Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Chagos crisis - sign up now!

Since last November, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has been running a consultation on a proposal to set up a marine reserve around the Chagos Islands. The image here is borrowed from the FCO literature.

The consultation is due to close on 12 February 2010.

Greenpeace and others are organising an on line petition to persuade the FCO to set up a reserve. This petition has an endorsement from Professor Callum Roberts.

Two recent news stories add background to the issues. The Guardian on 27 January gives a gallery of images, and includes a piece by Tony Juniper, where he says “Protecting the Chagos archipelago is a rare opportunity for the UK to create a conservation area as important as the Galapagos islands or Great Barrier Reef”. The story also makes clear that the consultation process has excluded the inhabitants of Diego Garcia, evicted by the British to make way for a US air base years ago. The bloggers are making hay discussing the politics and the conservation issues. A lot of heat & only a little light.

However, The Times in an article on 22 January adds another twist, by pointing out that “ A company belonging to the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser is opposing plans to create the world’s biggest marine reserve. His company holds a government contract to manage fishing in the area, which would be banned if the reserve were created”

Murky waters - indeed. It appears that the CSA himself and a whole range of officials cannot see a vested interest, even if it slaps them in the face.

Please sign the petition NOW!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Norwood House - another move

The planning decision last Monday prompted a piece in the Yorkshire Post on 22 Jan (see Shan's Blog). This, in turn, led Radio Humberside to ring us for a quote. I duly obliged.

Climate change in Beverley - whatever next?

This could have been drafted better, but we are pleased that the Beverley Guardian published it this week. An incentive to us to organise an event

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

You can't win them all

Reeling from the news about Norwood House, we went to the budget meeting of the Beverley Town Council. This time it was me making a presentation - attempting to persuade the Council to think again with plans for yet another Armed Forces Day in the summer.

My three minutes did not hit the button (note: learn more about simple rhetoric), and I wasted my breath. £12000 of our money has been voted to support this recruiting effort for the military!

I hear a campaign rumbling.

Eastern Area Planning Committee

We arrived on Monday afternoon in good time to attend the planning meeting which was to determine the future of Norwood House. The doors were jammed with people from Leven, there to object to a development proposal in their village. Soon after this stern shot was taken, they were jubilant with the news that the application had been refused. We were not so sanguine, fearing an acceptance for the proposal to turn Norwood House into offices.

Our advocate, Prof John Wilton Ely, had three minutes to convince the committee to reject. And that is just what they did!
'Gob smacked' is the word

Friday, 15 January 2010

...and finally

Then we were invaded by a group eager to demonstrate - on every issue!

A very rewarding session.

My thanks to those who came to chat - their good humour and obvious concern for important issues.

campaign trail 3

Others came, anxious to make a point

campaign trail 2

Then we met a lady with her friend from Copenhagen, supporters of our mission for peace.

on the campaign trail

Earlier in the week we went in search of someone who would express support for some of the key Green slogans. A miserable, blustery day was enlivened by a series of encounters.

The first was a baby (sheltered in the pram), who let his mum pose for a shot.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

letter to the editor

The Beverley Guardian is read by a high proportion of local people. We were therefore pleased when the editor this week included our comment on the 'performance' by a local politician at the local hunt on Boxing Day.