Posts Tagged ‘Environmental Audit Committee’

Draining …. & fracking …. updates?

February 15, 2015

We’ve still no news or useful updates on the hedge / tree works yet, beyond that is notification that ‘investigate immediately’ will now take 20 working days to provide a reply!  This approach begs the question of what kind of a response there might be if a member of the public noticed a damaged embankment or Pumping Station issues and were to report it?  The recent DDC Governance Audit Report makes recommendations about engaging with the public, but as a Chairman of a neighbouring Board’s sub-committee recently reminded his colleagues …. the Board receives recommendations but it does not have to act upon them (in fairness he did hint that a Board would need a good reason not to at least ‘note’ recommendations)!

There is, we offer, another option as to who might have undertaken the works?  If readers can think of others then please do let us know.

The Local Authority, Doncaster MBC in this situation as the site is at Fishlake, could have commissioned contractors to undertake the ‘management’ to ensure that the footpath is kept clear?

This lane, Wood Lane is notified as a “Restricted byway on signs at both Clough House Farm and Jubilee Bridge.   It would be a strange way to conduct business if such management works were carried out by any Public Body seeking to create lanes for off road vehicle use?  An enquiry was made of DMBC Public Rights of Way officers and a response is awaited.


Additional images which show recent management activity along a drain (above) and the associated hedgerows on both sides of Wood Lane in Fishlake.  The image below also shows where a heavily tracked machine reversed across the track?


Has the work been undertaken by a neighbouring landoowner who utilises the lane for access to land?  Readers are recommended to view the area via Google Earth.  This excellent tool, providing reasonably up to date aerial images (current Fishlake panel is 2008), clearly illustrates the state of the once extremely rich pastoral landscape and how in recent years the hedgerows have been removed to create larger fields and a mono-culture of prairiescape easily accessed by large agri-industrial machinery.  Despite the  transformation from rich wetland to a modern industrialised food factory there are still pockets which harbour interesting species just hanging on in fragmented habitats.  DMBC, like the DDC have created a plethora of documents which extol the virtues of such places, but despite the data the areas are still lost and the area ‘developed’ under the Planning System reformed by the current ConDem Government.  DMBC Habitat Action Plan for Ancient and Species Rich Hedgerows (2007) records in Section 3 the amount of the local resouce, it would be interesting to learn nearly eight years on how much has been lost?  It is highly likely that many miles will have been planted from public funds, but it will be many hundreds of years before they are of any real biodiversity value and that assumes that the Scarce Vapourer wingless female can make the journey without the requisite wildlife friendly corridors or perhaps the funded project to a local NGO might be to facilitate an ‘introduction’?

Is fracking good for us?

Water supplies, personal health, carbon targets, and naturally income from company shares &c.?

The other update which might be of interest to our readers is the recent publication by the Environmental Audit Committee the report which details the Environmental Risks of Fracking.  This work was commissioned by the Environmental Audit Committee .

The EAC undertook an inquiry on the risks from fracking operations in the UK, including potential risks to water supplies and water quality, emissions, habitats and biodiversity, and geological integrity; (b) necessary environmental safeguards, including through the planning/permitting system; and (c) the implications for our carbon emissions reduction obligations.

Too late?  The flood gates have been opened and the Tresspass Laws amended to accommodate big business plans?  See the various links below (with apologies if some have changed):  Whoiswho



Conservation matters? “No net loss”?

September 20, 2014

140920 Sykehouse late Scabious hrk 567

Grey and grizzly might have been an apt description for today’s weather but not to be deterred I went to check out the aftermath of some local haymeadows.  The pastoral landscape of the Humberhead Levels, in quiet secluded corners is like stepping back into the past.  There are fragments, which because of the their inaccessibility to large machinery or their physical station amidst river courses and highways make their survival more likely.  With the realisation of the decline in natural grasslands and haymeadows the last few have been acquired by conservation charities and are managed in keeping with the traditions which created them.

140920 SM Scabious hrk 569 - Copy

Despite the damp there were hoverflies and bees making the most of late nectar on offer.  Knautia arvensis (above) is a plant of grasslands and meadows and a tail end charlie in terms of summer flowers.  Interestingly where the reaper had left uncut there were a number of white speciemns and a single pink bloom.



EU consultation on biodiversity: ‘No net loss’.

The European Commission have published an online consultation seeking the public’s view on a future EU initiative (known as ‘No net loss’) to halt biodiversity loss.  Although the EU and its member states  already  have various conservation measures already in place, such as the designation of protected Natura 2000 areas, almost 25% of European animal species are thought to be at risk of extinction.

Can we encourage readers to submit their views on the consultation here,  biodiversity and a healthy environment are not an option but a necessity?


Belatedly to draw to readers attention the ‘red carding’ of the “greenest government ever” .  The Environmental Audit Committee recently published its findings Environmental Scorecard, and whilst one might be tempted to describe them as damming they will hardly come as a surprise to anyone active in conservation campaigning?

Members of the committee (16)

Joan Walley MP  Labour, Stoke-on-Trent North) (Chair)    Peter Aldous MP  (Conservative, Waveney)    Neil Carmichael MP  (Conservative, Stroud)    Martin Caton MP  (Labour, Gower)

Katy Clark MP  (Labour, North Ayrshire and Arran)    Zac Goldsmith MP  (Conservative, Richmond Park)    Mike Kane MP  (Labour, Wythenshawe and Sale East)    Mark Lazarowicz MP  (Labour/Co-operative, Edinburgh North and Leith)

Caroline Lucas MP  (Green, Brighton Pavilion)    Caroline Nokes MP  (Conservative, Romsey and Southampton North)    Dr Matthew Offord MP  (Conservative, Hendon)    Dan Rogerson MP  Liberal Democrat, North Cornwall) [ex-officio]

Mr Mark Spencer MP  (Conservative, Sherwood)    Rt Hon Mrs Caroline Spelman MP  (Conservative, Meriden)    Dr Alan Whitehead MP  (Labour, Southampton, Test)    Simon Wright MP  (Liberal Democrat, Norwich South)


Emissions and climate change  AMBER

Air pollution  RED

Biodiversity  RED

Forests  AMBER

Soils  AMBER

Flooding and coastal protection  RED

Resource efficiency and waste  AMBER

Freshwater environment  AMBER

Water availability  AMBER

Marine environment  AMBER

Its recommendations were that:

The Government should set up an independent body—an ‘office for environmental responsibility’—to (i) review the Environment Strategy we advocate; (ii) advise Government on appropriate targets; (iii) advise Government on policies, both those in Government programmes and new ones that could be brought forward to support the environment; (iv) advise Government about the adequacy of the resources (in both central and local government) made available for delivering the Strategy; and (v) monitor and publish performance against the Strategy and its targets.

Whilst these are to be applauded, we would wish to secure reasurance that the ‘independent body’ must be just that otherwise Government credibility is again, even more damaged?  Any ‘independent body’ needs to be drawn, not from the usual suspects or party patronage, but from candidates with a proven track record and the confidence of rank and file activists.


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Mark Avery

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I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.

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