Wednesday, December 26

Dukes Meadow 2007 to 2012

The Taylor Wimpey development at Dukes Meadow is nearly completed with the 'prison block' flats dominating the view from Hambledon Road.

Although in principle there is nothing wrong with blocks of flats, I think most people aren't impressed by the cost cutting styling of the flats lining the Hambledon Road.

The initial blocks of flats were skinned with bricks, but later blocks were just skimmed with cement and then painted.

This video slide show has been put together using photos  taken over a period of 5 years and documents the changes since 2007. The slides are accompanied by an audio soundtrack.

In 1979 Robert Crumb developed a cartoon sequence called 'A Short History Of America' , I guess
this pays homage to it.

Tuesday, December 25

Saturday, December 22

Some good news - Horndean solar farm gets approval

Received news today that the solar farm at Horndean has been approved by councillors at East Hampshire District Council. Only one councillor voted against the project.

The project plan was altered in order to get approval, the number of solar panels have been reduced a little and a limit to noise levels has been imposed. The farm will now be rated at just under 5 megawatts as opposed to the original plan which was over 5 megawatts.

Look out for photos on this blog when the project gets built.

The consultation for the larger solar farm over at Fareham finished yesterday and councillors will vote on the plan at the end of January.

Friday, December 21

Big Brother brought to you universally by the Conservatives

Next month will see the nationwide introduction of the Universal Jobmatch web site (the brain child of Iain Duncan Smith) which appears to be designed to monitor the activities of people on jobseekers allowance, as opposed to offering help in finding jobs (the biggest change needed is actually on the employers side, not the jobseekers side).

The site is effectively a data aggregator taking data feeds from various existing job search boards like Monster and Jobsite, so it doesn't do anything new and anyone looking for a job already uses the numerous web sites directly. So Universal Jobmatch creates another level of data duplication of peoples personal information on the internet. A target rich enviroment for hackers.

The site has already been hacked, with personal details of jobseekers accessed by some people setting up a bogus company in order to access the information. The government appears to be insistent on making our lives less secure, the question is what rights do we have to sue the government when our information is abused, who pays for all the hours spent changing bank accounts and cancelling credit cards ?
Have we got to a stage now where the only personal information that defines us and must be protected, is our bank account?

There is a big question mark over whether the governments Big Brother system is legal. Anyone on JSA can effectively be forced to apply for a job that the computer system thinks they are suitable for, this effectively is forcing someone to send personal data to a commercial organisation, the only choice being to do that or losing their jobseeking allowance. There must be a big question as to whether the government has the right to do that just because a person is unemployed. I don't know of any other government scheme where a person can be forced to hand over personal information to commercial organisations?

No one wants to be unemployed, individuals are suited to certain types of jobs and some people are naturally less flexible than others. You can't force people to be something they are not suited for and of all the political parties in the UK, the least likely you would expect to introduce such extreme and draconian ideas is the Conservatives!

The Universal Jobmatch web site also uses cookies that track a jobseekers actions whilst using the web site. On this issue the government has come up against EU law which gives individuals the right to reject cookies used by a web site. Most of the mainstream browsers also allow people to block cookies from individual web sites, so it looks like the EU are the saints here and are protecting our rights to some privacy.

When someone applies for a job using your name and personal information, who bails you out of jail when the impersonator takes money from their employer?
Who pays for the medication needed to counter the anxiety and stress?
(Maybe not all that realistic a scenario, but as yet the scenarios haven't played out in real life)

Another major issue with this system is the forcing of people to use computers and the internet. Because such systems are extremely dependent on wealth, resources and advanced cultural activity, there will always be people in society that will have extreme difficulties accessing the system. So the people that need it the most, are also the most likely to not have easy access to it.

If someone has worked all their life and finds themselves redundant in their later years, is this sort of harrassment that they really need? It can be a massive shock to the system, to find all the familiar methods of job hunting have now disappeared and understanding the risks of applying for jobs via the internet can be distressing.

This new system seems to a be a combined brain child of extreme political ideology and some young IT expert who has probably never read a book in his or her life from a paper page. Indeed the old paper CV and letter was a far more secure method of applying for a job than the easy to copy electronic files of today.

We all await for the first court cases that will see many jobseekers being paid significant amounts of compensation and costing the tax payer money. 2013 is going to be a tough year and the economy isn't going to sort itself out for many years to come, yet the Conservative still live in a fantasy land, whilst the flooding continues.

The greatest risk is still climate change, not a few thousand life long jobseekers.

Big Brother Watch

Thursday, December 20

Yikes! Flooding everywhere

Wallington river over at Fareham has burst it's banks and I think a village is being evacuated.
Some Bungalows have been flooded in Emsworth and over at Purbrook, two people were trapped in the water last night at the ford.

Meanwhile we have a pond devloping in the back garden as the ground water rises.

Friday, December 7

How to become a bad salesman - write an article for The News

Bought The Portsmouth News this week and had a casual browse until I reached 'The Peoples Champion' page, written by a Richard Thomson. Across the page were the words 'Be wary of the boasts of solar panel salesman...'.
Ah, sounds interesting I thought, there are some cowboys out there that deliberately paint a distorted picture of solar panels. Looks like this is going to be an in depth article giving good advice.

The question asked by the home owner writing to the newspaper was whether a pushy salesman is correct in stating that the home owner could save over a £1,000 a year.

Instead of answering the question, the reporter then made his own 'bad salesman' pitch with statements that in total were just as distorted as the one the home owner was worried about.

Points made (in bold) were:

They produce clean energy
Something correct. Well almost. They don't actually produce energy, they convert one form of energy (photons/electromagnetic radiation) to another (electrons moving in a cable). A coal fired power station does produce energy, the coal has unrealised potential energy that was stored by plants from sunlight millions of years ago and it is released as heat energy by the power station (inefficiently as it turns out).

They are superficially attractive
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Many things are often superficially attractive. An Aunt Sally I think.

They are remarkably inefficient
By what standard?
A coal fired power station is approximately 30% efficient. Solar PV panels range from 15% to 30%.
The big difference, apart from having hugely different carbon footprints, is that with the application of science solar panels have the potential to be much more efficient, but you can't squeeze more electricity out of a coal fired power station, science says that most of the embedded energy in coal never gets realised.

The electricity can't be stored
Yes it can. Electric cars have batteries that store energy, we have large pumped energy storage systems in the UK that store energy from the grid and a local company in Hampshire is developing a very promising energy storage system, specifically designed to work cheaply with renewable energy.

What you can sell back is largely dependent on the weather.
 It isn't relevant to the overall system performance. The home owner only has to be concerned about the performance over a number of years and the return they get both in energy and finances. It is up to the grid operators and energy companies to worry about variability and how to deal with it, whether that is via storage, better grid tech etc.

They work best in direct sunlight, don't work at night etc.
Yes indeed, but does stating the obvious actually help here?
Variability isn't the issue, the issues are cutting CO2 emissions, reducing energy bills and pay back.

You'll probably be at work in the summer when you make savings
 Does this matter?
The energy produced is sold to the energy company, in fact the company the person is working at would probably be using some of it. The home owner benefits, so this is another Aunt Sally. The result is nothing.

Feed in tariffs have changed
This is about as close the reporter gets to answering the question!
But fails to do any supporting analysis. The reality is that photovoltaic panel prices have tumbled and are predicted to continue to fall.

The capital costs take over 15 years to recover
But you don't pay for the electricity generated by the panels!
It's always a silly argument that puts emphasis on initial costs rather then ongoing costs.
So 'capital' costs of solar PV are currently high but rapidly reducing, but for a fuel like gas you have to pay every day for as long as gas is available and gas prices will likely fluctuate as we are victim of overseas disturbances and politics. Pay a known fixed price today, or gamble on the future?
Really the issue is CO2 emissions, gas emissions are about 500gCO2 per kwh whilst solar panels are about 50gCO2 per kwh.

What have we learnt here?
Well Mr Thomson didn't appear to answer the question he was asked but instead appears to have ranted a personal opinion in a newspaper. The whole point of renewable energy is to cut carbon emissions and to actually get people used to the fact that the only secure energy we have is from the Sun and Moon (tidal energy) which are variable (obviously).

Another point of course is that much of the time the solar panels are effectively reducing the load a house has on the main grid. eg. when the Sun is out, the grid will 'see' the home with a the panels as using less electricity. It's no different to someone switching on the kettle or turning on the a heater, it changes the load on the grid. but with solar panels it's like turning things off rather than on. In both cases, the grid has to cope.

The article was only available in the print version of the newspaper.

Tuesday, November 27

How much flooding does it take?

The government continues to churn out damaging changes to legislation and policy that have long term negative impacts to the environment. At the same time, this year has seen some of the most extreme weather in UK history. Over 200 flood warnings this week alone.

A rundown of the year so far:

After warnings of drought conditions and water shortages few were expecting what was about to happen.
Strong winds and snow fall hit the UK with tens of thousands without electricity.
Heavy rains led to flooding in April.

Heavy rains caused flash flooding in Northern Ireland.
At the end of the month two storms moved across Wales and England, triggering 10 flood warnings and 47 alerts. Thousands of properties were again without electricity and landslides cause rail disruptions.

Flood warnings and alerts were issued across the UK.
A care home had to be evacuated.
The South West of England was issued with a severe weather warning.
A Dorset couple were killed in a landslide whilst the county had 150 flood warnings.

More flooding in Devon, Tyne and Wear, Yorkshire and Scotland.
Flash floods in Cumbria, causing landslips.

Wales, Yorkshire and North East England hit by flooding.
The foundations of a block of flats were washed away, the block eventaully had to be demolished.
Local authorities asked the government to help with costs.

Hundreds of flood warnings across the country.
Many homes flooded.
Insurance industry issue a warning that thousands of properties may be uninsurable next year.

Overall insurance costs for the year are likely to be £1billion or more.

Today Cameron visited flooded areas to talk to people about their problems and in the process stated the government was doing all it can do, but insurance companies need to do what insurance companies are supposed to do - insure.

However the fact is the government isn't doing all it can. The only solution is a greater effort to cut CO2, that is the only thing that will return climate to a state that produces reduced flooding risks, nothing else will.

In the mean time, home owners that are looking to the government to stop flooding with the use of  technology, think again, any defence will eventually be breached as weather gets more extreme.

Lets hope next year will be dryer, at least until the next record breaking year of flooding, caused by our CO2 producing addiction.

Friday, November 16

Lots happening all over the place!

This weekend First buses bring their new timetable and bus numbers into action. The switch occurs on Sunday I think.

There is a lot of public support for the Fareham Photovoltaic solar farm. From what I have seen of Vogts plans, they appear to have done a lot of homework. This includes research into aviation issues, biodiversity and environmental managment. Even the councils officers seem to like it. Implementation of the project would increase biodiversity since the land is currently a typical mono-crop farm.

Haven't heard much about the smaller solar farm proposed near Clanfield. In theory that is less controversial, especially as it is near a big electricity sub station.

Bad news about Ash trees though. I think with climate change and aggressive diseases attacking our native species, we are going to see some big changes in the UK tree population in the coming 100 years.

However Havant Borough Tree Wardens got a load of cash to plant over 5000 trees.

The battle of Scratchface lane continues over at Bedhampton. It's the only place where locals have any common sense.

Chris Heaton-Harris continues to tilt at windmills

I recently posted an analysis of statements Heaton-Harris made on BBC Radio 4 about wind turbines.

This week he continued his Don Quixote act and has been caught on camera by Greenpeace, he continues to mislead the public and in this case attacks the RSPB:

The BBC also posted an article and video:

Birds and wind turbine info:

A Summary and Comparison of Bird Mortality from Anthropogenic Causes with an Emphasis on Collisions
Wallace P. Erickson, Gregory D. Johnson, and David P. Young Jr

Bird Mortality:

Wind Turbines <0.01%
Buildings 58%
Cats 10.6%
Pesticides 7.1%

Migratory Bird Mortality fact sheet - US Fish and Wildlife Service

Tuesday, October 30

Carbon Emissions - more than you think...

Video showing the graphic visualisation of the carbon emissions produced by New York City:

Wednesday, October 10

Big changes for First buses in November

Just been looking at the new bus service changes that First are planning for November.

The first obvious major change is that practically all the bus numbers are changing. Most of the Waterlooville services into Portsmouth are changing to No's 7, 8 and 9, including variations on those numbers. Numbers that remain will be X40 and X41.

A much bigger change is in the routes. Nearly all the Waterlooville services will now miss out North End and Northern Parade completely and instead take the route along the M275 into Portsmouth. This will mean that most bus journeys into the City Centre will be faster.

From what I can see on the new route map only one bus service from Waterlooville passes through North End. Not sure if that is a 50% cut in services to North End, depends on the frequency of the remaining service. To get to non-City Centre areas of Portsmouth it appears the best option might be to change at Cosham.

Another problem seems to be a lack of buses servicing the North East of Portsmouth. There are no buses at all servicing the Anchorage Park area.

There is one bus service numbered 0! Is that a first in the UK??
It seems to do a circular route around Portsmouth. Never in my life have I seen a bus numbered 0.
Maybe they will start using negative and imaginary numbers in the future?

Monday, October 8

PO7&PO8 spam

The postman delivered the first copy of 'PO7&P08' today (as if I don't get enough paper spam already).
At least I think it was the postman, although I guess it could have been delivered by an unpaid 'intern'.

The problem with any publication that basically pretends to represent 'the community' and is funded by business is that it is in reality communicating a fantasy. Most people I know in the community talk about the weather, their family, whats on TV, why politicians are idiots or why life today is so crap. Hence it doesn't represent local community at all. Where is the critique if the only articles are press releases by businesses promoting a product or service?

'PO7&PO8' isn't a typical 'free' local publication (you do of course pay for it through dealings you have with the businesses that support it, hence in some way it is funded via a tax on the price you pay for a product or service), it was started by the deputy leader of Havant Borough Council, David Guest. So as well as being a propaganda outlet for various businesses, it is also linked to a specific political/economic ideology.

What is intrtiguing is that South Downs College is down as a 'Corporate Supporter' and on the front page of issue one it states 'It is the Corporate Support and the advertising that funds this project' which implies a publically funded body (South Downs College) gives money to a project that has political party connections.

The first issue also mentions Waterlooville Community Forum, which allegedly represents the community of Waterlooville. It replaces two community boards. So whats new about the WCF?
Well what isn't new is the people that are on the new forum, they include Waterlooville Business Assocaition, Residents Associations, church groups and local councillors. Basically the same groups that allegedly represented the community in the previous community boards. A bit of shuffling and then apparently everything is better! A few people in these forums claim they represent thousands of people, the question is do you know who they are or what they look like? Did you ever ask them to represent you?

In this first issue Grainger and Barrett have a chance to blow their own trumpets. Grainger take the opportunity to announce that their 2000 home development will be called 'Berewood'. Yep, in memory of millions of trees that were once the Forest of Bere, Grainger has decided to commemorate the fact that all that carbon is probably now in our atmsophere and that the new development will add more on top of that!

From the environmental point of view, it has nothing to recomend it. The publication doesn't appear to have any standards regarding types of business promoted. That in turn puts a massive question mark over Havant Borough Councils environmental and economic credentials.

Saturday, September 29

Solar farms, two come along...

Amazing isn't it. You can be going about your business for years, commenting on how important it is to have renewable energy, improving energy efficiency and other such issues. But you don't see any big projects in your area.

Then hey presto! two come along at the same time.

Within cycling distance of Waterlooville, a small 5 megawatt solar energy farm is proposed to be built at Lovedean. The developers say that it will produce enough energy for the houses of Lovedean, Catherington and Horndean.

The second proposal is for a much bigger solar energy farm near Fareham about 10 times bigger than the Lovedean proposal, the output of this project would be 47 megawatts enough to power about 14,000 homes.

So what do these projects have in common?

They will use photovoltaic solar panels to produce electricity, these are the same panels that are becoming a common sight on the roofs of homes throughout Havant Borough. The 'farms' panels will be connected to the national grid and will offset some of the carbon emissions that are normally produced by big power stations.

The great thing about this type of system is that the panels stand above the ground and they don't need big concrete foundations. So underneath the panels, plants can grow and animals can rummage around.
On the larger project the company propose to graze sheep amongst the panels and plant wild flowers around the perimeter.

Should be interesting to see how this goes. We desperately need to reduce carbon emissions, this years weather (across the world, not just the UK) is a clear indicator of the consequences of doing nothing and the tremendous costs both in life and money.

Sunday, September 9

The Summer of Kerfuffle - the fight for a long term future

It seems that Councillors are getting agitated by Havant Boroughs population actually having a voice. For years they have been asking for public engagement with the council, allegedly to help them formulate their plans. But now they are complaining that people are exercising their voices.

The whole issue seems to have come to a head in Havant where the deputy leader of Havant Borough Council has been rebutted on an issue of a plan to redevelop a large area along and near East Street. Earlier in the month a group of people led by a Green Party member decided to set up a new organisation called 'Friends of Havant'. Previously Havant Borough Council had admitted that only one developer had expressed interest in developing the area.

At the end of last month The News reported that the Plans for the area around East Street could go to public inquiry. Earlier in August the council had presented their own plans and had started attracting criticism to the point where an alternative meeting was organised with the view of discussing the issues openly rather than under the restrictions of a council consultation. Over 200 people attended the meeting.

The council has suffered criticism over other development issues over a number of months and years.
Recently an extension to the Solent Retail Park has attracted criticism and numerous other developments over the months attracted 'negative' comments.

Meanwhile in Westminster David Cameron has gone ahead with his cabinet 'shuffle' the results being an environment minister that is pro-shale gas and campaigned against wind farms and a planning minister that likes removing planning rules. How much more damage can these people do?

Sunday, September 2

Latest news about Isentropic

ETI release a video about their investment in Isentropic, a cutting edge Hampshire company developing a very promising energy storage system:

Friday, August 31

Waterlooville eyesore, to be replaced with another

The News reports that the Curzon Rooms building might be pulled down and replaced with another eyesore!
Yep, another car park no less. How imaginative.

Tuesday, August 28

We don't live on concrete alone

The title is based on a quote from the Bible. The point Jesus was making was that people need spiritual fulfilment as well as worldly goods. I guess a modern interpretation is that people need to balance various aspects of their lives. The reason I used the title is that it reflects the neglect current political ideology has for environmental issues and the spiralling decay that neglect is causing.

An alternative was 'It's the Environment Stupid' which is based on a quote by President Clinton - 'It's the Economy Stupid'.

So what's the problem?
Actually the question should be - Where do I start?.

I guess the first place to start is food. Unfortunately we can't live without it and the point I was making in the title is that we can't live by continually building our way out of recessions or in this case a 'depression'.

You have to ask yourself:
What would you rather have, a nice house built on some new estate on green fields, or would you rather have some food?
The ultimate choice would then either be to live in the nice house for a couple of weeks before you die or have food and live to a ripe old age. A balance needs to be drawn, but based on events of 2012 we certainly do not have the balance right and local politicians propose further folly with their building plans.

The last 20+ years of economic growth and carbon emissions have resulted in a year of crop failures, caused by massive world wide changes in climate effecting the weather. Next year might not be so bad, but the trend is well known and more severe weather is to come in future years.

This year severe drought in the USA has resulted in massive reductions in wheat, soya and corn production. Here in the UK we have seen the opposite, although the start of the year looked like it would follow the same US pattern. We started with a very serious looking drought with hardly any rain in spring and winter, followed by near continous rain throughout the summer, with June breaking all records, not just in this borough but right across the nation.
The result in the UK is that wheat, apple, potatoe and many other crops are all significantly down in quantity and/or quality this year. Food prices will most likely go up as the agriculture crisis hits harder in the coming months.

Building our way out of a problem (which is the only policy Havant Borough Council appear to have) increases the damage to the environment that provides us with food. Instead of continuing with this neglectful blindness, we have to start acting on the reality of our long term situation.

The drastic change in weather patterns have always been predicted by the scientists studying climate and global warming. Warming = energy = movements of air, water etc. = droughts, flooding etc.
We know that our activities cause these problems, there are far to many lines of evidence that show we are responsible and that we need to take action.

The other biggest indicator this year appears to be the Arctic sea ice extent which - as I write this - is heading for an all time record summer low. NSIDC are stating the record has already been reached.
This should be shocking news to anyone, because it is well known that where the Arctic leads, the rest of the world will follow. Indeed without drastic action now, emissions we create today will push temperatures up by a couple of degrees, and more heat = greater extremes in weather + sea level rise and other issues.

So where am I going with this??

The environment must be prominent in policy and integral to all decision making. No environment = no economy.
At a national level any thought about building on green belt or green field land or the third runway at Heathrow should be at the bottom of a very long list of policy choices. At a local level we need some major changes in local councils. Changes that don't pander to the short term problems that are vote winners, but instead take into account the long term needs of the community.

We can't live by only building homes and factories, we need food and water as well.

Wednesday, August 22

Michael Fish promotes Rapanui

TV weatherman Michael Fish has produced a video to highlight the issues of climate change and promote Rapanui clothing, an Isle of Wight eco clothing business:

I think the video is probably 'fake'. But good stuff none the less.

Monday, August 20

Record low sea ice in the Arctic

This year is heading for a record low Summer sea ice extent in the Arctic. The red line shows the direction the ice is heading. Another graph is colour coded to show the general downward trend throughout each year:
The continued melting of sea ice changes the albedo of the Arctic, introducing more warming and creating a positive feedback, accelerating warming, so as time goes by the melting increases at a faster rate.

Tuesday, August 7

Landing on Mars

A bit off topic but interesting none the less. Nasa has released a short video recorded by the Curiosity Rover as it landed on Mars:

The shot intially shows the heat shield dropping away, then the camera shows the descent and eventually dust blown about as Curiosity is dropped to the ground. The 'ring' that suddenly appears near the end of the video is the point when the cranes rockets fire and after that Curiosity is rapidly lowered to the surface on cables.
It's amazing that all the technology worked (so far) on such a massively complicated system. Pity they didn't have a camera pointing up showing the rocket/crane dropping the rover! Or maybe they have but haven't released the video yet.

Here is the updated higher resolution and longer version released later:

Wednesday, August 1

Eclipse bus ride to Hovercraft Museum at Lee On Solent

Had a bit of a day out to visit Lee On Solent and the Hovercraft Museum. The museum isn't normally open so just walked along Marine Parade to take photos of the hovercraft from the road. Also used the Fareham to Gosport Eclipse bus service as a part of the trip and that was interesting to.

First of all I took the bus from Waterlooville to Cosham, then took another bus from Cosham to Fareham. At Fareham had some lunch in the Whistler fish and chip shop/restaurant. Then walked to the bus station to get the Eclipse bus to Gosport.

E1 Eclipse bus
The Eclipse buses are pretty cool inside, they have leather passenger seats and the buses know where they are on the route, so can display electonic info about the next bus stop. A display at the front of the bus shows the stops coming up and where the bus is on the route. At the bottom of the display is a little news 'ticker' that displays the latest news (I think it is BBC news).
As well as the display, a programmed voice says what the name of the next bus stop is. A few metres from the bus stop the voice says 'arriving at' followed by the bus stop name.

The great thing is that this technology actually works and the voice guidance means you don't have to ask the bus driver or passengers where to get off if you are unfamiliar with the route.

The other cool thing about the bus service is the bus and cycle only road that it travels along for part of the route. The road was built on an old rail track, so it is long and straight. In fact this stretch has a speed limit of 40 miles an hour with no other traffic other than some cyclists. Actually that is the other great thing about the road, it's perfect for cyclists. See the video I took (note the video was taken on the return journey):

You'll notice the automated bus stop announcements in the video and also it's just like travelling on a train or tram! Even the bus stops look like train stations. Other parts of the route are normal and I would say the E2 service is quicker than the E1 service for getting between Fareham centre and Gosport centre.
Another cool thing I haven't shown are the special maps at each stop that have a circle on them indicating the 15 minute walking radius from the bus stop to show what is within range of the stop. The same idea I had here with my google map and 1 mile walking circle.

At Gosport I had to change buses again and took a 34 to Lee On Solent.

Below is a photo of one of the huge SRN4 hovercraft at the museum, in this case The Princess Margret which I think was 'stretched' later in its life. A relative of mine worked for BHC at Cowes in the late 1960s and I had the privilege as a child to go up into the cockpit of one of these when it was being repaired at the Cowes factory. These beasts are the biggest hovercraft ever built and carried cars and passengers across the channel to France before the channel tunnel was built.


There are two smaller hovercraft parked in front of the SRN4, but I don't know what they are, I think one is a military vehicle. 

Below is a close up of the vehicle entrance of the SRN4. Not sure what the two window cabin inside the vehicle deck is for. I think its either for cabin crew/staff access to the passenger deck via the vehicle deck, or maybe contains control panels, or is for access to the engines??

SRN4 main door to vehicle deck

Talking of military hovercraft there was a military looking vehicle parked at the front of the musuem, painted navy grey. I don't have a clue what that cylindrical tower is for (see photo below). A look out post?? On the opposite side is a crane, so I assume it is some sort of amphibious recovery vehicle.

In the to the rear you can see the 2nd SRN4 at the museum, minus the propellors and a Hoverspeed logo on one of the tail fins.

Military vehicle with 'tower'

Whilst I was there a young lad was testing out a small hovercraft, unfortunately I didn't get any video, just a photo:

Operational small hovercraft

Haven't been to Lee On Solent shopping centre before, but was quite impressed with it's two butchers, a grocers and a fish monger!It was just like an old shopping centre and seemed quite busy.

Part of Lee On Solent shopping centre

Overall seems like a pleasant place. I think if I were to do the journey again, I would take the bus down to Gosport Ferry, take the ferry across and then the number 34 or 4 to Lee On Solent. Might be a bit more expensive, but fewer bus changes.

Sunday, July 29

Moronic British spectators watching Olympics cycling road races

I was getting agitated yesterday watching the Olympics road cycling on TV as moronic British spectators were standing in the road just a few metres ahead of the cycling competitors, trying to take photos. Why are Brits so dumb and stupid??
They only had to trip up whilst stepping back to the pavement/verge and they could have had dozens of cyclists crash into them.

Today the Swiss cyclist who crashed into the barrier, tweeted and asked spectators to move back. I am surprised that more competitors havenb't said something about this and I think the Olympic officials should also do more to stop the inconsiderate behaviour.

Basically as a spectator, yes it is great that it is taking place in the UK, but you have a responsibility to allow the cyclists to get on with the race without interfering with their performance and tactics.

Tuesday, July 24

Cyclepath Signs

Sometimes there is some confusion about cyclepaths. In particular some motorists seem to think that it is compulsory for cyclists to use cycle paths. I think such attitudes are in some cases based on prejudice and self centred attitudes, but not always. Hence getting cyclists off the road maybe a political goal for them.

The reality is that there is no legal requirement at all for cyclists to use cycle paths. The quality of cyclepaths in the UK is often not high enough to be used other than for short journeys or short sections of longer journeys. Like car users, cyclists want to get from A to B in the shortest time or distance and of course cyclists have every right to want this. So it is impractical to always use cyclepaths.

Two signs are quite common along cyclepaths, they are not instructions or demands, they are put up for information purposes.

This sign indicates that a path can be used by both pedestrians and cyclists.
This type of path in particular can cause confusion. Unless you have seen the sign at the start or at the end of the path, it will look like an ordinary pedestrian path. I am also sure that some pedestrians and motorists probably believe cyclists are breaking the law when they see them using the path.
Who could blame them, if the path is not clearly marked, accept at the start and end?

The sign is usually used on paths that are wide enough for pedestrians and
cyclists to avoid each other.

This sign indicates a segregated path. A line will be marked on the ground all the way along the path showing that pedestrians and cyclists should use different parts of the path.

This is less confusing because if you join the path between the signs, it is clear that the section is for dual use.

Saturday, July 21

Decoding Special Offers...

I always find it annoying when I am confrinted with special offers that sound so good. So I thought I would write a guide to what they really mean. Here goes:

3 for 2

At first this sounds fantastic. You buy two products and you get one free!
But with all these discounts, you need to translate it into a monetary value of a single item. You then find out what you are really getting. In this case imagine that the 3 products are containers and two are filled to the top with a liquid, where the liquid is the cost of the 3 for 2 offer. To understand how much you are paying you need to take liquid from the two full containers to fill the third, untill all three have equal amounts.

Say each product is £1 then the cost per product is (£1 + £1)/3 = 2/3 = 66p each
So the discount is 33%

BOGOF (Buy one get one free)

Same principle applies as the 3 for 2 offer.
Say each is £1 then the cost  per product is 1/2 = 50p each
The discount is 50%
A bit obvious really but like the 3 for 2 deal, it's easy to forget exactly what you are getting.
When they say you are getting a whole one free, psychologically it sounds better than getting 50% or half off the price. What you have to remember is that it isn't just the amount of goods that is important, the money you pay per item is the real info of interest.

5 products for £3 (products normally cost 79P each)

This is an example I came across this week.
Sometimes they use a different tactic and this sort of thing can require mental arithmetic that can be difficult on the spur of the moment. I'm not brilliant with mental maths standing in a shop staring at the prices!
I cracked this one by first assuming the deal was 5 for £1. That would mean each was 20p.
So then to crank it up to 5 for £3, we just multiply 20p by 3, which gives 60p each.
So in this case the discount is 24%

All of this of course assumes that the special deals are genuine. That the manufacturer hasn't changed the product for the period of the deal, to make the product cheaper, or that the retailer hadn't for a short period increased the price (legally) only to reduce it to the 'normal' price for the special deal offer.

Often the only time you can be sure of a good deal is when a product is an 'end of line' product or the 'use by' and 'sale by' dates are coming up.

Friday, July 13

June rainfall map

Contains public sector information licensed
under the Open Government Licence v1.0
The Met Office has released the latest rainfall stats for the whole of the UK. The map shows the rainfall anomalies for June 2012.

The rainfall for June was greater than 200% above the 1971-2000 average. Probably not unusual if it were in specific areas, but it certainly isn't normal for the whole nation.

I suspect July isn't going to be any better.

The reason for the weather is because the shifting of the jet stream south. This instability is likely to be a result of increasing temperatures in the Arctic, as sea ice melts and the region gets warmer.

We should know in for certain over the coming months and years. One thing is certain, such instability in the weather is likely to increase.

Thursday, July 12

Urban noise - increases bird mortality rate

Previous research has shown that traffic noise has an impact on birds lives. It now appears general urban noise has an impact on birds nesting in such areas. Some chicks are dying because their parents can't hear their cries to be fed.

So yet again Havant Borough Councils plans to develop our green spaces will have a negative impact on our resources. This is on top of the problems to human health caused by increasing urbanisation.

Wednesday, July 11

Why Chris Heaton-Harris is Wrong about Wind Farms

Chris Heaton-Harris is a British MP representing Daventry, UK. He has recently been conducting a campaign against onshore wind farms across the UK. Caroline Dineage the local MP representing Gosport has been backing Chris Heaton and his campaign. During a radio broadcast on BBC Radio 4, The Today Programme (5th July 2012), Heaton made a number of statements about UK energy use and policy that were incorrect.

The statements are listed below (in italics) and were transcribed from the show. Each claim is addressed individually:

  1. We will hit our (UK) 2020 targets later this year (2012).

The 2009 Renewable Energy Directive set a target of 15% for the amount of renewable energy that should be in use in the UK by 2020. This is a huge challenge and it should be pointed out that this target is for all energy, excluding transport. So where has Heaton gone wrong?

Well if we look at the latest statistics for UK energy we find that renewables account for 11.1% of electricity used in Q1 of 2012. However this figure does not include other energy uses, such as gas used for heating. This of course is where Heaton is misleading, because the EU directive includes all energy used not just electricity. In order to prove his point Heaton has only used part of the data, once other energy sources are included, then renewables represent a smaller proportion (3.8% in 2011) of final energy consumption. In fact it is likely that renewable electricity generation will probably need to be about 30% of electricity in order to fulfil the 15% overall target.

It should be pointed out that because we are dealing with climate change and carbon emissions, not aspirations for renewable energy, the targets set by the EU for 2020 are just a start. So it would be wrong to imply that once the 2020 target is reached, that the UK would never have to do more with the energy supply. The impression Mr Heaton gives is that the target is all there is.

  1. DECC have set 13GW (wind energy capacity), we have 5GW built, 6GW through the planning ‘gate’, 8GW going through planning at the moment. Which proves the level of subsidy is way to high.

During this part of the discussion neither Mr Heaton nor the interviewer made it clear that the figures discussed included offshore wind energy targets. These targets are generally greater than the onshore wind energy targets.

One of Mr Heatons objections to wind energy is that it is too expensive, but given offshore wind is more expensive, his objection would suggest he doesn’t like offshore wind energy either. The logical conclusion from this is that he doesn’t want the renewables targets to be met at all, since realistically offshore wind must be installed to meet the 2020 UK target.

DECC figures for 2011 are:

Offshore wind = 1.83GW
Onshore wind = 4.65GW
Total = 6.48GW

So roughly speaking Heaton is correct. However the vast majority of planned additional capacity is for offshore wind, which is where most future wind projects will be. Because his first claim is incorrect (that we have nearly met EU targets), the level of subsidy is not to high at all if we are going to achieve 15%. Reducing Renewable Obligation levels for onshore wind farms drastically now would mean we would struggle to meet the 15% even with more offshore projects coming online.

  1. Lot’s of these companies are not interested in renewable energy; they are interested in harvesting a subsidy.

Heaton is making an assumption here. Many of the companies he is possibly referring to, started in the renewable energy business before subsidies were available. The whole point of the subsidies is to achieve carbon emission reductions, they wouldn’t be installing wind farms if the farms didn’t reduced carbon emissions and there is plenty of research that shows renewable energy reduces carbon emissions. Heaton is also stating an obvious fact here and making it sound bad.  Renewable Obligations are financial incentives to install renewables so does it matter if a company ‘believes’ in the installation of renewables?
The primary outcome is emissions reductions, the morals of the companies isn’t a factor in achieving a target. Although if they were more interested in installing renewables one would assume they would install more turbines (like Ecotricity), not less. So logically the companies that are allegedly after subsidies and aren’t interested in renewable energy are probably installing fewer turbines!

  1. The subsidy doesn’t change until April 2013 and if they (wind farm applications) are through the planning gate they can get constructed very quickly.

(The implication being that if they (6GW of turbines) are constructed and connected to the grid before April 2013, they will get the current subsidy)

This is just an extension to the Heaton fallacy - that we will meet our renewables targets in a few months. As stated previously his assumption only takes into account electricity, as soon as you include other energy sources (a requirement of the 2009 directive and embedded in UK law), we see we have a long way to go yet to achieve 15% renewables.

  1. We have picked the wrong technology, wind is intermittent, and if it’s not blowing it’s not going to achieve anything.

Well the rain is intermittent; does Mr Heaton suggest that we should not drink water or use it to wash?
Plants seem to be quite successful at utilising the wind yet apparently us humans are just not brainy enough??
The fact is, Mr Heaton is discussing an engineering problem and we wouldn’t have the economy we have today without a whole string of engineers across history solving the unsolvable. Heaton is relegating human ingenuity to the rubbish heap and such attitudes are typical of the ‘conservative’ business types wanting to avoid risk.

  1. Two Decembers ago we had our coldest December on record and we had a massive anti-cyclone above us and the wind didn’t blow and the lovely turbines didn’t turn and no energy was produced.

Even if the wind didn’t blow, carbon emissions over a 12-month period drop because wind farms replace high carbon energy sources when the wind does blow! The issue of no wind or intermittent wind just means that the grid has to cope with this new situation.

It is an engineering issue; there are plenty of issues like this related to fault tolerance that have been solved over many decades, so adding a new one doesn’t mean we need to give up. Why should we give up, if previous great engineers didn’t also give up with similar problems?

Heaton is kicking the teeth of the engineering and systems professions, by believing that they are not competent to devise methods of dealing with such scenarios.

As well as the idea of smart grids, various companies are developing new methods to store energy so that when there is plenty of wind, some of the energy can be stored and used when the wind isn’t blowing so hard. For example, Isentropic have developed a system that is as cheap and efficient as hydroelectric pumped storage systems. The first Isentropic system is to be installed soon at a Midlands substation.

  1. Wind energy doesn’t help energy security.

You have to question if there ever has been energy security!
Fossil fuels are not secure because they are a finite resource and governments need to plan for the time when we have none left. Nuclear (fission) energy isn’t secure in the UK because the fuel has to be imported and there is always a risk of an accident.

It should also be pointed out that large power stations are at more risk of attack than distributed renewables such as wind turbines.

Which is easier to bomb?
A large power station in the middle of the countryside?
Or tens of thousands of wind turbines, solar panels and other systems, evenly distributed across the nation?

Basically Heaton doesn’t understand security and it is no coincidence that the military have a new interest in renewables in combat zones, because they reduce the dependency on potentially long supply lines for energy. The same principle applies to wind energy and other renewables, producing energy locally reduces dependency on our supply lines from foreign nations.

  1. What the subsidy does is provide £500 million to rich land owners, the big six energy companies to produce expensive energy. This reduces the chances of growth and pushes thousands of people into fuel poverty.

Energy is getting more expensive and it will continue to get more expensive over long time scales no matter what false economics and spin you use regarding market prices and the anti-science called economics. However the costs of wind energy are coming down all the time and again engineering is giving us cost effective ways in other areas of development.
Can todays economic problems be blamed on wind turbines?
Sounds like a scape goat to me for failed ecomomics and politics practiced by the main political parties. More investment in green tech would boost long term growth, rather than endanger it. Plus of course current flooding and attrocious weather in the UK is an indicator of massive costs to home owners and businesses if we do not cut carbon emissions.

  1. In the US as we speak energy prices are collapsing, and they are going to hit their carbon emission targets, through a game changer, shale gas.

The simple fact is that the US does not have any carbon emission targets. The only way Heaton could make such a claim is by imagining some fictional US carbon emissions target.
Plus shale gas or any gas does little to reduce carbon emissions over the longer term. It may slow things down a bit and prolong the upward trend in global temperatures by reducing the steepness of the temperature curve. But the fact is CO2 is a long lasting green house gas, so eventually we will hit the same high temperatures using gas as we would using coal and oil.

  1. I would prefer to spend the money we are spending on onshore wind on projects like installing CHP boilers in all social housing projects.

Heaton justifies his view here with the faulty belief that we will hit our renewable energy targets in the next few months, but as pointed out previously, he has cherry picked data and excluded the full range of energy sources consumed (see claim/comment 1. above). Although micro CHP in homes is useful, there is no way it is ever going to make the same impact on carbon emissions as renewable energy.

2009 Renewable Energy Directive:

2012 DECC bulletin:

Critique of the Stuart Young report:

Monday, July 2

Isentropic get £14 million investment

One of the key technology innovations that will transform our communities into low carbon energy users is the development of low cost energy storage solutions. There are many companies and organisations that are developing systems that will work on a large scale, many use some form of battery, whether the common lithium based batteries or more complex flow batteries.

The need for energy storage is connected to the variability of renewable energy sources. The scale that renewable energy is currently used and will be used in the immediate future does not really require a great deal of energy storage, however with the growth in renewables and the greater use of electricity as the primary method of distributing energy, we need a cheap way of storing electrical energy to smooth out potential peaks and troughs. This will also enable the removal from our sysem of large coal fired power stations and other fossil fuel systems.

A company a few miles from Waterlooville - probably surprising to many - is at the front of this drive to provide a solution (they are probably world leaders). Isentropic was originally based in Cambridge and about a year or two ago moved to Segensworth near Fareham to take advantage of the local aerospace engineering skills. Their technology uses cheap and common materials, such as steel, gravel and Argon gas. Argon gas may sound exotic, but after Oxygen and Nitrogen, it is the most common gas in our atmosphere, so unlike lithium and exotic metals used in other solutions, Isentropic are using basic materials already well used and developed.

So what makes Isentropic special (apart from being in Hampshire) ?

Their system takes electricity from our electricity grid and power stations and uses it to power a special engine to pump heat from one container filled with gravel to another. Argon gas is used as the transfer medium. This effectively transforms the electrical energy into a difference in temperature between the two containers. When the energy is needed, the process is reversed and the engine is driven by the difference in temperature between the two containers and the electric motor that drove the engine as a pump, now becomes a generator and returns the energy to the grid as electricity.

The system is 75% efficient and this is similar to existing pumped energy systems such as Dinorwig in Wales which are currently used to handle the peaks and troughs in demand. When electricity demand is slack Dinorwig pumps water into a lake in the mountains, when demand peaks (everyone has a cup of tea at half time in a football match) Dinorwig releases the water in the mountain lake and it is used to generate electricity. Effectively it is a huge battery.

In June Isentropic received £14 million in funding to move their system from the prototype stage to the first trial system connected to the grid. This unit will be rated at 1.5MW/6MWh and will be connected to a substation in the Midlands. Future units will be larger and rated between 12 and 24MW.

Given that there are some 5000 substations in the UK. If each one was connected to one of these units, the storage capacity would be in the range of 240 and 480GWh ( based on the larger scale units envisioned and the capacity of the trial unit). In comparison Dinorwig has a capacity of about 10.8 GWh.

So this technology has a lot of potential and is likely to be one of many energy storage solutions that will transform our lives, enabling greater use of low carbon technology.

Various news and press releases:

Monday, June 25

Natwest Waterlooville - passerby has a lucky escape

I think this post proves that keeping old photos and being in the right place at the right time can pay off. Recently The News reported that a van driver recently escaped death when a marble slab fell onto him from above as he was passing Natwest in Waterlooville.

I just happened to be in Waterlooville today and just happened to have my camera handy. OK yep, I was planning to take some photos of the building whilst also visiting the recycling centre and doing some shopping. But what I wasn't expecting was to see some people inspecting the building and also over hearing the general conversation!

The photo shows the 'inspectors' - probably from the insurance company and Natwest - looking up at where the marble panel was once fixed. The panel fell off the mounting and smashed on the floor. Those things are really heavy. Imagine if it had been the panel above the door whilst someone was walking in or out!

They have removed all three panels now, for obvious safety reasons. Whilst walking by the building I overheard the discussion, which seemed to suggest a number of panels are cracked or a bit loose, although they are mainly at ground level, so not as dangerous.

Some time ago I took some photos of the clocks viewable from the centre of Waterlooville, so I have dug out the one I took of Natwest a few years ago. Here it is:

In this photo you can clearly see the original panels. The middle panel clearly shows the Natwest logo.
Can't really get much worse for Natwest over this last week, what with the total cockup with their computer systems and this in Waterlooville. The impression one gets, is that they are trimming back on maintenance to much in a lot of areas.

Saturday, June 23

Havant Goes Greener Fair 2012

A selection of photos from todays Havant Goes Greener Fair. The wind and rain held off for the day, an improvement on last year and it was busier to. I think there were about 60 stalls in total, up on last year (which was the first year of the event).

The Hampshire Coppice Craftmens Group, I bought a wedge door stop off them last year

Portsmouth Beekeepers always have a good stall - including a live bee hive segment

Wayside Organics

Not sure who these were, but they had a big stall selling herbs and plants

Whizz electric bikes

Emsworth Cycles

Saturday, June 16

BTCV event on Friday

Heads up regarding the Havant Goes Greener Week.

Rachel Moroney of  TCV (previously known as BTCV) will be giving a presentation at Waterlooville Community Centre on Friday 22nd June. The talk will be about volunteering on local conservation projects.

Thursday, June 14

More obesity and diabetes predicted for Havant Borough

As is obvious from my posts, I am interested in real evidence and science when it comes to policy and life in general. New research shows a direct correlation between the over provision of food shops and obesity and diabetes.

The research has been conducted by Professor Makse at City College, The City University of New York. His research shows that individual factors have less impact than collective behaviour. A major influence is the provision of food retailers, including supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and other facilities. The more food related economic activity, the greater the levels of obesity.

How does this translate to local activity in Waterlooville? Well it isn't exactly a secret that the Havant Borough Council have been actively trying to fill the town with cafes, food shops and supermarkets, largely because they approved other out of town retail developments that laid waste to the town centre. The biggest project is the Caetano manufacturing site, now handed over to Sainsburys supermarket. The obsession with the ideology of competition and market forces, will result in higher health bills.

Basically there is a conflict of interest. The flaws in todays unscientific economic theories, result in serious health and environmental problems. This is what happens:

1. You create plenty of opportunities to sell food.
2. Collectively and statistically people get fatter.
3. That results in higher health costs
4. But the current ideology is to limit or reduce state spending
5. The result is a big hole, caused mainly by flawed and unscientific economics that fails to include 'externals'.

Yet the 'right' would advocate personal responsibility, which would be fine if the science supported that idea. But as is often the case, people are social beings, like many species. Yes there is competition, but there is also peer pressure and that is often far more influential.
The science shows that individuals will not determine health, they are instead 'victims' of environmental factors, in this case created by flawed political theories and economics that over supply cheap food.

Will a small amount of spending by the council on health road shows and getting individuals to change do the job??
Again this is not supported by science or any fact. The national government sticking a few public information films on TV, or the council sticking a health caravan in Waterlooville town centre for a day, will do absolutely nothing. However refusing a supermarket planning permission will reduce obesity levels. Yet just about all councils think it is cheaper to allow planning applications for supermarkets. Is it really cheaper to get sued by a supermarket, or is it cheaper to spend millions on obesity and diabetes?? Which is the morally correct choice?

It is interesting that this research is published just as a new series 'The Men Who Made us Fat' starts on BBC2.

Here is the research:
Lazaros K. Gallos, Pablo Barttfeld, Shlomo Havlin, Mariano Sigman, HernĂ¡n A. Makse. Collective behavior in the spatial spreading of obesity. Scientific Reports, 2012; 2 DOI: 10.1038/srep00454

Or if you want it explained in plain'ish' english:

Monday, June 11

Feasting on worms

Common blackbird feeding a juvenile in our garden. The birds seem to be doing better this year. Quite a few Finches, Tits and other small birds have been visiting. This pair have been visiting often. The rain brings the worms out of the lawn and the birds feast on them.

Dead frogs

Unfortunately we found a dead frog in the garden recently, so it looks like one of the local cats caught it. Since we have not seen the second frog, it is likely that has also been killed. We are trying to do as much as possible to keep the cats away and are getting more successful. But it is hard when the owners do not provide the appropriate facilities or welcome for their own cats, by concreting over their garden.

The cats are attracted to our garden because it is more natural, but because fewer and fewer gardens offer wild life friendly features, it also attracts a lot of birds and other creatures. Hence the clash of cultures. Is it the end of the road for cats as pets? They require an industrial complex to produce food for them, which requires a lot of energy and resources. I don't see a lot of good in pet cats these days.

Tuesday, May 22

Mr and Mrs Frog

Two adult frogs appeared in the smaller garden pond in the last two days. I think they have returned to check out how the tadpoles are doing, which isn't very well in this pond. The tadpoles in the larger pond are I think doing better. Last year we had some baby frogs. A big problem we have is the neighbors cats, which may have already killed a bird in the last few weeks (trail of feathers seen but no trace of the bird carcase). Just hope the frogs don't get taken.

Whilst Havant Borough Council destroy Waterloovilles biodiversity, along with the culprits that concrete over their gardens to make room for another car. We try and help sustain what little we have left.

Thursday, May 17

Postcode Publications a Conservative publicity vehicle

I recently picked up a copy of PO9 a new local publication for the PO9 postcode area. On the surface it appears to be a non-politcal news source aimed at local communities. The company behind the newspaper is aiming to produce similar versions for other postcodes in Havant Borough, including Waterlooville. The publication has advertising from local businesses and has some articles that look interesting but un-critical.

So great, another free rag full of advertising.

But there is more to it that we should all be aware of. A quick search of Google reveals that Postcode Publications is based at  Station House, North Street, Havant. Nothing wrong so far. Looks innocent to me.

The director is David William Guest.

"Who" ? you ask. 
David Guest. 
"Isn't he something to do with Havant Borough Council" ?
Well yes. 

He is a member of Havant Borough Councils cabinet!
Yep, he is involved in the political decisions made in the borough. The same person who is publishing this free newspaper which can influence peoples opinions, is also making decisions in the cabinet for the whole area. No conflict of interest there then!??!

If we scaled this up, I guess you could compare it to David Cameron starting his own newspaper to promote Conservative policies.

Lets have a look at some articles in issue two:

Page 3: Article about (Conservative) Science Minister, David Willets
Page 4: article about manager at Morris Crocker. Who just happens to be in the same building as Postcode Publications.
Page 4 and 5: Various articles that look suspiciously as if they are promoting Conservative/Havant Borough Council community issues and projects.
Page 6 Article about Havant Borough Council Plaza.

Page 7 Article about Havant bus station and asking for reader responses.
Page 9 Article about the mayor.

And so on.

Is this politically neutral??

Well consider this... Given that the owner of the paper is an elderly high profile member of the Conservatives, what would happen if another political party became the dominant force in Havant Borough Council? Do you think the content would change?? To me it seems unlikely and even if it did, the content is political, promoting a specific community model. The publication is misleading in the way it is presented and it isn't clear about the connections to Conservative Havant Borough councillors.

I think for anyone who is fed up with this old fashioned political game, it is just another example of how thoughtless many politicians are. It is extremely manipulative and makes a farce of the community meetings Havant Borough Council allegedly want to promote.

Wednesday, May 16

Hampshire Cosmetics participates in Havant Goes Greener week

Waterlooville based Hampshire Cosmetics will be participating in 'Havant Goes Greener' week next month (18th to 23rd June). I am not sure of the details but they will be showing off their big solar panel installation in an event called 'Going Solar'. The Waterlooville company has had many awards for it's sustainable approach to business so have good credentials (not often I say that about a business!).

The event is on Thurs 21st June. There are limited spaces for the visit, so you need to book in advance at the Havant Goes Greener web site:

Other events during the week include:

Driving the Green Way
Information Road Show
Keeping Bees
Birds of Langstone
Keeping Chickens
Switching to Green Energy
Big Green Family Fair
and many more.

Saturday, May 12

Baffins Pond

Recently visited Copnor in Portsmouth and took some photos of Baffins pond. I was talking to a small shop owner in Copnor and she said they are struggling, a few want to sell up and they keep fighting Tescos to stop them opening a Tescos Express. So far they have succeeded in halting Tescos. If Tescos succeed, it will kill a lot of shops in the area.

Thankfully, Tescos doesn't threaten Baffins pond!
Use the scroll bar to view the whole panorama view of Baffins Pond or click on the image to view in 'widescreen'.

Tuesday, May 8

Havant Borough Councils plans will probably increase allergies in the community

Trees felled in Waterlooville
Interesting research in Finland published in PNAS, shows that a lack of exposure to nature and biodiversity increases the number of allergies and chronic inflammatory diseases in the community.

Scientists studied groups of teenagers living in urban and rural environments and discovered the rural teenagers had more beneficial bacteria on their skin.

This basically translates to Havant Borough Councils 'open for business' plans resulting in higher health bills and other costs for future generations. The more our councillors vote through plans for businesses and homes, the more allergies and other illnesses we will see in the community.

We need our biodiversity and green spaces. It's interesting just how symbiotic we are with nature, we can't do without it

Environmental biodiversity, human microbiota, and allergy are interrelated by Ilkka Hanski et al
BBC article

Friday, May 4

How the National Grid works

Really interesting video about controlling our electricity in light of increasing use of renewables:

Thursday, April 26

Renault Twizy

Video time...
Robert Llewellyn tests the Renault Twizy in his Fully Charged Youtube series, a light weight electric vehicle. It would be nice to see these around Havant Borough and Waterlooville:

The results of Havant Borough and Winchester City Councils decisions

Taylor Wimpeys Wellington Park development in Waterlooville continues with blocks of flats being built next to Southdown View. As this development progresses the buildings seem to have fewer and fewer features. These are bland white blocks with tiny windows at front and rear, and none along the sides. At first I thought they were offices (guess the still could be). But the access doors at ground level have pseudo victorian lamps by each door, not the sort of thing you would have on offices.

The old Waterlooville Wadham Stringer and latterly Caetano site has been demolished, with only huge piles of rubble remaining. The old Sprint Print building has also been demolished. I haven't checked the plans, but most people I have talked to think the Sainsburys petrol station is going top be built on the Sprint site, although I thought it had been moved to the recycling centre across the road. Yeah, Sainburys build petrol stations so you continue to pump CO2 from your car, and their own company CO2 figures look 'green'. Another CO2, export and green wash accounting measure. It's a nice little game such companies play, which is why CO2 emissions haven't come down in the UK and we are really fecked. The idea of consuming less and using less energy, just doesn't fit in with selling lots of crap everyday from a big retail store.

A view of the Sainbury site from the Waterlooville side. Note the already horrendous 'private' footpath and cycle path in the foreground. Havant Borough Council offloaded responsibility for this important path into Waterlooville years ago. It is still a nightmare for pedestrians and cyclists trying to reach the real Waterlooville town centre (you know, the one with buildings a 100 plus years old, the one the council is now determined to destroy, as they have destroyed in the past). This year we lose the Baytree Bookshop and others in the town centre. I'm guessing Sainburys will be selling books as well as food.

More devlopments in the Waterlooville retail park. A large unit being split into two smaller units. Downsizing!??
I haven't included in this post the start of work on the massive Grainger 2000 home development just behind the trees. The photo didn't come out to well, so that can wait for another time.
I also haven't shown the numerous trees that have been felled as a result of these developments.