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Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Severn Estuary and Hinkley Point Power Station

The Severn Estuary and Hinkley Point Power Station.

Our public meeting last Thursday ,on a very cold night, was very well received by around 40 members and the presentations by Officers of the Somerset Wildlife Trust were excellent.
Lisa Schneidau talked first about the Severn Estuary  and gave a very clear account of the several options being considered by the UK Government. She explained that Somerset was working with the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts ( RSWT) as well as with other county trusts and groups such as RSPB.The Trusts position is in essence:
  •  to oppose 100% the large Cardiff- Weston barrage because it would cause unacceptable damage to the Estuary, and it should be dropped from the list of options.
  • The several alternative schemes should be  given more support for development work.
  • All development work should be carried out in a transparent manner. The EU Habitats and Birds Directive must be observed.
The national Society ( RSWT) is leading the campaign and more information is available on their web site. Click here
Both speakers were very clear in keeping to the position taken by the Trust. SWT had to be focused on the effect of the proposals on wildlife and could not,  for instance, discuss views about the nature of nuclear power, nor was it possible to simply say that no attempt to  recover energy from the tidal flows should be made.

Michelle Osbourne, followed by describing her work to influence  EDF in their consultation phase. This was not easy and it had proved difficult to  deal with a company who had often worked in a very different situation in France and under different planning rules. By using projections of the planned site layout she highlighted areas where allowances for wildlife could be made given a willingness to discuss and agree modifications. The enormous scale of the work proposed and its impact on an area much larger than the basic footprint for the power plant was well made. The likely effect on the estuary due to the much increased cooling water supply required by the power station was shown and described. Despite the fact that this project was being developed under the UK Government's new planning rules it is to be hoped that public opinion will continue to be important and SWT hopes to continue the debate.EDF have a web site with descriptions of the project. Click here.

For both these two projects SWT hopes that all members will give  their support in the ongoing discussions and negotiations for the future of wildlife in a large part of North Somerset.
There was a very good discussion after the talks with questions and answers form the speakers.
Without any hesitation I would recommend all Members of the Trust and anyone else concerned about wildlife in Somerset, to give their full support to Somerset Wildlife Trust where Lisa and Michelle are giving a very balanced and professional approach to these complicated challenges.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Somerset Wildlife Trust

I've just been looking again at an earlier post on Starlings showing a video clip of a roosting display. On the screen with the clip from UTube are the admirable words, Join the RSPB. I hope lots of people do. But I must also urge you to join the Somerset Wildlife Trust  (SWT) , perhaps as well as  another conservation group, because it provides an all inclusive framework for all wildlife conservation. A natural focus point for our interests and concerns. There are many groups dealing with every thing from frogs to fungi and from birds to bumblebees and each one is contributing to our knowledge and awareness of the needs of wildlife.But it all needs a focus point if we are to succeed in our common aim of standing up for wildlife.
I'd like to quote words written in the cover of the 2010 National Trust Handbook because, for me, its strikes a cord and whilst it's promoting the National Trust, by changing just two words it is surely true of all experiences of wildlife and all our nature reserves and living landscapes.

We all need beauty. We all need fresh air, open doors, hidden depths, new views.

We need places that can lift our spirits and help us find a different rhythm in our lives.This kind of refreshment isn't a luxury; its vital. Extraordinary places can give us all this.

The National Trust stands up for these places. We give them a life into the future and we invite everyone to enjoy them. We help people belong to places and places belong to people.
 So do join the Wildlife Trusts and help the Trusts and the hundreds of volunteers to help wildlife  cope with all the pressures that our modern society places on it. Here in Somerset every winter we are lucky to have our starlings to lift our spirits.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Severn Estuary and Hinkley Point

Update on our next public meeting.
I'm pleased to report that we now have two key speakers  on Thursday 11th January.
Lisa Schneidau, Conservation Director for Somerset Wildlife Trust will be supported by Michelle Osbourn who is the Planning and Advocacy Officer for the Trust and who amongst other matters has been following the Hinkley Point development. Lisa will talk about the Various schemes under consideration for the Severn Estuary.

On May 6th 2009 Haydn Cullen-Jones MSc., F.N.I gave a talk to the Ross Science Society on the subject:
The Severn Barrage Controversy.
On their web site is this image which gives an intriguing insight into this proposed project.
Welcome to the home page of the Ross Science Society ( Web link here: )

Hinkley Point
For more information on Hinkley Point you can go to the EDF web site. Link here:
While I'm looking at this issue you can also see how the safety side of the project is being dealt with by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate by going to their web site, link here.

They show this photo of what I assume is the intended site.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Wildlife events

Nobody said it would be easy! 
Mainly because I put off making any enquiries early enough I have ended up working most of last week to  fix up events for our Group summer programme. We always have a deadline to meet to get details in the Trusts event diary and today was it for this summer.
The result is, I hope quite an interesting range of subjects and locations. Including:
  • Spring flower walk and talk in a local wood.
  • Butterfly walks with Butterfly Conservation. Three sites around our area.
  • Moth counts with Somerset Moth Group.Four counts also in a variety of habitats around our area.
  • Walk in our local Arable fields reserve, managed to allow wild flowers to thrive in fields also used for arable crops. Quite rare these days.
  • Our third Arts and Wildlife Workshop under the guidance of  well known artist Jenny Graham.
  • A Bat watch to a reserve to see bat boxes and hopefully some bats.
There may even be one or two extras to add eventually which we will have to show on our Blog or the Trusts web site.
Lets hope for good weather and lots of visitors!

PS You'll be able to see all the details on the Somerset Wildlife Trust web site as soon as they have processed them.