Posts Tagged ‘Tim Melling’

NPPF & unintended consequences & ‘Moor grouses’ ….

January 31, 2014

It seems that it isn’t just conservationists who had and continue to have concerns about the National Planning Policy Framework. 

We are all of us asked to sign epetitions and recently I was alerted to another, and I now share with you an interesting bit of the background to the appeal circulated by a ‘campaigning PC’ (Parish Clerk) who wrote:

You will no doubt be familiar with the rapidly growing number of opportunistic housing development proposals being submitted in many rural communities throughout the country.  You  will also be aware of the enormous difficulty in resisting inappropriate   planning applications without a core strategy in place or an identified 5 year supply of developable land.  Even if applications are refused by the Local Planning Authority, there is a likelihood that they will be allowed at   appeal as a result of the presumption of sustainable development.

 As you may know the MP for Stratford  on Avon, Mr Nadhim Zahawi, has spoken out strongly against the damage being  done to rural communities.  The Daily Telegraph of 9th January reported  him as saying that loopholes in the guidelines are allowing developers to   “undermine the Government’s good intentions to deliver bottom-up planning and   much needed housing” and that the “physical harm” being inflicted on the   countryside could become “the defining legacy of this  Government”.
 
Unfortunately, whilst Mr Zahawi has a  great deal support for his opinions, both regionally and at Westminster, the   Government is not listening and seems determined to press ahead with its   current policy despite the widespread irreversible damage that will ensue.
 
We believe that Mr Zahawi’s stance should be given public support and that with three simple amendments to the planning policy the Government’s objective of building more homes can be  achieved without the creation of a damaging legacy. 
 
With this in mind we have lodged an  e-petition on the No 10 website and are inviting you and your councillors to  support it.
For more detail as to the particular aspects of the petition see “Amend the NPPF now before irreversible damage is caused to our communities”
So, might this see a challenge to the drive to concrete the countryside, might it see sense prevail in floodplains?  It was always going to be contentious, heralded as local people making local decisions.  Lest we forget that when local decisions go against developers they go to appeal, yet if decisions go against local wishes they have no right of appeal.  Yes, they can consider Judicial Review and to do that they have to raise thousands of pounds to challenge and only then if the process was flawed.  Democracy?
Of petitions nearing their deadlines and requiring a bit more support to ensure that the Government at least ‘discuss’ the proposal in Parliament, can I also ask you to consider signing John Armitage’s petition:  Licencing of upland grouse moors and gamekeepers.
Red Grouse TM
Red Grouse in the Peak District, copyright Tim Melling (with permission).
It seems to be enjoying a last minute burst thanks to ‘celebrity bloggers’ like Mark Avery.  The Forum featured it previously but in case you missed that plea then can you help it to secure the 10,000 signatures needed by 27 February 2014?   Currently it stands at 8,461 ….

Make the most of the wildlife while it’s there

July 17, 2013

The image of a Grass Snake below, sent in by Bryan Wainwright, illustrates clearly the species distinct collar with two yellow patches each with a black crescent-shaped mark to the rear.  Females are larger than males and also have broader heads with less distinctive yellow patches and which in older individuals may be absent.  Whilst reasonably common on Thorne and Hatfield Moors they can also be encountered in gardens, indeed the leathery eggs can often be found in compost heaps or young emerging from those grass heaps in August and September.  A recent slough from my garden measured 75cms maybe a little more but it had begun to dry and ‘shrink’ when I measured it.

GRASS SNAKE 010A

 

This image below, taken by Matt Blissett, depicts an immature Smooth Newt, recently metamorphosised was taken on Crowle Moors at the beginning of July. It is an interesting record as Smooth or Common Newts as they are also known are generally regarded as prefering neutral to slightly alkaline pH.

 

imm Smooth Newt MB 075

 

The spectacular image below of the SPA interest feature of Thorne and Hatfield Moors, the enigmatic nightjar shows clearly the distinctive white patches which indicate that this is a male.  They arrive in the uk at the end of May and begin to take up their territories and announce that fact with their evocative and magical churring.  These birds are crepuscular in their habits (appearing at dawn and dusk) but can occasionally be flushed during the day.  The species, which is protected in law, is susceptible to disturbance by walkers, particularly those with dogs off leashes.  An annual survey is undertaken on Thorne and Hatfield Moors but it is a basic count of churring males and does not provide any indication of breeding success, fledging or numbers of broods etc.

 

Nightjar TM

 

For more of his spectacular images go to Tim Melling’s flickr site.  See also Mark Avery’s blog where a stunning Purple Emperor adorns Mark’s post.

 

The ‘spittlebug’ below, taken by Steve Hiner (Natural England) is probably Aphrophora alni Alder Spittlebug.  A common froghopper and recorded from both Thorne and Hatfield Moors.

 

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The image below, another of Steve’s shows Strangalia quadrifasciata a colourful and common longhorn beetle.  Associated with old woodland and particularly oak, alder and sometimes willows.  The larvae are wood borers in wood, stumps and logs.

 

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So, nothing controvertial today, just items of natural history interest while they can still be had, enjoyed and shared.


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Mark Avery

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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

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