Sunday, January 24

Landlord set to close a Cosham shop

I have posted about this issue in the past, specifically about Waterlooville. In Cosham a clothing shop called Select is due to close down because the land lord want them out because the Costa coffee chain want the spot.

Often the problem regarding local small retailers closing is because land lords are chasing the money and bigger profits. Often a land lord will even chuck a business out of a property, just so that they can get the property back on the market again if they think they can get a better deal.

Large retailers and stores have more money and capital available to them, many own their properties or can afford to pay higher prices for a prime location, pushing out smaller local businesses. Although Select appears to be a small chain of stores as well, it is clear that a smaller local business would have even less of a chance to keep a property, when up against a big corporate.

Friday, January 22

Close that shop door!

Close The Door from Oliver Riley-Smith on Vimeo.

There's a new campaign now to get shops to close their shop doors, to reduce energy waste and carbon emissions. Watch the video and take a look at the 'Close The Door' web site. I think it is something that should be started in Waterlooville. If you are interested, have a go.

Wednesday, January 20

A lack of direction across the UK

Having pushed the idea of a 'service' economy for decades, serious problems are appearing in this ideology. This new decade will see major skills shortages in the science, engineering and agriculture sectors at a time when we need to increase the number from the current base level.

In the agriculture sector many farmers are close to retirement age, many are actually of retirement age and with no one to take their place. In the energy sector, some 30% of professionals are due to retire in the next 10 years, a lack of new recruits mean that keeping the lights on will be a struggle.

What are Hampshire colleges doing?
Not a lot as it happens. If you look at the list of subjects that colleges focus on today, they are dominated by subjects like media, art, tourism, animal welfare, retail, law, accountancy and so on. South Downs College actually installed part of an aircraft fuselage so that students could practice their air hosting skills. They also built a new music school.

Meanwhile there is a huge need now for a wide range of engineering and science skills to tackle the nations looming energy and environmental crisis. Do the colleges expect Tesco shelf stacker's and a trained holiday guide to operate a nuclear reactor, or climb up a wind turbine to service it?

Where are South Downs College and Havant College going to get their electricity from to train the hair dressers and tour guides?
Where is the food going to come from to feed the media students?
Where do media students expect the electricity to come from to power their computers and cameras?

An unbalanced economy doesn't just increase the carbon footprint of the goods we use (because the manufactured goods come from countries using more fossil fuels than us), it is also going to have a long term detrimental impact on the nations (and Hampshire) ability to maintain a level independence.

The agriculture and energy sectors are not the only areas that need a massive injection of skills. The Royal Academy of Engineers have recently chipped in by pointing out a lack of skills in the building industry to create low carbon buildings. In particular they indicated that current developers were putting 'eco-bling' on current buildings, rather than implementing eco-friendly building ideas that have been known for thousands of years. The Taylor Wimpey homes at the Dukes Meadow site near Waterlooville are prime examples of eco-bling.

Tuesday, January 19

New Conservative candidates can't be trusted to mitigate climate change?

A recent poll of the new generation of Conservative MPs suggests that they aren't to bothered about anthropogenic climate change. It raises the question of whether the party could be trusted with the future of the countries environment and the numerous eco-businesses that have made excellent progress over the last 5 or so years.

It seems that even a new generation of MPs are incapable of thinking differently and of taking up the challenge of climate change. This is a great shame, because they are putting their own careers before the longer term security of the nation.

George Hollingbery is one of those new generation of Conservatives, if he placed a low priority on climate change, then he needs to explain why. If he placed it as a high priority, then he needs to explain how the Conservatives will address their backbenchers opposed to policies that would be designed to tackle climate change.

Friday, January 15

New flooding study of Portsmouth

Old Portsmouth It looks like I'm not the only one who has an interest in the future flooding of Portsmouth. A new study called "Facing up to Rising Sea Levels" looks at the future of Portsmouth and Kingston-upon-Hull. The report has been created by the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Royal Institute of British Architects. It looks at how Portsmouth might cope with sea level rises at the end of the century.

It will be uncomfortable reading for some people. The two organisations look at ways of dealing with sea level rises, pointing out that most of Portsmouth is no more than 3m above sea level.

The Institute of Civil Engineers has a press release about the study, where the report can be downloaded.

Added: An exhibition of the ICE and RIBA study will be held from 15th to 20th February at Portsmouth Cathedral (anglican). There will also be an exhibition of Portsmouth Councils North Solent shoreline management plan at the Central Library on 8th Feb.

Wednesday, January 13

Snow Behaviour

An interesting observation of the recent snow problems is the impact it has on peoples shopping habits.
One of the problems that the car owning society has created is the building of supermarkets and retail parks, all of which are dependent on car use.
The fall of snow has pushed people to fall back on the tradition of local shops serving local communities. The problem now of course is the fact that many are now closed down because supermarkets and big DIY retail chains have put them out of business. The result is that the remaining shops have been running short of bread, milk etc. as car owners nip around to the local store instead of doing their weekly shop and risking a car accident/problem.
It doesn't just effect food retailers, if you walk up to Waterlooville today, the car parks are pretty much empty, so basically if you remove the car as an option, all those big stores become 'white elephants', as the unfit UK public shy away from using their two legs.

What is obvious, is that localisation would work without the benefit of cars. The snow has given us a vision of past times and a potential sustainable future.

Friday, January 8

New Isle of Wight offshore wind farm

Good news today about the 3rd round UK offshore wind farm plans. One of the wind farms will be just South of the Isle of Wight and along the Dorset coast. Although not the biggest 3rd round planned wind farm, it will still have the capacity of about 1 typical coal or nuclear power station, about 0.9 gigawatts. By the time work gets under way, it is likely the larger 5 to 10 megawatt turbines should be more common, requiring fewer turbines in total. We'll have to see.

The 3rd round wind farm projects will be the biggest increase in generation capacity the UK has seen since the end of World War Two. Some 32 gigawatts built in about 4 years. If the 1st and 2nd round projects are included, there will be over 40 gigawatts of offshore capacity installed.

An additional issue is that Siemens are currently looking to locate a new turbine factory in Europe. Hopefully, confirmation of the third round contracts will persuade them to locate it in the UK.

It is likely that towards the end of the decade, we should also see a number of tidal turbine farms constructed as well. Although providing less capacity, the tidal turbines should provide more engineering jobs for home grown UK companies.

Wednesday, January 6

Abominable Davros

A monstrous experiment resulted in Davros being regenerated as a snowman, armed with a water pistol and a Dalek 'plunger'. Stay in your homes until he has melted and it is safe to go out.

Tuesday, January 5