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British Wildlife Decline

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  • ProssPross Posts: 27,098
    Craigus89 wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    Ain't that the truth. The amount of work we do even in my little sub sector of the process for small developments would surprise a lot of people who seem to think it's just a case of an application form and a few plans. Pre-apps, scoping, surveys, preliminary design, possible public consultation, further design, liaising with the relevant officers and finally getting in the application only for a planning committee to ignore national planning guidance and their own employees to refuse. Then the decision of whether to spend more money on an appeal, reviewing whether the design can be amended to anyway to address reasons for refusal etc. etc.

    The irony is that the above often leads to smaller, more sympathetic developments getting scrapped on cost grounds whilst the big boys have the resources to fight an appeal and build their generic estates.

    Seconded. Story of my life. What do you do, Pross? Consultant Engineer?

    Yep, highway and transport side.
  • ProssPross Posts: 27,098
    elbowloh wrote:
    Why the censored do we not force developers to build on brown-field sites where, generally, there is already the infrastructure in place for the increase in population, rather than eroding the greenbelt / greenspaces where people are dumped with no public transport and no services to support them?

    I know it costs more...oh right. forgeddabowdit

    On the subject of farming, yes there is a lot more we could do with just managing that land better whether that be in terms of growing the right stuff in the first place, putting back the hedgerows or making sure we don't pump shoot (literally and figuratively) into our waterways.

    Planning policy is set up to favour Brownfield development. Unfortunately all the 'easy' sites are pretty much done and a lot of what is left requires significant remediation from some pretty dirty industrial processes that is not only costly it can take years and therefore doesn't help with the short term demand for housing.

    Add in that a lot of the areas where the Brownfield sites exist will be earmarked for employment / commercial use in Local Plans and are therefore difficult to get set aside for residential instead. There has been massive Brownfield development in recent years (Thames Gateway, Battersea Power Station, Llanwern Steelworks, Llandarcy oil refinery, numerous MOD sites, a former ICI site in South Wales to name a few).
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,934
    Pinno wrote:

    @HM: Isn't forest plantations of non deciduous mono culture though? Wildlife only really thrives on the peripheries and fire tracks?
    I see they are replacing pine with mixed deciduous all around Galloway Forest Park and Cree valley woodland trust.

    There is definitely evidence for an increase in wildlife (depending on how you look at it) to having areas of species mix (including other conifers) in the forest which is partly behind the mixed species rules for UKFS, but I have personally encountered badgers, goshawks, peregrines, golden eagles, sea eagles, pine marten, red squirrels, buzzards, kites and probably lots more which I have forgotten. What most species want is varied structures, so breaks in the crop and the edges are where you see a lot of things, a classic one is mature trees next to restock sites for hunting habitat which is partly why they wont let you harvest an adjacent crop within 5 years of the first. That and planting the sides of watercourses with broadleaves for habitat connectivity. With the conversion from single age to a mixed age structure through a 20 year felling plan you'll get a lot of the benefits of that even before we introduce the mandatory other species.

    The problem is that there are a number of different reasons for owning forests, and a number of different sites which are capable of sustaining different types of forest, they aren't really considered by the FC/SF/NRW/the public. A beautiful estate owned by Lord Rar in Surrey is a totally different scenario to a mountainside. The science shows that even a forest with a very high proportion of spruce (not pine, pine is dreadful ;) ) has environmental benefits over sheep farming in terms of biodiversity, flood mitigation and carbon sequestration among others. There is more wildlife but less carbon sequestration in a more varied and less productive forest but we are growing timber with the byproduct of environmental benefits, not managing a petting zoo.

    The most important point though is that the private commercial forest estate is predominantly bleak hillsides in Scotland and Wales where the alternative is sheep farming, it's unrealistic to compare these places to estate forestry or the public sector forests which are planted on better and more expensive ground. If you were a typical investor looking to buy forestry at 3% plus returns then nice brown earth soils and lowland conditions aren't anywhere near affordable for commercial forestry. We could stipulate that all new planting and restocking should be 100% broadleaf to increase biodiversity, but given that commercial forestry is already environmentally very good compared to sheep farming it seems like destroying an entire industry to make it slightly better isn't proportional (even after you overcome the fact that all the broadleaves would die in the first year).

    You could take the view that it'll just annoy a few investors but I'd also consider that forestry is worth £2b a year to the Scottish economy and employs thousands of people (3 times as many per hectre as sheep farming). If someone put £100m into BP shares no one would bat an eyelid, and would have a negative environmental cost.

    It might sound like a good idea to plant more conifer species rather than just one spruce variety but even the next most productive species will cost more to establish, then could take an extra 5 years to reach felling age, and even then produce 20% less timber. All of these things have a very real impact on discounted cashflows
  • laurentianlaurentian Posts: 1,816
    This is a very interesting subject for me and one I find difficult to get my head around.

    I grew up in the late 60s and 70s.

    I think I got my interest in birds from my Dad and, although I'm far from a "twitcher" I have always taken an interest in birds and british wildlife in general.

    I can remember my Dad having the AA Book of Birds at home and I would study this book more than any school book. Some of the birds in there seemed so exotic, so extraordinary. On each page there was a little map in the bottom corner showing the distribution of the birds that I dreamed of seeing . . . almost all of them far, far away from the rural midlands where I lived (and continue to live)

    My Dad, his mate and I were going up to Scotland for a weekend one day and took a detour en route to go and see a relative in the North of England. I can remember sitting in the back of the car with my heart beating faster than normal, beside myself with excitement as I'd seen one of the birds from the book I had no right to see - something so other worldly. All of us were excitedly pointing and delightedly chattering about the bird we could see soaring ahead of us.

    The bird was a buzzard - as common as you like these days but to me, back then, it could have been a Bengal Tiger and I wouldn't have been more excited.

    On another occasion, I can remember running breathless through our back door to tell my Dad that I had seen a heron in the brook down the road - Dad's advice was to keep the sighting quiet for fear of interested people sacring it away. A heron is hardly a rarity but back then, very rarely seen.

    Buzzards are now more common than kestrels (about the only bird of prey I was likely to see when I was a kid). In the 90s, a red kite was a rare and beautiful thing but I see them almost daily now.

    The buzzard is an "apex predator" suggesting to me that the things that it needs to eat must be plentiful to sustain the present and seemingly growing population . . . it follows that the prey that the buzzards feed on must also have a plentiful supply of their food source . . . and so on down the line.

    I see way more rural foxes and badgers than I ever did as a kid although there are notably fewer hedgehogs

    I think the cessation in the use of DDT had an undoubted effect on improving bird populations but am conviced that the practice of set aside has done a lot to improve the situation

    Despite what I have seen with my own eyes, I hear reports of declining populations in our wildlife. As mentioned above, butterflies are something that don't seem to be as plentiful as they were when I was growing up but I would never have dreamed of seeing a deer and yet many kinds of deer are all over the place now.

    I would imaging the smaller the species, the more vunerable it is to climate change and that it is this that is having the biggest impact on insect numbers
    Wilier Izoard XP
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 19,794
    elbowloh wrote:
    Why the censored do we not force developers to build on brown-field sites where, generally, there is already the infrastructure in place for the increase in population, rather than eroding the greenbelt / greenspaces where people are dumped with no public transport and no services to support them?

    I know it costs more...oh right. forgeddabowdit.

    There is already a lot of pressure to do this. Some brownfield land is however not suitable for housing. Equally, some greenfield sites are not all that green.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 5,757
    rjsterry wrote:
    elbowloh wrote:
    Why the censored do we not force developers to build on brown-field sites where, generally, there is already the infrastructure in place for the increase in population, rather than eroding the greenbelt / greenspaces where people are dumped with no public transport and no services to support them?

    I know it costs more...oh right. forgeddabowdit.

    There is already a lot of pressure to do this. Some brownfield land is however not suitable for housing. Equally, some greenfield sites are not all that green.
    And yet i see lots of developments as i travel round in the middle of fields.
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame ??
    Tall....
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    laurentian wrote:
    I would imaging the smaller the species, the more vunerable it is to climate change and that it is this that is having the biggest impact on insect numbers

    I think that the problem is that there are all sorts of reasons why some very visible species will thrive but it doesn't mean much unless you look at the overall picture. And stuff near the top of the food change isn't that important - it's lack of success doesn't affect anything else. Loss of insects as food sources and pollinators is far more important but even there the big picture needs to be looked at (eg butterfly species are tending to move North so you see them now where once you wouldn't have (eg Silver Washed Fritillary butterflies just now reaching Yorkshire) - that gives the perception of positivity but just because the distribution is increasing geographically it does not mean that the size of the population is - often the overall numbers are down.

    There's always winners and losers and I suspect that, on a casual basis, we notice the winners far more.

    As for brownfield sites - those are often our best urban wildlife habitats ironically. Nature would be better off with us developing Farmer Browns field than an old industrial site abandoned years ago. Though that should not be the choice we are faced with of course.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • ProssPross Posts: 27,098
    elbowloh wrote:
    rjsterry wrote:
    elbowloh wrote:
    Why the censored do we not force developers to build on brown-field sites where, generally, there is already the infrastructure in place for the increase in population, rather than eroding the greenbelt / greenspaces where people are dumped with no public transport and no services to support them?

    I know it costs more...oh right. forgeddabowdit.

    There is already a lot of pressure to do this. Some brownfield land is however not suitable for housing. Equally, some greenfield sites are not all that green.
    And yet i see lots of developments as i travel round in the middle of fields.

    Brownfield is also known as 'previously developed land', some sites can appear as Greenfield but actually be classified a Brownfield.

    There was a target of 60% (from memory) of development to be Brownfield set by the last Labour government. This got removed by the NPPF brought in in 2012 although it 'afforded substantial weight' to Brownfield sites but the latest version of the NPPF there is a need for Authorities to maintain a Brownfield register and to help promote the use of Brownfield land in their area. Put simply, it should be an easier process to get planning on a Brownfield site than a Greenfield but Brownfield alone doesn't provide enough development land to meet the amount of housing required, particularly the short term demand. Developing Brownfield can be beneficial to a developer in other ways e.g. when building on a Greenfield site these days you need to provide drainage measures to ensure the runoff from the site doesn't exceed that in a Greenfield situation whereas on a Brownfield site you only need to offer a betterment on the runoff from the previous site. This can potentially save on the costs and land required for drainage attenuation.

    Also, to get back on topic, just because a site is Brownfield doesn't necessarily mean it has less of an impact on ecology. Some of the most difficult sites I've worked on from the ecology side are Brownfield e.g. large bat populations roosting in derelict buildings, newts and crayfish taking up residence in a watercourse in a former colliery etc. whereas a Greenfield site may have very little as it has been ploughed and farmed intensively for decades.
  • silverssilvers Posts: 16
    Hi all,

    long time lurker becomes poster ... this is an interesting topic.

    1. On the topic of intensification of farming: I can see from a bit of internet searching that the amount of pesticides (Kg active ingredient/ ha) applied to UK farmland has dropped massively over the years (FERA website). Obviously there is the counterargument of less but more powerful/dangerous chemicals. But this doesn't ring true with neonics being applied as a seed treatment or in glasshouse. I understand that the scientific evidence is nowhere near as "conclusive" as the campaigners claim.

    2. forestry - historically, monoculture of spruce is dark and appears to be low in biodiversity. Not sure if the facts back this up, but walking through a planted spruce forest is not that much fun! I'd be really interested to hear HaydenM's view on the forestry on blanket bog question as well. As a hillwalker, I'd prefer that not all hills and mountains are covered in forestry.

    3. The discussion of this topic in the media is often reduced to "charismatic megafauna". In the half century that I've been on the planet (in my current form) I've noticed an increase in populations of predators, scavengers and other species near the apex in the UK. Have the indicator species been chosen to confirm an existing bias or to actually test a hypothesis?
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 19,794
    edited October 2019
    silvers wrote:
    Hi all,

    ...
    You should post more often.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • LagrangeLagrange Posts: 652
    HaydenM wrote:
    Mr Goo wrote:
    Industrial scale forestry also an issue, planting quick growing pines and chopping them down again.

    As this is one of the very very few topics I am remotely qualified to talk on, I feel I should dip in here. Industrial scale forestry has little or no impact on wildlife decline. I'm not really up to date with English estate forestry but isn't not really 'commercial' as such, unless you had a good reason you wouldn't get a felling license so I'd guess we'd need a bit more info on your example to work out what was going on. Felling large areas of broadleaves isn't really a commercial industry unless it's a plantation of sweet chestnut or something and even then you'd have to exclude land prices. If it has protected species in it is illegal to fell, and if it's semi ancient woodland it would be extremely difficult to get a license.

    In terms of proper industrial scale forestry it only really financially viable on upland marginal hill farming land. If you compare it to sheep farming even a forest planted with a single species (sitka spruce rather than any sort of pine) supports for more wildlife (and makes a lot more money). The aim of the forest industry at the moment really is to restructure existing upland forests planted in the 70s and 80s over a 20 plan period to create a mosaic of different aged stands. The felling licence/plan system with the relevant forestry commision/NRW/Scottish Forestry regulator also stipulates what you can restock with, the overall forest would go to something like 70% single species, 10% second species, 10% open ground and 10% broadleaves, or some variation depending on what your reasons are for the ecological benefits.

    It's very difficult to sell any real volume of timber in the UK unless it is FSC or PEFC certified, for this our forests are audited and the mangement companies who offer certification have to prove that what they are doing is in line with the UK forestry standard.

    The wider level of commercial forestry (which was nicely highlighted in a recent David Attenborough video, and is supported by most NGOs) is that the more timber than can be produced in plantations, the less virgin forest we need to destroy. The major major benefit of commercial forestry in my eyes really is carbon sequestration as 4x as much carbon is stored in forest soils than in the timber itself, the best way of accumulating forest soils is to grow something which likes our climate and produces the most amount of total biomass. It's a slight aside but what we are being forced to do by the government is make our commercial forests less productive, less able to sequester carbon and less valuable from an investment point of view.

    Sorry for that!


    Don't worry - I did not read a word of it.
  • ProssPross Posts: 27,098
    rjsterry wrote:
    silvers wrote:
    Hi all,

    ...
    You should post more often.

    Nah, they sound too reasoned and sensible. It will just make the rest of us look even worse.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 19,794
    HaydenM wrote:
    Mr Goo wrote:
    Industrial scale forestry also an issue, planting quick growing pines and chopping them down again.

    As this is one of the very very few topics I am remotely qualified to talk on, I feel I should dip in here. Industrial scale forestry has little or no impact on wildlife decline. I'm not really up to date with English estate forestry but isn't not really 'commercial' as such, unless you had a good reason you wouldn't get a felling license so I'd guess we'd need a bit more info on your example to work out what was going on. Felling large areas of broadleaves isn't really a commercial industry unless it's a plantation of sweet chestnut or something and even then you'd have to exclude land prices. If it has protected species in it is illegal to fell, and if it's semi ancient woodland it would be extremely difficult to get a license.

    In terms of proper industrial scale forestry it only really financially viable on upland marginal hill farming land. If you compare it to sheep farming even a forest planted with a single species (sitka spruce rather than any sort of pine) supports for more wildlife (and makes a lot more money). The aim of the forest industry at the moment really is to restructure existing upland forests planted in the 70s and 80s over a 20 plan period to create a mosaic of different aged stands. The felling licence/plan system with the relevant forestry commision/NRW/Scottish Forestry regulator also stipulates what you can restock with, the overall forest would go to something like 70% single species, 10% second species, 10% open ground and 10% broadleaves, or some variation depending on what your reasons are for the ecological benefits.

    It's very difficult to sell any real volume of timber in the UK unless it is FSC or PEFC certified, for this our forests are audited and the mangement companies who offer certification have to prove that what they are doing is in line with the UK forestry standard.

    The wider level of commercial forestry (which was nicely highlighted in a recent David Attenborough video, and is supported by most NGOs) is that the more timber than can be produced in plantations, the less virgin forest we need to destroy. The major major benefit of commercial forestry in my eyes really is carbon sequestration as 4x as much carbon is stored in forest soils than in the timber itself, the best way of accumulating forest soils is to grow something which likes our climate and produces the most amount of total biomass. It's a slight aside but what we are being forced to do by the government is make our commercial forests less productive, less able to sequester carbon and less valuable from an investment point of view.

    Sorry for that!

    I think Goo was referring to the A35. It's mostly mixed farmland with lots of little copses dotted about to give the foxes and pheasants somewhere to breed.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,934
    silvers wrote:
    2. forestry - historically, monoculture of spruce is dark and appears to be low in biodiversity. Not sure if the facts back this up, but walking through a planted spruce forest is not that much fun! I'd be really interested to hear HaydenM's view on the forestry on blanket bog question as well. As a hillwalker, I'd prefer that not all hills and mountains are covered in forestry.

    I'd say that's more of a perception rather than reality, but as I said, you'd have to compare it to the sheep farm it was planted on rather than a lovely lowland forest. For blanket bog, essentially cultivating the land releases lots of carbon, you can only do that if the trees you will plant will grow at a rate which sequesters significantly more carbon than is disturbed so currently you can't plant on anything over 50cm of peat. A marked change from the past which not only released carbon but also created a lot of forests which don't grow and aren't worth much!
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,934
    Lagrange wrote:
    HaydenM wrote:

    Sorry for that!


    Don't worry - I did not read a word of it.

    Evidently not true :wink:
  • Depressing to see that 70% of Scotland is wild and yet folk still tell me I'm not allowed to ride my dirt bike on any of it .

    I actually ride a lot on a moor (out of season ) on my dirt bike and it's pretty devoid of life. And I am a shooter,stalking , driven bird, pigeon, rabbit etc etc

    I still think too many places are over managed. I think new build is an issue, but not as big an issue as land management practices.
    Trek,,,, too cool for school ,, apparently
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,934
    Depressing to see that 70% of Scotland is wild and yet folk still tell me I'm not allowed to ride my dirt bike on any of it .

    I actually ride a lot on a moor (out of season ) on my dirt bike and it's pretty devoid of life. And I am a shooter,stalking , driven bird, pigeon, rabbit etc etc

    I still think too many places are over managed. I think new build is an issue, but not as big an issue as land management practices.

    Wild and natural are quite arbitrary terms in this context. I can see why a land owner might object to the erosion from dirt bikes but I think most of the issue with them is the perception of them due to noise rather than any real environmental issues. People don't seem to care much about horses but they have really quite a large impact on trail erosion compared to walking and mtb. I've been looking at electric bikes to test out my theory...
  • mr_goomr_goo Posts: 3,755
    Pross wrote:
    Developers seem to be yet another of the huge chips Goo has to lug around on his shoulders. The weight must get tough to bear at times!

    Have you ever seen the amount of ecological and landscape impact reports that have to be submitted in support of a planning applications? Look one up on your local planning portal and the responses from the relevant officers as your comments show a massive amount of ignorance on the subject.

    Clearly you're a developer.
    I work with architectural practices across the country and nearly all tell me that the National House Builders is TW, Barratts etc have an easier time of it getting planning permission.
    Always be yourself, unless you can be Aaron Rodgers....Then always be Aaron Rodgers.
  • Piece on local news about 4x4 caused erosion in lakes. Apparently it's causing damage to tracks that farmers/ landowners use to carry out their work. Cue an interview with someone from Kannku about commercial 4x4 safaris. I doubt it's the organised trips but the idiots doing it privately without liaison with land users. I've seen one trying to get over from kentmere which has been closed to vehicles for decades. It's quite a damaged trail.

    A lot of the trails have been used for horses and foot for hundreds of years. It's what they were established for. IME horses do less damage than bikes. I've ridden off road and you can see skids and erosion happening. Walkers do more erosion overall but that's probably because there's more doing it. Per user it's probably least damaging.

    Trail bikes imho should be restricted heavily from the lakes. Probably as much an issue of noise and problem riders I've met. Sprayed with gravel once gives you lower acceptance levels. Foul mouthed rants from 30 to 50 year old riders when bad or unsafe riding doesn't help. Minority perhaps but IME I've met more negative riders than positive from the trail rider community. Although I doubt they're part of a community. Like that trail riding group that carries out repair work across the country which I suspect bike n guns is part of (i think I've seen him post on a forum about it but could be wrong).
  • ProssPross Posts: 27,098
    Mr Goo wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    Developers seem to be yet another of the huge chips Goo has to lug around on his shoulders. The weight must get tough to bear at times!

    Have you ever seen the amount of ecological and landscape impact reports that have to be submitted in support of a planning applications? Look one up on your local planning portal and the responses from the relevant officers as your comments show a massive amount of ignorance on the subject.

    Clearly you're a developer.
    I work with architectural practices across the country and nearly all tell me that the National House Builders is TW, Barratts etc have an easier time of it getting planning permission.

    No I'm not and no they don't. I work for people doing single houses in a bit of spare garden up to developments of a few thousand houses and the larger developments don't get it any easier. What they do have is a better understanding of the process which means they are more likely to submit more information up front (all the survey etc. cost money). They are also more likely to have bought land that is already allocated in the local plan which makes the process easier. Smaller jobs can be harder but mainly as the people trying to get consent have watched too much Grand Designs, they think they can do all the work themselves and won't spend money on fees to get proper information. Trying to explain to a one off developer that they need to spend £1k on a proper site survey rather than using an OS map as it will protect them from potentially expensive issues later on is like banging your hand on a wall. The big developers can be a pain to work for, the staff get pretty big bonuses if their region hits build targets so they put massive pressure on those working for them throughout the whole process and some of them don't like paying their bills very quickly but whoever suggested they get an easier ride was talking bollox.
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,934
    Piece on local news about 4x4 caused erosion in lakes. Apparently it's causing damage to tracks that farmers/ landowners use to carry out their work. Cue an interview with someone from Kannku about commercial 4x4 safaris. I doubt it's the organised trips but the idiots doing it privately without liaison with land users. I've seen one trying to get over from kentmere which has been closed to vehicles for decades. It's quite a damaged trail.

    A lot of the trails have been used for horses and foot for hundreds of years. It's what they were established for. IME horses do less damage than bikes. I've ridden off road and you can see skids and erosion happening. Walkers do more erosion overall but that's probably because there's more doing it. Per user it's probably least damaging.

    Trail bikes imho should be restricted heavily from the lakes. Probably as much an issue of noise and problem riders I've met. Sprayed with gravel once gives you lower acceptance levels. Foul mouthed rants from 30 to 50 year old riders when bad or unsafe riding doesn't help. Minority perhaps but IME I've met more negative riders than positive from the trail rider community. Although I doubt they're part of a community. Like that trail riding group that carries out repair work across the country which I suspect bike n guns is part of (i think I've seen him post on a forum about it but could be wrong).

    There are lots of studies into erosion from bikes/horses/walkers, in most cases horses are the worst, walkers and bikes a long way behind that. Essentially it is mostly due to overall weight and twisting motion from walking (horses and walkers). I know this because I did my dissertation on it and it was never ending! There will inevitably be specific sections where bikes cause a lot of erosion but when you multiply up the fact that walking/horse riding erosion is for the entire trail length and bike erosion is quite section specific it's not so bad. Walkers are also very prone to avoiding wet bits of trail and causing serious erosion issues which get wider and wider. Not advocating banning horses though

    Negative interactions with other land users are very often to do with others spoiling your perception of peace/nature/countryside or that they aren't enjoying it in the same way you are. Hence why some people don't like mountain bikers, or why you might complain about someone riding a motorbike off road on the other side of a valley, or the sound of someone's very loud exhaust on an A road when you're climbing a nearby mountain
  • silverssilvers Posts: 16
    HaydenM wrote:
    silvers wrote:
    2. forestry - historically, monoculture of spruce is dark and appears to be low in biodiversity. Not sure if the facts back this up, but walking through a planted spruce forest is not that much fun! I'd be really interested to hear HaydenM's view on the forestry on blanket bog question as well. As a hillwalker, I'd prefer that not all hills and mountains are covered in forestry.

    I'd say that's more of a perception rather than reality, but as I said, you'd have to compare it to the sheep farm it was planted on rather than a lovely lowland forest. For blanket bog, essentially cultivating the land releases lots of carbon, you can only do that if the trees you will plant will grow at a rate which sequesters significantly more carbon than is disturbed so currently you can't plant on anything over 50cm of peat. A marked change from the past which not only released carbon but also created a lot of forests which don't grow and aren't worth much!

    thanks for the expert view. In the end landscape is about so much more than either short term economic value or pure biodiversity. As Bikes & Guns points out there is the leisure amenity question to start with. As a regular hillwalker, I like the broad expanses of open hillside (but is that just because that is what I'm accustomed to?).

    On the broader point of wildlife decline in UK I'd make three observations:
    1. I'm sceptical that the "survey" has not been biased towards meeting a pre-determined finding that supports the basic raison-d'etre for the sponsor's existence.
    2. Putting majority of the blame on farming must be over-simplistic (Jon Snow of Channel 4 news)
    3. farming methods are not without fault (or should i say the farming methods necessitated by growing populations), but given the land coverage farming has to be part of the solution - so pointing fingers and alienating people is not a great way to start
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,934
    silvers wrote:
    HaydenM wrote:
    silvers wrote:
    2. forestry - historically, monoculture of spruce is dark and appears to be low in biodiversity. Not sure if the facts back this up, but walking through a planted spruce forest is not that much fun! I'd be really interested to hear HaydenM's view on the forestry on blanket bog question as well. As a hillwalker, I'd prefer that not all hills and mountains are covered in forestry.

    I'd say that's more of a perception rather than reality, but as I said, you'd have to compare it to the sheep farm it was planted on rather than a lovely lowland forest. For blanket bog, essentially cultivating the land releases lots of carbon, you can only do that if the trees you will plant will grow at a rate which sequesters significantly more carbon than is disturbed so currently you can't plant on anything over 50cm of peat. A marked change from the past which not only released carbon but also created a lot of forests which don't grow and aren't worth much!

    thanks for the expert view. In the end landscape is about so much more than either short term economic value or pure biodiversity. As Bikes & Guns points out there is the leisure amenity question to start with. As a regular hillwalker, I like the broad expanses of open hillside (but is that just because that is what I'm accustomed to?).

    On the broader point of wildlife decline in UK I'd make three observations:
    1. I'm sceptical that the "survey" has not been biased towards meeting a pre-determined finding that supports the basic raison-d'etre for the sponsor's existence.
    2. Putting majority of the blame on farming must be over-simplistic (Jon Snow of Channel 4 news)
    3. farming methods are not without fault (or should i say the farming methods necessitated by growing populations), but given the land coverage farming has to be part of the solution - so pointing fingers and alienating people is not a great way to start

    I'd say it's a bit of both, there is very little 'natural' about a baron sheep bitten hillside. I'd say the best place to get environmental change is in relatively unproductive sheep and grouse moors which cover most of the open space in Scotland (I know I'm being quite Scotland-centric but it makes a nice change :wink: ) rather than eroding or removing the productive capability of a fairly small proportion of it for marginal gain. Commercial forests can be quite samey sometimes but once you get above the productive planting line I think it looks quite cool to look down on personally

    Totally agree with your last point especially, if we want stuff to change it won't change without their help
  • mr_goomr_goo Posts: 3,755
    Pross wrote:
    Mr Goo wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    Developers seem to be yet another of the huge chips Goo has to lug around on his shoulders. The weight must get tough to bear at times!

    Have you ever seen the amount of ecological and landscape impact reports that have to be submitted in support of a planning applications? Look one up on your local planning portal and the responses from the relevant officers as your comments show a massive amount of ignorance on the subject.

    Clearly you're a developer.
    I work with architectural practices across the country and nearly all tell me that the National House Builders is TW, Barratts etc have an easier time of it getting planning permission.

    No I'm not and no they don't. I work for people doing single houses in a bit of spare garden up to developments of a few thousand houses and the larger developments don't get it any easier. What they do have is a better understanding of the process which means they are more likely to submit more information up front (all the survey etc. cost money). They are also more likely to have bought land that is already allocated in the local plan which makes the process easier. Smaller jobs can be harder but mainly as the people trying to get consent have watched too much Grand Designs, they think they can do all the work themselves and won't spend money on fees to get proper information. Trying to explain to a one off developer that they need to spend £1k on a proper site survey rather than using an OS map as it will protect them from potentially expensive issues later on is like banging your hand on a wall. The big developers can be a pain to work for, the staff get pretty big bonuses if their region hits build targets so they put massive pressure on those working for them throughout the whole process and some of them don't like paying their bills very quickly but whoever suggested they get an easier ride was talking bollox.

    So all the RIBA accredited architects that I have meetings are talking ox droppings?
    The bigger developers and not just the national house builders always always take their case up thru the chain to the planning inspectorate. In many cases the local planning authority capitulate as they cannot afford to have proper legal representation at a full planning inspectorate session. I've witnessed it. Developer rocks up with a QC at £20k for the day. Local authority with a retained local solicitor. Money money money. It's all that talks and it pressurises the council's into ceding consent. That and the numerous brown envelopes to councillors and planning officers..... I know this as only discussing yesterday with an architect in Poole.
    Always be yourself, unless you can be Aaron Rodgers....Then always be Aaron Rodgers.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 19,794
    edited October 2019
    Mr Goo wrote:
    So all the RIBA accredited architects that I have meetings are talking ox droppings?
    The bigger developers and not just the national house builders always always take their case up thru the chain to the planning inspectorate. In many cases the local planning authority capitulate as they cannot afford to have proper legal representation at a full planning inspectorate session. I've witnessed it. Developer rocks up with a QC at £20k for the day. Local authority with a retained local solicitor. Money money money. It's all that talks and it pressurises the council's into ceding consent. That and the numerous brown envelopes to councillors and planning officers..... I know this as only discussing yesterday with an architect in Poole.
    If they are having to take refusals to appeal and hire QC to make their case, this suggests that they are not having an easier ride than the guy who gets his loft conversion refused. Just that they have the means to do something about it.
    P.S. RIBA don't accredit architects; the ARB register them. If they're not on the register they're not an architect.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
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    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,934
    Sounds like I could get some useful tips on my extension plans from people on here... :wink:
  • chris_basschris_bass Posts: 4,913
    HaydenM wrote:
    Sounds like I could get some useful tips on my extension plans from people on here... :wink:

    yeah - get one of the big developers to build it for you - they'll get it done easier!
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
  • ProssPross Posts: 27,098
    rjsterry wrote:
    Mr Goo wrote:
    So all the RIBA accredited architects that I have meetings are talking ox droppings?
    The bigger developers and not just the national house builders always always take their case up thru the chain to the planning inspectorate. In many cases the local planning authority capitulate as they cannot afford to have proper legal representation at a full planning inspectorate session. I've witnessed it. Developer rocks up with a QC at £20k for the day. Local authority with a retained local solicitor. Money money money. It's all that talks and it pressurises the council's into ceding consent. That and the numerous brown envelopes to councillors and planning officers..... I know this as only discussing yesterday with an architect in Poole.
    If they are having to take refusals to appeal and hire QC to make their case, this suggests that they are not having an easier ride than the guy who gets his loft conversion refused. Just that they have the means to do something about it.
    P.S. RIBA don't accredit architects; that's the ARB.

    Exactly, it's more a case that in many cases those without the financial resources are being prevented from accessing the system fully rather than the deep pocket developers are buying themselves easy planning consents.

    There's so much wrong with that post, the Planning Authority also use barristers at Appeal - my colleagues regularly have to present evidence at Planning Appeals and get cross-examined by the LPA's barrister. Also, most of the schemes our Clients take to appeal are those that get refused by the Planning Committee against Officer recommendation - they generally win as the Councillors have also ignored planning policy in making their decisions. It makes you wonder why the brown envelopes keep getting paid (I'm also not sure how PLCs manage to account for these illegal bribes). Presumably these accredited architects, with professional ethics, have reported these known instances of bribery to the authorities for investigation? I suppose the alternative is the story is completely made up but I wouldn't want to cast aspersions on Mr Goo by suggesting that.
  • silverssilvers Posts: 16
    HaydenM wrote:

    I'd say it's a bit of both, there is very little 'natural' about a baron sheep bitten hillside. I'd say the best place to get environmental change is in relatively unproductive sheep and grouse moors which cover most of the open space in Scotland (I know I'm being quite Scotland-centric but it makes a nice change :wink: ) rather than eroding or removing the productive capability of a fairly small proportion of it for marginal gain. Commercial forests can be quite samey sometimes but once you get above the productive planting line I think it looks quite cool to look down on personally

    Totally agree with your last point especially, if we want stuff to change it won't change without their help

    I've not done a lot of scottish hillwalking - but I haven't seen many sheep anywhere north of Glasgow - mainly deer up north isn't it? perhaps the trees spoil the line of sight through the scope?
  • chris_basschris_bass Posts: 4,913
    It is also a case of councils playing the big developers too - we'll let you build there just so long as you build us these shops/develop this road/build a school etc
    www.conjunctivitis.com - a site for sore eyes
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