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Category Archives: The Environment

Windy and Judith

Well, where does the time go? It seems to be 12 months since I last blogged or thereabouts. Thanks for all the hits on the Tedious Tantrums blog. The star, of course, is the one and only Judith Ralston the weather presenter on BBC Scotland.

A short detour at this point. Here, in Scotland, we also have a fairly spiffing independent weather watcher who provides a daily weather forecast. Give him a wee check out. He’s none other than Windy Wilson along with his son Wee Windy Wilson and his wife Gusty Wilson.

Now the BBC have the MET to provide them, including huge computing power, with daily forecasts costing millions of pounds over a year. Windy has a laptop and he manages to get the weather right more often than the BBC.

Now back to Judith. It would seem that Judith and Windy have met and not just once. I’ve no idea if they trade forecasting tips etc. But I’m sure they must discuss the weather. Don’t we all…

Judith was a vision in a white and black ensemble earlier this evening. I’m fairly sure that she gave a forecast, I may not have been watching as closely as I should have been. South winds were included possibly?

Anyway give Windy a look. You may well notice that an odd swear word may appear but stick with it.

Meantime, I’ll try to blog a bit more frequently .

TT

 

Financial tricks..

Once upon a time there was a building, a rather splendid and imposing building which was named The Custom House. It was a building paid for by the local taxpayers and it served the various sea borne custom which came in and out of the fairly large docks close to it. Over a long number of years the building served the purpose it had been designed for, but as it is with many things, times changed, the docks were much less busy and The Custom House was closed.

The building lay empty for some time and after a few possible uses were discussed and then rejected a temporary use was agreed. A public organisation was given leave to use the building for storage whist a larger new facility was being for them. It wasn’t in ideal building for storage and neither were the items being stored but at least it was in use.

Once the public organisation using it for storage they were them granted ownership of the building. Now that’s a bit odd. They were given ownership of a building which didn’t really suit the purpose they were using it for.

When the time was right for them to begin to seriously plan to move out they put the building up for sale. Now isn’t that a bit strange? It was a publicly funded building, which had been given to them free, and now they were selling it?

The local community council were shocked and a group was formed to take over The Custom House so it could be turned into a local museum. But they only had a month to find over £600,000 so they could buy it back for the local taxpayers.

The local City Councillors wanted to help and be the saviours as is their want. They found a way to save The Custom House. They decided that they could use the Common Good Fund to buy The Custom House back from the other public body. Everyone was happy with that. (Not the taxpayers though).

Now at this point you will be looking for the “living happily ever after” ending. Alas no. Within a few weeks the City Council had changed their plans for the building. Yes it would be a museum but a museum which had a foot print the size of a single tennis court.

The City Council were now going to sell most of the building to developers. Isn’t that clever? Money coming from the Common Good fund, which could only be used for supporting the local community council, was used for buying a building, which had belonged to the public in the first place.

And here is the wee sting. The developers would pay a much higher price for the building, less the small museum space. And where would the money that the developers paid end up? Well, the City Council of course. Isn’t that a surprise?

What a slick wee scheme is it not?

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Edinburgh, Justice, The Environment

 

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Liverpool bus lanes…

I’ve never been to Liverpool although I’ve seen it on TV, which is the best I can do. It may well be one of the best places in the world! I don’t know and I haven’t got an opinion about it.

I was interested however, when I saw an article in the press a few weeks ago. It was one of those headlines which grab your attention. It basically said that bus lanes in Liverpool were going to be suspended for a few months to find out if traffic would be better or worse without them.

That sounded like a great thing to do. As drivers, we all sit in traffic at times and it is very frustrating when a bus glides up the bus lane and gets preferential treatment. Well it’s the bus passengers who get the preferential treatment.

A certain Mr Begg used to work here in Edinburgh and introduced bus lanes. He’s long gone onto better things but his bus lanes still remain. The buses here also have transponders in them which over-ride traffic lights so the buses get through quicker yet again. Mr Begg didn’t like cars.

Taxis are also allowed in bus lanes and cyclists but not motorcyclists. A few months ago Edinburgh Council put up some new cameras to catch drivers using the bus lanes. It was the biggest fiasco that the council had carried out for probably at least 10 minutes. They are prone to continual fiascos, which would be funny if it were not for the fact that we have to pay for them at some point. The council doesn’t like cars.

Anyway, the cameras were installed. The number of drivers caught was HUGE. It wasn’t that they were using the bus lane it was more the fact that they had to cross the bus lane or get around a corner or even get into their own drive. They still got the paperwork with the fine of course but most of them complained and got the fines dropped.

The council then switched some of the cameras off and things are better but far from ideal. The council doesn’t like cars.

In Liverpool the bus lanes are now just a part of the road that everyone can use. The Mayor has been interestingly supportive of the removal of the bus lanes albeit that it’s just a trial at the moment.

There have been complaints. It takes longer for bus passengers to get to where they are going. The bus companies are complaining that it now takes their buses longer to get where they are going. Really? No brainer actually.

The majority of people on the road now get to their destinations a bit quicker. There’s another surprise. Who would have thunk that?

The bus companies have become grumpy. Their advantage over all the other road users has been eroded. They no longer get priority treatment. They are going to complain.

There is no good reason to expect road users to have to put up with some people getting preferential treatment. It will be wonderful if the lanes are dropped for good.

Down with bus lanes I say!

 
 

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Prince charming…

The floods. I feel for the people anywhere in the UK who have been affected by the floods. It must be horrible to have your home or business flooded and then have to wait months for things to dry out or be repaired.

You may want to take a little stroll along to the EUreferendum blog. If you have a look through the most recent posts you’ll find one, which is, dedicated to the issues of the floods and in particular the “Levels”.

Just to provide you with a flavour of the content may I draw your attention to the fact that the EU, the Environment Agency and the previous Labour Government are behind the floods. You don’t believe me? Check the facts in the blog.

It’s abhorrent. The UK press is also abhorrent in not reporting the truth and of course the BBC is one of those who should be, if they were operating as an independent organisation without any political bias, to get the “facts” out there.

I’m not going into the details here, just look at the blog, which I’ve linked to above.

At some point we have crossed a line, well I say “we” when I really mean some people in positions of power and influence. The environment is now rated above humans. Animals and the wider environment are now far more important that us humans.

If only we could sort out humanity we could then move onto to better ensure a reasonable way in which to deal with the environment. But, alas, there are so many lefty, greenies out there that it’s pretty unlikely at the moment

No matter though.

A man of some standing visited the “levels” yesterday to see for himself just how much devastation had been done to the area. He wore his wellies, sat in a boat, waded through the floodwaters, and provided his off and on the record opinions. It’s a terrible thing sums it up. That was his take. He sided with the poor people who were flooded. It’s the government’s fault. They should have sorted it.

Well Prince C is of course one of the worlds biggest environmentalists. He speaks fluent plant and significant amounts of brown stuff. His favourite pastime is making hedges at the weekend in his well worn but tasteful jacket according to Countryfile who filmed him recently whilst ensuring they tugged what was required and bowed as directed.

Global warming is alive and well in his wee world. People who don’t agree with him about that topic are the lowest of the low; so much for freedom of speech and democracy. Of course the biggest issue is that he may well be the next “King of England”.

Isn’t that a warm thought to hold onto?

Perhaps not.

 

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Two pedals and a prayer…

Back in the decade that was the 1980’s mountain biking or all terrain cycling became the new fad. Men who shouldn’t have, like myself, donned brightly coloured lycra, bought new bicycles and seated much more than they should have.

Up to that point cycling had been a child’s activity or a way of getting to work but the bikes themselves were pretty dull, apart from the dyed in the wool bicycles ridden by male (anorak) club cyclists. Sure we had the Chopper and bikes with tiny wee wheels etc. but it just wasn’t cool to cycle.

Like most things, or perhaps too many things, some guys in the USA started cycling in a more dangerous and exciting manner. They cycled off road, not just on the dirt in general but rushing down pretty steep mountain trails at speeds, which were fairly exhilarating. They then started to build bikes that could stand the punishment and had big tyres and great brakes.

I cycled for five or more years. Normally I’d go out most evenings and weekends around 6:30 pm and do at least 8 miles, more often 12 miles and sometimes 25 miles on the road and on the dirt. I had a fairly heavy bike to start with and then sold it and replaced it with a very light and strong bike indeed.

Riding on the road taught me a lot. Like there is no such tihng as a flat road and non-windy day. I’d been a motorcyclist a number of years before cycling so I know that it was my responsibility to make sure drivers around me knew what I was doing and where I was and I think that helped me enormously.

I stopped cycling because of work pressures although I might return to it at some point.

I’m horrified by the antics of cyclists in Edinburgh. Some are fine and know how to cycle safely but the majority don’t seem to recognise their responsibility to keep themselves safe and stay within the Highway Code. They seem to see cycling as another badge they wear as part of their green and environmental credentials.

It is unusual for me to be out driving or on the Harley and not see very dangerous cycling. Very poor road positioning, riding on the pavement, cycling across pedestrian crossings to beat traffic lights, using earphones to listen to music as they cycle, carrying stuff inappropriately, going through red lights, cycling on the wrong side of the road, no lights or feeble lights, almost running pedestrians down at crossings, cycling two or three abreast, and the most worrisome – cycling up the left hand side of queuing traffic.

I’ve lost count of the number of times a bicycle has whooshed up my inside whilst I am in the process of turning left only for them to go straight on.  To be fair some of the car driving around cyclists is pretty poor too. Giving cyclist 6 feet when overtaking them which means the car is in the oncoming traffic lane, getting way to close to cyclists and not actually seeing them at all.

Cyclists should need to be insured, need to pass a test of some description and need to stick to the Highway Code!

Sorted!

 

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He’s at it again.

Our good friend Mr George Monbiot is now telling us how to get rid of all those pesky floods. He knows stuff you see and he has his column in the Guardian loss making newspaper, his wee blog bless him and the BBC where he is treated like a demigod, quite a small demigod but a demigod nonetheless.

If you’ll remember a wee while ago he was against nuclear power, he was against eating meat and he was also against people with large houses not taking in complete strangers to fill their otherwise empty bedrooms.

But then… suddenly nuclear power was really a good idea as far as George was concerned. Why had he not noticed this before he mused? Suddenly (again) meat eating was also a very good thing to be doing. Why hadn’t he noticed this before he again mused? He had repented on both and had been humble about it apparently.

Next of course was another turnaround but not as dramatic as the other two, and there are others of course if you care to look. This wasn’t as dramatic because the problem for George was that he had a large house and he hadn’t filled it with people who needed a roof over their heads. Oh dear.

Still, better having an opinion is better then not having an opinion even if wee Georgie Monbiots opinion was complete pants. Free speech is so important don’t you think? I am a great believer in free speech especially when it’s complete bollocks provided by wee Georgie Monbiot.

This time he has another theory. It involves sheep. Doesn’t he live in Wales or thereabouts? He may well know a lot about sheep as well as everything else. Anyway the floods will go away if sheep stop walking on the grass in the uplands and compressing it so the water doesn’t sink into the ground it just runs off.

There you go. Very simple. Done deal.

So where have all the sheep to go then? Well they’ll no doubt go the giant sheep dip in the sky. Some people are going to miss their lamb chops soon. Oh dear. What about woolly jumpers? Greenies like their woolly jumpers and knitting and such like as long as they are gaily coloured and maybe have a political message on the front. “Stop sheep walking on the hills”. Not particularly catchy but it’s never stopped them before.

He must have missed the big news about all the rain and the floods. The amount of rain hasn’t been exceptional and neither were the surge tides. So it’s not down to weather or even climate and Georgie likes a bit of climate now and again. He used to like it more but then he found it wasn’t nearly exciting as he thought it was since it wasn’t getting warmer and stuff.

Poor Georgie. He may well be campaigning soon to have the rivers dredged and having farmers who know the land look after it again. Such a pity that Georgies friends at the Environment Agency have been cuddling the countryside instead of looking after the environment which, and this will be a surprise for Georgie, includes humans.

Come on Georgie you’re  late with another U-turn.

Hey!!!!! There’s the very thing for putting on the front of his home knitted jumper.

“U turn if you want to, Georgies not for turning”

 

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Food recycling…

There was a minor scandal here in Edinburgh a week or so ago. When I heard I was appalled. Edinburgh Council had managed to mistakenly thrown some food waste in the landfill tip rather than going through the process that food waste goes through. It cost the Council £800. It was mistake apparently.

I don’t know if you have food recycling in your neck of the woods. I’d imagine you would because all the councils are always bragging about how green they are. We were given a black sort of bucket thing and a smaller “caddy”. We have to fill the “caddy” using a green plastic bag liner, which rots away. The bag then goes into the black bucket thing and twice a month some guys turn up and empty the black bin thing into a lorry.

Now, this whole system sort of works. We don’t have much food waste apart from peelings and maybe the odd bit of bread etc. The system isn’t great. It’s pretty smelly and nasty and we also had an infestation of the black bucket thing by some creepy crawly things.

After trying it for a while we decided that we would stop doing it. Recycling has some benefits, I think, but I don’t think the way the food waste is handled is ideal. I think it actually is a health hazard and it seems like we’re going back in time, which I suppose is what the greenies want really.

When I was young we had a brock bin. All food waste went in it. It was metal and had a metal lid and a local farmer emptied it once a week. The brock bin was for the pigs, which lived in one of the local small holdings. They seemed to really like it, the pigs I mean. The waste was put into a big drum thing and it was cooked or boiled or something and it was a bit smelly but the pigs loved it.

We aren’t allowed to do that now because it’s bad for the pigs. This is according to the EU, which knows about loads of stuff and is really good at telling us what to do on many, many subjects. I can’t say I’ve noticed a huge improvement in pork or sausages. Neither have I seem any immensely happy pigs although I should point out that I haven’t been seeking any pigs out as it were.

Anyway back to the Council. They apologised to everyone although they took some stick at wasting £800. The Greens were a bit annoyed, well they are always at least a bit annoyed but they were annoyed a bit more than usual.

Now that’s a bit odd. You see the Greens were pretty happy about the trams which cost at least 1 BILLION pounds whilst the rest of us, who are paying for them were pretty ticked. £800 versus 1 BILLION.

 

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Panic.

Panic. It’s such a nice little word. Panic attacks. Panic on the streets of London. It says a lot.

Apparently the meaning of panic is – “sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behaviour”. Very apt really.

I think it may be a useful word, which could replace another word. It should perhaps replace “left”. I don’t mean as in “right” and “ left” being changed to “right” and ‘panic”. That would be silly. I mean “left” as in “lefties” being changed to panic is what I had in mind.

You can see why this might work, the left panic all the time: tediously so.

The global warming scam. It started in the 1970s although it was called global cooling at that point, followed by the population explosion, followed by smoking, followed by the loss of the rain forests, followed by acid rain, followed by the hole in the ozone layer, followed by recycling, followed by global warming, followed by climate change, followed by severe weather, followed by obesity epidemic, followed by salt, followed by cycling, followed by sugar and no doubt sooner rather than later breathing.

In all of these scares the reaction has been the same – “if we don’t do something about it in the next 15-20 minutes” the whole planet is doomed I tell you, doomed.

The reality is different.

  • Cooling didn’t cool;
  • The population did grow but not as it was predicted;
  • It’s looking more likely every day now that smoking doesn’t cause nearly as many cancers as was claimed and so much of the evidence used has been lies;
  • The rain forests have been growing bigger except in areas where they’ve been torn down to grow environmental biofuels;
  • Acid rain isn’t mentioned at all now;
  • The hole in the ozone layer is still huge and gets bigger and smaller as it likes;
  • The recycling cult continues a pace but has become a rip off and a local council scam;
  • Global warming was based on a few years of hot weather then it stopped;
  • Climate change was used to include various other weather events which weren’t directly connected to warmth;
  • Severe weather is currently still in vogue although even the MET is clear that it’s not that severe and it is well within known parameters.
  • Obesity isn’t an epidemic, it’s mainly based on changes within our society away from manual work to much less manual work.
  • Salt intake doesn’t matter that much, our bodies just get rid of the salt which isn’t need;
  • Cycling isn’t a panacea, if people want to do it them fine but they should stick to the rules and pay up for the privilege like everyone else;
  • Sugar is present in a lot of foods and in a number of growing cases it’s there to make the food palatable since the fat has been removed;
  • Breathing? The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is around 400 parts per million. When a human breaths out the carbon dioxide count is 16000 parts per million. Pollution!!!! Especially if the person breathing out is doing any sort of exercise like cycling for example.

There will be more scares and phoney claims of doom and gloom all coming from the same sort of people. Someone writes a paper, which says there is a problem. Others then point out that there is indeed a problem and we’ll better do something in the next 15-20 minutes to stop it from being a world ending problem.

They tell their mates. It becomes fashionable to be doing something about it, chatting about it in a café is perfect. Then someone debunks it. Then the believers shriek about it being true. Then they move onto the next thing.

Panic, Panic, panic.

Dare I mention fracking?

Here we go again.

 

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Who’s land is it anyway?

It’s been a rough few weeks for people all over the country. The wet and windy weather along with huge tides, has created floods which have been costly for all those unlucky enough to be caught up in them.

Extreme weather? Apparently not. Unpleasant certainly but nothing record breaking. Check for yourself. Even the MET say it’s nothing to do with the fallacy that is global warming/climate change etc.

So what is happening?

Simple. Two things really; firstly rivers are no longer being maintained and dredged and secondly houses are being built on flood plains.

The first is a simple one to fix. Farmers are well aware of the stream and rivers, which run through their land. They’ve known where the flood plain is and how it deals with river concrete banks being built which then cause issues further down stream. They also know that dredging is a key practice, which greatly reduces flooding, but of course it’s not good for the environment according to some.

Many years ago I lived in a small town and the local council were keen to promote businesses to come in and create jobs. A factory was to be built in an area just outside the town and plans were drawn up and building work carried out. A local farmer who had sold the land to the council told the council and then later the developers and builders that their plans would result in flooding.

Did they listen? Of course not. The result? Flooding and a delay to the factory opening until they got the drains sorted out properly this time.

There always seems to be an on going need for more new housing because of all the immigration over the past few years. That puts pressure on builders and developers who build on the flood plain and wall in rivers.

The bottom line on this is probably that more building should take place away from flood plains and where building does take place it should take into account the implications of river courses down stream and of course what’s already there upstream.

There is plenty of land in the UK suitable for building on. The green belt should be used more, it’s not like we are short of green belt. The trouble is that 90% of the land in the UK is owned by 10% of the population. We are living in small cramped houses, which are squeezed into the available land.

In Scotland, the government is currently carrying out a consultation to try to find a way to reduce the size of the huge estates that run to thousands and thousands of acres of land. Some of these estates are even owned by Scottish institutions so that would be a good place to start. Getting the lords and ladies to divest themselves of some of their land may well be a bit trickier but doable. It all sounds a bit Soviet but again there should be a solution which either hasn’t come up or has come up but it’s still too frightening to talk about.

Meantime the environment will adapt to water courses and the people who need the benefits which water course management will bring will continue to find their environment unpleasant until such times as a solution is implemented.

Perhaps the original builders and developers of buildings which are prone to flooding should have to pick up the cost?

 

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And the winner of the stupidest Council of the decade goes to…

They are at it again. Mind you I shouldn’t be surprised should I? I guess it could actually be any one of you not being surprised when reading this. Your local council lost the plot sometime ago and there is nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing that you can do about it.

I’ll start with the democratic stuff. At the last council election the ward I live in voted, or the people living there did anyway. They went to the polling booth and made their mark. Later the next day we had the results. The voters in the ward I live had voted in a Labour Councillor, a Green councillor and an SNP councillor. Now how even handed is that? Proportional representation?

Is it slightly ludicrous? No it isn’t it’s just plain mad, mad, mad. No matter what happens the three of them will rush about and do the same things. Say the same things and look into the same things. They will vote with the whip and things will happen. It’s lunacy writ large.

The council has recently been upgrading the pavements in the next street. It’s taken some 4-6 weeks and the pavements aren’t that long. It’s an improvement being done to make life easier for pedestrians. It’s just such a pity that the street and a lot of the streets around are potholed to a ridiculous degree. No matter it’s only money, our money they are once again throwing away.

Not content with digging a giant hole, which is called “The Edinburgh Trams Project” (the trams cost more, take longer and haven’t any luggage space or seats than buses but lets not split hairs. They are have now decided that almost all of the city will be subject to 20 MPH speed limit. What a great idea. Who will benefit? Cyclists apparently. They will be safer. Well they could be much safer if they stopped being so aggressive and actually paid any attention what so ever to the highway code.

School children will also benefit. Parents were interviewed on the BBC news and they testified to the fact that the driving outside of schools is nothing short of shameful. It is. No question about it. It is because all these people run their kids to school and park and behave in an incredibly arrogant manner because they have a child or children and they will melt if it rains, get molested if the walk to school and, of coursed they will be squished or poisoned if a car comes within thirty miles of them unless they are being taken to activities of course.

Luckily the One Show, that’s One for they only have the opinions that matter, had a guy on who was giving the results of a huge survey that had been carried out to measure the level of pollution from cars, buses, lorries etc. The outcome was that there was indeed a bit of pollution mainly caused by diesel buses, diesel taxis, diesel lorries and diesel cars. That didn’t go down well. If the traffic is slow, say 20mph for example, the pollution is even greater and the slow traffic creates pollution, which floats around fairly low down. Just low down enough to poison all the children.

Edinburgh Council wins another award for another inept, nonsensical, vanity project, which doesn’t take science into account because the councillors and council officers know better than the people carry out the research.

Will it cause them any concern?

No.

Not ever!