Category Archives: Regulation

Only farming can do this

This kit is on a farm recycling urban wastes to farm land and reducing/avoiding the use of mineral fertilisers. Not so obvious but globally vitally – it is taking Carbon out of the atmosphere and locking it up in soil.

According to World Bank figures, the global production of urban waste is above 2 billion tonnes and rising. My own experience of composting urban wastes suggests that, technically (if the regulators could come to terms with this) maybe 25% of that could be composted and put to farm land, and possibly more if put to forestry land. If the compost contained only 2% of each of N, P and K, then that would be 10 million tonnes of each.  One tonne of N nutrient, made in a modern USA factory, takes 21,000 kWh to make and deliver.  So, or the N alone, that would save the use of 210,000,000 kWh of electrical power generation, most of which comes from burning coal and oil.  Bearing in mind most N production in the world is several times less efficient than in the USA, and that the rest of the figures err on the side of caution, then recycling urban waste by composting to land would save probably around 1 trillion KWh pa and the associated Carbon dioxide production.  .

There is a bonus, crops grown on high organic Carbon soils need less irrigation and less crop protection sprays.  Cereal crop lodge (fall flat) less. Crops yield more. What we need is active, controlled enabling, not ever-increasing suppression and indifference form government.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd. 24 October 18

 

£1.8 trillion National Debt

“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest
Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance.” – Cicero, 55 BC

So, evidently, we’ve learned nothing in the past 2,053 years.

 

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 17 September 18

Fewer nurses and police. More taxes

Will there be a better tomorrow?Only if we can very urgently cut out a big slice of un-productive costs.

Some years ago, I was working for TACIS (the technology transfer arm of the EU) in Tajikistan. The economy had collapsed and my team’s job was to assist in reviving it.  I remember some of the characteristics of that failed economy and draw some ominous comparisons with the UK now. We have increasing crime but have police stations closing on a wide scale.  We have a growing population but not enough nurses and are closing wards in hospitals. We have poor productivity and yet we have a growing civil service.   Yet we pay more taxes, or some of us do.  There was a warning recently from one of the think tanks that the national debt would reach £3 trillion.  That will be around £100 million pa interest, maybe more. I remember the historian, Jane Marshal, observing;

“It is in the history of the world that whenever an empire collapses and for whatever reason, those left in government in the centre pass more and more regulations (or whatever they call them at the time) in the belief that they can stop the decline.  What always happens is that they stifle innovation and inhibit entrepreneurial activity and accelerate the rate of decline.  That is what is happening here (the UK) and now.”

We really do need to urgently axe some layers of government, otherwise the whole lot will go.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd 13 June 18

 

Cultivation destroys organic Nitrogen

“Recreational tillage” soothes the soul but it really does dramatically increase organic mater oxidation and loss. Forcing a tilth with a power harrow is the worst offender.

The problem with forcing a tilth with power harrows, or any other cultivation tools, is that organic matter is oxidised at a rate corresponding to power input. This was first shown by Sarah Wright working at the famous USDA research centre at Beltsville in the USA. It was reinforced by research I did for ICI Plant Protection back in the 70’s and early 80’s; then, a fair guide in most soils was that conventional, high-power-input cultivations would oxidise and lose around 35 % of the humus per annum but direct drilling would limit the losses to around 10%.

There are two results of this loss which are, amongst others, worthy of note in this context.  Firstly, the more organic matter is lost, the greater the cultivation power needed next time around, leading to a declining soil structure, demanding progressively more power in a downward spiral.  Secondly, N losses progressively rise in parallel.  Further, as organic matter level falls, so does water-retaining capability.  This, in turn, allows more soluble N to be leached out.

What Michal Gove needs to do it look at the energy we could save by recycling more to land, using science-based process to encourage it, rather than allowing regulation to progressively restrict it.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd.,12  June 2018

Entrepreneurial Business and Farming after Brexit

This is what happens when people who think they know about “the environment” start making rules about production processes about which they actually know very little.

I was talking to a client today concerning an un-necessary problem in recycling construction waste to farm land. He said, “Am I growing old or is it it getting more common that I meet more people who cause difficulties for no good reason?”

As a matter of experience, I am left in little doubt that, after Brexit, every arm of government and the establishment will not interfere with innovative activity, legal or otherwise, in areas such as electronics, automation, the web, etc, including the City.  They have neither the knowledge, nor the resources to regulate these areas and, therefore, such areas will continue to become progressively illegal and lacking in any sort of ethics other than “honour amongst thieves”. However, the ordinary activities of life including farming will become more and more regulated. The historian, Jane Marshal, was right;

“It is in the history of the world that whenever an empire collapses and for whatever reason, those left in government in the centre pass more and more regulations (or whatever they call them at the time) in the belief that they can stop the decline.  What always happens is that they stifle innovation and inhibit entrepreneurial activity and accelerate the rate of decline.  That is what is happening here (the EU and especially the UK) and now.”

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 7 Feb ‘18

 

 

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

 

2017 – China’s Year of Ending Imports of Rubbish

A very significant proportion of “Blue Bin” recycles have gone to China , attracting PRN’s. Not any more!

China will ban imports of 24 categories of recyclables and solid waste by the end of the year. This campaign against yang laji or “foreign garbage” applies to plastic, textiles and mixed paper and will result in China taking a lot less material as it replaces imported materials with recycled material collected in its own domestic market.

The UK exports rather a lot of these materials to China.  The EU somewhat more. Yet, in the UK at least, the Environment Agency tightens regulation almost by the day, takes months to make decisions and is discussing raising its fees, possibly more than doubling them, and introducing new ones.

It is about time that government, especially the Civil Service, began to realise that their job security and index linked pensions depend on enabling industry to earn profits within a commercial timeframe.  Better to get started before the rubbish mountain ends up in local ditches.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd., 9th November 17