Tag Archives: regulation

Human Rights Brexit

Normally, I restrict the use of this blog to technical matters.  However, sometimes there is a wider philosophical issue which I feel strongly about and which affects the development of regulation on technical issues and how we employ labour.  This is one such issue, click on    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b092gkks


UK Population Growth


Population growth will always result in adjustment. How much and when is predictable.

According to the UK government Office of National Statistics, UK population grew by 538,000 in 2017.  That is what we know about. That does not take into account the shift in skills or ethnicity. That makes Brexit an irrelevant diversion.

The Lilliputian antics of our elected politicians and the incompetence of the Civil Service in controlling the population growth will have fundamental and possibly catastrophic effects on everything from housing to Health Service, from skills supply to Welfare Services. In my own field, the possible contribution of recycling wastes to farmed land will, inevitably, get buried in a sea of regulation.

Where is the leadership? Read chapter 1 at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reversing-Global-Warming-Profit-environmentally/dp/1904312810 and write to your MP asking for meaningful, urgent action.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 5 July 2017


Waste Regulation Paralysis

“Too much analysis c an case paralysis.”

That is a quote from “The Yellow Book” by Robert Holden.  Spot on in our society where government seeks to write regulations to cover all eventualities.  Now, you do not have to be very bright to understand that is impossible and what happens is the stifling of innovation and inhibition of entrepreneurial activity which, in turn, pays taxes to fund government.  For “government”, read elected and, most certainly, civil service.

Logically, this observation applies to the waste industry, to the health service, welfare services, health and safety. The answer is simple.  A new environmental protection Act might only have one sentence; “Thou shalt not pollute”.

Solar-Energised Roads


Wet roads in summer are bad enough but how much worse in winter. Suppose we could avoid icy roads?

I have been a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport for longer than I care to admit and in this month’s issue of the journal “Focus”, there is a feature article on constructing roads to absorb energy from the sun and feed it back later, maybe months later.  While the energy cost of constructing these roads is not small, the energy savings and the multiple advantages of not having iced roads in winter are clearly worth some thought and investigation. By the way, some of these roads already exist and they do work.

Why leave the discussion at this point without going into detail?  Well, we really do have to start being a bit more innovative and bit less hide-bound by restrictive regulation and regulators. We need to strat voting for longer term thinking in the governments we elect.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 2 August 16

When is a greenfield not a greenfield?




A boarded up property waiting for redevelopment. however, that might not happen. It looks like a brown field site under old rules but, now, it might be greenfield?

An “English country garden” is a brownfield site, says the High Court in a recent ruling, but an urban one is greenfield.  This discussion has been going on ever since the then government Minister, Eric Pickes, tried a couple of years ago, to free up land for building.  The High Court in its great wisdom has now ruled that residential gardens are “Brownfield” sites (so planning permission for further development is less easily denied) but gardens in urban areas (which are “in more need of defending”) are “greenfield” (i.e. planning permission for development would be less easily given).  I hope that is clear.

As this blog is about sustainability, it is evidenced here that the insanity of English Law is, apparently, forever sustainable (which is a word which this blog is interested in).

When is a “Waste” not a waste?

Sorry, this post is a bit long but it really is staggeringly important.

Millions of man-hours have been wastes in the EU on discussing when is a waste not a waste.  It is, apparently, beyond the mind of the regulators to accept that if a material is going to be used, then it is not going to be wasted.  Therefore, until it is actually discarded, it is not a waste.  It is much to DEFRA’s credit that it has found a way through this conundrum.

There is a tragedy for farming in the name Claire. Well, this one is spelt CL:AIRE and it stands for “Contaminated Land; Applications In Real Environments.  The original intent was, and remains, to roll this program out wider. It could be rolled out to farming but there is opposition from the Environment Agency who, presumably, blame EU regulators who say that CL:AIRE can only be used if there is not an alternative (and there is for waste-to-land).

CL:AIRE started out with the construction industry getting a bit fed up with the regulations demanded by the Environment Agency when they dug some foundations and wanted to move soils, sometimes contaminated (as with ex-industrial “brown field” sites).  The idea was to be able to write a detailed Materials Management which is within the terms laid down in a Plan Code of Practice and have the paperwork supervised by a suitably qualified Person. This would allow day to day responsibility to be transferred from the Environment Agency to industry (which does have the technical knowledge).  Under this program, there is no need to ask for permission, the Materials Management Plan is just filed.  There is no need to ask for a Permit and pay for it. There is a significant cost in preparing the paperwork and a, so far, small filing fee. Having filed the paperwork, the Environment Agency (which does have the final legal responsibility for supervision) might then, if it so chose, spot check. So, another government department was started as CL:AIRE.

Now, in fact, CL:AIRE is really just one application of AIRE (that’s the Applications in Real Environments).  There is good reason why it might be rolled out to RFL:AIRE – which stands for Recycling to Farm Land.  Farmers do not go somewhere else at 5 pm.  Farmers want to hand their land over to the next generation.  If you do not believe that farmers have actually done a pretty good job at creating and maintaining the unique patchwork of the British countryside, you should have seen it when God had it all to himself. It was very different.

The big plus about farming is that it has a direct, stable responsibility built in.  Farming is more stable and responsible than any other industrial activity by humans, including the construction industry which is now less held back by over-regulation than it was before CL:AIRE.  It is quite possible to write a detailed Code of Practice for many wastes to be recycled to farm land. The fact is that, as many Environment Agency officers agree, this is the Best Environmental Option.  It would be even more to DEFRA’s credit if it could find a way through the maze of EU regulation to extend the use of CL:AIRE to a new name; Carbon Limitation; Applications in Real Environments and include any use.

If Those trying to negotiate a deal following the Paris summit on global warming, and if Prime Minister Cameron would like to put this into his re-negotiation with the EU, the electorate would gain significantly and so would the EU, its industry and its environment.

Please send this to your MP and ask “Why not?”.

Bill Butterworth 5 December 2015




Fracking – us and them


What has this orchid got to do with fracking? Well, we live in a beautiful world and have to ask if we can keep it that way. We have two powerful cards to play – see below.

Bill Butterworth 1 October 15Why is it that GB plc has to run all public discussions as an argument between us and them?  Common sense and science-based discussion seems to have been lost in the sands of yesterday and nowhere more so than in the words about fracking.

Those against fracking have repeatedly put their case and government (which apparently realises that we have to do it) and the industry itself, have not put the other side of the case, presumably that they think the NIMBY’s will go away and talk about something else. Such a view is both naïve and irresponsible and will, no doubt, result in a charge of “bullying” if and when government wants to push onwards.

The truth is that there is, of course, a case against fracking.  There is always a case against anything and everything; it is the nature of the universe.  There is nothing that is completely right, nor completely wrong. So why not a reasonable, dignified and open debate, science-based about what we do and how we do it?

What do we mean “science-based”?  Well, common sense says based on facts which can be examined and tested and where risks can be identified and managed or rejected.

We have two very powerful cards in our tool box.  Firstly, we have a very cautious Defra and Environment Agency.  Secondly, with the BSSS (British Society of Soil Science) we have the very best scientists, and the most independent-minded and trustable, to monitor the technology and its effect on the environment. Nobody could do this better.  So, let us have the debate and decide if we want to control our own future at local level.