From Moth-athons to ‘Frack-athons’ & the Peak District Hen Harrier Day ….

The Thorne Moors ‘Moth-athon’ species list referred to in last nights blog post is slowly creeping nearer the target of 200, currently it stands at 177 species with two ‘stations’ still to have their data incorporated.

Clouded Border, one of the 177 species recorded so far on the 'moth-athon'.  Image: Steve Hiner.

Clouded Border, one of the 177 species recorded so far on the ‘moth-athon’. Image: Steve Hiner.

 

The state of English HEN HARRIERS

Another piece of good news is that Mark Avery’s epetition Ban driven grouse shooting is nearing his interim target of 10,000 as the ‘inglorious 12th’ approaches. It currently stands at 9,451 – can readers help him get it to that 10,000 target by the Hen Harrier Day scheduled for 10 August in the Peak District?  Chris Packham is attending the Peak District event, let’s hope for plenty of coverage in the press.  We hope the media do a decent job of reporting the rationale behind the event instead of playing politics with serious conservation issues which have been neglected for far too long.  If the industry can’t sort it’s own act out then it’s time that the people had a say and the politicians listened?

We will not repeat the various ‘arguments’ that Mark Avery and Chris Packham have used to justify the call for a ban, the series are better read via Standing up for nature, they make interesting reading as do some of the comments anonymous correspondents have submitted.  I understand that there is to be a ‘Thunderclap’ and the target, which is already exceeded, is to be a million signatures, but you can still join in see here for more about ‘Thunderclaps’.

So, if you’ve not altready signed the epetition Ban driven grouse shooting then please consider doing so here.  Send an email to your address book network and draw the issue to their attention if you’ve not already done so, the more who join in the stormy issue and ‘Thunderclap’ ….

As if no breeding Hen Harriers in England isn’t depressing enough we have another threat facing our natural resources, and no surprise it’s those owned by you and I i.e. the public!

HYDRAULIC FRACKING: A contentious business?

I’m sure I’m not the only person reading this blog post who will have received an email alert/appeal very similar to that below:

Today, David Cameron opened up huge new areas of the country to fracking. More than half of Britain is now up for grabs in the prime minister’s latest frack-a-thon, including areas in 10 national parks. 

But already, almost 250,000 people have signed our petition calling for David Cameron to keep the UK frack free. Can you help us hit 300,000 and show prime minister the strength of opposition he and his government are up against?  Readers can access and sign the petition here.

Despite the government claims that national parks will only be targeted for drilling in “exceptional circumstances”, today’s announcement is littered with loopholes – meaning the tranquillity of the Peak District, the Lake District and Brecon Beacons could still be shattered as fracking companies move in to drill.

Not only has the fracking industry still to prove it can operate safely, the oil and gas produced by fracking would increase our carbon emissions at a time when we need to be massively reducing them.

But there’s still time to stop the industry before it begins.  Last week, Cameron’s fracking juggernaut was forced off the road in West Sussex when the county council unanimously turned down an application to drill in the ancient village of Wisborough Green, just outside the South Downs National Park.

Nearly 2,500 people voiced their concerns about huge lorries thundering through country lanes. And on the day the application to drill was heard by council leaders, an expert geologist described the fracking company’s plan as “incompetent and disingenuous.”

The brakes might have been put on fracking in Wisborough Green for the time being, but the prime minister’s obsession with fracking has blinded him to the scale of opposition up and down the country. Remind him what he’s up against – sign the petition now to urge David Cameron to ditch fracking.

The email appeal uses emotive terminology and we would seek to understand both sides of the argument, so naturally we would expect that case to be accurate evidence based science.  The Guardian calls for the protection of National Parks but also our houses.  They also reported that Fracking push gets the go ahead, but there appears an expectation that we will trust politicians to safeguard National Parks, sounds like the time that the public let *politicians sort out their expenses scandal or when they bailed out the banks at the public expense or sold off public assets at less than market value?  However, ever an agnostic ….

In a tightening of the guidance, the government will ask energy firms to submit an environmental statement that is “particularly comprehensive and detailed” if they want to frack on or near protected countryside, forcing them to demonstrate their understanding of local sensitivities. It will make clear that the applications “should be refused in these areas other than in exceptional circumstances and in the public interest”.

In addition, Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, is likely to make a final decision on more appeals related to protected areas over the next 12 months, instead of leaving it to the planning watchdog.  [Read the full Guardian article here.]  Another excellent piece was that written by John Vidal when he called for Frack free zones to protect water and wildlife, see here.

Government will ‘ask’, …. firms will produce an environmental statement to demonstrate – that’s really reassuring isn’t it?   We all appreciate that we need an energy mix, that we need to conserve energy (perhaps someone should remind Government of ‘conservation’) but I suppose that doesn’t make the energy companies money does it if we reduce our consumption?  We need safe and reliable energy, we need energy companies to be accountable …. (see above*).

A useful start in terms of understanding the issue of Hydraulic fracturing can be found here.

If you are minded to consider signing the Greenpeace petition then it can be found here.

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