that the security people didn’t want me to come along tonight because they said the road was full of uncooperative crusties and protestors all kinds littering the road.” …”


A tale of two anaerobic digesters …

Before tonight’s Inside Out programme on BBC1 about anaerobic digesters in Clyst St Mary, it maybe worth pointing out there are TWO of them – one at Enfield Farm at Clyst St Mary off Oil Mill Lane, owned by the people that own Crealy (the Down family) plus one at Hogsbrook near Greendale owned by the Carters.

To make matters more complicated, both were developed by a company called Greener for Life – until they went into administration and were then run by separate companies but with similar directors as Greener for Life. (Keep up there at the back, keep up!).

It’s the Enfield Farm one that is in the news – basically as it was built with double the capacity as specified at the Planning Application stage. (Note to planners: why was this allowed? Where was the Enforcement Officer?).

To restrict additional tractor movements and travelling far distances to obtain feed it’s not allowed to run at 100per cent (again, note to planners, why was this allowed?).

They are appealing against the planning condition at the moment.

Which begs the question: if I got planning permission to build a 2-bed house but built a 4-bed house instead, would planners have agreed – as long as no-one used the two extra bedrooms and we used only two of our cars on the site rather than the 4 we had there?

Allegations about Clyst St Mary anaerobic digester on Inside Out tonight

“Jemma Woodman investigates the green credentials of farm-based power production …”

Tonight BBC1 7.30 pm

Apparently, breaking agreements and not-so-green …

Surprise, surprise … yet again the Carters of Greendale involved! Yet another headache for Environment Portfolio holder Geoff Jung and Leader Ben Ingham.

Just one of many posts by East Devon Watch on this subject:

Friends of the Earth climate emergency local authority league table

Highest: Wiltshire 92%
Lowest Spelthorne, Pendle, Ribble Valley 42%

Exeter 80%
Dorset 80%
East Devon 72%
Mid-Devon 72%
Torridge 68%

“This league table provides a perfomance score for every local authority in England and Wales (see notes on methodology at end of document).

All local authorities, even the best performing, need to do much more if climate catastrophe is to be averted. The government needs to provide them with the powers and resources to do so, and it needs to do much more itself. All local authorities should adopt an ambitious local climate action plan . And they should join with Friends of the Earth and others in urging more government action. Each local authority should declare a climate emergency as a sign of political intent.”

Click to access League_table_England_Wales.pdf

“Revealed: The thousands of public spaces lost to the council funding crisis”

Using the postcode finder (and note this does not include 2018 when AT LEAST EDDC sold off son]me of Knowle park and Beach Light Housing at Seaton);

“Between 2014 and 2017, East Devon Council sold
spaces for more than


Details of the properties can be found using the pistcode finder on the website.

The Seaton cycle path – a DCC officer responds

Owl has received information from an interested organisation that:

“Devon County Council is proceeding with compulsory purchase of land for the Seaton to Axminster cycle project.”

Ok – but there is still no National Cycle Path AND discussing compulsory purchase of the land between Seaton and Axminster has been going on (at length) since AT LEAST 2011:

Click to access pdf-PTE-11-20.pdf

with, so far, no progress whatsoever.

“Best places for a car-free commute in Britain: from Bristol to Liverpool, Newcastle and Nottingham”

Can you ride your bike SAFELY from Exmouth or Cranbrook to Exeter? And whatever happened to that National Cycle Route From Seaton to … somewhere that can’t even take you to Axminster!

And whatever happened (we know what happened) to the dedicated cycle officer at Devon County Council?

Warm words butter no parsnips, as they say!

“Congested roads and environmental concerns are leading many of us to get on our bikes — or the buses. Tim Palmer reveals the best spots in Britain for a car-free commute

Today is World Car-Free Day, that annual reminder of how much we would gain if we all spent a bit less time in those metal boxes on wheels.

We’d have more time — drivers in London spend 227 hours a year stuck in traffic jams, according to a survey by the data analyst Inrix — and money. A report by Kwik Fit found that the average motorist spends nearly £400 a month on their car.

We might be happier and healthier, too, according to Xavier Brice, chief executive of the charity Sustrans, which runs the National Cycle Network: “It sounds silly, but some of the biggest crises facing the country — climate change, air quality, obesity, mental health, loneliness — could be eased if we were less dependent on our cars.”

Nagging people isn’t the answer, he adds. Instead, the key is to make it easier for people to do the right thing and harder to do the wrong thing. The reason Cambridge is the most popular place in the UK for cyclists — more than half of adults there get on their bike every week — is that its narrow one-way streets are simpler to negotiate on two wheels than on four.

Yet ditching the car is easier said than done. Try going to the supermarket without one, taking the kids to football practice or, if you live in the country, going anywhere at all.

The long-term solution, Brice says, is to stop building cul-de-sacs miles from anywhere. Instead, we need to create “20-minute neighbourhoods”, where everything you need is within walking distance. For now, though, the simplest answer is to get on your bike. In some places that means taking your life in your hands, especially in London (despite that, 15% of commuters in Hackney still cycle to work), but if you look carefully, you should be able to find somewhere to live where getting around is easy.

For drivers, Bristol can be a pain — it’s the fifth most congested city in the UK — but it is Britain’s first official “cycling city”. Four National Cycle Routes converge here, at providing easy access to suburbs and satellite towns such as Easton and Portishead. The star attraction is the traffic-free Bristol & Bath Railway Path, which celebrates its 40th birthday this year. A 13-mile route used by more than 2.5m people every year, it’s a big draw for househunters.

Sara Ladkani-Knowles and her husband, Leif, spent a long time looking for the perfect base when they left London two years ago. They picked the suburb of Staple Hill because of its proximity to the path. “Leif uses it every day,” Sara says. “He can get from home to work at the university, in the city centre, in 30 minutes. On the bus, it would take him an hour. He loves it and it puts him in a good mood when he gets there — although it probably helps that it’s mostly downhill.”

They still have a car for longer trips, but Sara, 36, an environmental tutor, doesn’t drive. She uses the cycle path nearly every day, usually with their 16-month-old daughter, Noula, in tow. “It’s an amazing place to take her, because it’s away from busy roads and she’s not breathing in polluted air. There are three supermarkets on the route, so it’s really handy when I need to buy food. I don’t even have to see a car.”

Other places well served by traffic-free cycle paths include the up-and-coming Manchester suburb of Levenshulme, which has easy links to the rest of the city via the Fallowfield Loop bike path, good buses, a six-minute train service to Piccadilly station and affordable houses: three-bedroom terraces start at £150,000.

Glasgow has 36 miles of traffic-free cycle path to go with its excellent public transport — buses, local trains and the “Clockwork Orange” underground — as well as 400 public bikes for hire through its Nextbike scheme.

About 196,000 cyclists a year use the Nidderdale Greenway, in Harrogate, to get to work, the shops and the beautiful Yorkshire Dales countryside. In Wales, the Aberystwyth-Llanilar route provides an easy two-wheeled route between the lively seaside town and the surrounding villages. There’s a public bicycle repair station near the university in case of any mishaps.

Staying in Wales, Cardiff is setting an example to the UK’s other capital cities. The number of people commuting to work by bike more than doubled between 2005 and 2015, to 9.2%. It has a Nextbike hire scheme and a good network of cycle paths, including a route to Castell Coch that follows the River Taff and links neatly with Cardiff Central, Cardiff Bay and Radyr stations.

The trainee accountant Christopher Freestone, 24, pedals along the riverbank every day to get to work from his home in the city centre. “Cycling is the quickest, cheapest, easiest and most environmentally friendly way to get around,” he says. “And you don’t need all the gear — I never wear Lycra and my bike is worth about £80.”

Not everyone can get on a bike, though, which means relying on public transport. According to the Campaign for Better Transport, the best cities for this are Liverpool, thanks to the Tube-style Merseyrail network; Newcastle, which has the Metro system and good bus services; and, leading the pack, Nottingham.

Forty per cent of journeys here are by public transport, the highest figure outside London. The East Midlands city has a 20-mile tram network and fast and reliable buses, both of which have good links to rail services at the revamped station, paid for by the UK’s first workplace parking charge, levied on companies that provide parking spaces for their staff. It has raised £61m since 2012.

“Transport here is getting slicker and slicker,” says Emily Haslam-Jones, a yoga teacher who lives in Carrington, a suburb north of the city centre, with her husband, David, and their two young children. “There’s no need to look at a timetable — buses and trams are so frequent, you don’t have to plan anything.

David cycles to work, and she uses the buses and trams to get out and about. “It’s not a big city, and you can get around it easily. The children love travelling by bus and tram, and it means you get to meet other people who live locally, which you wouldn’t if you were travelling by car.”

Electric car hotspots

Sunderland, Orkney, Newcastle and Milton Keynes are all well stocked with charging points for electric cars, but if you don’t want to risk running out of juice, consider moving to Dundee. We picked the vibrant, creative city as our Best Place to Live in Scotland this year, and it has just invested £3m in pop-up electric chargers — vital if you don’t have a driveway — and a network of petrol station-style “charging hubs”.

Dundee is also pioneering a 350-strong sharing scheme for electric bikes to encourage people to cycle in an area where the topography is unforgiving.”

Source: Sunday Times (pay wall)

“A no-deal Brexit could be very bad news for rural businesses, with fears that one in four could go bust”

Who is the best person to “reassure” us about this? Neil Parish MP – farmer and Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee … hello Mr Parish, HELLO …

“Our environment correspondent Fiona Harvey explains:

Farmers are particularly vulnerable to a no-deal Brexit because tariffs would be levied on exports, imports of cheap food could flood the market, and because decisions must be made now which will have an impact for the next year. Arable farmers are putting crops in the ground now for spring, and livestock farmers are preparing to breed sheep and other livestock for next year.

Tim Breitmeyer, president of the Country Land and Business Association, said farms and the rural businesses that rely on them were not in a position to absorb the shock of Brexit, and estimates suggested a large number would be in danger.”


“Extreme sea level events ‘will hit once a year by 2050’ “

“Extreme sea level events that used to occur once a century will strike every year on many coasts by 2050, no matter whether climate heating emissions are curbed or not, according to a landmark report by the world’s scientists.

The stark assessment of the climate crisis in the world’s oceans and ice caps concludes that many serious impacts are already inevitable, from more intense storms to melting permafrost and dwindling marine life.

But far worse impacts will hit without urgent action to cut fossil fuel emissions, including eventual sea level rise of more than 4 metres in the worst case, an outcome that would redraw the map of the world and harm billions of people.

The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and approved by its 193 member nations, says that “all people on Earth depend directly or indirectly on the ocean” and ice caps and glaciers to regulate the climate and provide water and oxygen. But it finds unprecedented and dangerous changes being driven by global heating.

Sea level rise is accelerating as losses from Greenland and Antarctica increase, and the ocean is getting hotter, more acidic and less oxygenated. All these trends will continue to the end of the century, the IPCC report said.

Half the world’s megacities, and almost 2 billion people, live on coasts. Even if heating is restricted to just 2C, scientists expect the impact of sea level rise to cause several trillion dollars of damage a year, and result in many millions of migrants.

“The future for low-lying coastal communities looks extremely bleak,” said Prof Jonathan Bamber at Bristol University in the UK, who is not one of the report’s authors. “But the consequences will be felt by all of us. There is plenty to be concerned about for the future of humanity and social order from the headlines in this report.”


Western Morning News on Jurassic National Park

Here in East Devon there is a serious dilemma: officers and former majority party councillors (many of whom kept their seats at the most recent election) refused to back a Jurassic National Park, as they did not want planning and dealing with developers taken away from them. So, the new council has to make a decision: leave this to officers to push for the status quo and change nothing or back the report.

Councillor Jung, who holds the Environment portfolio, and who left East Devon Alliance to accept the post from the Independent Group, now has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He did sterling work protecting Woodbury from the encroachment of the Carter family – can he persuade his new colleagues to back him? Presuming he does back it …

“Landscape study calls for a new national park

The Westcountry should have a new national park, alongside Dartmoor and Exmoor, a review of Britain’s landscapes proposes.

Two existing Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in Dorset and East Devon would be combined into the new park, covering not only the famous Jurassic Coast, but inland landscape treasures such as the hill forts of Dorset and East Devon.

The campaign group behind the proposal believes it would be a shot in the arm for the area’s economy and for local people.

The proposal is part of the Landscapes Review led by Julian Glover. It calls for the biggest shakeup of the running of England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty since they were founded 70 years ago.

The review says the governing of national parks is top-heavy, with too little diversity or turnover of board members.

It also makes recommendations to introduce more innovative, enterprising ways to generate funds, in addition to further government funding.

Among the suggestions being put to ministers is a new National Landscapes Service to act as a unified body for England’s 44 national landscapes, including 10 National Parks and 34 AONBs.

A 1,000-strong ranger service would be the “friendly face” of national parks and help to engage schools and communities.

Every school pupil should have the opportunity to spend a night “under the stars” in these special landscapes to help more children to connect with nature, Mr Glover suggests.
AONBs would be given a boost, with new protections, responsibilities, titles and funding to help them be greener, more beautiful and more welcoming to the public.

Defra, which commissioned the review, will now consider the recommendations. Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “These landscapes are the jewels in the crown of our countryside and are a cornerstone of our rural economy.
“We are committed to ensuring they flourish as havens for nature and sites that everyone in the country goes to visit for inspiration, adventure or relaxation:’

Mr Glover, who led the review, said: “From the high fells of the Lake District to the wildness of Exmoor, England’s most beautiful places define our country.

“Today we are setting out a big, bold plan to bring them alive to tackle the crisis in our natural environment and make sure they are there for everyone to enjoy.

“If we take action, we can make our country healthier, happier, greener, more beautiful and part of all our lives.
“Seventy years ago this year we created our national parks for a nation that had just won the Second World War. Now it’s time to reignite that mission.”

Richard Brown, a member of the group campaigning for a new Dorset national park, said talks were already under way with Natural England, and from there a recommendation would go to Defra, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

He said that becoming a national park would create a new onus to deliver housing according to local needs, along with better facilities for businesses.

“We are losing young families and we need more affordable housing.

“National parks aren’t subject to central government housing targets, but have a duty to respond proactively to local housing needs.

“Some people think a national park would stop development, but we do need development – the right kind of development:’
With several hurdles still to negotiate, they have not yet thought of a name for the new national park. Mr Brown suggested that could come from the public.”

Source: KEITH ROSSITER keith.rossiter@reachpic.com
Western Morning News 24 Sept 2019