Friday 30 November 2018

Wednesday 28 November 2018


Tomorrow is referendum day for our neighbourhood plan. See the EP policies from Section 6, page 36 onwards (the part I co-wrote with Lysanne)  for policies related to biodiversity, Beddington Farmlands and the Wandle Valley Regional Park and also projects sections for integration of biodiversity and urban environments. A copy of the plan is HERE

Tuesday 27 November 2018


A busy week underway ahead of the Neighbourhood Development Group referendum this Thursday HERE 
Had a meeting with Pooran from Bioregional this morning about integrating efforts, including our neighbourhood plan and our business action plan into an international platform that unites sustainable activity- One Planet Network. Here's a Tedx talk from Pooran about One Planet and a couple of links to the network and our own network (Little Oak Group) which we plan to integrate into the One Planet Framework. Pooran is a sustainability advisor to the United Nations and his plans include escalating the principles of One Planet and the network members into forming a future makers network to form the basis of a multi-value indices system for world government. Part of that will be integrating biological recording systems into those value systems to ensure that biodiversity is provided for at every level of decision making. To see an example of environmental policies of our neighbourhood plan related to biodiversity integration into the planning system see section 6 of the plan HERE. This is all proper New World Order shit, the underlying algorithms and codes that govern societal evolution- well in there (result!). 

Sunday 25 November 2018


Been a busy week catching up with work after being away. Managed to get a couple of hours to do Farmoor this morning Ebird list here

 Grey Plover flew through at about 0930
 Female Red-crested Pochard 
Over 100 Great Crested Grebes, mainly on F1

Friday 23 November 2018

The End Game for Beddington Farmlands

So it's now the last minute before mid-night for Beddington Farmlands. Whatever happens over the next 12-24 months will fundamentally dictate the future. It's also an excellent case study of the world in microcosm and local case studies can shed fascinating insights that have far reaching ripple effects.

 At one end of the future spectrum is a premier urban nature reserve, an inspiring green space and healthy population of biodiversity sensitively used by tens of thousands of people to reconnect to nature and drive a green transition in modern life, a reattachment to nature, a counter balance to competitive commercial existence, a life line to a better future for millions in deprived communities, a model for better corporate engagement with local people, a new positive role for local authority-  a flagship reserve for nature and people; a model of corporate-council-community co-operation. 

At the other end of the spectrum is a tiny highly disturbed, ghetto-blasted and polluted, nature poor dog-spoiled green space and a couple of dog-filled polluted lakes tightly enclosed by industry, housing and warehouses set in a soup of toxic air- a testament to humanity's detachment from nature and descent into an over-developed, lack lustre, toxic, bickering, broken spirited overcrowded and miserable hell of it's own un-imagination. 

I guess the actual future will be something along that spectrum.

So here's how the end game lines up for the different players/stakeholders from the three main societal structures:

Pennon management board, Viridor management board, Pennon Shareholders, Employees and Sub-contractors and Beneficaries

Hand: The Elephant in the room that everyone is actually talking about, running around trying to appease and please and cleaning up its massive great big shits. These boys hold all the trump cards, all the money and all the power. They've got the conservation establishment sown up with hush money through Viridor credits, they hand out confectionery via the Community Fund  to local groups to keep them quiet and they keep Sutton Council oppressed by industrial scale can-kicking down the road and can hold back enforcement action by local government with prohibitive legal costs. In effect they have absolute power and future outcomes all depends on their choices.

Value Extraction Options:  Contribute to planetary and humanity's meltdown and rape the arse of the local area, using it as a dumping ground, pollute its air, destroy all its wildlife and send the local community into a spiral of despair, sickness, food banks and conflict. The resulting planetary meltdown of this general behaviour will result in most of Viridor/Pennon shareholders and employees and yes men going down the plug hole too except for a few senior directors living in personal paradises surrounded in a global wasteland with their own private security forces gunning down the locals trying to get the espalier apples  in their walled gardens.

Value Creation Options: Maximise the use of positive energy in the area through proven long term and committed dedicated locals, high performing local community groups, local businesses, councillors and council officers to get maximum return on any investment into the development of the reserve. Value creation investment (which is external to shareholder return investment) is a forensic and complex operation and unless precision targeting is utilised- these extremely restricted funds are easily intercepted and wasted by low performing middle parties. Incentivise the genuine local value creation community by directing tax credits and s106 community funds to them and for the Pennon Directors to liaise directly with these local value creation community reps. These community reps should be present at all board meetings related to Beddington Farmlands. This direct link between senior power and senior value creation front line workers is essential.  

Tom Brake MP, Councillors, Council Officers, Council Management Board 

Hand: A crippled, broken and sub-dued state relic and Lib Dem party bunker, stripped of funds and powers and now playing an administrative role over large contracts in the hands of Private Corporations. An administrative role in which they have very limited money, resources and only limited staff to attempt to control Corporate monsters. All they can do is clean up the monster's shit as much as possible and do anything they can to appease the beast including winning favour by destroying the reputations and work of local community value creators in order to please the masters or simply out of frustration for their own powerlessness despite their lofty titles and historical significance .Most of the senior management are just praying for retirement and escape the area to Cornwall or Devon.

Value Extraction Options:  Enable/Facilitate Viridor in their value extraction option.

Value Creation Options: None apart from playing double agents between Senior Corporate Power and Senior Front Line Value Creators.

Individuals, Community Groups, Local Media, Local Business, Political Opposition

Hand: A fragmented, disparate, un- cohesive and broken, depressed and anxious mass of victims of the Corporate-Council value extraction agenda. Many deluded, under chemical anti-depressant control, wrapped up in Tinder and Love Island and hoping things will change with them doing fuck all about it. When the food dries up at the food banks that lot will start starving to death.  Embedded within this mess is a community of front line value creators.

Value Extraction Options: Roll over to the victim/inert role and descend into personal states of eternal despair or leave the area as refugees. The victim role has many options including taking loads of illegal drugs, shag anything that moves, parasite off welfare, masturbate to internet porn all day, join a political extremist group, lash out at your friends, family and neighbours, carry out some domestic abuse or you can even kill yourself (suicide is now the highest cause of death in young men). The choice is yours!

Value Creation Options: Volunteer in the Value Creation Community and challenge the declining state by offering innovative solutions and structures and also by destroying  the power of middle blockers/parasites between the value creation community and senior Corporate Power and also challenging the Senior Corporate Value Extraction agenda directly. Options involve developing and being involved in advanced nature-community engagement systems, local planning policy change, political party opposition rallying, offering business/commercial solutions/products, direct action and creative activism and legal challenge.

So we will see how this war now unfolds.  My recommendation to anyone would be to get on the winning side and the winning side is absolutely and certainly the Corporate- Council- Local Community value creation Society. A model that will replace the failing, crumbling and dangerously teetering  fundamental Capitalist paradigm.  

Monday 19 November 2018

Bulgaria, November 2018, Days 7 and 8 - Snowed In

I spent yesterday morning around the Monastery in Shipka and then we left for the airport. The journey to Sofia Airport from Shipka should only take about 2.5 hours but with one hour to go a blizzard started and the journey took six hours and we missed the plane back to Gatwick. The next flight was Thursday so we switched airlines to come back to Standstead later this evening. So we got an extra day in Bulgaria so visited the National Museum of Natural History. 

St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Sofia 

Saturday 17 November 2018

Bulgaria, November 2018, Day 6, Shipka Birding

Spent the afternoon birding the fields east of Shipka village. Pristine agro-ecosystem with large numbers of Yellowhammers, Corn Buntings, Tree Sparrows, Chaffinch, Brambling and Skylarks with quartering Hen Harrier and Long-legged and Common Buzzards. Ebird list HERE 

Here's a few pics:

Syrian Woodpecker 
Marsh Tit (above  and Cirl Bunting, male (below) 

 Shipka Monastery 
 Buzludzha Monument - an old communist party conference centre 

Here's a local bird list I compiled in 2016- got a few birds to add to the list from the two trips here this year including Gull-billed Tern, Marsh Tit and Brambling. 

Shipka Area Bird List by on Scribd

Friday 16 November 2018

Bulgaria, November 2018, Day 5- Varna Gulls

We are still waiting for the investment prices to come in so today we spent the morning at Varna bay gull watching and then in the afternoon we made our way back to Shipka. The temperature was four degrees on the coast and was minus 5 by the time we got to the Shipka Pass, which was a picture postcard snowy wintery scene (and a deadly icy descent in the car).

A nice collection of gulls at Varna. This area is a major transition area between Yellow-legged Gull and Caspian Gull so there is plenty of variation and intergrades.  Here's a few specimens, first the different age classes of typical Yellow-legged Gull, then a first-winter Caspian Gull (the only age class present), then a few presumed integrades/hybrids and finally some of the extreme variation in first-winter plumages present which has presumably been generated from the introgression between Yellow-legged and Caspian. The boundaries between variation and hybrids is subjective of course. 






 The washed out remiges of this bird could be a feature of the local transitional conditions. All pictures of the same bird. 


First-winter birds 

and an Eastern Jackdaw to wash down the gull overdose  with it's characteristic silvery neck shawl

Thursday 15 November 2018

Bulgaria, November 2018, Day 4

A very successful day today. We met Dimiter (our inside man) and Anton (the agent) at 0930 in the Hotel to have a look at a series of selected investment plots that fitted our criteria. We were able to eliminate two of the suggestions which left us with three areas to view-  the periphery of Tyulenovo and Kamen Bryag villages. We then travelled north to view the sites, looked at surrounding properties and plots and after Anton was able to develop an advanced search image he left us to go back to the office to select additional options. We then did the inside job and met a couple of local contacts who showed us private plots and then went on to meet the Mayor of the village to see if he had anything up his sleeve. We've ended up with six options, three of which are perfect matches and we should also have additional options from Anton by tomorrow. The price per meter is ranging from 15-36 m2 so some are obviously trying it on  but with so many options we are in a good bargaining position going forward. We should have a complete bundle of options and prices by tomorrow. 

In addition to the first toe hold we get there is clearly a lot of investment options in this area where we could possibly invite joint ventures to increase the scale of the project but first, as Dimiter says , 'let us catch the first fish'.

It's impossible to not see good birds in this area. While travelling and viewing houses today we had 7 species of raptor an immature White-tailed Eagle flying along the road, two Hen Harriers, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzards, Peregrine, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. Also coveys of Grey Partridge coming up from the fields and Corn Buntings everywhere. 

  Juvenile White-tailed Eagle (above and below). Aged by regular row of markings on the upperwing coverts 

 Juvenile Peregrine (above and below) 

 The Kamen Bryag mayor
 The entire map of regulated land in the area
 This is the plot deeds that we have for reference for each option 
Viewing the plots 
 Above and below- sites that meet all our criteria- within the regional search area (major migration area), within 500m of the Black sea, adjacent to a Natura 2000 site/SPA in at least one direction, room for expansion, vehicle access, mixed semi-natural habitats,  regulated to permit construction of a research cabin, electric and water available, close proximity to facilities, 4G and within budget. 

 Me and the old man ready to cut some mustard 

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Bulgaria, November 2018, Days 2 and 3

Spent the last couple of days travelling to our observatory/nature reserve investment search area, refining the target, meeting with estate agents and getting in a bit of birding and nature stuff. Yesterday we left Shipka (after spending the morning in Kaz) and did the 5 hour drive to Varna where we met Dimiter- our man on the ground. We had a look round Varna harbour early this morning and then met the estate agents with Dimiter and started to make a plan for targeted viewings tomorrow. Then after a morning of planning and lunch at Happy Bar (the Bulgarian equivalent of Hooters) we spent the afternoon checking out the first search area (which we found out has been bought up by Russians anyway ahead of an illegal development plan) and then did a bit of birding at Cape Kaliakra. 

Here's a few pics from the last couple of days.

 Siskins feeding on Chicory
 Black-throated Diver in Varna Harbour 
 Black-necked Grebe 
 Crested Lark outside the Happy Bar 
 20+ Harbour Porpoise off Cape Kaliakra (also Shags, Arctic Skua, Black Redstart and a sea absolute full of jelly fish) 
 The Black Sea around Cape Kaliakra was totally packed with this very large jellyfish 
 Cape Kaliakra 
 Our observatory/nature reserve investment search area between Cape Kaliakra and Shabla. The whole region is a major migration route (the Via Pontica) with hundreds of thousands of birds migrating through each year 
Siskins again