Has the world gone mad?

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8,187
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wayne clarke
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#41
I wonder what the developers legal position would be if the netting was removed and nesting birds got in. Would they then have to cancel or could the birds be removed because the retting was damaged/removed?
Just courious.
 
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Graham
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#42
I wonder what the developers legal position would be if the netting was removed and nesting birds got in. Would they then have to cancel or could the birds be removed because the retting was damaged/removed?
Just courious.
They would almost certainly need to stop work until the birds stopped nesting. It may be more complicated if the sea defence work is considered urgent for reasons of human health and safety.
 
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Paul
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#43
Our Planet (David Attenborough) just about sums up mans ignorance to the wildlife and all they need to survive. When you see some Sci Fi films about the future and wonder, will that actually be us.
 
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8,953
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Jeremy Moore
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#44
You'd think so but who pays the bills? The developers.
Myotis, it looks like you have plenty of experience within this area. I guess you've been a consultatnt yourself?

My point was this -

It is the developers who pay the bills, so is there ever a temptation on the side of the consultants to get the results the developers are looking for? Have you ever suspected that might be the case?
 
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Graham
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#45
Myotis, it looks like you have plenty of experience within this area. I guess you've been a consultatnt yourself?

My point was this -

It is the developers who pay the bills, so is there ever a temptation on the side of the consultants to get the results the developers are looking for? Have you ever suspected that might be the case?
That is a more complex question than you maybe realise, the simplistic answer is no, based on my experience.

Which is about 30 years experience in consultancy, with the last 15 years teaching University courses on impact assessment and nature conservation (as well as continuing my consultancy work, and teaching animal behaviour, decision sciences and statistics).

Ecological consultants (at least all that I have met) come into the job because they are conservationists, and want to work in a conservation related job. For some, consultancy is their first choice, but for others they just end up there because they can't get a job in ecological research or with a Wildlife Trust etc.

But you still trying to help a developer get his project through planning, your job is to ensure that the scheme presented to planning has the least possible impact and therefore increases its chances of having planning permission granted, but you never an advocate for the development, even if it sometimes sounds that way when trying to give a balanced view of the potential impacts.

We always try to write objective, evidence based reports, which will often include things that are detrimental to the development. For example we had client pay for a desk study on Marsh Fritillary butterfly mitigation schemes, as the development would destroy a Marsh Fritillary site. Our study suggested that none of schemes has been successful long term, (not the outcome that was wanted) but there was no pressure to exclude those results in our reports, or to not present them at the public Inquiry that decided whether the scheme should go ahead.

What does happen, is that when you discover an ecological issue that could seriously undermine the objectives, timetable, or costs of a project, you are put under pressure to justify your case and to come up with a solution e.g. mitigation that will still get the project through planning and ameliorate the concerns of people protesting against the impacts of the scheme. The only pressure to "change things" I've ever come under has been to "tone down" the wording of my reports, which I have assessed on a case by case basis. And this was an experience shared by others. On one occasion a colleague felt that the pressure put on her, by the developer's barrister, went beyond just toning things down, and went beyond acceptable levels of persuasion, this required more effort than usual to resist the changes being asked.

But, I've never personally, come across a case of a developer blatantly trying to get an ecological consultant to suppress or falsify information, if that's what mean by "...get the results the developers are looking for"

But most of my clients have been "good" clients, working with big projects (e.g we did the Impact assessment and post construction monitoring of the Second Severn Crossing) even if I have often had difficult meetings with them. And I have chosen to not bid for work where I didn't like the tone of the tender document, or the tone of the potential client when I have phoned up to discuss the tender.

Would their be a temptation to falsify results to please a client and keep a contract with them, well given the strong nature conservation ethic of ecological consultants I think the vast majority would strongly argue they have never done that, and never would.

Does it never happen? Every walk of life has people who break or bend the rules, so I would be surprised if it never happens, but in my experience its going to be rare.

I need to put a rider in here, as there are still massive problems with Ecological Impact Assessments, but I don't think the integrity of the people who carry them out is one of them.
 
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#47
Part of the problem with development is that it is piecemeal, and it is quite hard to get a plan refused, and then still refused at appeal. Government imposes housing build numbers on councils and they have to fit them in somewhere.

Lots of (relatively) small developments cutting down trees and hedgerows, and you end up with a much larger problem.

Don't see the wood for the trees, I suppose.
 
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Graham
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#48
it is quite hard to get a plan refused, and then still refused at appeal.
Largely agree with your comments, but part of the reason that many developments get planning permission is because they aren't presented to planning until after the issues that might prevent them from getting planning permission have been resolved.

I've worked on many projects that even though we have come late to the project, we have still had roads moved, housing layout changed, number of proposed houses to be built reduced, changes in the design of planting and the species used, trees and hedges saved through minor design changes etc. before the developer went for planning. And we will have discussed with the planners, statutory conservation bodies, local wildlife trusts etc to see what there concerns are and how they might be dealt with. To be fair sometimes, we were presented with plans that had been really well thought out, and we only ever needed to suggest minor tweeks.

I've worked on schemes that have been abandoned because it was eventually considered the risks of not getting through planning was too high, this didn't happen very often. And we have sometimes assessed very early on in a project, several potential development sites for a development and then recommended the sites with that would have the smallest environmental impact, and therefore the one most likely to get through planning.
 
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Bat-Frog
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#49
Humans are definately going to kill the planet!! The question is how long mother nature will resist before she gives up and we are all doomed
No, humans aren't going to kill the planet.
At some point the planet will kick back.
Karma's a bitch.
 
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6,874
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#50
Not sure what the work is, but it is extremely unlikely they would have got planning permission without some mitigation being provided. For example. there should be new sand martin nest banks provided near to the ones being lost. The trees look relatively young and part of the mitigation should have replaced them with alternative trees. Both prepared in advance of the development work. The same should also apply to the hedgerows. But the details of the mitigation will depend on the value placed on them by the impact assessment.

I agree it's sad, but its probably only affecting a small number of birds (based on these photos) and the netting is to not only to prevent nesting birds stopping the work, but also to avoid accidental injury to birds, should a nesting bird go unnoticed.

It's very far from perfect, but we do have some from fairly strict laws/procedures to help minimise impacts on wildlife from development. At least we do now, but they rely rather heavily on EU Directives, so who knows what will happen in the future.
Hi not getting at you personally but mitigation in my (probably limited ) experience is a waste of time and just a tick box exercise
Local to me a site for the grizzled skipper butterfly was developed and the mitigation involved moving some butterflies to an adjacent unsuitable site the new habitat area was completely unsuitable and I never saw grizzled skipper in the mitigation area
Then more recently another larger site nearby was also developed for a prison
I haven’t been able to visit the new mitigation area but I’ve been told that it hasn’t been very successful
The grizzled are scarce in north east wales and since the two sites were developed I’ve only seen one or two skippers locally
The prison site used to be a wildlife haven but that’s all gone now
 
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Graham
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#51
Hi not getting at you personally but mitigation in my (probably limited ) experience is a waste of time..
It often is, if you read my other posts, you will see I mention a study (paid for by the developer) on Marsh Fritillary butterfly mitigation, which showed that none of the mitigation we could find had been successful long term (this was a long time ago so things might have improved since then). This was the evidence we presented at the Public Inquiry: yes we would use best practice to provide mitigation, we would try and learn things from the failed mitigation, but still the chances of success was low. It's then up to the Inspector to weigh this, along with all the other evidence, whether the social and economic benefits from the development outweigh the ecological costs.

But lots of mitigation does work, it's not always a waste of time, and although mitigation just means "make less worse" we have also made things "better" than they were. e.g we had one scheme being built on improved farmland, with very large fields, where, as part of the development, we used a 19th century tythe map to put back all the hedges that had been completely lost during the 20th century.

It's also worth noting that the starting point is to always try and save the existing ecologically valuable parts of a site (e.g. I managed to persuade one developer to reduce the total house build by two houses to save a glow worm site), and then to mitigate, and then to compensate. And all ecological consultants are conservationists, and therefore work very hard to minimise damage from development, but some sort of damage and loss is inevitable, even if its just short term disturbance.

In one of my earlier post on this, which was really on the ethics of ecological consultants, I said there was a lot wrong with the process, and mitigation is one of them. And let's not start on monitoring!

One of our constant struggles (not with every scheme) was due to the changes in management as a scheme progresses. There would be promises made by the company who took the scheme through planning, but a different company would then take over the actual construction. The new company now working to a different budget would be unwilling to meet the commitments agreed to get the project through planning by the first company, or the construction would go over budget and they would cut the mitigation budget to save costs. The new company might also change the people overseeing the mitigation, so the original ecological team might get replaced with an environmental clerk of works, with no ecological background, or a Heath, safety and environment manager, again with no ecological background.

So its really complicated, and while I can't agree with it always being a waste of time, I do agree its far too often a waste of time.
 
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#52
It often is, if you read my other posts, you will see I mention a study (paid for by the developer) on Marsh Fritillary butterfly mitigation, which showed that none of the mitigation we could find had been successful long term (this was a long time ago so things might have improved since then). This was the evidence we presented at the Public Inquiry: yes we would use best practice to provide mitigation, we would try and learn things from the failed mitigation, but still the chances of success was low. It's then up to the Inspector to weigh this, along with all the other evidence, whether the social and economic benefits from the development outweigh the ecological costs.

But lots of mitigation does work, it's not always a waste of time, and although mitigation just means "make less worse" we have also made things "better" than they were. e.g we had one scheme being built on improved farmland, with very large fields, where, as part of the development, we used a 19th century tythe map to put back all the hedges that had been completely lost during the 20th century.

It's also worth noting that the starting point is to always try and save the existing ecologically valuable parts of a site (e.g. I managed to persuade one developer to reduce the total house build by two houses to save a glow worm site), and then to mitigate, and then to compensate. And all ecological consultants are conservationists, and therefore work very hard to minimise damage from development, but some sort of damage and loss is inevitable, even if its just short term disturbance.

In one of my earlier post on this, which was really on the ethics of ecological consultants, I said there was a lot wrong with the process, and mitigation is one of them. And let's not start on monitoring!

One of our constant struggles (not with every scheme) was due to the changes in management as a scheme progresses. There would be promises made by the company who took the scheme through planning, but a different company would then take over the actual construction. The new company now working to a different budget would be unwilling to meet the commitments agreed to get the project through planning by the first company, or the construction would go over budget and they would cut the mitigation budget to save costs. The new company might also change the people overseeing the mitigation, so the original ecological team might get replaced with an environmental clerk of works, with no ecological background, or a Heath, safety and environment manager, again with no ecological background.

So its really complicated, and while I can't agree with it always being a waste of time, I do agree its far too often a waste of time.
Thanks for the detailed reply it is good to hear that mitigation is often more successful than the two examples that I have seen local to myself
 
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17,009
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Steve
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#53
No, humans aren't going to kill the planet.
At some point the planet will kick back.
Karma's a bitch.
We will all kill ourselves either through a war or by continuing to breed as much (look at the exponential population growth) over the last 150 years and thus run out of land to grow food on and animals to hunt to eat. Or a meteor will come from outerspace and wipe us out...
 
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Bat-Frog
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#54
We will all kill ourselves either through a war or by continuing to breed as much (look at the exponential population growth) over the last 150 years and thus run out of land to grow food on and animals to hunt to eat. Or a meteor will come from outerspace and wipe us out...
My money is on disease.
 
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#55
Thanks for posting this thread Mex,
I didn't know the reason for the netting on hedges.

Now I understand the reason it looks very sensible : animals will nest at other locations instead, leaving the area free for whatever.
Logical.
 
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Brad
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#57
Maybe this netting would be better used to curb human breeding in someway, maybe knocking us down to a 10th of our current size should help ! I have also seen this netting out in the wilds of Shropshire but in some of locations on farm land I cannot understand why it is there ? As for whether it's legal or illegal seems totally irrelevant the law would only be applied or twisted to help those who's God is money, this seems to be the same people who make the laws anyway.
 
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685
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Brad
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#59
Just did a quick search on this subject and it seems like there are many environmental groups condemning the use of netting and many cases where people have ripped it down. Here is a link to a BBC artical with many links from that.

BIRD NETTING

AND ANOTHER
 
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3,470
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Adam
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#60
Its being debated in parliament week after next but needs input on Facebook group as below

You recently signed the petition “Make 'netting' hedgerows to prevent birds from nesting a criminal offence.”:
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/244233
The Petitions Committee wants to know what you think about netting of hedgerows. The House of Commons Facebook group is hosting an online discussion, to get people's views on the issue ahead of the petition debate in Westminster Hall on Monday 13 May.
The discussion is live now. On Tuesday 7 May, from 3pm-4pm, it will be joined by Mike Hill MP, a Member of the Petitions Committee, who will be leading the debate in Westminster Hall. Join the discussion below and tell us about your experiences and views.
https://www.facebook.com/UKHouseofC...0.1556874981./839717169760737/?type=3&theater
Find out about how to get involved in your UK Parliament: http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/



Thanks,
The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament
 
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7,059
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#61
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8,953
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Jeremy Moore
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#62
Thanks for posting that link, Box. There are some very thoughtful and informing contributions in that debate.

It is reassuring to read that not every MP is a complete philistine who couldn't give a monkeys about wildlife!

I'm not quite sure what the outcome was, though. The following appeared in the summing up by Mrs Wheeler -

>>Today’s petition is another example of democracy in action and people making their voices heard. Although we reject today’s call for yet more detailed regulation on bird >>netting — I have described the protections that already exist—I have the deepest respect for the aims of the petitioners........

Perhaps, having considered the matter, the govt. now considers the matter closed?
 
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Paul Phillips
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#63
I do not pretend to understand all the Pro's & Con's of this particular complex debate & the increasing threats to all living species.
I did however get access to the following informed view which made me think long & hard. It said that....
1. We are the first generation to witness an environmental decline globally of such considerable proportions.
That it is predicted that....
2. We will be the last generation capable of doing anything to rectify the outcome.

May sound a little dramatic,but a very sobering scenario to people who care.
 
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11,565
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Toni
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#64
1. We are the first generation to witness an environmental decline globally of such considerable proportions.
I suspect we aren't the first bunch of mammals to witness extinction of an utterly breathtaking variety of different species, but the dinosaurs have been gone a long time now.
 
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