Thursday, 25 April 2013

Why pay twice for TV

Who pays to deliver my TV pictures?

If I watch the BBC or any other Freesat TV channel, then the delivery - by satellite or terrestrial - cost is paid via a compulsory licence fee for my TV. I just have to buy a sat-box & aerial.

But if I chose to watch BBC programs via the internet, on iPad's TV Catchup or the BBC iPlayer, then I pay for the delivery again through my broadband charges, which are not to be ignored. Say I use 50% of my bandwidth for TV, and I pay £20/month for fibre 10mbps broadband then it is costing me another £240/year above the licence fee of, what, £140…

What gives?

If the broadcasters want to provide TV on the internet, they have to pay for my broadband costs, no? I think the charging has to change.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

+2 degrees C

The stubborn dilemma of climate change, coming about due to global warming, is shown in a revealing article in the Guardian.

1 We have far more oil, coal and gas than we can safely burn.

2 To prevent global warming we have to leave it in the ground!

3 So facts:

* Every science academy world wide accepts the view of man made global warming.

* Governments have all agreed we must limit the rise to 2C

* Warming goes up as carbon emissions go up

4 If we just burn the "proven" reserves we would emit 3 trillion tonnes of CO2, this will shoot us passed 2C rise.

5 So why spend trillions trying to find more? The capital assets of the companies that have existing extraction rights are not safe.

Screen Shot 2013 04 18 at 11 42 51

6 This is an old problem, the growth in carbon emissions is about 2% a year, and has been like this since the 1850s.

7 All the green policies have not stopped the growth. Government continue to undermine attempts to reverse the growth by ripping as much oil, coal and gas from the ground as possible. Even subsidising its extraction.

8 Governments are in denial about what needs to happen in the fossil fuel sector of the economy. Pension managers and investors support fossil fuel companies to invest $1 trillion/year to find new reserves.

9 But in reality these investments are worthless, oil is going to be the next great financial bubble as too much of it will destroy the very civilisation it today supports. Oil investments will become as toxic as sub-prime mortgages.

10 We need some hard politics very soon, that means before 2020, if we are going to get onto a road for recovery. If not DOOM.

Buy a book about this from

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

3D print production

My eldest son, Brendan, had a brilliant idea the other day. On our allotment we have a series of loops over lines of planting, intended to be covered with netting and keep off those pesky pigeons.

But the plots still need weeding. And so you have to lift the netting, which is very awkward.

So what he conceived was a set of horizontal bars, with hoops fitted and the netting attached, which would slide up over the loops to easily open up for weeding or harvesting.

Which brings us round to how to make the hoops? 3D printing of course. In comes my youngest son, Charlie, who is a redoubtable expert in CAD design using Solidworks. He came up with initial designs, we printed them, we them improved them both for use and for printing. And here they are:

The printer in action, making four loops:

2013 04 13 11 26 24

And a close up of one of the latest design loops:

2013 04 17 09 39 46

Now all we have to do it make 20-40 of them! Each takes 15 minutes printing time so that's … let me see now… a long time.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Still fighting planning proposals

Here's my conversation with local MP Sir Tony Baldry.

Dear Tony

Thanks you for your sensible reply. You are probably correct in saying that a meeting with Oxford Councillors could cause confusion. But nevertheless we do feel that we are not being heard and are not properly democratically represented by the District Councillors, many of whom are on the planning committee and so will not take up our case.

We will invite the local councillors to a second meeting, as the revised Local Plan has been published and we want our voice to be heard.

There is no suggestion that we are "nimby", we firmly believe that CDC have got their numbers wrong, and are not respecting the NPPF and Localism Act. We are not in this just to object to North Hanwell and Southam Rd developments, we are in it to show that CDC thinking and planning is wrong. They are pandering to developers by naming too many sites and they are making "land grabs".

In particular I would remind you that CDC was previously against development at North Hanwell and fought a costly legal case against it, but now here it is again in the plan! And the site at Southam Rd was declared not suitable due to landscape sensitivity in the Core Strategy 2010, but now for some reason has been included. Just because developers come along with proposals does not mean the sites have to be put in a plan that CDC want to freeze for 25 years! The sensible thing is to act as the government wishes (NPPF) and make annual rolling forecasts and identify on a 5 year basis the sites they will make available. Competition should be between builders on these site, and these only. In addition in the past (1997) CDC have expressed the view that Dukes Meadow Drive, at Hanwell Fields, should be the northern boundary of Banbury, but are now breaching it. This is inconsistent and wrong. These are the top-down key reasons, there are lots of other contributory issues.

For sure the developers who have invested time and money in the sites will fight. They have buckets of money and even CDC is running scared of their lawyers. We have no such luxury and are alone to put our case to the inspector.

We are building up now arguments for the Inspector, now that we have the proposed new Local Plan available for comment.

Thanks and regards

Antony Watts


On 9 Apr 2013, at 14:28, "BALDRY, Tony" wrote:

Dear Antony,

Thank you for your email.

I have a few observations.

Firstly, I think that it would be extremely difficult to organise any public meeting this side of theCounty Council elections at the beginning of May, not least because on of Hanwell FieldsDistrict Councillors, Nicholas Turner, is also the Conservative Candidate for the County Council elections and one would only therefore be able to have a public meeting realistically if all the other County Council candidates were present, and this really isn’t primarily a County Council issue; it is primarily a local District Council issue and so I think a public meeting involving a whole load of County Council candidates would inevitably just get into a muddle.

Thereafter, I think it is a matter for you to invite District Councillors for a further meeting. In fairness, I think Hanwell Fields, so far as I am aware, is the only community group in the constituency has had a meeting to which the Leader of the District Council, the lead Councillor on Planning and myself, have all attended, so I don’t think there can be any suggestion that District Councillors at every level have been unaware of or insensitive to the views and opinions of the Hanwell Fields Action Group.

I also think, if one is not careful, one can start in the town a rather unseemly “push/pull” between different community groups arguing that new housing should not be put near them, but in some other part, etc. and lastly I think that because the various sites around Hanwell Fields have been in the frame to date, even if, at this late stage you were able to persuade District Councillors to drop them altogether, I think the house builders/developers who own the land will inevitably resurrect them before the Inspector at the Examination in Public.

So I think if I were running your campaign, I think I would be seeking to build up the arguments and the submissions that I would be intending to make in due course in front of the Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State at the Examination in Public as that I think is where the key decisions are going to be made.

Best wishes.