English floods, natural and governmental disaster

This video from England says about itself:

The river Irwell in flood, passing through Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, on 26th December 2015.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Monday, 28 December 2015

Tories’ massive cuts of flood defences and Fire and Rescue Services have led to disaster!

THE Army has been called out in York, Leeds, and parts of Lancashire after flood defences failed. In the case of York the Foss flood barrier was lifted and a part of the city was sacrificed when the River Ouse and River Foss came together to produce a massive flooding of a huge area.

Hundreds of people have now been advised to quit the area with a further 1400 properties under threat from the wall of water. Elsewhere, parts of Manchester – the capital of the north, in the top three of English cities and the would be capital of Osborne’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ – were under fast flowing water.

Environment minister Liz Truss admitted it was ‘right to say’ flood defences had been ‘overwhelmed’.

She should have added that the overwhelming would not have taken place without the assistance of massive government cuts and its austerity programmes that have seen the Department of the Environment decimated and the Fire and Rescue Services slashed to pieces.

Prime Minister, David Cameron, is to visit some of the flood-affected areas, to see the results of his governments savage criminal cuts. FBU EC member for Yorkshire and Humberside Ian Murray told News Line yesterday: ‘Cuts to the fire and rescue service have affected our ability to respond to these extreme conditions.

‘The cuts make it more difficult to respond to the demands of such disasters. The Environment Agency funding has been cut as well. The number of flood defence workers has been cut. As far as we are concerned they should make it a statutory duty to provide adequate funding for the fire and rescue service. That is what we are campaigning for.’

Earlier this month, the GMB, the union for staff at the Environment Agency, commented on a warning from MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee that spending on flood defences at the Environment Agency should not be cut.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer, said: ‘GMB members at the Environment Agency still do not know what day to day spending on maintenance of flood defences from 2016/17 onwards will be. This is apart from the scrapping of hundreds of flood defences due to cuts in spending. As things stand the number of staff who will be available to deal with flooding out of hours is due to fall. There will be a meeting in mid-January 2016 to discuss how many jobs will be cut and where.’

He slammed ‘the foolhardy stupidity of the government cutting spending on the Environment Agency. It is quite simply penny wise and pound foolish to make any cuts that affects any of the Agency’s vital functions, or cuts the jobs of those who carry them out’.

On Saturday, Lancashire bore the brunt of the flooding, along with parts of Yorkshire, areas of Greater Manchester, including Salford, Bolton, Bury, Rochdale and Wigan, were badly affected by flooding, with more than 300 flood-related calls to the fire service in 24 hours.

The Corbyn-led Labour Party has a duty to working people to demand that the Cameron government resign immediately because of the living hell that his government’s cuts have helped to create. The TUC trade unions need to take action to protect the homes and lives of their members and of all working people.

… The health and safety of the population depends on the Tories being kicked out and all of the cuts and closures imposed on waterway services and the Fire and Rescue Services be restored to bring back real flood prevention and a real flood defence programme.

The cash to carry out this essential task can be easily acquired through the nationalisation of the banks and the major industries, and the cancellation of the ‘mutually assured destruction’ Trident Programme, with its £40bn of costs!

Britain is a rich country, but its wealth is in the hands of its ruling class, a tiny handful of the people. Only a workers government that begins with the needs of the majority of the population, not the needs of a gang of the super rich, can put right what is wrong with the UK!

British floods, natural and David Cameron-ite disaster

This video from England is called Elland Bridge Flood, Calderdale, West Yorkshire 26/12/2015.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

UK flooding: Government rejected warnings of high flood risk from own advisers

Decision not to develop comprehensive strategy to address flood risk came just a few weeks before flooding in Cumbria

From England: Calderdale flood victims survey the damage: ‘I can’t go through this again’. Homes, pubs and other businesses, many left uninsurable by previous flooding, have been ruined by the rampaging river Calder: here.

Good Dartford warbler news from England

This video says about itself:

Dartford Warbler – Curruca undata

Kruibeke – Belgium

9 December 2015

Only the 11th record for Belgium.

Diagnostic call just before flying away.

From the Thames Basin Heaths Partnership in England on Twitter today:

Dartford warbler numbers are good across the #ThamesBasinHeaths. 47 pairs in 2011 to 451 in 2015!

Second day of Christmas, British turtle doves

This video, recorded in France, is called European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur).

From BirdLife:

Second day of Christmas brings Turtle-doves to CEMEX quarries in the UK

By Shaun Hurrell, Tue, 22/12/2015 – 10:54

The second day of Christmas is December 26 and, as most carolers know, that’s the day a true love will give the gift of two Turtle-doves. This year, a joint effort between CEMEX in the UK, Spain and in France along with BirdLife national Partners in a project to create much-needed nesting habitat along the bird’s flyway have achieved one better: three juvenile European Turtle-dove Streptopelia turtur have been observed at CEMEX quarries in the UK this year.

Sadly, the Turtle-dove was up-listed to Vulnerable globally in 2015 on the IUCN Red List by BirdLife (the Red List authority for birds). Nationally, their UK population is currently halving in number every six years making the Turtle-dove the UK’s fastest declining bird.

Knowing that there is a very real chance the Turtle-dove could be lost from the UK in the near future, in 2014 CEMEX and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB, BirdLife in the UK) embarked on a 3-year pilot conservation project at CEMEX quarries in central England.

This is supporting the work of Operation Turtle Dove – a partnership between the RSPB, Conservation Grade, Pensthorpe Conservation Trust, and Natural England. Together, they are identifying the primary causes of the decline, developing and delivering practical solutions for the species.

Though there are many factors thought to be behind the declines, the main contributor is thought to be the loss of suitable habitat and associated food shortages in their breeding grounds. With that in mind, the initial project involved growing a special flower mix on four of the quarries to provide the birds’ ideal food, complemented by the creation of suitable nesting habitat.

Unlike other UK dove species, Turtle-doves rely upon seeds for food. Changes in farming practices have led to field margins and hedges, once rich with seed-bearing plants, being replaced by commercial crops – offering very few of the small seeds that they need. CEMEX quarries have the potential to support this threatened bird.

Now in the second year of the conservation project, CEMEX have sowed the special seed mix at a fifth UK quarry and are surveying a total of ten CEMEX quarries in the UK twice each breeding season, using CEMEX staff and local volunteers.

We are delighted to report that Turtle-doves have been found at two of these quarries, including three juveniles, so it is very likely that they were born on a CEMEX site this year.

With support from RSPB’s conservation scientists, the intervention will be assessed to determine the effectiveness.

Rob Doody, CEMEX’s Director for Aggregate Operations, CEMEX UK said “This project is so important in saving this iconic bird. It highlights the positive impact that we can make on the natural world. The balance between the natural and built environment is a delicate one which must be preserved not only for nature but future generations.”

Across borders

“Turtle-dove is a migratory species, so it is important that its conservation is continued along its flyway”, said Richard Grimmett, Director of Conservation, BirdLife International.“Many CEMEX quarries fall along the Turtle-dove’s western European migration corridor and have the potential to support this threatened bird.”

“This is the first project of its kind, working to save a globally threatened species on quarry operations across borders through multiple local collaborations.”

Encouraged by the success so far, CEMEX France has launched a pilot site at their Bouafles quarry. Here, actions scheduled to begin in 2016 include maintaining and creating dense hedges using local tree species. They will also fence-off certain areas accessible to the public so that the birds are not disturbed during the breeding season. Furthermore, they plan to devote plots to extensive cultivation favorable to Turtle-dove, using plants such as Arnoseris minima which grows well on the quarry’s sandy free-draining substrate.

In Spain, at Soto Pajares quarry where the CEMEX-BirdLife partnership are piloting a Biodiversity Action Plan, SEO/BirdLife (BirdLife in Spain) is working closely with CEMEX Spain to complete the conservation jigsaw across the birds’ Western-most migratory flyway.

Should the project prove successful, the project could be used as a best practice to scale up with other operators, right across the western European flyway – across potentially thousands of sites, helping to ensure Turtle-dove are not lost to extinction, nor from Christmas folklore.

“After all, what would the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ be without two Turtle-doves!” said Rob.

The classic carol The 12 Days of Christmas always brings birds to mind during the holiday season, but how do the lyrics actually match up in a birding sense? While there are many different interpretations of the song – even some lyrics have changed slightly with different languages or versions – it is always a bird-friendly tune to celebrate the holidays: here.

British nazi convicted

This satiric music video from Britain says about itself:

Joshua Bonehill – Gangnam Style!!

13 August 2015

A little video, made via JibJab, with the wannabe British Führer doing the Gangnam Style

Joshua Bonehill-Paine is a member of the British Nazi … oops … ‘National’ Party.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Neonazi guilty of inciting racism

Thursday 17th December 2015

CRIME: Neonazi Joshua Bonehill-Paine was convicted yesterday of inciting racial hatred after he published an anti-semitic picture ahead of an abortive “anti-Jewification” rally in north London.

The 22-year-old, from Yeovil in Somerset, was described in Southwark Crown Court as “an extremist” who expressed “virulently racist views” against Jewish people.

The junior fascist was arrested in July before the rally scheduled to take place in Golders Green, home to a large Jewish community. He will be sentenced at a later date.