Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima

Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima
We feel very sad for the people of Japan who want to end nuclear energy whilst a potential new government and big business are desperate for it

No Fukushima at Oldbury

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Badger issues , as EDF exploit our weak government

if you are a major utility you are allowed to ride rough shod over the people of this country.

I you are a major foreign utility do you really care one jot for the people of the UK, as long as the untouchables can pay their way!

The government will always make it possible for the likes of EDF and Eon to play Gods whilst we lower castes must grub around , pay our taxes and comply!

This government is weak and shallow , but so was the previous one, during periods of incredible change true visionaries are requiredd.....Zac Goldsmith get your team together!!

Dear Nikki,
Vanessa Mason has forwarded on copies of the email exchanges between yourself and Charlie Wilson at Natural England, also a resume of your discussions with her.
I can understand your concerns regarding the detrimental impact on badgers as a result of the EDF proposals, also the potential practical problems associated with the badger exclusions.  Previously I have questioned Natural England regarding the issue of licenses prior to determination and granting of planning approval.  Typically Full Planning Approval is a pre-requisite for securing a licence, but I was told these were exceptional circumstances; I think that may mean that whatever objection is placed the development will go ahead under Government edict.

maybe an explanation of exactly what constitutes these exceptional circumstances might be appropriate given the Badgers protected status. Personally I would prefer that Natural England clarify exactly what this means, are you able to tell me exactly who you spoke to at Natural England and when?

An Edict is a proclomation/statement of law which at this stage the government certainly hasn't made such an announcement publicly, are you aware of such edicts being proclaimed behind closed doors?
Another reason given was that the scale of the impact on badgers would be to some extent relieved by 'phasing in' the mitigation/compensation.
I have begun looking at the preliminary works application and interestingly I cant make a proper assessment of the terrestrial ecology & ornithology as the Badger report has been supressed and is only available to certain consultees, I find this rather concerning as it smacks of some sort of cover up. Is the Badger Trust considered to be one of the consultees who can look at the report or would you be able to arrrange for me to see it at your offices maybe? It is very important that organisations and individuals that are independant of the developers and government departments are able to scrutinise this report in order to verify that it is in order.
 I can appreciate this but the biggest concern we have is the loss of foraging area.  We were told that 'habitat' improvements are planned on surrounding arable land, but have heard nothing to this effect since. 
Again, without being able to look at the Badger report its hard to see if any provision is made here, can you think of any legitmate reason why the Badger report should remain confidential? given that Bats also enjoy the status of a protected species and the Bat report is freely available?
 There are consultants who will argue that a badger social group can survive with part of their territory lost to development. This may be true but to what extent and which part is questionable, and in this case several badger social groups are involved.   
Locally, I'm sure you are aware that there has been significant development at Nether Stowey which has resulted in a Badger family losing their home to the development, this has resulted in the Badger families attempting to excavate setts 'down the road' is the gardens of other residents (much to their dismay and to the detriment of the Badgers reputation). Indeed Fragmentation and Habitat loss are indeed the biggest threats to biodiversity and to specifically threatened species such as those on the IUCN red list. I think the the extent to which the above is true will very much depend on a given local context and certainly can't be generalised about.
I have known Charlie Wilson for many years and whilst he will have to 'toe the party line' he is genuinely concerned for wildlife and I do believe that he would have satisfied himself that the licence conditions were being appropriately applied.  I also know the specific badger consultant involved and whilst I appreciate he is in the pay of EDF, I am aware that generally he does his best for badgers within the constraints set by his clients.
I'm afraid that I dont have the luxury of knowing any of the people involved personally and whilst I'm sure that this may offer you some reassurance it certainly doesnt offer any to the Badgers or to any of the people opposed to this development. I'm afraid I have to take the postion that the consultant in the employ of EdF has taken the coin so to speak. As for Charlie having to toe the party line,I'm afraid this doesn't inspire confidence either, especially when Natural England are a quasi autonomous non governmental organisation, clearly when it comes to EdF and nuclear development Natural England's autonomy is being severely limited.
We have also voiced our concerns with the Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT), of which we are part as a specialist group, and I believe that the objections they have formally voiced includes concern for badgers.  In these circumstances we believe that our best avenue is to support the SWT against the detrimental impact on badgers.

Could you explain this to me further? I have checked SWT's website and cant find any specific formal postion relating to Badgers on the part of their website about Badgers, the only thing it says on there is that they have objected at stage 2 on the grounds that there is insuffient information about wildlife. In fact EdF have just bought themselves corporate membership of SWT so we'll see how impartial they remain 
(personally, as a long standing member of the SWT I've started a petition against this which you can sign or share here if you wish )
In essence we have to accept that Natural England have issued licenses which made the badger setts exclusions lawful.  The licenses should not have been issued without a Method Statement, based on extensive survey, which would have been expected to provide detailed and appropriate mitigation and compensation.  I am not sure if you could obtain the Method Statements under the FOI Act.

 I would like to attain a copy of this if I can, are you able to point me in the right direction in terms of dates people and organisations?

What is probably the only real measure of the impact is the badger activity now compared to before the licensed works were undertaken.  I suspect that Natural England would not require this, or indeed EDF be prepared to fund it.  Unfortunately we do not have the resource to even contemplate such an exercise even if land access was available.
How much would this sort of work cost? can it not be undertaken on a voluntary basis independantly of EdF? I know other conservation volunteers who have various licenses such as dormouse etc who work exclusively as volunteers usually for SWT. I for one would be willing to help out? An organisation such as your is surely in a better  postition than any other  to negotiate access with EdF, particularly if we could mount some pressure on them in the media? maybe using their corporate membership of the Wildlife trust against them?
It is most likely the badgers will excavate new setts, even though the artificial setts may be occupied, particularly if the natural setts have been proofed against re-excavation.  Typically badgers do adapt to changes in their territory, but generally these are comparatively local.  The scale of the DEF proposals is the major concern.
I agree that the scale of the work is A major concern, amongst many others
Please let me know if I can help further.
If you can help with any of my suggestions/requests above I would be eternally grateful!! 
Kind regards, Adrian Coward - Chairman Somerset Trust Badger Group.
 All the Best

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