Friday, May 29, 2009

Green homeowner hit with noise abatement order because 40ft wind turbine is driving his neighbours mad

When Stephen Munday spent £20,000 on a wind turbine to generate electricity for his home, he was proud to be doing his bit for the environment. He got planning permission and put up the 40ft device two years ago, making sure he stuck to strict noise level limits. But neighbours still complained that the sound was annoying - and now the local council has ordered him to switch it off.

Officials declared that the sound - which Mr Munday says is 'the same pitch as a dishwasher and quieter than birdsong' - constituted a nuisance, and issued a Noise Abatement Order. This is despite the turbine being more than 164ft from the nearest neighbour's house, as ordered by the planners. The ruling could have serious implications for the Government's drive to promote wind power and the use of renewable domestic energy if repeated across the country.

Electrician Mr Munday, 55, and his wife Sandra, a veterinary nurse, challenged the decision by the Vale of White Horse district council in Oxfordshire. But Didcot magistrates rejected their appeal and they were left to pick up the £5,392 court costs as well.

The turbine generated five kilowatts of electricity a day - the equivalent of boiling 300 kettles - and provided two-thirds of the family's energy needs. It also saved them an average of £500 a year in electricity costs.

Mr Munday, of Stanford in the Vale, near Abindgon, said: 'I am very disappointed. 'We were trying to cut down on our electricity bills and help the environment but have been clobbered for doing so. 'Everyone is encouraged to be environmentally friendly and we wanted to do our bit. We never dreamed that going green would land us in court and £25,000 out of pocket.'

The Government planning inspector granted planning permission on the condition that the turbine did not make more than five decibels of noise above that of the 'prevailing background'. It stands in a paddock 230ft from the Mundays' four-bedroomed detached house. But five neighbours complained about the noise after the turbine began generating power in February 2007.

Patrick Legge, team leader of the council's environmental protection team, said: 'We accept that the noise did not breach the conditions in the planning application but it was decided that the character of the noise was a nuisance. 'There are no strict overall noise limits but each case is examined by their independent circumstances.'

Michael Stigwood, an independent noise and nuisance adviser to the council, told the court that the noise affected people's ability to 'rest and relax'. 'The noise was continual,' he said. 'It's irritating and gets under your skin and is intrusive.'

Neighbour Virginia Thomasson, 49, said: 'I can hear it inside and outside my house - at night, in the daytime, all the time. 'I cannot sleep with the window open. 'I am a tolerant person but with this noise it superimposes itself over everything I hear.' Another resident, Michael Brown, 49, added: 'The rhythmic mechanical noise is very irritating and incessant.'

Chairman of the bench Liz Holford told the Mundays, who represented themselves in court, that the council's order was 'reasonable and necessary'. Now their only option is to appeal to the High Court - but they cannot afford to do so.

According to the BWEA, the wind industry trade body, more than 10,000 small wind turbines have been set up since 2005 and an estimated 600,000 could be installed by 2020.


British school exclusions 'merry-go-round' shows that reforms are failing

Children are being thrown out of school repeatedly in a merry-go-round of exclusions, according to an investigation by The Times that shows that government reforms are not working. Ministers put pressure on schools to reduce the number of permanent expulsions and this figure has fallen by almost a half in the past decade.

However, schools are resorting increasingly to multiple short-term exclusions — frequently removing the same disruptive pupils, who may then be left alone at home or wandering the streets. An estimated 176,000 children were suspended more than once last year, according to a survey of local authorities by The Times. Thousands more were expelled.

Despite claims from ministers that they are doing more to help excluded children, schools and councils are struggling to comply with a new law that means they must provide full-time alternative education on the sixth day of exclusion, rather than the 16th day as required previously. Lack of funding and resources means that some pupil referral units are overwhelmed and can offer only a few hours a week to teenagers. At some units pupils turn up for only a couple of hours, once a week.

Two children in Macclesfield were given four hours’ schoolwork a week to complete at home. A five-year-old in South London was excluded and left without education for six weeks and then went back to the unit for three half-days a week.

New figures show an alarming link between exclusion and prison, and education experts say that expulsion very often leads to a criminal lifestyle. Two fifths of adult male prisoners had been excluded from school, according to figures published recently by the Prison Reform Trust. A Home Office report, released last month, showed that 86 per cent of under-18 male inmates in young offender institutions had been expelled from school. Carl Parsons, a professor of education and an author of books on exclusion, said: “These kids are very often in or on the edge of the criminal justice system before they are excluded. Exclusion will push them further.”

The extent of the problems faced by schools is revealed in our survey of local authorities, which found that many children were excluded for aggressive and even violent behaviour, as well as for being disruptive.

In Durham half of expelled children had assaulted or threatened a teacher or another pupil. Others were removed for theft, sexual misconduct, bullying, damage to property or incidents linked to drugs and alcohol. One local authority said: “Some emerging issues around exclusion include guns, gang issues, weapons and drugs.”

Teachers who have campaigned for greater protection say that such children should be removed from the classroom. John Bangs, head of education at the National Union of Teachers, said: “People talk about the effect of exclusion on a child, but what they forget is the effect of that child on other children. They are the group of people who get more fed up than anyone with bad behaviour, and end up disrupted and demoralised.”

Nearly 15,000 children were excluded more than five times in 2006-07, according to government figures. The Times survey shows that more than a third of pupils excluded last year were removed from school more than once — a total of 7,023 children in 15 rural, urban and suburban local authorities. When extrapolated across all 375 authorities in England and Wales it equates to almost 176,000 children. In some areas 60 per cent of excluded children went through the experience repeatedly.

This use of numerous fixed-period exclusions reduces the number of permanent exclusions, giving the impression that the problem of disruptive behaviour is being tackled. Steve Turner, a director of UK Youth, which develops alternative provision, said: “There are pupils who go round and round the system. They get stuck in a cycle of attending and being excluded.”

The schools inspectorate Ofsted found recently that only half of the local authorities it surveyed were meeting the target of alternative provision for excluded pupils. It painted a picture of variable funding, poor communication and a lack of capacity in pupil referral units.

This was echoed by respondents to The Times survey. Derbyshire failed to place 11 pupils in alternative provision within six days, and Luton was unable to meet the deadline for two. A Luton Council spokesman said: “Sixth-day provision is an unrealistic expectation since appropriate provision needs to be selected with care.” Sunderland Council said: “An area of challenge continues to be finding a range of quality, appropriate, alternative provision for pupils for whom mainstream education is not appropriate.”

Martin Narey, the head of Barnardo’s and former director-general of the Prison Service, once said that on the day a child is excluded they might as well be given a date for prison. He told The Times: “I’d be astonished if this had changed significantly. We inevitably find that if you take someone out of a class of 30 children, they can prosper and do very well in a smaller class and have a good chance in life. Once a child has been excluded permanently, or repeatedly for a fixed term, it’s very difficult to arrest that.”

The Government says that the fall in permanent expulsions and increase in temporary exclusions is a success because it reflects “early intervention and a reduction in the most serious incidents of bad behaviour”.

Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, admitted last year that a significant minority of referral units were not performing to the required standard and ordered them to improve or close. His department has set up a dozen pilots of alternative provision, including a city farm equestrian centre, a football training school and an arts centre.

Jim Knight, the schools minister, said yesterday: “Fixed-term exclusions and suspensions are an important tool for heads to use in tackling disruptive behaviour and safeguarding the learning of other children. At the same time, repeatedly suspending pupils doesn’t solve the problem. Excluded pupils need a good education and we expect local authorities to meet their legal obligations and ensure that every child is getting a suitable education.”



Funny how every single Euro-Muslim demonstration quickly blossoms into an orgy of arson, assault, theft and general mayhem, after which the media does its best to minimize the chaos caused by the "Asian youths"...But a rather low key affair with one (1) broken window is described as follows by the supposedly respectable Daily Mail:

Nine arrested after masked mob's march against Muslim extremists turns violent

By CLAIRE ELLICOTT Last updated at 4:29 PM on 25th May 2009

Nine people have been arrested after hundreds of anti-Islamist protesters clashed with police yesterday. The streets of Luton descended into violence after demonstrators, many hiding their faces behind balaclavas, brandished England flags and chanted at officers. A group called March for England was said to have organised the rally as a peaceful protest against Muslim extremists. They were joined by a local group United People of Luton.

Two of those arrested have been charged: one man for possessing an offensive weapon after stones were found in his pockets, and a woman was charged with breaching an anti-social behaviour order. Another man was fined £80 for a public order offence. [compare these offenses with the mass destruction that routinely attends Euro-Muslim demonstrations--J.O.]

The other six people, all men, have been bailed without charge pending further inquiries. [IOW, 9 arrests, 3 petty charges for the whole "mob"--J.O.]

During the protest, the mob, which included teenagers and women, held banners with slogans such as 'No Sharia Law in the UK' and 'Respect our Troops'. [PRETTY SCARY!!]

After looking at the 2 new vids, what do you think? I doubt as much as 1% of the crowd has "masks," but that's what the Mail focused on. Hmmmmmmmmmm


New drug delays prostate cancer slightly

One has to laugh at the original headline on this story: "Life-saving wonder drug to fight prostate cancer 'available in just two years'"

A new drug that has dramatic effects against prostate cancer could be available in just two years, scientists said last night. Successful trials have shown that it can shrink the most dangerous tumours in up to 70 per cent of cases. The drug, abiraterone, has been hailed as the biggest advance in the field for 60 years, capable of saving many thousands of lives. The British scientists behind it will start trials soon to see if it can also work against breast cancer.

Prostate is Britain's most common cancer among men and the second highest killer, after lung cancer. Some 35,000 people a year are diagnosed with it - and 12,000 die. [I am betting that all of them die. 23,000 immortals is hard to believe]

There are two types, aggressive and non-aggressive. Two-thirds of cases have the non-aggressive variety and can often lead a healthy life. But those with the aggressive version - 10,000 British men a year - usually die within 18 months of diagnosis.

Abiraterone was discovered by the Institute of Cancer Research with funding from Cancer Research UK. The latest trials on men with aggressive cancer found that just four pills a day can control the disease and reduce pain - all with few side effects. The effect does not last indefinitely - tumour growth can resume after an average of eight months. But the scientists have developed a method of prolonging the benefits for another 12 months by combining the drug with a steroid.

They also discovered that men with a particular gene abnormality - thought to drive the growth of the cancer - responded best to abiraterone. The team have developed a test for the abnormality to identify the men likely to derive the most benefit from the drug.

Lead researcher Dr Gert Attard said of the latest trial, involving 54 patients: 'These men have very aggressive prostate cancer which is exceptionally difficult to treat and almost always proves to be fatal. 'We hope that abiraterone will eventually offer them real hope of an effective way of managing their condition and prolonging their lives.'

Hormone therapy, the standard method of treating prostate cancer, involves blocking the body's production of male hormones like testosterone, which 'feed' the tumour. But it can be ineffective on aggressive forms, where the tumours produce their own hormones. Doctors can try chemotherapy, but it may have severe side effects such as nausea, pain, malnutrition, haemorrhages and hair loss. Many patients also have radiotherapy to reduce associated pain in the bones. This can also be dangerous, leaving patients with little quality of life.

Abiraterone uses a different approach, blocking chemicals in the body which help in the production of male hormones, including by tumours. Chief investigator Dr Johann de Bono said: 'This has changed the way the science community looks at prostate cancer.'

The drug is now undergoing a much larger final-stage trial in 150 hospitals worldwide. If it is successful, the scientists, who published their findings in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, hope the drug will be licensed as early as 2011. The rationing body Nice would then decide if it should be available on the NHS. Professor Peter Johnson, chief clinician at Cancer Research, said: 'These early results hold great promise and give real hope for the future. 'We are keen to see the results of larger trials now under way, to find out whether abiraterone should be made generally available.'


England absorbs virtually all net migration to UK, MPs warn

Between 1991 and 2007, more than 2.1 million migrants were added to the population of England, which last year became the most crowded major country in Europe. The nation has taken more than 20 times more migrants than Scotland, even though it is only ten times the size in terms of population.

The study, by the Cross Party Group on Balance Migration, warns the population of England is likely to increase by a further ten million over the next two decades, of which seven million will be migrants. Nicholas Soames, Tory MP and co-chairman of the group, said: "The political establishment is in denial on immigration – even though it is of concern to nearly 80 per cent of the population. If they are to reconnect with the people of England after the current political crisis, politicians must end their timidity, silence and inaction on this critical issue."

Net international migration to England between 1991 and 2007 was 2,149,000, which accounted for 92 per cent of the total over that period. Scotland's migrant population increased by 105,000 over the period, Wales by 56,000 and Northern Ireland by 27,000. England effectively absorbed 11 times more migrants than the other three home nations combined, even though it is only five times as large in terms of total population.

Frank Field, Labour MP and co-chairman of the group, added: "This research shows that immigration is overwhelmingly an issue for England rather than other parts of the UK. England can expect a population increase of nearly 10 million people in the next 20 years or so, of which 7 million will be thanks to new immigration."

The Daily Telegraph told last year how England's population is growing at the fastest rate since records began and is now the most crowded major country in Europe after overtaking Holland. Figures showed that the population density is higher than ever before, with forecasts predicting 157 people for every square mile by 2011. This compares with 111 for every square mile when the figures started to be collected in 1931.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the think-tank Migrationwatch, said: "This paper really underlines that immigration is a problem for England, not the UK. "Those who favour continued immigration need to explain why we want an extra seven million people in what is already the most crowded country in Europe. "They also need to explain how we are going to pay for all the extra infrastructure when the public finances are already hugely in deficit."


No comments: