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The most recent posts are given below.

Peak oil – a thing of the past -or rather the future ?

The price of a barrel of oil has nearly halved in recent weeks. OPEC refuse to cut production – the argument to make USA shale un economic – removing the competition  – but also perhaps having a massive impact on Russia – whose economy significantly relies on the hydro-carbon industry.

It will no doubt be spring (perhaps just before the general election)  before we any large reduction in our home energy cost prices – as suppliers will no doubt say they have had to forward buy to cover the peak winter period. A freezing in price now looks a nonsense – as for the foreseeable future the price  direction is down.

The one sure looser is the environment . The incentive for investing in cleaner and sustainable  renewable energy diminishes.
What price our planet ?

Enough brownfield ‘for 1 million homes’

England has enough suitable “brownfield” land to build almost a million new homes, campaigners have said.

More than 400,000 homes could be built on previously developed land which already has outline or detailed planning permission, according to information from local authorities compiled by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

And over 550,000 more could be accommodated on vacant or derelict land that does not have planning permission, the research by CPRE said.

Almost half (44%) of the vacant space is located in the South East, East of England and London. In the capital, where there is huge pressure for housing, 146,000 homes could be built on brownfield land, a report by the organisation said.

In total the report identifies enough brownfield land for 976,000 homes, providing the country with a four-year supply of new housing even if no other land is used.

CPRE said the figure was an underestimate as it does not include underused land such as car parks which could be used for housing.

Some brownfield sites have been identified as important wildlife hotspots for creatures such as rare beetles, but CPRE said new research suggests just 8% of brownfield land is important habitat, leaving plenty for development.

But the campaign group is concerned that new national planning rules do not prioritise brownfield development, which means Green Belt and greenfield land is being built on instead.

Barriers to developing brownfield land include the costs of and providing local infrastructure, difficulties for small and medium-sized builders trying to get into the market, the availability of cheaper greenfield sites and the lack of accurate data on brownfield land, the report said.

Barriers to developing brownfield land include the costs of and providing local infrastructure, difficulties for small and medium-sized builders trying to get into the market, the availability of cheaper greenfield sites and the lack of accurate data on brownfield land, the report said.

CPRE is calling for the reintroduction of a clear and consistent “brownfield first” policy, and other measures to boost use of previously developed land.

These could include giving the Homes and Communities Agency greater powers and resources to develop large and difficult sites, a proactive approach to identifying brownfield land and incentives for smaller building firms to develop smaller sites.

Paul Miner, planning campaign manager at CPRE, said: “This research demonstrates the huge existing capacity for housing on brownfield land.

“At a time when there is great pressure on our green spaces, utilising this land through a brownfield first policy would protect our countryside and regenerate urban areas.

“We want this new, authoritative evidence to lead to a sustained focus on suitable brownfield land.

“We can and must do more to get these sites redeveloped, whether it be reviving the National Land Use Database or implementing strong local plans to deal with multiple landowners on difficult sites.”

source  http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/11/24/enough-brownfield-for-1-million-homes/

 

 

Comet landing: Organic molecules detected by Philae

The Philae lander has detected organic molecules on the surface of its comet, scientists have confirmed.

Carbon-containing “organics” are the basis of life on Earth and may give clues to chemical ingredients delivered to our planet early in its history.

The compounds were picked up by a German-built instrument designed to “sniff” the comet’s thin atmosphere.

Other analyses suggest the comet’s surface is largely water-ice covered with a thin dust layer.

The European Space Agency (Esa) craft touched down on the Comet 67P on 12 November after a 10-year journey.

Dr Fred Goessmann, principal investigator on the Cosac instrument, which made the organics detection, confirmed the find to BBC News. But he added that the team was still trying to interpret the results.

It has not been disclosed which molecules have been found, or how complex they are. There’s a trade off – once it gets too hot, Philae will die as well. There is a sweet spot”

Prof Mark McCaughreanSenior science adviser, Esa

But the results are likely to provide insights into the possible role of comets in contributing some of the chemical building blocks to the primordial mix from which life evolved on the early Earth.

Preliminary results from the Mupus instrument, which deployed a hammer to the comet after Philae’s landing, suggest there is a layer of dust 10-20cm thick on the surface with very hard water-ice underneath.

The ice would be frozen solid at temperatures encountered in the outer Solar System – Mupus data suggest this layer has a tensile strength similar to sandstone.

“It’s within a very broad spectrum of ice models. It was harder than expected at that location, but it’s still within bounds,” said Prof Mark McCaughrean, senior science adviser to Esa, told BBC News.

“People will be playing with [mathematical] models of pure water-ice mixed with certain amount of dust.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30097648

 

Pictures which make you think – The universe

The original series can be found http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/the-universe-is-scary?bffbuk

All the planets in our solar system would fit between earth and our moon

THINK AGAIN. Inside that distance you can fit every planet in our solar system, nice and neatly.

 

There are billions of stars in our galaxy –  – which is one galaxy of many.

But this is all you ever see:

(That’s not a picture of the Milky Way, but you get the idea.)

 

 

Doctors to get £55 for misdiagnosing dementia

Three years ago we ran a story. Since that that time various research has been produced showing that benzodiazepines and z dugs can lead to a massive increase in the risk of dementia. Studies however have also shown that withdrawing people from these medications can also reverse this diagnosis (by up to 33% !!) – ie there is  a possibility of a pseudo dementia.

There are over 130 prescribed medications which can lead to memory loss. The side effects are often mis diagnosed as dementia – and usually Alzheimers (which can only be proven after autopsy) . If you are diagnosed with dementia before you are 70 – – without a family history – you must consider the possibility it is resultant from medication (and your GP may not know) .

The article is repeated below

Care in the Community – I am depressed

Three years ago this weekend I became aware of one of the most shameful acts (or non acts) in British history. It has been described by David Blunkett (Then Shadow Secretary for Health) – as a “National Scandal.”
“The impact is so large that it is too big for Governments, regulatory authorities and the pharmaceutical industry to address head on, so the scandal has been swept under the carpet.” Phil Woolas MP
“Benzos are responsible for more pain, unhappiness and damage than anything else in our society.” Phil Woolas
The scandal resulted in more telephone calls to the TV program Thats Life than any other subject.
The scandal was the subject of the Panorama program “The Tranquilliser Trap”
Class action resulted in the UK legal aid system changing – and having spent c £35 M, due to lack of funding the case never went to court.

Twenty years later – so much has been said – so little has been done.

Benzodiazepines were introduced in the 1960 – mums little helper – Librium, rapidly followed by Valium, Ativan , Mogadon. Drugs which now go by the names of Diazepam, Nitrazepam, Lorazepam, Tamazepam. The Librium advertisement stated “Whatever the diagnosis – Librium” librium.  By the 1970s more than 1 in 20 prescriptions was for valium.
By the late 1980s it was known that the medications were more addictive than heroin. Withdrawal effects which occur even in constant use – due to tolerance and paradoxical effects such as aggression, anxiety,agoraphobia, depression, suicidal tendencies. The understanding for the reason of the epidemic in psychiatric conditions at the time perhaps enabled Care in the Community, which was also introduced in the late 80s. In long term use memory loss is almost a certainty,then other symptoms – often mimicking Alzheimer’s. The effects can be misdiagnosed as a psychosis, various neurological and psychological conditions, MS, Alzheimer’s to name but a few. In 1987 Larson et al withdrew people diagnosed with dementia from benzodiazepines – at a one year follow up after discontinuation 30% no longer had dementia. It was also found as a confounding factor in dementia by Bowen in 1993. See HERE . Benzodiazepines  have been described as the most likely cause of drug induced dementia.
The goods news is guidelines changed. There is now no psychiatric condition for which benzodiazepine s should be prescribed more than two to four weeks – at any dose.(If you have been on this group of medication regularly for more than four weeks- you will be addicted) Unfortunately an estimated 1,500,000 people in the UK are in long term use as tranquilizer and sleeping tablets. Similarly an estimated 700,000 people on z drugs (which have the same withdrawal effects).2/3 of these people are over the age of 50 and female. It is often described as involuntary addiction – but the majority of people do not know or realise they are addicted. On top of this antidepressants – SSRIs an estimated 3,000,000 people in the UK -once described by the WHO as the most addictive drugs in the world – the definition of addiction was changed – they now are described as having a withdrawal effect. To make matters worse – these medications are often prescribed together.
Guidelines advise doctors to withdraw patients slowly – they are ambiguous and withdrawal is often done too quickly – resulting in disabilitating side effects – at the extreme a drug withdrawal induced catatonia (similar to lock-in syndrome) can develop -which can be reversed – but unfortunately is often missed because the information resides in thousands of peer reviewed medical papers – but does not appear to have been transferred into the GPs handbook. GPs, neurologists and psychologists often over look the problem – or even deny it could be the medication, because of this lack of knowledge.

The Ashton Manual suggests benzodiazepines should be withdrawn no faster than 10% every two weeks – although experts in the field now typically use 5% every two weeks.

Illicit drug users ( of which there are approximately 400,000 in the UK), are maintained on methadone , rather than withdrawing from the medication. Ex addict Russel Brand made an excellent case to change this in his program “From Addiction to Recovery”

-and things look as though they are about to change – changes to funding currently being introduced will mean that the smaller best practice rehabilitation centers are likely to go out of business and the small charities helping withdraw people from benzodiazepine s, z drugs and SSRIs likewise.

The Nation Scandal gets bigger.

So why is this story on a commmunity action group website. Simply this story effects somebody you know – in our community – and you can do something to help them. Tell them.

DO NOT STOP TAKING THESE MEDICATIONS ABRUPTLY – this can be extremely dangerous.

The best course of action is to contact CITAp – The Council for information on Tranquillisers, Antidpressants and painkillers (and sleeping tablets)
www.citawithdrawal.org.uk
CITAp operates the only national helpline for these medications.

See also www.benzo.org.uk
www.APPGITA.com

 

 

 

 

STOP PRESS – Drinking Red Bull does not give you wings !!

It may not surprise you – but drinking red bull does not give you wings

As such the company has agreed to pay out an estimated $13,000,000 to customers who believe they were mislead by this false advertising (as long as you live in the USA)

However, the plaintiff claimed that Red Bull actually has less caffeine than the average cup of coffee, he felt he had grounds for a lawsuit.

Since the lawsuit settlement, anyone who has purchased a Red Bull energy drink since 2002 is entitled to a $10 or $15 Red Bull product with free shipping. However, Red Bull admits no wrongdoing

It just goes to prove you cant believe everything you read – although most people who have followed our website already know that.

 

Where have all the fields gone ?

 

 

 

mummy fields

Food not Fuel

At last a hint of sanity may be appearing  according to  YAHOO

 

* Deal fixes 7 percent limit for biofuels from food crops
* Still needs European Parliamentary approval
* New generation biofuels say they need more incentives (Adds reaction)
By Barbara Lewis
LUXEMBOURG, June 13 (Reuters) – EU energy ministers agreed on Friday to limit production of biofuels made from food crops, responding to criticism they stoke inflation and do more environmental harm than good.
The ministers’ endorsement of a compromise deal overcomes a stalemate hit late last year, when European Union governments failed to agree on a proposed 5 percent cap on the use of biofuels based on crops such as maize or rapeseed.
Friday’s agreement would set a 7 percent limit on food-based biofuels in transport fuel.
It still needs the approval of the newly-elected European Parliament, expected to begin considering it later this year.
“We think this proposal is much better than nothing,” European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told the Luxembourg meeting of ministers.
“We need to support research and development in advanced biofuels so we can move forward from generation one into generation two and generation three,” he added, referring to more sophisticated biofuels that do not compete with growing crops for food.
The proposed 7 percent limit is part of a goal to get 10 percent of transport fuel from renewable sources by 2020.
Initially, the European Union backed biofuels to contribute to efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and EU dependence on imported oil and gas.
Research has since shown that making fuel out of crops such as maize displaces other crops, forces the clearing of valuable habitats, and can inflate food prices.
The next generation of advanced biofuels, made from waste or algae for example, does not raise the same problems, but does require more investment.
The compromise supported by ministers on Friday includes a 0.5 percent non-binding target for next-generation biofuels, which environment campaigners say is nowhere near enough to make a difference.
The agreement could mean that the overall goal to get 10 percent of transport fuel from renewable sources by 2020 is missed, analysts say. Currently around 5 percent of EU transport fuel comes from renewable sources.
Food-based bio-refiners, which have invested on the basis of the original 10 percent, say a lower target threatens jobs.
And those trying to develop advanced biofuels say they are not been given sufficient incentive.
Manuel Sanchez Ortega, CEO of Spanish renewable and engineering firm Abengoa SA (NasdaqGS: ABGB – news) told Reuters by telephone the deal was positive in that it reduced uncertainty, but Europe was in danger of being left behind.
“In the United States there has been a revolution (in second-generation ethanol),” he said. “To us it seems that Europe is acting timidly.”
Thomas Nagy, executive vice-president of Novozymes , which makes enzymes used in the production of advanced biofuels, said Friday’s decision enabled “a reboot of the decision-making process”.
However, he also said there was an “absence of incentives to allow the conventional biofuel industry to develop sustainably”. He urged the European Parliament to propose amendments when it resumes debate of the draft law. (Additional reporting by Sybille de la Hamaide in Paris and Jose Elias Rodriguez in Madrid; editing by James Macharia and Jason Neely)

BHEAG comment –  sustainability is KEY – northern hemisphere forests – the majority of the world’s carbon sinks  are being destroyed at an unprecedented rate.

 

 

Bradshaw turbine – appeal refused

The latest in the string of appeals regarding turbine applications in the Bolton area, has been rejected.  The planning inspectorate has consistently backed Bolton Planning committee in upholding the rights of residents.

The current decsions (which can be found 2209440 DECISION )  goes one step further and highlights an issued raised in so many of the applications

16 . However, as I have set out above another wind turbine has planning permission nearby, which could be constructed. The appellant’s noise assessment does not take account of the potential combined effect of the 2 wind turbines operating at the same time. Without this information it is not possible to determine whether the proposal would result in unacceptable cumulative noise levels for local residents. Moreover, this matter cannot be dealt with by planning conditions because it is not clear whether the
recommended noise levels could be met. Consequently, such an approach would conflict with the advice on planning conditions in the PPG. In the absence of this information the proposal would conflict with the advice in ETSUR- 97 and this weighs heavily against the proposal

Similarly the comment  “Whether the harm by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm, is clearly outweighed by other considerations, so as to amount to the very special circumstances necessary to justify the development” must send a clear message to planning committee members that a new property simply  being of exceptional design cannot possibly meet this requirement -it just minimises the harm.

 

Thoughts for 2014

If you are over 45 – the world population has doubled in your lifetime.In 1968 the world population was 3.5 billion – today it exceeds 7.2 billion. It grows by over 200,000 daily.

The first photograph was taken in 1826. It is estimated that approximately 880 billion photographs will be taken in 2014.   10% of all the photographs ever taken were taken in the last twelve months.

In less than 70 years mankind learnt how to fly and landed a man on the moon.

There are whales alive today – that were alive before Moby Dick was written

Oxford university is older than the Aztecs

FREQUENCY

 

 

 

 

 

Birches farm turbine refused – monster on the moors

“There are not exceptional circumstances for this development, so it’s a lump of steel in the green belt.”

– 132 (genuine local) objections as well as three local MPs and five councillors, against 300 letters in support – how much has this cost the Bolton council tax payer – again !!!!!

The application is refused by a majority with Cllr Peel – who once seemed to liken the situation to a football match,  stating that such an important local issue should be dealt with on a national basis – so much for local democracy. The score now 8-0 ?

Whilst there is a national energy issue, there is no need to sacrifice the legal rights of constituents, in order to try to resolve it.

All the applications , which have been refused by planning committee have gone to appeal – and the planning inspector has upheld the original decision of the planning committee  in 100% of cases. .

The turbine debate has been unpleasant and costly  in Bolton , for applicants, councillors, planning officers and residents. No doubt this refusal will go to appeal. Thus far the legal position has been clearly in the favour of residents, and the preservation of our greenbelt, rather than applicants.

The green belt is special and it is important that it is preserved -a few groups around Bolton have helped ensure its future – at least for a little while longer – these groups are extremely grateful for the support of the majority of councillors from all sides.

 

Birch Farm Appeal Withdrawn (update 2)

Birch Farm turbine appeal has now been withdrawn.

A new application, for the removal of two smaller turbines and erection of a 67 meter turbine has now been received.

This will now be considered at planning committee  06 March. The planning officer is reccomending refusal

At this time residents groups, including BHEAG, have been fully supported by Bolton Planning Commitee and not a single turbine  decision has been over turned by the inspectorate.

 

Douglas Valley Turbine Appeal – Dismissed

The appeal has been dismissed due to the harm to the outlook of neighbours and also the harm to the greenbelt
“However, the Written Ministerial Statement of 10 October 2013 makes the
point that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override
environmental protection and stresses that sufficient weight should be given to
environmental considerations such as local amenity. In this instance I give
substantial weight to the harm that the proposed turbine would cause to the
outlook of neighbouring residents. I also give substantial weight to the harm
that the proposed turbine would cause to the Green Belt by reason of its
inappropriateness and to the harm, albeit slight, that it would cause to
openness.”
The decision can be found here

Bye bye 2013

As we leave 2013 behind us the appeal for the Douglas Valley turbine has not yet been decided and Armstrong’s have suffered yet another fire at the Horwich recycling plant

Over the other-side the Birches farm appeal has yet to be considered, with both the applicant and Bolton council objecting to the way the appeal has been handled. The Bury MP – David Nuttall has written to the secretary of state with concerns in the opposite direction – highlighting residents concerns and as a result the application has been called in, to be determined by the Secretary of State. For good measure the applicant has submitted a new application for an even larger turbine, proposing to dismantle the two already present.

Over at Slack lane the applicant has requested an application called in and determined by the Secretary of State- which seems rather strange as the required information to determine the application was clearly not present – unless the strategy was to prevent community involvement – which also seems strange  as the secretary of state has emphasised the important of this.

The focus on off shore wind farm was then dealt a massive blow as  billions of pounds of investment are shelved and two power houses reduce their plans for off shore wind farms due to “market conditions”  as  Ed Milliband proposes to freeze energy bills for 20 months – which seems to mean that market forces and exchange rates will be ignored or there needs to be a massive price increase to provide for the contingency.

Biofuelwatch have issued a new report on the devastation being caused by the UK policy on commercial biomass  -Biomass – The chain of destruction

UK companies have now announced plans to burn 82 million tonnes of biomass (mainly wood ) in power stations each year – more than 8 times the UK’s annual wood production. – the UK already relies on 80% net wood imports. the land grab in Brazil for eucalyptus plantings  is resulting in the loss of forest eco systems.

Meanwhile 2Oc have signed a 20 year deal with Thames water – worth over £200M  and construction has started on the  CHP plant at Beckton

One thing is clear – the lights in the UK will go out in the next few years and the country is desperate for more generation capacity.  It is important that renewable energy, championed by the government, is not confused with sustainable energy. It is important that the implications of  loss of forest and land for  crops and food in order to grow fuel crops is considered.   It is equally important that there is an open debate about how we fuel the future – as the UK closes it coal plants -or converts them to forest destroying biomass plants it is estimated coal will not make a contribution to UK energy supply by 2030 –  This year it is estimated china burned 4 billion tonnes (that is 4,000,000,000 tonnes – )of coal   – realising about 70% of China’s power production. In the USA the figure is 35%.

– and then we import their products due to cheaper  production costs – what price our Planet ?

Happy New Year

 

 

 

ALL PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP ON THE GREENBELT: CALL FOR EVIDENCE

The All Party Parliamentary Group on the Greenbelt is seeking responses from interested parties and groups about how Greenbelt land is protected and preserved for the future.
The group intends to publish a report on the basis of this evidence in Spring 2014, with oral evidence sessions also being held in the New Year.
In particular, the group would like to focus on issues including:
·         What has been the effect of the abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies and the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework in the context of the preservation of greenbelt land?
·         Which local councils are taking their obligations on greenbelt preservation seriously and which local councils are placing greenbelt land under threat?
·         What new policy ideas should be considered to increase greenbelt protection?
·         Should brownfield land in greenbelt areas have the same protection as Greenfield land in greenbelt areas?
·         How can we increase local community engagement in protecting the greenbelt?
·         How can it be made clearer to the media the important distinction between ‘greenfield’ land and ‘greenbelt’ land- with the importance of greenbelt being highlighted as separate from greenfield.
·         How do we balance the need to sustain the greenbelt with the need for sustainable communities?
·         Should certain areas of greenbelt land be given higher protection than other areas?
·         What should the greenbelt look like for the twenty first century?
Responses and submissions can be sent to appggreenbelt@gmail.com or posted to APPG Greenbelt, Room 20, Norman Shaw North, House of Commons, SW1A 0AA.
Deadline for submissions is 31 January 2014.