Saturday, 28 February 2015

Slice up the green areas

Death by a thousand cuts. Always going on in little ways: green areas cut across, cut into; roads and paths widened. We got a few emails about Ceredigion County Council doing it again this week, and saw this letter published in the Cambrian News:
"I hate seeing trees cut and green areas lost so was annoyed to see Ceredigion Council workers digging up green areas near Ysgol Gymraeg. They cut down at least one healthy tree (and then removed the stump/evidence), got rid of the grass and snowdrops and bushes, all apparently to widen one of the FOUR parallel pavements in that area, and to add another unnecessary path cutting across the green area. How come the Council can waste our money for vandalism like that? And they say there’s no money for litter collecting and keeping schools open? It’d be nice if they knocked down their eyesore offices and put a nice park there instead. Scratch that – knowing the council it would become another supermarket."

Friday, 20 February 2015

Rats, Squirrels, Seagulls, "Pests"

Our last post was about Aberystwyth University targeting wildlife - apparently illegally. The inability of humans to coexist with other species is often fought out in this one-sided way. It's the basis of the whole badger persecution issue.

Ceredigion County Council has staff whose responsibilities include killing animals they think of as pests (they sometimes use temporary contractors too). Poisons are used for some species. The Council has no idea how many animals they kill a year (according to an FOI request). For the financial year of 2011-12 the Council spent £168,354 in this area.

Aberystwyth University uses contractors to kill any animals they don't want on their land. They also use poisons, and don't know how many animals they kill (target species or not). For the financial year of 2011-12 the university spent £10,800 on "pest" control.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Aberystwyth University And Herring Gulls

Aberystwyth University has allegedly committed criminal offences by removing the nests and eggs of a protected bird species. The Cambrian News carried this story about disregard for wildlife and the natural environment.

The Cambrian News states:
"It is a criminal offence to “take, damage or destroy a gull’s nest” or “take or destroy their eggs”. Under law, a general licence can be applied for if the actions “preserve or protect public health and safety” or to “protect livestock”, but guidance says, “gulls being a ‘nuisance’ (e.g noise or damage to property) is not a legitimate reason for control.”
Depending on your viewpoint the gulls are a minor nuisance (certainly less of a nuisance than humans are proving to be to their species), or a natural part of living near the sea that we should embrace. It would certainly seem that the university is breaking the law here. It's certainly not the first time they have ignored existing guidance in the area.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Litter in Ceredigion - 4

(Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / others)

Who picks up the litter? In many cases it is you, and me, and lovely volunteers like Aberystwyth Beach Buddies. My experience of trying to get the County Council to collect it goes something like this:

  • Report litter.
  • Do it again when you get no reply.
  • And again.
  • Get an acknowledgement.
  • Discover that the Council only pick up what is on the path or within a few inches of it - everything that has blown under bushes or onto people's gardens or further from the path is ignored (i.e. the majority of the litter), even though it was originally on the path and it is only the Council's delay that led it to being blown elsewhere. [Their wording is: "It is the responsibility of land owners to keep the land in their ownership free of litter. This can include land adjoining paths that the Council maintains and cleans." - which is why the Council avoid picking it up, since they know that an hour later it will blow or be kicked off the path, become an eyesore for pedestrians and a pain for the landowner, but at least it won't be the Council's responsibility.] 
  • Go out with a binbag and pick it all up yourself.