Category Archives: Regulation

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

 

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

 

 

Farming; Adding Safety as Value

 

 

Bread from Morrisons. Yes, the UK does produce the safest food in the world. Here, the rules are more sophisticated and better policed than anywhere else.

The whole of agricultural policy following two world wars, was food security and “food” was identified as farm crops as harvested. . While we forget that lesson at our peril, we now have to think in terms of Adding Value.  Doing that by taking a harvested crop (such as vegetables) and processing and packaging them is certainly a step in the right direction.  However, there is another way of looking at Adding Value and that is at an industry level for the national economy. One of the most important ways we can do that is to accept, co-operate with and seek to influence and re-direct regulation and regulators to deliver what is, and should be recognised as already the case, the safest food in the world.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd.,  26 April 2017

Click here for Survival