Thursday, 17 December 2015

Fracking idiots

Yesterday the Bullingdon club and associates (parliament) voted through a change in legislation to allow hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to take place underneath our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty. This vote is happened though a governmental back door that allows it to happen without having to have a debate in the Commons.

It allows the construction of fracking wells on the border of our National Parks and AONBs. These wells are the size of a cricket pitch and will be able do drill under our Parks and ...AONBs.
A typical fracking well will use around 300,000 gallons of water a day. All this water must be delivered by lorry, and waste water taken away.

If a lorry holds 10,000 gallons of water then each well will require 60 lorry visits per day, 24/7.
All this is happening on the borders of our National Parks and AONBs, whilst they drill underneath. Fracking stations run 24 hours a day.

Environmentally fracking is a complete and total disaster. The amount of gas we will get from it is even unlikely to drive the price down as it is a relatively modest amount compared to the scale of the gas market. Add to this the fact that UK taxpayers will have pay to clean up any pollution caused by fracking if the companies go bankrupt, after a proposal to make UK operators take out insurance against such damage was ruled out by the government

Rob Cunningham, head of water policy at the RSPB, said: "The prime minister promised one of the most stringent regulatory regimes for fracking in the world but his government appears more interested in tax cuts than managing risk. It really doesn't matter if you are pro or anti fracking, this proposal would simply ensure that when things do go wrong shareholders, not taxpayers bear the cost for cleanup if companies go bust or cease trading. If government's response boils down to concerns over cost of insurance it sheds an interesting light on just how safe they really think the technology is."

Why are we allowing this to happen? Is this the legacy you want to leave to your children or grandchildren? 1000s of fracking wells with 10s of 1000s of lorries driving around our countryside 24/7.

As the government reduces spending on renewables to the lowest levels for years and announces it is "kick starting" the fracking industry the future looks very bleak indeed, and this from 'the greenest government ever? Liz Truss and David Cameron are the most dangerously misguided and greedy pair this country has seen in many years. In a time when we are meant to be moving forward and getting away from fossil fuels, this seems the most ludicrous backwards step yet!

Lisa Nandy - Labour energy spokesperson

"We should have a moratorium on fracking in Britain until we can be sure it is safe and won’t present intolerable risks to our environment. Neither MPs or the public have received these assurances yet Ministers are ignoring people’s legitimate concerns and imposing fracking on communities.”

“It is frankly shabby of the Government to sneak through these weak fracking rules without any proper Parliamentary debate. Ministers had previously conceded that there should be the tougher safeguards that Labour has been calling for to protect drinking water sources and sensitive parts of our countryside like National Parks. Now they’ve abandoned those promises'

Caroline Lucas - Green Party MP

“Government successfully sneak through (without debate) change to allow fracking under protected areas. Real shame 298 MPs voted for it.”

Ben Bradshaw - Labours former environment minister

“Majority cut to 37 as Tories push through fracking in National Parks with no debate, breaking promise & treating Commons with contempt”

National Trust

“The Trust stands by its call for the Government to rule out fracking in the most sensitive areas – protected wildlife areas, nature reserves and national parks – and make them frack-free zones. There is a need to ensure that regulations offer sufficient protection to our treasured natural and historic environment.”
“There is an urgent need for more evidence about the impact of fracking on the hydrology, ecology and geology of landscapes. This is needed for informed decision-making about any future for fracking in the UK.”

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Year in review

As we speed endlessly towards 2016, I once again find myself reminiscing on the past year.... this year has been an absolute rollercoaster ride and one that in many ways im glad to see the back of! That's not to say this year has been all negative, just insanely busy and stressful.

As many of my regular readers will have noticed, I have been very quiet on the blog front, this has been due to the fact I have had to miss an entire season of ringing and birding, for a very good reason I might add. I have been incredibly lucky to become a father for the second time, my baby girl, Isabelle, was born in September and was a healthy 9lb3oz, only 6 oz. lighter than her bruiser of a brother when he was born. Unfortunately my wife, Kay, was very ill in the lead up the birth which required (rightly so) my presence at home.

I did still manage a little birding, often taking my son Bradley with me in order to give Kay some time to rest. In doing so I added a few of lifers to my list including Pectoral Sandpiper, Hudsonian Whimbrel and Terek Sandpiper, I also caught up with a couple of rarer birds that are always nice to see, including Great Grey Shrike, Grey Phalarope, Great White, Egret Black, Winged Stilt among others. I have cherished this time with him and its been lovely to see his interest in natural things starting to develop.

I am incredibly fulfilled with my amazing family and want to first say a massive well done to my wife.... what a trooper and proving once again the fairer sex is indeed women. I know for a fact I could not have done what she has this year. Secondly I want to say how unimaginably proud I am of my son Bradley. In the last 3 months he has had to deal with a change of epic proportions to his little life, and he has handled it admirably and much better than many adults could have done! Last but not least I want to say welcome to the world to my Daughter Isabelle, you have completed our family and in the best way possible.

And now onto the apologies section for there are invariably quite a few. I am sorry to all my friends, who, unfortunately, have been sidelined for a large proportion of this year while I looked after my domestic interests. Apologies are also due to Duncan, Trevor and Barry for my missing a massive chunk of this year ringing and frankly going off radar for most of the time, these guys work tirelessly with us trainees and without guys like this, the knowledge we gain from their data would not be possible.

Looking forward to 2016 now and I am planning a big year birding, I will, with Duncan and Trevors permission be ringing once more and am aiming for my C permit. I am also birding in Southern Portugal, my first proper venture abroad looking for birds. The Ria Formosa is supposed to be a great destination for Waders as well as Passerines. Now that my whole family are able to travel and walk about I will be dragging them on some 'twitches'. This year I am going to focus on Hampshire, with the occasional foray out if its something I particularly want to see.

So for now friends........ Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy Birding from mine to yours!