Posts Tagged ‘FOE’

Who owns England?

December 2, 2016

Apologies for the recent silence in terms of blog posts.  We’ve been busy with a number of projects and we will report on these at a later date.

The absence of updates does not mean that there hasn’t been activity, either recording or campaigning.  In terms of campaigning there is a recent discovery that we’d like to share with you.

Many readers will be familiar with Andy Wightman’s seminal tome “The Poor Had No Lawyers Who owns Scotland (And How They Got It).  See also Andy’s blog Land Matters

See also  Andy Wightman listed as Scottish Green Party on Scottish Parliamentary website Another website of interest is that of Who Owns Scotland

So, it was pleasing to discover the English equivalent Who Owns England recently.  It was one of those purely by chance moments, a discovery resulting from researching a Twitter news feed relating to the proposed sell off of the Land Registry.  The information available through WOE is recommended reading to anyone interested in such topics as those listed below.  It is a valuable tool in terms of researching land use associated with land ownership.  It also aids understanding behind some political decisions as well perhaps?

It appears that the website was launched earlier this year around August and its team are to be congratulated on the content thus far, long may they continue to shine their torch into murky corners?  For readers who Twitter see also @guyshrubsole  Who informs us that he is a Campaigner at Friends of the Earth. I tweet about climate change, nature, coal, floods, land, politics. All views my own.  See other Shrubsole articles via Open Democracy.  

There is a whole host of interesting posts including: England’s Missing Acres, Who Owns England’s Grouse Moors, Defence of the Realm MOD land holdings, To the Manor Born: Mapping the Grosvenor Estate, Who Owns Parliament, Liquid Assets: Land owned by the water utilities, What does Whitehall Own, The Birds and the Trees: Land owned by the RSPB and the Forestry Commission, What do the Oxford Colleges Own, Why we must open up the Land Registry, How much Public Land is available for House Building.



The ‘bogs’ salute The Rt Hon Michael Meacher MP.

October 25, 2015

On 21 October 2015, the death of The Rt Hon Michael Meacher was announced.  So, what had Meacher to do with Thorne & Hatfield Moors?

Meacher 3 July 2002 WH pp

It is Meacher that we here at Thorne & Hatfield Moors have to thank that the sites are still here!  Whilst the ‘battle for the bogs’ started long before 1997 that year was a very significant one.  So much so that had English Nature and their hydrological report sponsors won the day, then we may not have been able to enjoy what remains of them today.  Undoubtably the natural environment has much to thank Meacher for, comments further to his obituary in the Guardian are very telling.

In July 1997 English Nature proposed to remove the protective status from parts of Thorne & Hatfield Moors.  The hydrological reports upon which the statutory agency based their recommendations were later established to have been provided by the peat producers!  Derek Langslow, the Chief Executive of English Nature at the time, a very brave man indeed as he ventured to a public meeting held in Thorne Grammar School to try to justify ENs proposal to a packed hall of around 400 people, or so the regional and national press reported.  I don’t recall his response to the question “who funded them [the hydrological reports]?” because the audience at that point were incensed …. the rest as they say is history as Meacher ‘suggested’ his agency to review their proposal.

Meacher & Brown 3 July 2002 pp

Meacher was then keynote speaker at our 2002 conference which celebrated the buy out of the extant planning consents.  The transcripts from “Peat – the way forward, a future for the UK’s peatlands”  are available as a download.   To hear a Government Minister describe local conservation campaigners as a ‘considerable force to be reckoned with’ caused a few chuckles amongst the audience that first day of the conference, his speech that day also shows an understanding and recognition of the part that local communities and activists can have in safeguarding their local areas.  We were fortunate also that Craig Bennett of FoE (second left, front row below)  raised the profile of the peat campaign to that of a corporate campaign.

Speaker Panel 4 July 2002 pp

Sadly one might ponder the possibilities of another of his ilk ….

021014 award MM rm crop

The image above shows Michael Meacher receiving an award for services to conservation when local bog-trotters travelled to London to make the presentation in October 2002.

Today we have Government Ministers calling anyone who cares about the natural environment ‘green blobs’.


We have Ministers who sign off badger culls.  We have Government claiming to be an evidence based one but who then fail to commission science or ignore that which exists prefering ‘pr’ narrative?  We have Government Departments who fail to act and enforce legislation when local SSSIs are damaged, fail to comply with European Directives, fail to act when raptors are illegally persecuted …. the list is endless.

The record since Meacher was sacked (rumour has it because he listened to science and to folk in the know) speaks for itself?

Thorne and Hatfield Moors and the T&HM Conservation Forum mark his passing with great sadness but celebrate his achievements for ‘our moors’ and other areas such as the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

Thank you ‘honourable gentleman’.



Lest we forget the corporate carnage wrought by peat extraction ….

Ministerial Party on HM 3 July 2002 pp

Above: It is July 2002 and the Ministerial party look out across the ‘killing fields’ which if revisited today show nature’s capacity to heal industrial scale scars inflicted by industrial processes, but as we mark Meacher’s passing we mourn also for the lost record from the peat ‘Doomsday’ record of of climate change.



Campaign updates & not so Scarce Footmen

July 8, 2014


Syngenta’s attempt to undermine the EU pesticides ban has caused public uproar in the past few days. When the pesticide company applied to the Government for the go-ahead to use banned chemicals on UK crops, a number of organisations stepped in and called upon the public to help.  FOE and others report that ….

Thousands of us emailed the Bees Minister over the weekend and, as a result of this and the work of brilliant bee-loving allies such as Buglife, we think Syngenta and the Government have truly been feeling the pressure. [On 4 July] we found out that Syngenta have withdrawn their application.

This is fantastic news for our bees. It means the most bee-harming pesticides will not be used in the UK this year.

Syngenta say they’ll try again next year – but we’ll be ready for them.


Should LEGO advertise for Shell, a multinational seeking to exploit the Arctic?

There is currently a Greenpeace campaign to persuade Shell to reconsider its plans for exploitation of the Arctic for oil.  They have also raised the issue of advertising through ‘Lego’ toys, so are asking people to sign a petition to Lego to persuade them to reconsider helping Shell present itself as a family friendly and caring company.



Another ‘plug’ to those who might still be undecided and considering whether or not to sign Dr Mark Avery‘s epetition Ban driven grouse shooting.  Currently standing at 7.018 – can we get it to the 10,000 by the ‘inglorious’ 12th August?  Updates and background information can be found on his excellent blog Standing up for Nature.   


I’ve recently been reading Tony Juniper‘s What has nature ever done for us?   I think I’d suggest that it needs to be compulsory reading for all 1450 residents of the Westminster village.  Perhaps Kirsty Young should make it a compulsory companion when she interviews politicians and similar professions on R4’s Desert Island Discs?



The changeable weather recently has curtailed a little, my endeavours to boost my ‘backyard’ moth list …. but a recent addition to the list is shown below alongside its more common cousin.

Easy when they're side by side.  Eilema complana (top) and E. lurideola (bottom).

Easy when they’re side by side. Eilema complana (top) and E. lurideola (bottom).

The Scarce Footman has, in my view a completely different ‘jizz’ to that of the more frequently encountered Common Footman.  It was a pleasant find, there were two amidst more plentiful cousins and whilst not as ‘rare’ as it’s name suggests it is not a particularly common species yet …. although, according to Harry Beaumont (YNU Lepidoptera Recorder for ‘Micros’) Scarce Footman has turned up frequently during the past few years, with the records slowly making it onto the Yorkshire Moths website.  After VC61, VC63 holds the second largest number of unique sites and individuals.


BIRDING SITE GUIDE - Birding Site Guide

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Hatfield Moors Birding Blog

Bird and other wildlife information service for Hatfield Moors, South Yorkshire, UK © HMBSG 17/11/2010

Mark Avery

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

a new nature blog

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.

UK and Ireland Natural History Bloggers

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?