News and other Busyness
All 'Briefs' from Squall 15 in one handy place
Squall 15, Summer 1997, pp. 7-10.
Lobsters recording radioactivity levels 14 times above the safe maximum set by Europe are being caught and eaten along the Cumbrian coast.
The radioactivity is thought to stem from Sellafield discharges and has been recorded as far away as Dublin Bay and Scotland’s Solway Firth.
The waste registered in the shellfish lasts 100,000 years before beginning to decay.
Organic food production in Britain is being undermined because it receives no financial help from the Government, the Commons Select Committee on Agriculture said in April.
Organic farmers in Europe receive massive subsidies, the committee said, as do non-organic farmers in Britain, leaving British organic farmers unable to compete.
The committee, made up of MPs from all parties, said organic farmers should receive aid from the Ministry of Agriculture and farmers should be encouraged to convert to organic production.
Road Traffic Dilution
Targets to reduce road traffic must be set by local councils after the Road Traffic Reduction Act was passed by Parliament in February.
The Act, jointly sponsored by the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats, is intended to encourage cycling and walking.
But the Green Party say it was only passed after being ‘watered down’.
Ex-Guinness Chair Evicted
Guinness fraudster Ernest Saunders was evicted from the US by immigration officials in April while visiting the HQ of his new firm Harpur-Gelco.
Saunders was appointed chairman of the information group after making a remarkable recovery from Alzheimer’s disease which secured his early release from jail.
But his conviction for fraud, after claiming £1.5 million legal aid, means he cannot visit America.
Solar Power Loses To Oil
More money is spent by the British Government on promoting the oil industry than on researching solar power, according to Greenpeace activists.
The claim was made after Greenpeace gave the Department of the Environment an unexpected Valentine’s Day present - a 20-square metre facade of solar panels for its new building in South London that has no existing means of generating clean power.
National Trust Deny Buy-off
The National Trust has denied its opposition to Manchester Airport’s second runway was bought off with a land and benefits deal worth £75,000.
The Trust will receive 100 acres of the Bollin Valley worth £400,000, and financial aid for other properties from the airport, but maintain they still oppose the scheme.
Jeff Gazzard of the Manchester Airport Environment Network commented: "This is a very convenient package with which it [the National Trust] has been mollified. Would that such a deal were available to everyone whose lives will be affected and property blighted."
EIGHT PEOPLE protesting against plans to fell ancient oak trees for timber sale at Pressmennan Wood in East Lothian were arrested in April under the 1865 Trespass (Scotland) Act, even though their camp was on neglected land many locals believed to be common land before the protest began.
The 1865 trespass law was originally used to prevent dispossessed crofters re-occupying their land during the nineteenth century highland clearances. It could, in theory, be used against any hillwalker camping overnight without permission.
The campaign to defend the eight has been backed by the Scottish Council for Civil Liberties and Unison.
Bishop Warns Of Violence
A RETIRED bishop warned in March of civil unrest because one third of the population is marginalised.
Rt Rev Peter Hall, former Bishop of Woolwich and founder member of the Forgotten 30 Per Cent Group, said that unless society included the marginalised it would have to “keep them where they are by force”.
Mad Cows Decimate Deer
WILD deer are being “decimated” to cope with a 30 per cent jump in demand for venison since the mad cow disease scare, say the League Against Cruel Sports.
The League has recorded a 15 per cent drop in the deer population in Exmoor and a 35 per cent drop on the neighbouring Quantock Hills.
No Moor Shooting
two hundred years of shooting on
Bradford Council’s llkley Moor ended in February following a long campaign by conservationists and anti-blood sports lobbyists.
The Labour authority voted to forfeit the £8,000 a year it received from a local syndicate which killed 300 birds a year.
excessive levels of pesticides in apples and peaches have prompted the British Government to call for a review of international pesticide standards. Health and consumer experts recommend extra caution in peeling and washing fruit for young children - the group most at risk from pesticide residues.
Social Housing Goes Private
SOCIAL housing with security of tenure is to be phased out with the introduction of “Housing Corporations” from this year.
Estate residents are being offered the necessary millions of pounds to repair their estates if they vote to join a housing corporation - managed by the council, housing association and a residents’ body.
FIFTY TWO per cent of Britons said they would not happily eat genetically modified food in a December poll.
Mutant maize is specially designed to resist pests, herbicides and antibiotics.
A Greenpeace spokesperson said: “The approval of this product continues despite consumer resistance. It is presumed safe, but nobody knows what could be long-term toxic side-effects.”
Tobacco and fat world’s biggest killers, says WHO
The World Health Organisation has called for an “intensified and sustained” campaign to encourage healthier lifestyles, after forecasting a dramatic increase in cancer and heart disease in the next 25 years.
A report published in May identified the increasing tendency towards high-fat diets and smoking as a major factor in future disease.
Tobacco-related deaths, primarily from lung cancer and circulatory disease, amount to three million a year, six per cent of the world’s total deaths.
Travellers Paid To Stay Away
TRAVELLERS living under Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol were paid £3,000 to temporarily vacate the site for a firework celebration in May.
Around 100,000 people attended the 500th anniversary of the first voyage to colonise Newfoundland.
Alco-shakes Aimed At Children
HEALTH experts greeted the introduction of alcoholic milkshakes by an Australian brewery in April with outrage, saying they could only be targetted at children.
Strawberry and banana flavoured drinks, which will be available throughout the country by the summer, follow hot on the heels of the £265 million a year success of "alcopops".
Sales of alcoholic lemonade such as Hooch and Two Dogs are expected to reach £400 million this year - becoming the fastest selling drink of all time.
Referring to Speciality Beverages' alcoshakes, called Moo, Dr Bill O'Neill, of the British Medical Association, said: "Who can this drink be aimed at if not at children?"