Tag Archives: regulation

Ethics, regulations and enablement

Life is made up of compromises. How do we balance over-population, care of the environment, regulation and making a profit, to pay taxes, to pay got government, to make regulations?

Listeners to BBC Radio 4 on the morning of 25 Oct 18 would have heard Melvin Bragg discussing, with some very eloquent and informed people, the book “Fable of the Bees” by Bernard Mandeville, published 1714.  The book argues that it is not possible to be ethical and commercially successful. The historian, Jane Marshall, argues that empires always regulate, over regulate and end up destroying themselves. Many large waste producers in the EU, including the UK, survive the costs and delays caused by over-regulation by “avoidance”,  (or is it “evasion”). What we have does not work and can be argued to be counter-productive on all counts. If the economy and the environment are to survive, we need a root and branch review which will give controlled enablement.  Possibly, self-regulation by licensing might work.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 4 November ‘18

Flood risk-Est Anglia-Essex-Kent

The container port at Felixstowe, and hundreds of thousands of hectares of Land in the SE have a very real flood risk BUT we are not doing what we could be doing.

What will happen in the UK eastern counties of Lincolnshire, Suffolk, Essex and Kent if we do not manage to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C?

Well, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) points out that even at 1.5, as the ice-caps melt, all low-lying land is at risk of flooding. Now, Lincolnshire produces 40% by value of UK farm output and 80 % of Lincolnshire is below sea level. By the way, we also already know that the protection offered to Landon by the Thames Barrage is on its limit and a high tide and the wind in the right direction might push over the limit.  Logically, improving sea defences in these areas might be seen as pretty important. Yet we know that in the last 12 months at least 30,000 tonnes of drilling “wastes” which could have been used to bulk up sea walls has gone elsewhere because of prevarications about UK interpretation of EU regulations.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 19 October ‘18

National suicide by bureaucracy

As I get older, I become more aware of increasing regulation, and Whitehall is actually worse, significantly worse, than Brussels.  I see it in every walk of life from farming to hospitals, from construction to “human Rights”.  I am reminded of what the historian Jane Marshall observed;

“It is in the history of the world that whenever an empire collapses and for whatever reason, those left in government in the center 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.”

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 2 Sept 18

Organic N and crop growth

As the previous post here showed, Organic N, then, is different.  It just sits there in the store, alive with micro-organisms and giving some (but very low losses) to the soil atmosphere and groundwater.  However, it is different in a staggeringly complex and important way.  When conditions favour both plant and fungi, the mycorrhizae feed at one end of their hyphae on the organic matter and the other end of each hypha either crosses the root hair wall into the plant body, or wraps round the root hair (much like the placenta of a mammal).  This is a closed conduit! Not only is this why natural ecosystems do not leak nutrients and pollute the ground water, they also feed the plant with complex molecules, already some way down the route for forming cellulose and amino acids – so accelerating growth. Even more staggering, these mycorrhizae can suck nutrients out of some plants (weeds?) and transfer then to others (crops?).

There is enough urban waste in the world to supply enough nutrients to feed the world – without manufacturing fertilisers. (But we do actually need both.)

See the next blog in this series for more on profitable, eco-mimic fertiliser mechanisms and also “Survival” by bill Butterworth, published on Amazon.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd,   29 May 2018


Nitrogen in the next 10 years

Whether government and do-good “environmental” lobbyists agree or like it, or not, in a western economy, cash is the driver

I have come across several cases recently of the Environment Agency refusing to allow Deployments to spread processed wastes because there was “too much nitrogen” present.  The Nitrogen would, in composts and organic wastes, be present substantially, if not completely, as organically bound N.  In a grassland or direct-drilled arable soil, that might release as little as 1 or 2 % of the total Nitrogen in that soil, to ground water per annum.  (That might be just enough to keep the weed in a trout steam growing at a natural rate.)  At the other extreme, in a much-cultivated clay soil, the release of N might reach 10%, and in a much cultivated sandy soil, maybe 15 % per annum.  Now, to be economic, if the farm did then not have composts made from “wastes”, and used ammonium nitrate, then the percentage of N lost to groundwater would be between 30 and 60 or even a bit higher (85%) on an irrigated sandy soil.

The point is this. Read the research. Recycled wastes spread as well made compost are generally safe to add to farm land at any N content, without limit on quantity added.  Don’t believe the research?  Try common sense; when Vermuyden drained the Fens some 300 years ago, it was, and remains, possible to grow a crop (probably the best crop in the UK) every year, without ever adding any N fertiliser in any year for 300 years.  By the way, some of these Fen soils were 10 or 12 m deep when first drained (the N reserves were enormous) and the dykes and Norfolk Broads were not full of green slime and dead fish.

If the human race is to survive, we have to recycle wastes to land.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd   18th May 2018

In a divorce, true friends stand out from acquaintances

Under threat from Russia, the EU shows support in a way the USA does not. that does not bode well for Brexit.

Like any divorce, Brexit is a time for finding out who your real friends are. Try clicking on the link below.


The Liberal Democrats in the UK are pushing for a referendum when we know the final version of the Brexit deal. As we have pretensions to be a democracy, that sounds a good idea.  By the way, EU support for farming and home production is worth consideration, too.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd 25 March 18

I can’t be bothered

On 20th February, BBC 1, Points West, reported on Prince Charles visiting the British Army Rapid Reaction Force in which around half the members are soldiers and other service personnel from other countries.  The visitors were about to go home and several were asked what they would miss about Britain.  Several answered with quips such as “the British weather”.  A lady soldier with good english and good humour said, “I will really miss hearing people say “I can’t be bothered”.  We do not have an equivalent expression in Germany”.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 21 February 18