Saturday, 21 December 2013


May I wish everyone a happy,peaceful and healthy 2014

Sunday, 24 November 2013


England’s Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, said recently that resistance to antibiotics are one of our everyday health’s greatest threats Dame Sally actually warned that death rates from bacterial infections have a chance to return to those of the early 20th century, describing resistance to antibiotics in her book as a "catastrophic global threat" that should be ranked alongside terrorism, writing “We have taken antibacterial and other antimicrobial drugs for granted for too long. We have misused them through overuse and false prescription, and as a result the bugs are growing in resistance and fighting back. We are also not developing new drugs fast enough. (1)

This is not a distant threat: already, resistant bugs are killing 25,000 people a year across Europe”. (2)    

Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, issued a blunt warning: “If we’re not careful, we will soon be in a post-antibiotic era. For some patients and some microbes, we are already there.   At least 2 million people per year in the U.S. get infections that are resistant to antibiotics and 23,000 die as a result of these infections”.  (3)

There is no dispute of this.  Dame Sally Davies said that the reason for this was the lack of new drugs combined with massive overuse of existing antibiotics.   Another reason for this resistance is the situation of the overuse of antibiotics in livestock and poultry production. (4)

UK factory farmed chickens are bred to reach a weight of 2.2 kilo in five weeks with a stocking density of 17 to 20 birds a square metre, slightly less than an A4 sheet of paper.   In these situations antibiotics are needed on a regular basis.   It is a fact that about two thirds of chickens on sale in the UK have been found to be contaminated with the bug campylobacter. (5)

Superbugs that are highly resistant to the antibiotics used by doctors have been found in British farm animals.   Livestock, especially pigs, are a reservoir of new bacteria which are a threat to human health, suggest a new Government study.  Virtually all - 94.5 per cent - of the 13million pigs slaughtered in the UK in the past year carried campylobacter, which can be very serious indeed, it can kill.

Nearly one in four pigs’ carries salmonella and one in three will carry another little-known food-poisoning bacterium, Yesinia.   In fact over half the worldwide production of anti-biotics are used on animals.   The ciwf report states “The world’s public-health experts, from the European Union, the United States and the World Health Organization, are agreed that drug-resistant bacteria are created in farm animals by antibiotic use and that these resistant bacteria are transmitted to people in food and then spread by person-to-person transmission. In addition, genes for antibiotic resistance are known to be transferable to other bacteria of the same or a different strain or species. (6)

 Any humans infected through food or contaminated water with these bugs - new strains of E.coli and campylobacter - are at serious risk.   For the bugs have become immune to the medicinal antibiotics which would normally be used to drive them out of the body.   Doctors are also worried that this immunity is being passed on to humans over time, through food. (7)
Without effective anti-biotics the world we know would change tomorrow.    We could all be facing a future where it is no longer possible to have an organ transplant, hip replacement or help our bodies through cancer treatment as the risk of fatal infection is too great. Everyone has a role to play in preserving the antibiotics that we have now, both for ourselves and to protect future generations.
Are we paying the price due to the never ending consumer demand for antibiotics whenever we have a cold or flu and our insistence on ever cheaper food? (8)

Tuesday, 15 October 2013


You will have heard a lot recently about Fracking and seen and read reports on the events that surrounded Caudrilla’s drilling operations at Balcombe in West Sussex.  

Much of the reporting of both the technology and the protest was both sensationalised and incorrect.   I know this for a fact as I have been very concerned about the dangers and problems regarding the many recorded and verifiable problems surrounding the debatable technology involved in Fracking for some time now, and are also friends with many of those that were protesting at Balcombe.
The following are straight-forward facts regarding Fracking and if you have any comments/thoughts/questions regarding them, please feel free to contact me.   Regarding the links, I have checked them all several times and have had no problems.   The UK Government link did say on my system that the ‘attachment could harm my system’, but there were no problems.

First of all, exactly what is Fracking?   Basically High Volume Hydraulic Fracking is the process of directional drilling, i.e. first of all drilling down deep vertically for some 4,700 feet or more and then drilling horizontally for a long distance, which can be up to a mile or even a longer distance into the layer of shale rock that holds oil or gas.   If you imagine this layer of strata that holds the target material in a ‘sponge’ like way then you will not be too far wrong.  

This drilling then has ‘concrete’ sprayed on the drillings walls, then a flexible metal pipe with many small explosive charges attached around the circumference is inserted into the drilling and along to its target, which is the horizontal section.   These charges are then set off, blowing holes into the horizontal drilling and then this charge holding pipe is removed.   The vertical section of the drilling then has a steel tube inserted into it and the entire system has very high volumes of a water/chemical Fracking Fluid mixture injected into it at a very high pressure which blasts out from the holes in the horizontal drillings and fractures the surrounding strata.   

The process used is a US process where the amount of Fracking Fluid used is between two and four million gallons.   This Fracking Fluid is made up of water which has a high percentage of chemicals has added to it, these dissolve the minerals in the rock and initiate cracks, prevents bacteria build up, prevent the surrounding clays from swelling or shifting, lowers the surface friction etc.   The Fracking Fluid also has Silica Sand added to hold open the fractured strata and so if you have heard that these are the sort of things that can be found “under your kitchen sink”, you have been very much misinformed. (1)  

In theory the majority of the water/chemical/sand mixture should then be forced back by the inflow of whatever hydrocarbons are freed up as the pressure of the collapsing strata that surrounds the pipe-work squeezes it back to be followed by the oil or gas.   However in practice much of the Fracking fluid still remains in the earth and often, due to the seismic damage to the surrounding strata’s structure, finds its way to the surface, migrating into groundwater as it does, and bringing the relevant hydrocarbon, oil and gas, with it.   This can and does cause enormous health and environmental issues.

Despite the reports you may have read/listened to/been given, this particular process, High Volume Hydraulic Fracking has only been used once so far in the UK by Cuadrilla at the Preese Hall well in Lancashire; this has been confirmed by the Government Department concerned.   When the Preese Hall event took place there were earth tremors in the surrounding area and property was damaged.   This was confirmed as being due to Caudrilla’s operation in an independent government report.

You perhaps have been informed that Fracking is a safe process and that there have been no reported problems such as environmental or health issues in the US.   This is so far from the truth that I personally am seriously concerned as to exactly what is or was the incentives for those that have said such things. (2)  
The returning Fracking Fluid is now additionally contaminated with, among other contaminants, low level radiation from Radium as well as containing bromide. (3) The main ‘benefit’ that is trumpeted about Fracking and shale gas is that it will bring down prices, but that is not what the drilling company says. (4) Or Lord Stern says (5) or Sir David King says (6)

But why should Fracking concern me or us as members of councils?   Actually, it should concern us for a very good reason, because according to the following map, many local areas are within one of the 13th onshore round of Fracking Licensing Blocks on offer. (7) The nearest one to the Parish Council I serve that shows as being under licence is in the Heathfield – Horam area.

While it is a planning given that the voices of locals will be taken into consideration regarding wind turbines or solar farms, the same does not apply to Fracking operations, (8) and (9)  

Incidentally, all of the main political parties as well as UKIP are in favour of Fracking, (10) and (11) although this vocal support for Fracking has more than somewhat faded recently due to the action in Balcombe...
Other facts that you should be aware of are that household insurance does not cover Fracking damage and that house prices drop substantially in areas subject to Fracking. (12)
As far as planning permission goes, at the moment both the vertical drilling and the horizontal drilling need permission, but soon the horizontal drilling may not require planning permission, see page 6, items 10 to 12 of (13).

You may well have heard that at the Fracking protest at Balcombe, (much of the reporting was sensationalised and incorrect) the residents of Balcombe were opposed to those that were protesting there and wanted them away, this is not so, please see (14) and read the following

 To Ms Goldsmith (leader of West Sussex County Council) 
“Dear Ms Goldsmith,
I am a resident of Balcombe. I am concerned that the WSCC’s influence and manpower go into ensuring that the company, Cuadrilla, are evicted from Lower Stumble by Saturday 28th September, and that no further planning permission is granted.   Today a truckload of their toxic chemicals thundered past our primary school as the children attempted to cross.
It is horrendous for us to see and hear Cuadrilla in operation here, and we would like to use all democratic and legal means to stop them. The County Council’s eviction of the protesters is unjust and deeply ironic. Protecting the interests of this company is not the role of our council, nor Sussex’s expensive police force.   WSCC’s safety concerns should focus on Caudrilla’s reckless breaches of agreement, not on the peaceful protest outside the gate.   Yours sincerely, Rosalind Merrick”

By Louisa Delpy
“As I sit here wine in hand, waiting for Xfactor in my home on my sofa, 80+ people are camping in tents, in the rain, in horrendous conditions protecting my village and me from something that has hasn't here yet, but is intended for every village and town across our countryside.
These people, heroes in my opinion, have stood up for what they believe in and are divided as to whether they will leave the camp before being evicted or stand strong until the end and be literally thrown off the grass verge. They are sleeping next to a drilling rig, whirring, clanking, droning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, next to a road in sodden conditions and they have been doing that for 7 weeks. Not only do they have to contend with very little sleep but constant intimidation from our police force - opening their tents, shoving cameras in their faces, shining torches in their eyes. Those police officers are also telling them that Balcombe residents do not want them here, that their belongings will be taken by bailiffs at any moment, that they will be forcibly evicted. Whatever they individually decide to do, stay or go and to all the others who have camped on that verge I say thank you, whether you stay or go thank you.”

If you look at a map, you will see that the Cuadrilla site at Lower Stumble Wood is situated close between the B2036 road and the main London to Brighton railway line, near to Balcombe village and the Ardingly Reservoir, and within a couple of miles of the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place; it is no wonder so many were so concerned.

These protesters were often called ‘rent-a-mob’ and some were personally vilified in the media.   I know some that are in their 70s and 80s, many that took their holiday time to be there and others that had time off work to do so; to describe these well informed and concerned individuals as such was not simply far from the truth but also vile.  

I have been involved in the area of environmental concern now for well over thirty years and never ceased to be surprised by the attitude of others who appear not to want to notice that which is under their noses, ignoring the obvious does make it go away.

Recently I was sent a newspaper cutting by an anti solar farm individual that had a negative article and picture of a Solar Farm taken from a helicopter.   I replied pointing out that it was not possible to see the solar farm from the ground (easy to check using Google Earth) but what could not be missed from the ground was the vast power station building and its tall chimney less than a quarter of a mile away.  
Another person, when I spoke of Balcombe, made a ‘Rent a Swampy’ remark having only seen the TV coverage, which made it painfully aware for me of just how the media slant can ‘inform’ people.
So, what do you do now?   It is easy to blame others, but the facts remain that many have been fiddling while Rome started to burn.  

The UK, just like the rest of the Western World and developing nations, exists on energy and the painful fact is that the cost of that energy is going up.   We all have become reliant on power surging through small holes in our walls, but how we keep that power going is the question.   The Middle East has become ever more unstable in the recent years and oil supplies have now become unpredictable. (15)  

At the moment renewables cannot totally replace oil, however the facts are that in the daytime (when we need the power most of all) energy via Solar Farms along with the already existing power from Wind Turbines is generated and then the conventional power stations can be turned right down making a massive saving of the oil and gas that is used for power generation.  

Please do not imagine that all Fracking entails is a clearing and a ‘Nodding Donkey’, that is most certainly not the case; Fracking drills into strata, not an underground reservoir, and so requires a large number of wells.   This can be 8 wells or more per square mile and these all require the necessary pads, drilling rigs, pipelines, compressor stations, waste storage ponds, treatment facilities, flaring stack, and the associated transport and tanker movements etc.   As I write this the alternative to renewables is Fracking, what would you prefer, this (16) or this (17)?

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Global Warming Facts As The World Sees Them?

The following weather report is actually 100% correct, sad to say, most people are in the guise of the anchor man.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

"It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on No. 4 reactor."

So said the former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland Mitsuhei Murata to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in April 2012; so what has happened since, and why the silence?
The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is preparing to remove, beginning this November, 400 tons of highly irradiated spent fuel from a damaged reactor building, a dangerous operation that has never been attempted before on this scale.
Containing radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago, more than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from a building that is vulnerable to collapse, should another large earthquake hit the area.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is already in a losing battle to stop radioactive water overflowing from another part of the facility, and experts question whether it will be able to pull off the removal of all the assemblies successfully.
The operation at the plant's Reactor No. 4 is fraught with danger, including the possibility of a large release of radiation if a fuel assembly breaks, gets stuck or gets too close to an adjacent bundle.  That could lead to a worse disaster than the March 2011 nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant, the worlds most serious since Chernobyl in 1986.   To see the possible problem see 1) 
Each fuel rod assembly weighs about 300 kilograms (660 pounds) and is 4.5 meters (15 feet) long. There are 1,331 of the spent fuel assemblies and a further 202 unused assemblies are also stored in the pool.   Almost 550 assemblies had been removed from the reactor core just before the quake and tsunami set off the crisis. These are the most dangerous because they have only been cooling in the pool for two and a half years.
“The No. 4 unit was not operating at the time of the accident, so its fuel had been moved to the pool from the reactor, and if you calculate the amount of caesium 137 in the pool, the amount is equivalent to 14,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs," said Hiroaki Koide, assistant professor at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute.
The seawater around the nuclear plant has been contaminated from the water pumped into the plant and dropped from helicopters used to cool the radioactive fuel rods which has the leaked out into the Pacific Ocean.   See (2
So, why is there the silence from the National News and Government sources, remembering the news that was released after Chernobyl?   There have been no rebuttal of these facts from the US authorities, see (3  
And for a full update see(4
      3)  health-impacts-on-american-children/5329553


Friday, 28 June 2013

Words Of Wisdom From The Dalai Lama

If anything sums up the state of the world and of life for so many today, the Dalai Lama's observational wisdom does. 

Thursday, 20 June 2013

So why did UK Minister Owen Paterson push GM food?

What do we know about Owen Paterson? Married to Rose Ridley, sister of Matt Ridley (son of Viscount Ridley) who is a genetic scientist - and also sits in the House of Lords. He's visiting professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where they study plant genetics.
Cold Spring Lab are the main protagonists in the iPlant collaborative. Possible conflict of interest for Paterson?

Who fund the Cold Spring Harbor Lab? Amongst others, Dupont, whose subsidiary Pioneer Hi-bred International specialise in GMO corn.

Defends the use of pesticides that kill bees

Paterson's letter to Syngenta published in The Guardian...

One of the two chief lobbying organisations paying Paterson to push GMO...

Another UK lobbying group operating on behalf of Conservative party donors;

UK research council, funded by Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Dupont et al...

Cropgen - another powerful GM lobbying group, paid for by Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Dupont et al...

AND the research institute funded by the UK government and the GMO food companies quoted in this mornings BBC report;

So, is GM safe? There’s the research that’s being paid for by the biotech industry. And then there’s the independent research being done in foreign countries, mostly in Europe, and foreign universities. Most, if not all the research sponsored by the biotech industry says genetic engineering is innocuous and safe. But most of the research done elsewhere concludes otherwise. So says Thierry Vrain, retired former pro-GMO scientist for Agriculture Canada, now campaigning against GMOs.


Monday, 10 June 2013


Killer whales so contaminated that they were classified as toxic waste. A once-beautiful Lebanese beach that’s now a towering mound of garbage, bleeding contaminants into the Mediterranean Sea. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area the size of Quebec that has six times as much plastic as plankton, the foundation of the food chain.
We all know that trash is a serious environmental problem, but it’s hard to grasp the full extent of the global predicament, and even if you are well-informed, it’s good to be reminded that waste is perhaps the most dire environmental crisis today. So often I hear people say that they are going to throw something 'away'. There is no such place as 'away'.
In this documentary Trashed tells the story of the world’s waste disposal problems through the eyes of Jeremy Irons. The actor-turned-environmental activist takes the audience around the world, showing first some of the most gory garbage patches, before presenting the challenges of getting rid of such trash.
Jeremy Irons, who narrated the film, noted, “We’re making more garbage now than at any time in history.” At the beginning of the film, Irons travelled to Sidon, Lebanon where he found a large, uncontrolled waste dump on the beach. He interviewed a Palestinian refugee who had come to Lebanon 30 years earlier, when the trash mound was non-existent. “When I first worked here it wasn't here,” the refugee said.
In Britain, Irons found that the waste problem was not quite as obvious as in Lebanon but was still significant. Paul Dainton, a British activist who tries to promote regulation of landfill sites said, “We have the most landfill sites in Europe.” Dainton added that breaches occur in the lining of the landfills with “notorious regularity.”
The waste problem is no less serious in the United States. “Over the past decade, 14 dumps around New York have reached capacity,” Irons said. A major problem with these landfills is that the lining used to prevent seepage of materials to the surrounding soil is not always reliable. As a result, landfills can threaten the environment for hundreds of years.
An alternative to landfills used in some parts of the world is incineration of waste. This method has its advantages, but in many ways is not much better than using landfills.
“It’s a very, very challenging environment inside an incinerator,” Professor of Bio-imaging at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland Vyvyan Howard said in the film. Incinerators produce man-made halogenated dioxins, which cause health concerns and can be extremely toxic.
In one small French town, 24 out of 80 residents on a street near an incinerator got cancer. There is no conclusive proof that their cancer came from toxins released from their incinerator, but such a high rate of the disease is unusual. “Governments have to be prepared to act with caution,” Howard said, referring to the danger created by toxins from incinerators.
No area of the planet has been safe from the toxins and waste spread by incinerators, factories and other means. “The Arctic has become one of the most contaminated places on Earth,” Irons said. Charles Moore, an oceanographer and boat captain who has done research on the Great Pacific Garbage, noted, “It’s rare to find a trawl that has no plastic in it.” As Moore says, waste is a problem both on land and sea, with no areas immune to the effects of pollution.
“This is not about what might happen in some distant future,” Irons warned. Howard added, “What we have to do is to stop making that amount of waste.”
Irons ends the film by saying that the status quo in terms of waste management must change. “We are trashing the planet and it’s time to stop,” he said. If waste management practices do not change, Irons and other environmentalists believe the waste problem will continue to damage the planet.