Friday, 15 December 2017

Brexit: and sea bass quotas

Fishing is very much about quotas:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and 'looking to get increases in fishing quotas'

The problem is that Westminster has never seen fishing as much of a priority - and has sold the UK industry down the river as it were:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and betraying the UK's fishing industry

But it's not easy being a fisher:
Fishermen demand EU quota change after throwing back sea bass worth £10,000 in ONE CATCH | UK | News | Express.co.uk

Today's news from Plymouth shows the frustration:

Fishermen 'have been forced to thrown £120k of dead fish back in the sea in a week'

Rachael Dodd Reporter - 13 DEC 2017


Fishermen in Plymouth are calling for a change in regulations which currently see bass totalling more than three per cent of their total catch thrown back into the sea. The frustrated fishermen say the rules, which were designed to conserve sea bass numbers, are costing them thousands and the fish often die when they are pulled from the water or soon after being tossed back.

Shane Farrow, vice-chair for Fishermen United said: "Fishermen United is a newly-formed group that consists of fisherman from around the country who are at the end of their tether. Everyone's had enough of the current quota system. French fishermen don't want to throw away perfectly good sea bass any more than we do. They agree with us that something has to change."

Paul Trebilcock, chief executive of the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation, said new rules had to be worked out despite Brexit. Mr Trebilcock said they had support from junior Defra minister and Cornish MP George Eustice who recognised it was "nonsense to waste a valuable resource." 

"As it stands the fishing methods being used can't change to suit the system, but the system could change to suit the fishing methods. We want to try and get to the point where we have a decent conservation level. Sea bass is a by-catch of fishing. Fishermen don't go out to fish sea bass, but they still catch it accidentally. What we want to see is better provision for certain species and perhaps a higher percentage quota to stop the waste of good sea bass."

The government insists stocks of sea bass are in long-term decline but local fishermen say there have been so many recently that catching them has been unavoidable.

A decision on fishing quotas is expected to be taken by all 28 EU fisheries ministers this Wednesday.

Fishermen 'have been forced to thrown £120k of dead fish back in the sea in a week' - Plymouth Herald

Today that decision has been made as the EU's Council agreed to tighten rules around catching sea bass:

Concerning sea bass the Council acknowledged the bad state of stocks in the Celtic Sea, Channel, Irish Sea and southern North Sea and their importance for many countries. 

It consequently decided to make additional efforts by only allowing limited fisheries with certain gears in those areas, while providing for a two months closure to protect spawning aggregations.

Council agreement on 2018 fishing quotas in the Atlantic and North Sea - Consilium

At the other end of the country, there are fears of what the fishing industry will look like post-Brexit:
Grimsby: The town wanting to have its fishcake and eat it - Latest Brexit news and top stories - The New European

Thursday, 14 December 2017

The emerging Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan > boosting affordable housing > protecting green spaces

The Herald has been featuring pieces on the 'emerging' Neighbourhood Plan - the first focussing on Port Royal and Knowle:
Futures Forum: The emerging Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan > providing ‘vital data’ to inform the Port Royal scoping study > using evidence collected to submit a ‘substantial objection’ to the Knowle planning inquiry

The second looked at housing and both the built and natural environments:

Sidmouth and Ottery breaking news and sport - Sidmouth Herald

Here is the complete press release from the NP steering group:

Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan

In this second article, Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group member Peter Murphy talks with colleagues about one of the major points arising from consultations: the housing situation. He notes that Government Guidelines state:

 “Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided, and grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead. Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure that they get the right types of development for their community where the ambition of the neighbourhood is aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area.”

Reflecting on the difficulty of achieving a balanced housing stock in the valley considering our population balance and constraints on the amount of land available for building, Councillor Michael Earthey who heads up the Housing Theme group had this to say:

“Young people and first-time buyers trying to start family life find it difficult to get the first step onto the property ladder. It’s a national problem but in the Sid Valley there are locally contributing factors – not least the current and forecast demographics of the Valley.  We have a preponderance of people in the age group 60 years and above and forecasts indicate that this will continue to rise.  Let’s face it:  the Sid Valley is a highly desirable place to come and retire and an attractive proposition for those who can sell up where house prices are higher, buy here and have capital left over. Or indeed, to buy a second home or holiday let – both factors which have an influence on the year-round viability of a sustainable local economy.

A Neighbourhood Plan cannot write policies which will influence or control the existing free housing market where supply and demand determines prices.  But based on analysis of our independently commissioned housing needs survey together with community views, our draft plan - if approved - will include policies which:

·         Impose requirements on the make-up of new-builds including for example for those with more than 10 homes, detailing the percentage mix of affordable, intermediate and open market housing (or other affordable housing which may include ownership solutions such as shared housing or shared equity)

·         Support social housing proposed by developers.

·         Regulate the ownership of second or holiday homes in a manner similar to the St Ives Neighbourhood Plan which has survived legal challenge and is now in statute.

Overall our objective is to ensure that the right housing is built in the right place and the natural beauty of the Valley is not endangered.”

Graham Cooper, who has responsibility for developing the policies which will regulate how our Built and Natural Environments are developed yet remain unspoiled commented:

“For me our main problem will be the risk of settlement creep within the valley because of the demands for housing and employment in the coming years. We are doing what we can within the framework of the Neighbourhood Plan to write policies which may protect us from development encroaching into our green areas.  Another issue facing our environment which we will try to address is loss of tree canopy in new developments.  The concept of Eco-corridors is taking shape however which will contribute to a healthy bio-diversity in the area.”


For further information contact Deirdre Hounsom, Chair, Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan at d.hounsom@hotmail.com or by phone: 07970 814568

NeighbourHood Plan - Sidmouth Town Council
Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan – Shaping our Future Together

Knowle relocation project: PegasusLife appeal inquiry >>> decision expected end of January

The decision from the Inspector considering the appeal by the developers at Knowle is expected next month:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: PegasusLife appeal inquiry >>> decision expected soon

This follows on from a site visit:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: PegasusLife appeal inquiry >>> site visit 1.30pm: Tuesday 5th December

A local resident gave his take on the sorry tale:
Futures Forum: Knowle relocation project: PegasusLife appeal inquiry >>> "the Sidmouth community have been badly treated and let down" >>> a summary of the issues

Here is another overview of the current process, posted by Save Our Sidmouth:

Knowle decision to be made known by end of January 2018

December 13, 2017
by sidmouthsidLeave a comment

The Planning Inspectorate has indicated to EDDC that the decision will be issued on or before 31 January 2018.

Many people who couldn’t attend the Inquiry themselves due to work or other commitments, have asked for more information about it. So thank you to the correspondent who sent in this summary of his own experience of the process, and some reflections which we believe are widely shared, on where we are now:

‘The inquiry into the appeal by PegasusLife for their development of the Knowle site, which is supposed to pay for EDDC’s move to Honiton, has concluded with a site visit by the Inspector. The decision will not be known until early in the new year, but it is a good time to reflect on the process.

The overwhelming feeling has been that the Council’s barrister, still a junior in barrister terms, has had to fight against the developer’s QC, clearly one of the most experienced in the field, with one hand tied behind his back. At times it was akin to watching David take on Goliath.

The first obstacle was that the EDDC planning officers went back on their original decision and recommended that the scheme should be approved. Despite the strength of the arguments of local protesters which convinced planning committee rebels to vote against the leadership’s pet project, the developer’s QC kept using the officers’ opinions to chip away the defence.

Although two conservative rebels voted with concerned locals, the leadership of the planning committee managed to restrict the reasons for refusing the plans and this limited the problems the developers had to answer. Arguments about the town needing affordable homes and pressure on local services through even more pensioners moving in did not have to be countered.

Then we had the Council’s own defence which, to be kind, many interested parties regarded as poorly prepared. More than once the developer’s QC was able to exploit wrong information or the wrong document provided to the EDDC barrister.

The developer’s QC was backed by a team of expert witnesses who were well rehearsed and difficult to trip up. The Council’s barrister had a planning officer brought in from Cornwall, the EDDC officers were disqualified because they had recommended approval, and a heritage officer. The planning officer didn’t know the area and was playing catch up on the details of a very large and complex development, he didn’t stand much chance against the developers who had devised the scheme. The heritage officer was torn to pieces by the forensic questions of the QC, possibly because she had not had sufficient training in how to present evidence against a barrage of aggressive questioning.

Once again, local people and organisations marshalled arguments to have this gross over-development thrown out. We will have to wait for the outcome. If we have lost, the developer could walk off with massive profits and yet avoid any responsibility to pay an estimated sum of three and a half million pounds towards those affordable homes which East Devon needs so desperately.’

Knowle decision to be made known by end of January 2018 | Save Our Sidmouth

Climate change: learning resources from Sustainability Frontiers

'Sustainability Frontiers is an international alliance of sustainability and global educators', with its main centre in Weston, Sidmouth. It is particularly interested in education issues around climate change. Here are some extracts from its latest newsletter:


Sustainability Frontiers engages in research and innovation in the broad fields of education for sustainability, transformative environmental education and global education, transgressing dominant assumptions and current orthodoxies as it seeks to foster learner empowerment and action. It places particular emphasis on climate change, disaster risk reduction and peacebuilding and their implications for the nature and directions of sustainability education.


Pictured here is a daffodil, potent and heartwarming symbol of English springtime. This daffodil came into bloom just over a week ago, on 27 November 2017. It is being followed by a procession of daffodils in yellow bud. In recent years we in our English south coast clime have seen daffodils in bloom for the Winter Solstice but this, for us, breaks all records. Its appearance elicits conflicting emotions; joy, on the one hand, at seeing a flower of sublime beauty lighting up dark, dank winter days; a sense of dread, on the other, at the creeping advance of climate breakdown.

‘Climate breakdown’ not ‘climate change’ more and more feels the right term. We are facing the dislocation of nature, loss of species and the disruption of ecosystems and of food chains. Human populations in many parts of the world are facing life-threatening food security threats triggering climate migration on a huge scale. Climate change education - aimed at mitigating the drivers of climate change while helping those to adapt who are on the frontline in suffering its effects  – becomes more and more urgent.

Climate Change Learning Resource Review

A new review article by David Selby has just been published in Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review, Autumn 2017. The article reviews the highly innovative Creating Futures: 10 Lessons Inspiring Inquiry, Creativity & Cooperation in Response to Climate Change for Senior Primary Classrooms, jointly published by Trócaire and the Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Education of Dublin City University in 2016.
For details, click here
For the review, click here.

Teaching Teens About Climate Change

A new Green Teacher (Canada) e-book, Teaching Teens About Climate Change, edited by Tim Grant and Gail Littlejohn has just been published. The publication offers a rich treasure chest of wonderful ideas for climate change learning and teaching. We are delighted that our own article and activities, 'Climate Change Learning: Unleashing Blessed Unrest as the Heating Happens’, as originally published in Green Teacher, Issue 94, Fall 2011, are included in the book (pp. 8-23).
For details of Teaching Teens About Climate Change, click here.
For the original 2011 Green Teacher article, click here.

Place-based Nature Learning: Best Practice Wanted!

The Sustainability Frontiers team of David Selby and Fumiyo Kagawa are in process of researching and authoring a book on place-based nature learning covering the learning of both children and adults.
Varieties of nature learning being covered in the book include: localized nature-connected learning; nature-grounded sustainability learning; localized climate change education; re-wilding learning; localized biodiversity learning; learning alternative life ways; alternative forms of food production; celebration, ritual and symbol in earth-connected learning.
We are also looking for evidence of child disconnection from the natural world and of ways in which teachers and other significant adults are working to overcome that disconnection.
The team, in short, is looking for examples of best practice whether in rural or urban contexts. If you have practice to share do get in touch and let’s have a conversation! To contact the SF team, click here.

Bulletin 20, 11 December 2017

Sustainability Frontiers - ‘Go out on a limb… That’s where the blossom grows’ – Tom Forsyth, Isle of Eigg, Inner Hebrides, Scotland *

The group took part in last year's Climate Week:
Vision Group for Sidmouth - Climate Week in Sidmouth: The Climate Variety Show: update

Climate change: and impacts on national security from increased maritime access to the Arctic, rising sea levels, desertification > 'means more failed states, more terrorist organizations, and more bases destroyed by flooding'

Climate change is changing the face of geopolitics:
Futures Forum: Climate change: and 'security'
Futures Forum: Climate change: National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change
Futures Forum: Climate change: and "contributing to creating the kind of fragile environments in which terrorist groups can thrive"

The latest bill from the American president contrasts with his administration's stance on climate change:

Trump’s new defense bill includes a dire warning on climate change

Climate change means more failed states, more terrorist organizations, and more bases destroyed by flooding, according to the US military. (Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride/ U.S. Air Force via AP)

WRITTEN BYZoë Schlanger
13 DEC 2017

US president Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act on Tuesday (Dec 13), a bill that sets policy for the US military for the coming fiscal year. Surprisingly, the bill contains a sizable discussion of climate change.

In the bill, current and former top US military brass attest to the national security threat of a rapidly changing climate. By signing the bill, Trump also ordered a report on “vulnerabilities to military installations” that climate change could cause in the next 20 years.

The bill’s acknowledgement and anticipation of climate change as an urgent threat contrasts sharply the Trump administration’s past denial. The administration has scrubbed mentions of climate change from agency websites, blocked federal scientists from presenting research on the topic, and top Trump officials—like energy secretary Rick Perry and environment chief Scott Pruitt—have stated their denial of the mainstream scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet.

“As global temperatures rise, droughts and famines can lead to more failed states, which are breeding grounds of extremist and terrorist organizations,” the bill reads. “In the Marshall Islands, an Air Force radar installation built on an atoll at a cost of $1,000,000,000 is projected to be underwater within two decades.”

“A three-foot rise in sea levels will threaten the operations of more than 128 United States military sites, and it is possible that many of these at-risk bases could be submerged in the coming years,” it continues. “In the Arctic, the combination of melting sea ice, thawing permafrost, and sea-level rise is eroding shorelines, which is damaging radar and communication installations, runways, seawalls, and training areas.”

Secretary of defense James Mattis is quoted saying that the consequences of climate change “impact our security situation.” Gordon Sullivan, former chief of staff of the US Army, is quoted as saying climate change will “lead to instability in geopolitics and impact American military operations around the world.”

Read the full text of the defense bill’s climate change section below:


(a) Findings.—Congress makes the following findings:

(1) Secretary of Defense James Mattis has stated: “It is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.”.

(2) Secretary of Defense James Mattis has stated: “I agree that the effects of a changing climate — such as increased maritime access to the Arctic, rising sea levels, desertification, among others — impact our security situation.”.

(3) Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford has stated: “It’s a question, once again, of being forward deployed, forward engaged, and be in a position to respond to the kinds of natural disasters that I think we see as a second or third order effect of climate change.”.

(4) Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has stated: “Over the next 20 years and more, certain pressures-population, energy, climate, economic, environmental-could combine with rapid cultural, social, and technological change to produce new sources of deprivation, rage, and instability.”.

(5) Former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gordon Sullivan has stated: “Climate change is a national security issue. We found that climate instability will lead to instability in geopolitics and impact American military operations around the world.”.

(6) The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has stated: “Many countries will encounter climate-induced disruptions—such as weather-related disasters, drought, famine, or damage to infrastructure—that stress their capacity to respond, cope with, or adapt. Climate-related impacts will also contribute to increased migration, which can be particularly disruptive if, for example, demand for food and shelter outstrips the resources available to assist those in need.”.

Trump's new defense bill includes a dire warning on climate change — Quartz

The ironies have not escaped notice:
President Just Signed Bill That Says Climate Change a National Security Risk, But Does He Know That? - Ecowatch

Climate change: the 2017 Arctic Report Card shows 'unprecedented warming'

The notion that global warming rates were slowing down now seem to have been disproved:
Evidence Mounts Against So-Called Climate Change Hiatus

This has been confirmed with the latest research from the Arctic:
Warming of the Arctic is ‘unprecedented over the last 1,500 years,’ scientists say - The Washington Post

From the Independent:

Arctic climate 'report card' reveals ‘rapid and dramatic changes’ to the polar environment

Warming temperatures represent 'an emerging new normal' for the region, warns the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Josh Gabbatiss Science Correspondent
a day ago

Significant reductions in sea ice pose a threat to the animals that call the Arctic their home Sepp Friedhuber/Getty Images

The devastating impact of climate change in the polar regions has been confirmed by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) annual Arctic Report Card. Authors from the American scientific agency concluded that 2017 was not a record-breaking year in terms of climate extremes, there was still evidence that the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the global average. The widespread environmental changes that arise as a result of this warming are beginning to define “an emerging new normal” in the region, the report said.


UK must do more to combat climate change, say indigenous leaders
From the Arctic’s melting ice, an unexpected digital hub
Arctic Ocean fishing ban welcomed by scientists and environmentalists

The year saw close to the warmest air temperatures ever recorded – second only to last year’s. There were also above average ocean temperatures, continued loss of sea ice and various negative effects on the people and ecosystems of the Arctic. Aside from the lowest ever measurements for maximum winter sea ice area, the authors reveal that ice is also getting thinner every year.

The report was released at the American Geophysical Union’s autumn conference in New Orleans. “The rapid and dramatic changes we continue to see in the Arctic present major challenges and opportunities,” said Dr Timothy Gallaudet, acting NOAA administrator. “This year’s Arctic Report Card is a powerful argument for why we need long-term sustained Arctic observations to support the decisions that we will need to make to improve the economic well-being for Arctic communities, national security, environmental health and food security.”

The peer-reviewed report is made up of work from over 80 scientists from 12 nations, and aims to provide the most up-to-date information on the current status of the Arctic. It is produced every year by NOAA in order to provide a general update on the region’s status and inform decision making. This year, the publication also includes special reports on the impact of warming on the highly valuable Eastern Bering Sea fisheries, wildfires in the Arctic and the permafrost thaw that compromises Arctic infrastructure.

“This report is further evidence of the dramatic change occurring in the Arctic – from rapidly warming temperatures to dwindling sea ice to melting permafrost. And it’s not only the ecosystems, wildlife and people of the Arctic being affected,” said David Aplin, interim managing director for US Arctic programmes at WWF. “The path forward is clear: climate change mitigation is absolutely vital. We need to reduce emissions, end our reliance on fossil fuels, and embrace a clean energy future – for the good of our planet, its people and wildlife."

Arctic climate 'report card' reveals ‘rapid and dramatic changes’ to the polar environment | The Independent

And these pictures say it all:
Heart-Wrenching Video Shows Starving Polar Bear on Iceless Land - National Geographic
Video of starving polar bear in Canada's Arctic re-ignites conversations about climate change | Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> budgeting for a 'renewal and resilience strategy'

Publication of the Port Royal Scoping Study report has been delayed:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Town Council not to consider report as yet...
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >> Scoping Study consultants' final report presented to Reference Group > more in the press

The consultants will be reporting back to the District Council's Cabinet on 7th February with their latest version:
List of meetings 2017/2018 
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: a set of information sheets available > 'to help more people know the facts and understand aspects of the potential redevelopment of Port Royal and Eastern Town'

The council will have had to pay them a little more for their services, having forgotten things like covenants and flooding issues:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: 'further investigations in respect of flooding and covenants' needed

The budgeted amount agreed to in January 2016 was £8k from the District Council and £2k from the Town Council:
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >>> ‘Scoping Report for the eastern end of Sidmouth’ to be presented to Cabinet >>> Wednesday 6th January

Five years ago, though, £30k had been committed to a 'renewal and resilience strategy' for Port Royal:

Special Overview and Scrutiny Committee 2012/13 
Budget and Service Plans 
Wednesday 18 January 2012 
New Regeneration Town centre renewal and resilience strategies
£30k for each of 3 years Axminster town centre, Honiton – Visioning, high street and public realm, Sidmouth Port Royal.

held in the Council Chamber, Knowle, Sidmouth 
on Wednesday, 1 February 2012
Revenue and Capital Estimates 2012/13 – Key Decision
In response to a specific question about committing funds to the renewal of Axminster, Honiton and Sidmouth town centres, Richard Cohen, Deputy Chief Executive advised that he was aware of resource implications but there was a need to consider the on-going health of towns in addition to the regeneration of Seaton and Exmouth.

There was some debate in the Scrutiny Committee at the time:
£90k strategy could boost Port Royal - Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

Meanwhile, back in August 2009:

Following the departure of its Urban Designer and the post being frozen, East Devon District Council has no internal resources to progress a development brief for the Port Royal site, says corporate director Karime Hassan, in a report before the council's executive board next Wednesday (September 2), and private consultants would have to be engaged, at an estimated cost of £60,000, to produce the brief.