DCC FINALLY sacks broadband (non) provider Gigaclear

And it took 18 months of failure before they did so!

Gigaclear sacked from rural broadband contract after 18 months – why did it take them so long? This mess also shows just how hollow Boris Johnson’s promises on broadband are.

More desecration of agricultural land by the Carters in Woodbury despite more than 100 objections

As earlier application reported here:

… “£4.46 million a year from the 1.7 acre site – better than storing caravans or rearing cattle. Its a pity none of the money goes to the actual residents of Woodbury, or the wider community, who have to live with the noise and pollution.”

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2019/05/02/the-woodbury-power-plant-a-nice-little-earner/

The application:

“An application to install 20 self-contained generators on land south of Woodbury Business Park could be given the go-ahead next week.

On Tuesday (September 3) East Devon District Council’s development management committee is set to discuss the proposal submitted on behalf of Plutus Energy Ltd.

If committee members approve of the application, which has had more than 100 objections, 20 natural gas engine driven electricity generators will be installed on storage land near a substation in Woodbury.

In a report to the committee, planning officers have recommended approval, despite the application falling outside the East Devon Local Plan.

The planning officer’s report said that while the proposal is a ‘departure’ from the local plan, there is support within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The report said: “On balance it is considered that the adverse impacts from the proposed gas fuelled standby electricity plant do not significantly or demonstrably outweigh the benefits that would be derived from the scheme.

“Accordingly it is recommended that permission be granted subject to the conditions set out.”

If given the go-ahead, the generators would provide an additional 40 megawatts of energy to the National Grid at peak times for the next 25 years.

The existing access to the site would be retained and the equipment will only be operated between 7am and 10.30pm.

Each generator will be housed within an acoustically insulated weather-proof steel container.

Strategy 39 of the East Devon Local Plan says renewable or low-carbon energy products will, in principle, be supported and encouraged.

The officer’s report said the local plan does not provide a principle reason to refuse proposals for fossil fuel energy and the NPPF supports the transition from fossil fuels.

The report added: “While the proposal is not a renewable energy source itself, as identified above it clearly encourages and supports the use of renewable energy generation by supporting the transition from fossil fuels.

“It achieves this by being a back-up to energy supply at times when the renewable energy struggles to meet demand.”

The development management committee meeting will discuss the application at Blackdown House, in Honiton, from 10am.

https://www.exmouthjournal.co.uk/news/woodbury-gas-power-plant-recommended-for-approval-1-6242265

“UK must accept US food standards in trade deal, says farm chief”

Hello, Mr Parish, HELLO …

“The UK must accept US food standards as part of any future trade deal with Washington, the head of America’s farming lobby has said.
Zippy Duvall, head of the American Farm Bureau, said US farmers were keen to trade with their British “friends”.

But he said fears over practices such as washing chicken in chlorine and using genetically modified (GM) crops were not “science-based”.

The US has said the UK will be “first in line” for a trade deal after Brexit.

But some fear the UK will have to compromise on standards currently enshrined in EU law in order to secure a deal with Washington.

Mr Duvall, himself a poultry farmer in Georgia, said he wanted to have “a conversation” about US food standards given the concerns in the UK.

One of the most controversial practices is washing chicken with chlorine to kill germs, which is banned in the EU. This is not because the wash itself is harmful but over fears that treating meat with chlorine at the end allows poorer hygiene elsewhere in the production process.

“You know, here in America we treat our water with chlorine,” Mr Duvall told the BBC’s Today programme.

“So there is no scientific basis that says that washing poultry with a chlorine wash just to be safe of whatever pathogens might be on that chicken as it was prepared for the market, should be taken away.

“If there was something wrong with it our federal inspection systems would not be allowing us to use that,” he added.

Harmful competition?

In London this week, Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton suggested that the US could strike trade deals with the UK after Brexit on a “sector-by -sector basis” to speed up the process.

But asked whether he could envisage a trade deal with the UK that did not include agriculture, Mr Duvall said it would be seen as a betrayal by US farmers.

“To have a trade treaty and not discuss agriculture would be turning your back on rural America and that’s where a big part of our population lives. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49353220

Don’t rely on Boris for fibre broadband – best do it yourself

A computer magazine (Computer Active!) has warned that Boris Johnson’s promises on UK-wide fibre broadband are just wishful thinking (or, if you prefer lying) – but there is an alternative for hard-to-reach properties:

Drug crimes move from cities to rural towns and villages

“Drug crime is increasing in many small towns and villages even as it falls significantly in city centres, the BBC has found.

Police data shows drug crimes in England and Wales have fallen by more than 50,000 in the past five years. But national averages hide a major shift in where drug crimes are being committed.

It comes as the government pledged an extra £85m to prosecutors to help deal with a rise in violent crime.

In the village of Westhumble in Surrey, which has a population of 649, drug crime has more than quadrupled in the past five years, from nine cases to 42.

But just 20 miles away in Westminster, central London, drug crime more than halved over the same period, from 4,041 to 1,832. The pattern is repeated in many other areas around the capital, a BBC analysis of police-recorded crime showed. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48343369

Johnson countrywide broadband fibre promise totally unachievable

Owl says: What planet is this man living on? Planet Trump?

“The UK’s telecoms industry has issued the prime minister a challenge of its own after Boris Johnson said he wanted full-fibre broadband “for all” by 2025.

An open letter says the target is possible, but only if the government tackles four problems causing delays.

It adds that all of the issues must be resolved “within the next 12 months” to achieve the high-speed internet goal.

But one expert said at least one of the measures was unachievable in that time frame.

Mr Johnson originally declared his desire to deliver the 100% rollout of fibre-optic broadband to properties across the UK “in five years at the outside” in an article for the Telegraph published before he won the leadership vote.

In it, he described the government’s former target of 2033 as being “laughably unambitious”.

The letter sent to 10 Downing Street lists four policies that the industry says require urgent attention:

Planning reform – at present telecom providers need to get a type of permission known as a “wayleave agreement” to get access to land and buildings to install cables. But in many cases property owners are unresponsive. The industry wants ministers to force landlords to provide access if a tenant has requested a full-fibre or other connection be installed

Fibre tax – the so-called tax refers to the fact that fibre infrastructure currently has business rates applied to it, just like other commercial property. The industry claims this discourages investment and should be rethought

New builds – the government has carried out a consultation into whether new-build home developments must incorporate gigabit-capable internet connections, but has yet to publish its response. In the meantime, the industry says too many new homes are still being developed without provision for fibre broadband

Skills – a large number of engineers will be required to carry out all the work involved. BT and Virgin Media have previously warned that Brexit could result in labour shortages. The industry says more money must be committed to training, and it must also be allowed to continue to “compete for global talent”

“Nationwide full fibre coverage is not a can that can be kicked down the road,” the letter concludes.

“Work needs to start now, and 100% fibre coverage requires a 100% commitment from government.”

The letter has been signed by the chair of the Internet Services Providers Association, the interim chief executive of the Federation of Communication Services and the chief executive of the Independent Networks Co-operative Association.

Their members include BT, Openreach, Sky, Gigaclear, CityFibre, Hyperoptic, Virgin Media, Google and Vodafone among many others.

Openreach, which maintains the UK’s digital network infrastructure, said it welcomed the government’s ambition but warned: “Upgrading the entire UK network is a major civil engineering challenge.”

It urged the government to “boost the build” by “creating an environment that encourages greater investment”.

Number 10 referred the BBC to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for comment. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-49209013

Countryfile presenter works out what we’ve all known for years about modern rural life!

“Countryfile host John Craven has hit out over the loss of rural services, saying the problem has left residents “socially isolated”.

He laments the disappearance of many rural shops, schools, post offices, pubs and bus routes.

He said: “In particular this has hit the rising number of pensioners who live long distances from surgeries and hospitals and maybe don’t have anyone to keep an eye on them.”

The TV veteran feels the main visual change to the countryside in the past 30 years is the swathe of “new homes on the outskirts of villages.”

But he voiced his concern that there have not been “enough affordable ones to stop young country folk migrating to towns”.

The long-running series’ presenter also told BBC Countryfile Magazine: “No matter what happens over Brexit, I worry for the future of UK food production.”

With just 60% of Britain’s food currently home-grown, he warned: “It’s vital that we step up our level of self-sufficiency and improve our exports.

“Most farmers are middle-aged to elderly and over the years so many sons and daughters have told me they have no interest in taking over from their parents.

“So we’ll need more young recruits from non-farming backgrounds if future food demands are to be met.

“Politicians must face up to this or the UK will be forced to rely increasingly on imports.”

The ex-Newsround host, 78, also said “one joy of being at BBC Countryfile Live every August is to be regarded as a friend by folk I’ve never met before”.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/tvs-countryfile-host-john-craven-18808486