Category Archives: Environment

Land, energy and urban wastes

The USAF cemetry at Maddingly, Cambridge UK. What kind of world are we handing on to our children?

Globally, we are on the edge of a renewable energy revolution. It is not that we did not have the technology, what is different is that the technology, bit by bit, is becoming economic.  This bodes well for the human race.  However, there is a problem in that much of the economically attractive solutions, especially solar panels, need land. There is a problem with land – they have stopped making it. So we need to use alternatives including never making a roof out of tiles or inactive sheet and, instead, making it of solar panels. We need the land to produce food, fibres and timber – but in a different way.  Instead of using mineral Nitrogen which costs at least 21,000 kWh per tonne of N to deliver, we need to feed those crops on urban wastes. It has been done and can be scaled up safely. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01H63EQX0/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Nest discussion on this blog; Farming off-grid

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, December 17

Re-structure Regulation Please

Cuttings from HDD (through chalk can be used mas agricultural lime, saving many tonne-truck miles.

An “environmental commission-like-body” is needed to replace the role of the European Commission and the European Court of Justice in enforcing environmental law post-Brexit, says Environment Secretary Michael Gove.   I have recently sent a few hundred tonnes of excavated chalk to landfill because the circumstances did not fit the current interpretation of the regulations.  We really do not need any more regulators.  Maybe Brexit is a real opportunity to re-structure the regulation we have got to raise productivity within a framework of environmental care.  We could use CL:AIRE.  Look it up.  Credit to DEFRA.

 

Bill Butterworth, Land research Ltd, 29 November 17

 

5th November – Remember, Remember

Look carefully! The cardboard replica of the Houses of Parliament is backed up by an enormous pile of firewood. Moments after this picture was taken, the whole lot went up in fire and smoke.

Put on one side for a moment the shenanigans of MPs in the Palace of Westminster and elsewhere.  Frankly, apart from a bad example to our kids, they are largely irrelevant. There is more reason to ask why the productivity of the UK lags so far behind other nations. The mechanics of Westminster, however, the Civil Service, is so hell-bent on not making mistakes that their not-science-based development of more and more regulations stifles innovation and entrepreneurial activity. We have lost the art of safe enabling. It is not the Palace of Westminster we need to burn, it is all the regulations and start again with an objective of enough, and only enough,regulation to innovate and produce – safely.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd 5 November 2017

 

 

water-supply-irrigation-direct drilling

If it is like this on top, what is it like deep down? Much of the crps in the South east and East Anglia depend on extraction from rivers and boreholes. there really is a question of how long this can be sustained.

On 24 August 2017m the Water Resources Institute published a piece on their website looking at “7 Reasons We’re Facing a Global Water Crisis” in a piece written by Leah Schleifer.  With credit to them, I try here to relate those lessons to British farming and maybe farming elsewhere in developed counties that do not really think water may be a significant economic problem sooner rather than later.

 

Reason 3. Groundwater Is Being Depleted.

About 30 percent of Earth’s fresh water lies deep underground in aquifers.

The south east of England is an area of particular concern. It is a highly populated area with relatively low annual rainfall. As a result, the supply of water in the south east of England is limited. Some parts have less usable water per person than countries such as Syria.  Generally, the water level in the aquifers in the chalk areas of the UK are experiencing falling.   The falling level of water near our bore-holes is not going to be helped by more rainfall because high intensity rain tends to run off into the rivers and to sea.

Conservation farming action;

  1. Increase soil organic matter and reduce cultivations.
  2. Trees are a mixed water-blessing; they will reduce water run-off and reduce flash-flooding lower down, and they will respire around 50 % more than a cereal crop.
  3. Look for crops that need less water or are deep-rooted (such as forage maize instead of grass).

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd.,  September 17

 

UN 4p000 Farmed Soil as a Carbon Sink

 

When Vermuyden drained the fens, it created some of the most fertile soils in the world. Some were more than 10 m deep. This cam be mimicked using composted urban wastes.

The UN has a target of raising the organic Carbon content of soils by 4 parts per thousand in order to offset atmospheric Carbon dioxide growth and global warming.

In a short report in “The Auger” (one of the journals of the British Society of Soil Science) the work of Johnson A E, et al. in The European Journal of Soil Science concluding that, using crop production with mineral fertilisers and Nitrogen from legumes, such a target probably could not be achieved.

They have much greater knowledge than I and my limited knowledge would concur with that view.  However, fertilising crops based on composting urban wastes could easily achieve, and surpass that target. It has been done.  See https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reversing-Global-Warming-Profit-environmentally/dp/1904312810

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd

Farm land and contraception

 

We are loosing thousands of ha of farm land. every year. Setting up wetlands is very nice but “we have a problem, Huston”.

 

If I have remembered it rightly, the BBC in their Western News program on BBC1, 27 June 17, reported that the Environment Agency had, with assistance, spent £20 million deliberately flooded this area of Steart Marshes which had previously been farm land. The Wildlife and Wetlands Trust claim, “Hundreds of hectares of saltmarsh and freshwater wetlands buffer homes and businesses from rising sea levels ….”

Put on one side for a moment that a few generations of farmers had spent their lives winning the area from the sea and produced food. Also put aside the fact that most of the global population does not have enough to eat. Now look at the following report.

 

A satellite survey by a research team at the University of Leicester (UofL) found that between 2006 and 2012, 22,000 hectares (54,ooo acres) of green space was converted to “artificial surfaces” – mostly housing. More than 7,000 hectares of forest was felled, 14,000 hectares of farmland concreted ……..to make way for urban sprawl. That’s a landscape twice the size of Liverpool, transformed forever, in just six years.

 

Now add in that because of recent news, many people might think twice about living in a tower block.

 

There is a real crisis here about land, wild life and people.  We really do have to choose before nature does it for us.  The choice is simple.  Build sea walls. Stop people breeding. Think about it.

 

Bill Butterworth

Land Research Ltd

27 June 2017

Je suis le Roi de la mairde

 

A normal pond? Not quire – note the white colouration of the water, This is spent drilling fluid from drilling through chalk to bring cables off the North Sea wind farms.

 

 

The attached below link is to the Dutch drilling company, VSH website. The pictures (scroll down a bit) are of the drilling operation bringing cables off the North Sea wind farms to the site at Holt in North Norfolk.  This brings renewable energy to the UK consumers.  What Land Research does is to take the cuttings and spent fluids from such operations and re-use them, usually on agricultural land to replace the 2.5 million tonnes of top soil which the UK loses by wind and rain erosion, down into the sea, every year. Renewable energy with zero waste from such construction operations.

http://www.vshanabdrilling.com/en/projects/detail/landfalls-for-the-dudgeon-offshore-wind-farm.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 22 June 17