2016: May 30 – rally at Druridge Bay

At today’s protest at Druridge Bay the main speaker was Bill Oddie of BBC ‘Springwatch’ fame and of course from the ‘Goodies’ comedy series of many years ago. He is pictured in the middle. He made a very good speech arguing that the land targeted by Banks for open cast coal mining should instead to be used to link up the various nature reserves on the Bay to create one big protected area (a bit like the North Norfolk coast). Basically one landowner is selling out to Banks when it should be acquired for the sustainable common good.
Andrew Cooper (on the right) from the Yorkshire and Humberside region of the Green Party also spoke from the platform. He pointed out that a proper national planning policy framework would make it impossible for such ruinous applications even to come forward.
On the left is NE Green Party regional organiser Shirley Ford and next to her is Dave Herbert, a very knowledgeable campaigner in the field of fossil fuels. Shirley made a speech that drew attention to another threat, that from offshore underground coal gasification.
Bill Oddie has a reputation for being somewhat grumpy. To be fair, he let lots of people have their photographs taken with him. It must be a bit tedious but he did in in good spirit, though not always smiling.
From left: Shirley Ford, David Herbert. Bill Oddie, me and Andrew Cooper

2016: June 08 – Speech at East Boldon public meeting

On Wednesday night, I spoke at a meeting of ‘Keep Boldon Green’ at a church hall in East Boldon, a village NW of Sunderland but actually in South Tyneside. Four local women organised the meeting in a rush and due to their efforts well over 200 local people turned up for a packed meeting. It was a big success and the organisers deserve a mighty vote of thanks.

Yet again more greenfield sites are at risk from the tide of concrete, brick and tarmac. The village will be swamped and vital farmland and wildlife habitat lost. The crisis is not particular threats such as that in East Boldon, bad though they are. It is also the fact all councils are pushing the same growth just about everywhere.

South Tyneside council alone is pushing plans that effectively reduce green spaces between it and Sunderland to mere postage stamp sized parcels. Wildlife cannot survive in such tiny fragmented pockets. We will also need all the farmland we’ve got in the even more overpopulated and increasingly climate-stressed world of years to come. Growth is indeed the ideology of the cancer cell. If the developers get their way now, they will only come back for more later. That is the logic of growth and why it must be resisted.

Towards the end of the meeting, a young dapper and newly elected Labour councillor asked to speak. He said that he “fully shared the concerns” expressed by local residents. I noticed that he carefully avoided saying that he would resit the proposals tooth and nail. The other Labour councillor just sat there saying nothing. I do not know which is worse. Typical!

Sandy Irvine's photo.
"This is me speaking"