Letters to the Editor August 2023

Date:

Laura editor of the BV Magazine
Laura editor of the BV Magazine

We’ll barely have time to celebrate the fact that The BV turns three this month (THREE YEARS! How is that possible?) – we have a packed few weeks ahead. As I write we’re just ten days away from the second Clayesmore Classic & Supercar Sunday, which is swiftly followed by the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show. If you’re going (and obviously you should if you can!) do come and say hello if you spot us around the showground. I promise we’re friendly and we’d love it if you did! Straight afterwards we’ll be looking ahead at the Dorset County Show, and of course rolling swiftly into our September issue before we can blink, as well as the Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival and squeezing in a trip to London for another awards ceremony … and then we just might go find somewhere quiet for a very loo-o-onng nap.
(and no we are NOT going to discuss the fact that I have seen two high street chains appear in my social media feed this week with Christmas trees up and decorations for sale in store).
However, you’ll never find us complaining about a busy month (well, not often – I admit I’m not a total ray of sunshine when running on too little sleep and too much caffeine). Though we’ve lived here for more than 30 years, the last three spent running The BV has allowed us to see like never before the rich tapestry of Dorset. We’ve had the privilege of getting to know so many of you, and every issue reveals more of the resilience and character, the strength, the goodwill, and the sheer talent that defines our local businesses and communities.
Contrary to popular perception, we locals know that Dorset is so much more than some beautiful beaches and a famous cobbled hill. It’s a beautiful hub of innovation, creativity, and determination. The awards we’ve won this year have been a welcome nod to our efforts over the last three years, of course, but the real reward lies in knowing that thousands of people appreciate what we do.
We feel we’ve grown not just as a publication but as a part of the community. We’re committed to supporting local, sharing stories that matter, and being a voice for Dorset. Thanks for sticking with us.


French housing plan
Now we seem to have got to the stage where houses can be built in a council’s area even when all the council and residents object.Perhaps we should take a lesson from some French towns. There, the council buy some appropriate land, put in the road and facilities and then grant individual permission to residents to build on the plots as and when the council see fit. Stops this wholesale development by big building firms just out to make a huge buck regardless of what the locals want.
Roger Tatler, Gillingham


Save the planet!
It is a phrase used everywhere we look. I am not an activist nor an eco-campaigner and I am not about to start superglueing myself to the M25 or London Waterloo express train.
I do believe that we should all try and do our bit, relative to our means and circumstance. Maybe then we can save our grandchildren and great grandchildren from the perilous fate that looms ahead.
For our ‘bit’ we have swapped our diesel cars for electric ones since 2016. We have spent the last 11 years making our home more energy efficient, as time and resources allowed.
Our house has moved from an EPC rating of D in 2012 to A in 2022 – for a 1980s built detached house, this is no mean feat!
We have insulated under the floors, added more loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, fitted A+ rated double glazing and doors. We had 4KW PV installed in 2012 and wherever possible replaced older inefficient appliances with A+++ rated new ones. For the last year we ran the whole house 24/7 from either solar power or off-peak electricity (pulled in overnight at a fifth of the price).
This year we have had an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) installed, and added a second Powerwall to further support the running of the ASHP.
We are adding to our solar system to try and reduce our pull on the grid some more.
This should mean that we were able to export a lot more green solar-generated electricity back to the grid, helping everyone else reduce their carbon footprint too. However, our energy distribution network operator SSEN have put a stop to that – we were granted permission to install the extra panels on condition that the installers block our ability to export any electricity to the grid from them!
The excess green electricity we generate from the new system will now be grounded to earth and lost, whilst somebody somewhere burns more oil, gas and coal to generate dirty electricity to keep up with demand.
It is high time that pressure from the government was put on the likes of SSEN to up their game and upgrade the energy networks urgently so they are fit for the future that is fast approaching.
Ian Tattersall, Gillingham


On Simon Hoare
We are watching wildfires ravaging parts of Europe yet again, as well as unmanageable temperatures in the USA, China and the global south. Clearly ever-accelerating indicators show that the world is now on the cusp of a number of tipping points which will make runaway climate change inevitable. Recent research suggests the gulf stream may collapse as early as 2025 with catastrophic results.
Professor Sir Robert Watson was clear on the Today Programme last week – he thinks 1.5 as a goal is becoming unreachable due to lack of political will, and states that in this country the measures to ensure we reach our commitments to the Paris agreement aren’t there in any shape or form.
Lord Deben of the UKCCC (until recently) stated our government was setting ‘the worst kind of example to the rest of the world’ compared to other countries who are really moving on green solutions rather than empty pledges while actively supporting new oil and coal initiatives.
This week, Rishi Sunak has clearly shown that, rather than creating opportunities for people across the UK to mitigate the seriousness of the situation we are facing, he prefers to fabricate an anti-green mantra to bolster an election campaign.
I therefore find Simon Hoare’s statement (The BV, Jul 23)‘Confidence in the commitment of the government to achieve progress cannot be in serious question.’ extremely surprising.
It is at complete odds with anything these eminent climate scientists are saying – and the actions of his government.
Karen Wimhurst, Shaftesbury


The solar farm
Dorset Council Strategic Planning Committee have approved plans for a 188 acre Solar development, stretching for 1 mile from north east to south west, on a site between Mappowder, Pulham, Kings Stag and Hazelbury Bryan.
Scant consideration was given to local residents’ very real concerns that existing high levels of flooding would be exacerbated by concentrated run off from panels creating runnels which would increase water levels quickly and cause flash floods. The area is already in a flood zone and the ground saturates for about six months of the year. The applicants have failed to provide adequate infiltration tests of the site or confirm the number of panels planned so it is currently impossible to calculate the risk. The Committee appeared to be more concerned with the relocation of crested newts or whether or not sheep would be grazed under the panels.
At one point debate surrounded the issue of potential fire in battery storage areas; objectors and observers were surprised that Planning and Flood Officers did not point out that there is in fact no battery storage planned in the application under consideration.
Landscape Officers’ and the AONB’s concerns that significant damage would be caused to views from the Bulbarrow ridge were brushed aside with the comment that the panels would have a non reflective coating.
Significantly neither the Landscape nor Heritage officers were present and the AONB was not represented.
Some will respond that the climate emergency means that renewable energy must trump every other consideration but is this acceptable when giant solar plants destroy cherished views, fence wildlife out of their usual habitat, take good farmland out of production at a time of food insecurity and risk lives and livelihoods due to exacerbated flooding?
National and Dorset Planning policy states clearly that environmental damage must not be disregarded during the move to low carbon energy generation but in this case, elements of policy have been ignored. My personal view is that if larger than about 60 acres, these plants should be located close to motorways or other semi industrial areas where the landscape, habitat and tranquillity is already blighted.
Subsidies should be offered to industry and agriculture to cover suitable roofs with solar panels. Taking into account their enthusiasm to cover unspoiled country with industrial panels, it is also surprising that Dorset Council do not insist on solar panels and water butts to be standard with every new dwelling and encourage farms and businesses to install panels on their buildings.
Catherine Langham, by email


The Pet of the Month Facebook post was once again a happy parade of good pets. Would you like your pet to be featured?
Share them on Facebook or send an email to photos@bvmagazine.co.uk.
Please be sure to include your pet’s name, age, and a couple of fun details about them.

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