Our Ash Tree

Posted by TonyN on 28/11/2012 at 7:08 pm The Countryside 4 Responses »
Nov 282012

AshTree3 We are lucky, perhaps even honoured. We own an ash tree, and it’s rather a special one as the picture shows. The small figure to the left of the trunk is my wife, and she’s of average height. This is a very, very large ash tree indeed, and of course that also means that it is very, very old.

Our land includes about 17 acres of wood, mainly oak but with some ash and too much sycamore, but this tree isn’t part of one of the woods. It’s a lone sentinel in a pasture (the Welsh term is parc) and that means this tree really gets noticed. Of all its neighbours on our land, this is the individual that stands out from the rest, and it would be missed far more than any of the others should something happen to it.

With Ash Dieback Disease (Chalara fraxine ) firmly established in the UK’s woodlands and forests and in the headlines too for the moment at least we’ve been thinking about this tree quite a lot. It’s not just its visibility as it towers above all competitors, and the impact if it falls victim to this terrible disease, but also what it tells us about the world we live in, and how it has changed during the tree’s lifetime

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Andrew Orlowski of The Register has written a very accurate and fair account of happenings at the Central London Civil Justice Centre last Monday. This was the first day’s hearing of my appeal against the Information Commissioner’s decision that the BBC were correct to refuse a request for the names of the ‘best scientific experts’ who attended their seminar entitled ‘Climate Change the Challenge to Broadcasting’ in January 2006. This expert advice was cited on page 40 of the BBC Trust’s excellent report ‘From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel: Safeguarding Impartiality in the 21st Century’ as the authority for a very important editorial decision.

I’ve written about this very strange seminar here and many other times at Harmless Sky.

The judgement will probably be handed down in 4-6 weeks time and I do not intend to blog about the proceedings in any detail until then. For one thing, I will not be able to decide whether I received a fair hearing until I see what the Tribunal has to say.

What is certain is that presenting my case in person, without legal representation, was an interesting experience, if sometimes puzzling, frustrating and downright irritating. And the second day’s proceedings, which Andrew Orlowski was unable to cover, were no less remarkable than the first. I am particularly grateful to my wife who sat through it all with me, sometimes confirming my own views with a nudge and raised eyebrows, continually making notes, and then helping decide where the next priority might lie whenever there was a chance to talk things through.

As we drove home the next day through the grey, windy, cold late autumn countryside we passed a snack van in a lay-by just outside Malvern. It had been a pretty bruising couple of days and visions of comfort food in the form of a bacon roll were too great a temptation. We swerved to a halt.

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Will you help?

Posted by TonyN on 08/10/2012 at 8:34 pm The Countryside, The Wind 2 Responses »
Oct 082012

Via James Delingpole

Our beautiful village in one of the prettiest parts of the Northamptonshire countryside is threatened by an industrial wind turbine. We have just 48 hours to stop it. Please can you give 10 minutes of your time to help?

The place: our patch of Northamptonshire – the Staverton Hills – is unspoilt, beautiful and very special. It includes the stone-built villages of Badby and Charwelton, and the glorious Fawsley Estate. At Grad II * listed Fawsley you can wander amid lakes, Capability Brown parkland, medieval ridge-and-furrow pastureland and woods teeming with bats, birds (including all three types of indigenous woodpecker, numerous raptors, waterfowl such as teal and crested grebes), deer, badgers and other wildlife. There’s an Elizabethan haunted house, a 12th century church (where George Washington’s ancestor is buried), a 15th century manor house), the remains of a lost medieval village, Roman roads…. I hope you can all visit one day.

All this is now threatened by a 45 m industrial wind turbine which has been recommended for approval by the district council planning officer. The meeting is on Wednesday 10 October at 6pm. This single turbine is the thin end of the wedge: if permission is granted then the area will be declared an industrial zone and soon many more will spring up like skeletons in Jason & the Argonauts. It will blight the area for years to come, disturbing the peace with its intermittent humming, killing bats and birds, ruining the health of those who live nearby (the closest house is just 600 metres away), ruining the views.

You can help stop this.  Just follow the instructions below: (and thanks: I know it’s a hassle but just 10 mins effort on your part could help spare one of Britain’s loveliest spots for more than a generation….)

Please follow these instructions exactly…..

Badby Wind Farm

A wind turbine development is being proposed in rural Northants blighting the rural landscape and sited within 800m of local homes. The initial turbine will be immediately on the right as the A361 climbs from Daventry past Badby.

We desperately need all objectors (from any area in the country) to send a simple email to the council setting out one or more genuine objections. Please email this to at least 10 of your friends to do the same. Numbers count.

For more details on the application go to Planning Application Search and search for DA/2012/0225

To lodge an objection, simply use the template below and insert your objections using your own words.

Every additional email counts – so separate emails from husbands, wives and children all count. Your extra email will make a difference.

Thankyou for helping us prevent another blot on our beautiful countryside.

James Delingpole



Mr K Thursfield
Development Control Manager
Daventry District Council
Lodge Road
NN11 4FP

My house
My street
My town
My postcode

6th October 2012

By email: kthursfield@daventrydc.gov.uk

bcc James@jamesdelingpole.com (please note: BCC – BLIND COPY – not CC. so we record submissions properly)

Dear Sir

Planning Application DA/2012/0225

I would like to object to DA/2012/0225 because . . . .

[write your own views in your own words  – examples shown below] 

1. The site has an adverse impact on the peace and enjoyment of the Special Landscape Area – The Staverton Hills and is in full view of those travelling from Daventry to Banbury.

2. The turbine is less than 1 km of homes and its inappropriate size, and siting adversely affects the quality of life for local residents to an extent that it outweighs any possible benefit or contribution to regional renewable energy targets.

3. Due to its close proximity to local residences there will be noise nuisance, low frequency noise with risk of Arythmia, wind shear and shadow flicker

4. Damage to bats, birds and migration habits.

5. The turbine has an adverse impact on historic and cultural heritage, particularly Badby, Catesby and Grade II listed Fawdsley Estate, the restoration of which is being assisted by Natural England.

6. There is no proper provision within the application for decommissioning.

7. There is no financial assessment of the costs and method of decommissioning, particularly the concrete base.

8. There is no provision in the plan for funding the substantial costs of decommissioning particularly the concrete base.

Yours Faithfully

My Name


Jun 192010


When we set off to walk the Cotswold Way recently, we were exploring new territory in a type of countryside that was unfamiliar to us. Here are a few jottings, but this post owes far more to the photographs taken by my wife than to my words. Continue reading »

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