Tag Archives: freedom

“From our Own Resources”

We are loosing land, thousands of acres every year. We produce the safest arable products in the world.

We are losing dairy herds at a dramatic rate and importing milk. Less safe milk!

I hear the talk about “environment” and “countryside” on one side, on the other I hear talk of “productivity”.  Farming remains Britain’s biggest industry and farm production remains a fundamental component of the national economy.  If, for the sake of political correctness, the Environment Secretary ignores, or otherwise takes the emphasis off farm production, he does so at the peril of the national economy.  Where is common sense?  Where is the national vision?  Some will remember a White Paper from Peter Walker, Minister of Agriculture; “From our Own Resources”. What on earth has gone wrong with this nation?  Where is the vision of production and growth? Where is the statesman who can drive production up so that we can afford the NHS?  Without productivity, we are nothing.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd,  April 18

Fracking common sense

sunset Lancs

I watch the sunset on the old country and wonder if we have the will to move on and forward.

Bill Butterworth on fracking Lancashire

7 July 15

  • Solution to “Unacceptable noise levels”
  • Getting trucks off the road
  • Imaginary “Adverse urbanising effect”
  • The way forward

I worry about the word “integrity”. Difficult to define exactly but it certainly involves honesty.  Can that word, “integrity” be applied to the avoidance action by the Planning Committee of the Lancashire County Council (LCC) when it recently rejected the application by Cuadrilla to start commercial fracking on the grounds of “unacceptable noise impact” and the “adverse urbanising effect on the landscape”.

To be fair, it depends.

Certainly, all drilling activity involves some heavy equipment and that creates noise.  But no more than many other wealth-creating industrial activities.  Further, the main noise is developed during the development of the site and it is not long term.

Some of that noise is produced by road trucks delivering equipment to the site.  Again, that is short term.  However, there is a choice as far as much of the long term trucking is concerned.  I once calculated on the basis of some industry-produced figures (which may or may not be still relevant) that removal of the cuttings and spent fluids from drilling operations could involve very large amount of trucks on the road.  However, the use of British technology allows the environmentally beneficial spreading of these materials on proximity farm land. This avoids all that trucking and noise.

I do have a bit of a problem with “unacceptable urbanisation”.  Well, yes but that is temporary – a matter of months and then there is a very small amount of visible infrastructure. Something less than the LCC giving planning permission to house its share of the officially admitted figure of 390,000 net immigration into the UK last year. (Heaven knows what the true figure really is.)

All of this is a matter of choice.  Do we want the economy to stabilise and to afford the Health Service, care for the increasingly aging population, defence in an increasingly extreme world, etc? Or not?

Freedom without responsibility is …

  • Freedom
  • Responsibility
  • Regulation
  • Result

By Bill Butterworth

5 February 2015


Compound and gas head

Setting up a gas pipeline from the mainland to the Isle of Wight. That was four years ago. Now it is a green field again. Everyone uses energy.

Freedom without responsibility is anarchy.

Most human beings would condemn the recent reports of terrorism as barbaric. Putting it another way, we are all free to torture and kill but most religions also teach responsibility to act humanely and that rules out torture and killing, including in revenge for the same things.

In the developing world, especially Europe and top of the list the UK, governments have developed a society where ‘proscriptive’ regulation tells us what we cannot do and, if there is anything left to do, how to do it. This, logically, progressively erodes responsibility, common sense and an active mind ready to deal with any unusual vent that was unpredicted.

The historian Jane Marshall once said: “It is in the history of the world that, whenever an empire collapses and for whatever reason, those left in power in the middle pass more and more regulations, involving more and more public servants, in order (they think) to reverse the collapse. What actually happens is that they stifle innovation and inhibit entrepreneurial activity, so accelerating the rate of decline. That is what is happening in the UK, here and now.”

What has all this got to do with fracking and renewable energy?  Well, there is a moral maze here.  How do we develop new ideas, ways to adapt ion a changing world, economic survival for our children and balance that with the rights of individuals and environmental sustainability?  When I was born, we still had an Empire.  Does our Civil Service rally believe that all this regulation preserves their index-linked pensions? How do we afford new hospitals and care for the aged without crippling our children with a tax burden?  How do we avoid becoming a Grecian economy.

Jane Marshall was, and remains, absolutely right.  Proper monitoring by science-based people with professional standards and integrity is, without argument, necessary.  Pilot operations to prove new technology and demonstrate respect and safety are of “asap” urgency. We have the best professionals in the world.  Let us get on with the first steps and demonstrate, one way or the other, that we can do it and do it right.