My letter to the Chief Exec of Cumbria County Council re hedge netting mistake.
Dear Ms Fairclough
I spoke to Kirsty in your office yesterday about three areas of hedge netting I had come across at Gurnal Bridge in South Cumbria. You may well be aware that the practice of hedge and tree netting by developers has featured widely in the press this season; living as we do in a time of biodiversity crisis, it is untenable to deploy nets unless there are absolutely compelling reasons to do so.
I have spoken to CCC’s representative David Lang, who is managing the new road scheme and other interventions after Storm Desmond. After a long and fruitfrul discussion, David admitted that in this case, mistakes have been made and that, with hindsight, and given how late it is now in the bird breeding season and with the understanding that in those locations, no birds will have been able to breed for this year, then the netting should not have been used.
I am really grateful to David for his frank admission. I think though, that this issue begs the question of whether Cumbria need to re-think this particular anti-wildlife strategy. I would though, much prefer there to be a positive outcome from the saga, and therefore propose a meeting with heads of Highways, Environment Agency and any other bodies who have the responsibility for considering the use of netting against birds. The issue is bigger and wider than for example, environmental consultants used by the council are capable of incorporating into their usual working practices, (as proved by the Gurnal Bridge case,) and in terms of the current model of development strategy. I therefore suggest that CCC becomes a leader in proving their commitment to environmental responsibility.
I look forward to hearing from you.
The Ark of Lost Things project
Funded by Arts Council England, writer Karen Lloyd and Florence and Edward Acland of Sprint Mill, Burneside, worked in partnership with The Wordsworth Trust, Lakeland Arts Trust and Space2Create mental health group. Three local schools were also invited to participate, funded separately by The Earnest Cook Trust; The Lakes School, (Year 9), Ghyllside Primary, (Year 6) and Queen Katherine School, (Year 10.)
Taking a large and eclectic number of objects from the Sprint Mill collection with us, participants were invited to make assemblages from a selection of objects. By the nature of the activity, the resulting images are ephemeral; they are all dismantled again once they have been photographed. People are asked to think about ideas that surface during the making process, and to develop these into poetry as their personal response.
The project came about after Karen visited Sprint Mill during an open event. Over the following months she began to think about the possibility of working with the Acland family to tell the story of the mill, but also to make statements about our throw –away culture, and the value that can be found in objects with which we may have lost our sense of connection. The project title came about through a conversation with Edward at the Sprint Mill kitchen table.
Working with the very wonderful and creative Ghyllside Primary School Year 6 once again, Flo and I had a wonderful morning working with both class groups to create assemblages from Sprint Mill objects. Students worked in small groups, very dynamic (as they always are,) collaborating on assemblages and making poetry stories from the resulting images.