Sunday, December 11, 2016

King of the Road?

High Bond End is a lovely walled medieval road winding up out of town. One can imagine horses and carts trudging up the hill…  but I took a long hard look at it  recently due to the death there of  Arthur, our cat,  and was appalled at the dangers inherent in it– particularly for pedestrians.  That stretch of road  is  extremely narrow, and like a helter skelter which forces walkers to cross at the most dangerous part because the already miniscule pavement disappears.    There are many walkers,  including  parents with small children moving between town and their homes up the Ripley Road. 

Our lives are more and more dominated by traffic.  The road can’t be changed, but the regulations for it can.  It should have a lower speed and weight limit which should be enforced with cameras before there are more casualties.    Are we happy with the assumption that  (ever larger) motor vehicles are ‘king of the road’?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Blogging has been on backburner due to so many mayoral activities, but here's a start of a catch up...Just found this pic of our supper with the local scouts at their camp this taken by one of the pack.  Lovely evening with exploration of the woods, campfire, games and nourishing stew - great fun!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Action on air quality - Knaresborough 24.9.16

Excellent response from residents.  This is clearly a deeply felt issue.  Lots of changes could be made but no political will evident.  Sadly, Conservative policy favours vehicles over people.

Knaresborough's Place in the World 17.9.16

We were delighted by the support for this event - about 100 participants discussed where we should  be setting our sights after an inspiring talk from Prof Gouldson.   School staff supported us and a delicious vegan lunch was provided by Ryan, the school chef.  These pics were taken by one of the students.

Knaresborough in Bloom Awards 16.9.16

Summer images - Devon

Devon in summer, sedum roofs in Tavistock

Owl in old cherry tree

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fracking : North Yorkshire Council

Here's what I said to the NYCC planning committee at Northallerton last Friday:

‘ I live in Knaresborough, but I’m speaking to pass on the views of the many people in Boroughbridge  with whom I spoke whilst standing as a Green candidate for Harrogate Borough Council before the election earlier this month.   The vast majority of those I spoke with are against fracking.  It’s clear that if the precautionary principle were to be adhered to, the risks are far too high to go ahead, since cleaning up a contaminated underground water system is impossible when the chemicals used for fracking are carcinogenic at parts per billion

To say we can trust regulation in the UK is laughable: I attended the Minerals and Waste Action Plan Joint Health and Transport scrutiny meeting here on January 22nd where elected members questioned the agencies responsible for regulation of fracking – agencies such as the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, and Yorkshire Water.   What was completely clear at that meeting was that the ‘responsible agencies’ were not at all confident that they could regulate this secretive, dangerous, deep and dirty industry.  Those ‘responsible agencies’  have been severely cut and do not have the capacity or scope to do the job of regulation – especially when they would be under immense pressure from a government determined to frack Yorkshire. 

The image that came to my mind was of rabbits in the headlights – each pointing at the others – passing the buck.  So much for much-vaunted regulation! ‘

To see the film of this speech go to

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mouse asleep in flower

This squeaks for itself...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

London South Bank Uni Alumna of the Month!

Alumna of the month – March 2016

Shan Oakes
MSc Education for Sustainability, 2007

Robert Humphreys
Shan Oakes campaigns tirelessly for the Green Party on issues of social and ecological justice. She also runs an eco-holiday house in York which promotes sustainable living.

“I first became worried about human effects on the planet when I was 8 years old and read about animal extinctions.”

Shan went into teaching to help children understand their environment and what they could do about it. She progressed onto roles in Local Education Authorities and then moved to Uganda with her husband who was working with a University in Kampala. Whilst living abroad, Shan collaborated with the Forum of Education NGOs, ActionAid Uganda and the Department for International Development.

Living in Uganda exposed her to the limits of the UK education system, so she co-founded Voice International which challenges the western model of education. Shan decided to enrol on the MSc Education for Sustainability to triangulate her conclusions with those of her peers: “The course validated my experience in East Africa, where there was no refuse collection and intermittent power and water supplies.” 

Moving into politics allowed Shan to address wider sustainability issues more directly: “I have been a European, parliamentary and local candidate for the Green Party. I do a lot of campaigning, petitioning and speaking in schools with a focus on the big issues like climate change, globalisation and resource depletion.” 

As an active campaigner, Shan recommends that students follow their heart and put their efforts into their passions: “Money is useful, but only in moderation. If we all decided to work towards a better world, we would get there.”

Developed in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Oxfam and the EU, the MSc Education for Sustainability draws on the expertise of environmental and development NGOs as well as academic and educational communities. It provides personal and professional development for anyone involved in communicating sustainability, whatever the context.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Canvassing in Boroughbridge today

You have to like people to be a politician!  Most people are very polite and friendly but one or two can be a bit of a challenge, especially if they say they don't mind fracking or removing support from people with disabilities...Anyway,  two people said they had enjoyed getting stuff off their chests, so I felt I'd been of some use... The very worst experience of today was the elderly woman who opened her door, heard I was standing for the Green Party, refused my leaflet and one on fracking and said, "I'm a conservative" as she closed it in my face.  Refusal to engage at all gets me close to tears