Buy-to-rent beavers, hawking sheikhs and Mrs Hain

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

Yes, I promised there wouldn’t be anything until next Monday, but something came up and I thought, ‘Why not?’ And seeing as I’m spoiling you, next week’s offering might now be later than I’d promised.

You can have too much of a good thing!

ESCAPEES ON THE DYFI

This story starts with a report on the North Wales Live website of beavers in Afon Dyfi. A similar report appeared in the Western Mail yesterday. These beavers shouldn’t be there, of course, but they are, and no one seems to know who put them there!

Which could happen, I suppose. Anyone can walk into a pet shop and buy a mating pair of beavers . . . then mislay them somewhere near Machynlleth. It must happen all the time.

The fact that there are people wanting to release beavers into Welsh rivers is pure coincidence. Equally coincidental is that the Dyfi is targeted by these people.

The unlawful release may have taken place around the time – or even before – an application to release was made by Wildlife Trusts Wales to Natural Resources Wales. More on both these organisations later.

BEAVERS EVERYWHERE!

Another area being targeted by beaver lovers is in Carmarthenshire, where we find the Bevis Trust. The website tells us that the Trust, ” . . . manage wildlife on our 300 acre farm in Carmarthenshire and on other farms in the south west of Wales.”

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Are we dealing here with a Welsh farming family wishing to reintroduce species that have not been found in Wales for centuries?

No prizes for guessing the answer to that question, for we are now in the murky world of ‘rewilding’.

Companies House tells us that the Bevis Trust for Wildlife Management is based at Penllynin Farm, west of Carmarthen. Seemingly run by Dr Nicholas Christopher Fox and the woman I take to be his Swedish wife, Barbro Ingrid Margareta.

Financially, the most recent ‘Micro company’ accounts (y/e 31.12.2018) give fixed assets of £444,733 (the farm?), but a negative figure for ‘total net assets’. This being accounted for by ‘current liabilities’.

I wondered who owns the farm, but when I tried my luck on the Land Registry website I found that Penllynin farm is not registered. Which is odd. Has it recently changed hands, with perhaps new ownership details being processed, or is someone trying to hide something?

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Another outfit at the same address is International Wildlife Consultants (UK) Ltd. The ‘Abridged Balance Sheet’ (y/e 31.12.2019) shows healthy net assets of £8,749,561.

Though there are two charges against the company. One seems to be a bank loan for the purchase of Vowley farm, near Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire. The farm probably contributes most of the £2,320,764 in fixed assets. There is also a newly-minted Vowley Management Company Ltd.

With almost six million pounds of ‘assets’ accounted for by ‘debtors’. Who might they be? On page 7 of the latest accounts we read:

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So – and not for the first time – we are dealing with linked or interlocking companies with money passing between them. Let’s see if we can figure out what’s what.

Wingbeat Ltd has “the same ultimate controlling party”. It never seems to have traded, with the one-time assets made up almost entirely of stocks, and the latest accounts showing a negative value of over one million pounds, accounted for by ‘creditors’. Presumably other Fox companies.

The other company mentioned in the capture above is Mickelbo Ltd, which is rather interesting. Not least because from its Incorporation in December 2003 until February 2007 it was known as International Wildlife Consultants Ltd.

I referred to money passing between the various companies owned by Nicholas and Barbro Fox. Go back to the 2004 accounts for Mickelbo Ltd (then International Wildlife Consultants Ltd) and you’ll read, in the final entry:

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It was the same in the following year’s accounts. Charging their company for use of their land. All perfectly legal.

The change of company name in 2007 is due to the complete change in business, from a wildlife consultancy to a buy-to-rent landlord. This explains 40 outstanding mortgages. A number of these mortgages refer to properties in Carmarthen, Whitland, St Clears.

Most of these mortgages are with Mortgage Express, which has quite a history.

All 100 shares in Mickelbo are owned by International Wildlife Consultants (UK) Ltd. Which is why we can read this in the latest Mickelbo accounts:

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Let’s recap. A couple of strangers decide Wales looks attractive. They start buying up land and property – then they rent it back to us! They have created not a single job. They now want permission to release beavers into Welsh rivers.

Because they’re curious to see what will happen. But unconcerned about the damage these animals might cause, and the livelihoods and leisure activities they could harm.

MONEY ON THE WING

In addition to beavers the Foxes are also interested in hawks. As we see with The Festival of Falconry and The Falconry Heritage Trust. We find other directors at these two charities, with an eclectic collection at the second representing China, Italy, USA, Japan, Netherlands, Belgium and Mongolia. (There is of course no Welsh involvement.)

The Festival of Falconry is filing as a dormant company with debts of £1,587. The Falconry Heritage Trust is in much better financing shape, thanks to . . .

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This grant seems to have been sat on for a decade and explains the bulk of the one and half million pounds currently in the kitty.

The donor, “Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, colloquially known by his initials as MBZ, is the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces”.

His official biography paints him as a liberal; no mention of chopped-up journalists or adulterers being stoned to death. But then, in the Gulf, these considerations are relative.

Compared to Hitler and Stalin Mussolini looked almost cuddly.

Though going through The Falconry Heritage Trust accounts I was surprised to read, “Dr N Fox, a trustee of the charity, is a director and shareholder of International Wildlife Consultants Ltd”.

This was the previous name for Mickelbo, the new company has ‘(UK)’ in the name. Can’t they keep up with their own name changes?

BEAVERS EVERYWHERE!

So, we know there are beavers in the Dyfi, the Foxes want them in Carmarthenshire, while in Llandrindod we find yet another group with beavers straining at the leash. (Or however beavers express their deep yearning for liberty.)

I’m referring now to the Welsh Beaver Project, which is the umbrella organisation for a number of groups. Another umbrella organisation for local groups is Wildlife Trusts Wales (WTW).

From WTW we learn there is a single Trust for the whole of the north, another for ‘south and west Wales’, a third for Gwent; but instead of there being one for Powys, ‘Brecknock’, Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire have one each.

Now you might expect an organisation representing Welsh wildlife bodies to be located somewhere rural . . . but you’d be wrong. The registered office for Wildlife Trusts Wales is in Mount Stuart Square, in the black heart of Corruption Bay.

For Wildlife Trusts Wales is as much about lobbying politicians and influencing civil servants as it is about protecting wildlife. And of course, ensuring a steady flow of public moolah to create jobs . . . to employ people to lobby . . .

Just like George Monbiot and his Summit to Sea gang of ‘rewilders’, the WTW sees Brexit as a great opportunity. That’s because the self-styled ‘Welsh Government’ will in future control the agricultural purse-strings. (Unless Westminster takes back that power.)

Just like the Monbiot gang the ‘Beavers Everywhere!’ crew believe they can persuade the ‘Welsh Government’ to re-label and divert farm payments to them.

It’s spelled out quite brazenly in the most recent annual report (top of page 2). We read that the ‘Welsh Government’ being in control of farm funding represents, “Significant opportunity to influence future payments”.

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And the enviro-colonists of WTW have every right to be optimistic. For the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs is Lesley Griffiths, who is shacked up with ‘Game Show Gary’ Haggaty. He belongs to a clique of civil servants believing that all farmers – but especially Welsh farmers – are absolute bastards, and should be cleared off the land.

Their land.

‘BEAVERS, WHAT BEAVERS?’

It seems clear that the runaway – swimaway? – beavers on the Dyfi have been there for a few years . . . without anyone doing anything about it. The agency that should have been taking an interest is Natural Resources Wales.

Now you know me, I don’t like twisting the knife, but NRW has not had a good press of late. Most memorably with the timber sales, something that was never properly explained. But that’s Wales – a colony run by a corrupt management team with neither an effective political opposition nor a media to hold it to account.

This scandal resulted in Labour AM Lee Waters claiming the NRW was “out of control”, and for once I agreed with him. Because for once, he was right.

Deposed NRW chair, Diane McCrea, entered the revolving door from which popped her replacement Sir David Henshaw, who was, ” . . . born and bred in Liverpool”, but has “lived in North Wales for a number of years”. So he knows Wales like the back of his hand.

Then there’s CEO Clare Pillman who, in a different role, played her part in inflicting HMP Berwyn on us.

In fact, if you want to see ‘colonialism’ spelled out in thirty-foot-high neon letters you couldn’t do much better than the Board of Natural Resources Wales.

Though while the majority of the members are imports, there is also Geraint Davies described – because he’s the only one – as a “fluent Welsh speaker”. (Being a mere native, Geraint of course comes at the bottom of the list.)

Former chair of Wildlife Trusts Wales, Howard Davies, is also on the Board. Isn’t that cosy for when WTW deals with NRW? Howard is also CEO of the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

At NAAONB we find office manager Amber Carter. Amber previously worked for Wildlife Trusts Wales and Environment Wales (the forerunner to Natural Resources Wales).

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Did I say cosy? It’s positively incestuous!

Another who caught my eye was Chris Blake, for he is also involved with the Simon and Garfunkel tribute act at the putative Black Mountains College. An institution that provides “planet-centric education”. So there!

I wrote about them here and here. (You will need to scroll down.)

His brief bio on the BMC website tells us that Blake is a director of Green Valleys CIC .

The Green Valleys (Wales) Community Interest Company is based in Crickhowell, which we need to be told is in Wales. The latest accounts show that on a turnover of £208,753 in 2019 it managed a gross profit of £147,119, which is nothing to scoff at.

Unfortunately, administrative expenses took £178,338, and the bottom line, with everything taken into account, was a deficit for the year of £235,023. Bank loans and overdrafts accounting for £120,000 of that.

Making me wonder if any green energy companies make money. Would any of them survive without grants and other hand-outs?

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Another member of the NRW Board worthy of mention is Dr Elizabeth Haywood, aka Mrs Peter Hain. Because for a woman with not a democratically cast vote to her name she plays a worryingly influential role in Welsh political and public life.

“Purely advisory roles, surely, Jac?”

Mmm. But when you consider how lazy and useless the Labour politicos of Corruption Bay are, and the fact that she’s the wife of a party heavyweight who outranks them all, then Haywood’s ‘advice’ will go a long way to determining policy.

Such as her Task and Finish Group into City Regions concluding that the best future for our north east is to be taken over and integrated with the north west of England.

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I could understand ‘advice’ like that coming from the English side of the border – “Let us take over Flintshire, Wrexham and Denbighshire for overspill housing in order to protect property values in Cheshire”, but from the Welsh side it sounds like surrender.

Or, more likely, it’s just stating the English position in a way that’s supposed to make it more palatable. It happens all the time.

As I said at the top of this section, I introduced Natural Resources Wales because it is the agency that should have taken action when it became known that beavers had been illegally released into the Dyfi catchment area.

A couple of days ago I put out a tweet that was answered by NRW and then taken up by @Cynfab3 who seems to know about the Dyfi beavers. The responses from NRW tell me they aren’t interested in taking any action.

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To cover their own negligence NRW even tries to pass the buck to Dyfed Powys Police!

JAC AND THE BEAVERS

So what is the considered opinion of this august blog towards our furry, flapper-tailed friends?

Let me make it quite clear that I have nothing against beavers. They’ve done me no harm. So, in principle, I would have no real objection to them being reintroduced into Welsh rivers.

But that’s not the point is it?

My objection is based on the fact that this scheming – and law-breaking – is being done by alien groups with an unhealthy influence over civil servants and politicians, the latter elected to serve the Welsh interest. And being done against the wishes of those whose opinions should be paramount and decisive – the local, Welsh population.

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Which makes this latest furore contemporary Wales in a nutshell, where everyone’s interests are catered for, except us Welsh. Where you only have to scream “climate change” loudly enough to get what you want.

Resulting in Wales filling up with bullshitters and shysters who spend their time attending conferences, making self-promoting videos, lobbying politicians, milking the public purse – and contributing sod all to the health or wealth of the nation.

Simply creating conditions where you can – quite literally – throw up a shack in open country, just as long as you claim it’s a One Planet Development saving us from global warming. As this recent FoI response makes clear.

Nobody in officialdom cared about this unauthorised OPD, just as nobody cares about the unlawful release of beavers into the Dyfi because the authors are people with names like Guy and Cassandra rather than Gwilym and Cerys.

Am I exaggerating?

As I write, we have tourists dumping rubbish everywhere, blocking roads; Welsh communities are being destroyed by holiday homes and colonisation, yet the ‘Welsh Government’ prefers to sit on its hands, serving the interests of an alien and genocidal tourism industry.

We need a fresh intake of politicians to Corruption Bay prepared to prioritise Welsh interests. Make it happen next year!

STOP PRESS: The latest ‘rewilding’ stunt is the suggestion that golden eagles be ‘reintroduced’ to Eryri. But will they survive saturation tourism, wind turbines and an absence of their natural prey?

Given the mess left by tourists in recent weeks maybe we should be thinking of vultures?

♦ end ♦




49 thoughts on “Buy-to-rent beavers, hawking sheikhs and Mrs Hain

  1. Brychan

    We know that beaver fur was always a very rare and of no consequence pelt species in Wales after the roman occupation. A traded item of the nobility.

    Never used by peasants because flax and wool was readily available. It was only used to adorn the costume of ecclesiastic and landed. In the written record Giraldus Cambrensis writes the beaver as already extinct in west Wales, Tywi and Teifi c1100AD. But he records it being a premium pelt of the east during his tutelage to the English crown, c1200AD, the Usk, Wye and Hafren. This discrepancy between East and West is not likely to be the result of hunting, more that of suitable habitat. The problem with the written record of this era is that the scribes are employees of both the Welsh and English crown. Prone to exaggeration and romantic enhancement.

    Language.
    In the Welsh language, we also have the confusion between afanc as a mythical nasty mermaid beast inhabiting dark pools in stories told to children to keep them way from dangerous rivers, and the real afanc as recorded as a living species and purveyor of pelt for winter hats. We therefore need to look elsewhere for provenance.

    Physical evidence.
    In the United States archaeologists map the footprint of native American civilisations using the bones and teeth (beavers have huge teeth) found in midden mounds of encampments. Disposed carcasses once the fur is liberated. It clearly shows finds of beaver. More tellingly, seasonal indicators due to alternative fur being available in summer due to bison migration. I suggest a similar archaeological study be conducted in Wales. We have extensive remains from archaeological finds stored in our national Museum from pre-roman middens in the pre-roman crannogs of Powys, right though to the cesspits of Dynefwr (Rhys) in the south and Aberffraw (Llywellyn) in the north. Do we find beaver teeth? I wonder if the beaver toff of Carmarthenshire, Dr Fox of Arabia, will pay for this study to justify his claims.

    Habitat.
    We know that beaver is a nocturnal rodent that builds dams and mounds in small tributaries to live in and raise young. The felling of trees on riverbanks in spring also prompts growth of vegetation once this canopy is removed. The summer spurt of understory vegetation is then eaten as fattening food for winter. The type of woodland best suited for this is lowland streams and ponds lined with willow in southern England and similarly in eastern Scotland where habitat streams are lined with birch and pine. This habitat is rare in Wales and has to be artificially cultivated. The natural woodland of Wales, most endangered, particularly in the West is oak rainforest. Not only is this the worst habitat for beaver, but also introductions causes damage. Willow and birch are fast growing and loves to be coppiced, and oak is slow growing and chopping it down or ring-barking causes generational decline.

    I suspect that historical beaver populations in Wales were rare, possibly transitory, when they did exist and the only reason re-wilders are using our landscape for re-introduction is because the opportunity exits, politically and in land value. It’s a theme park opportunity, and nothing to do with the providence of the species.

    Bats.
    There is a well known ploy by landowners preventing their neighbours spoiling the view of their country estates. A ploy often used by the super rich. Agricultural buildings are exempt from most planning restrictions, but conservation restrictions still apply. Introduce some bats. Developers can’t build as it’s a protected species. Dormice also suddenly appear where new roads are planned. Landed gentry love to devalue the agricultural viability of their neighbours to expand their estates.

    Are beavers the new bats of Carmarthenshire?

  2. Brychan

    The Bevis Trust is a company of limited liability recorded at Companies House.

    Their website says it’s a non-for-profit organisation. It is not, however, an entity registered with the charity commission. This would be the usual mechanism used to prevent any surplus value generated being subject to corporation tax. Any surplus value can then be held within the concern.

    This is not the case with the Bevis Trust. So the not-for-profit claim is either false or there’s an intention to deliberately run the concern at a loss for other reasons, such as land value inflation of related concerns.

    Or for the pocket of an overseas wealthy benefactor.
    https://vid.alarabiya.net/images/2014/02/10/bb5164b5-9fe6-441a-b438-8a8a94b8b145/bb5164b5-9fe6-441a-b438-8a8a94b8b145_16x9_788x442.jpg
    Monbiot on safari?

  3. Dafis

    Beavers, otters, golden eagles .. what next ? I guess the climate here ( for now) is too temperate to enable introduction of gators or crocs although that would be a sound move to thin out the glut of mindless tourists meandering around as though they own the fuckin’ place ! The real issue, or big question, is : what do the people who have made their living in this country want ?

    In much the same way as the majority of ex coal miners have shunned large scale open cast coal extraction I suspect country folk would say no to the more bizarre “re-wilding” ideas. Such ideas are transient, currently in vogue among a smart set of trendy radicals and their groupthinking followers,who are very eloquent and fluent about their latest fashionable thought before flitting off to the next “big deal”.

    If a group of farmers and villagers in any part of Wales wanted to set up a “green” initiative whether it be re-wilding or energy based their ideas should be given every consideration and funding support if adopted. However that would not suit the colonialist manipulators for whom getting the natives to know their place, or better still to clear off out of it, is the main goal.

    1. Jonathan Edwards

      Agree with the Dafis/Jac approach. In Wales we have a democratic deficit and a feeble National Resources Wales. As for European beavers,, they were part of Wales, until the usual “overfishing” got going. I was keen to see them back in the Tywi and went to a meeting in Llandeilo ages ago to discuss this. It was very striking that posh semi-residents were behind the project, and that they were super-keen on secrecy. They were going to sneak beavers into private lakes. Not a big beaver walk from their lakes to the Tywi or Teifi. If they’d been open about it with their proper Welsh neighbours (as happens in Scotland/Devon/Dorset) it might be fine. But they were sly. Got to blame the humans (and their political system) not the beavers. My wife is from South Dakota, and we are keen to do something about the millions of bison which disappeared. But the real scandal in SD is the human one. The Oglala Sioux need serious Oxfam-type help and not just with their language. If humans help these humans then the bison will likely benefit as well. Its not difficult to draw lines. Beavers in Scotland are clearly fine. The BBC is now open about them instead of sly. But bringing back the wolf to Scotland is probably not fine, yet. You need so many square miles per wolf, and the rewilders don’t control enough area. Worked well in Yellowstone on the whole.

      1. Dafis

        I have nothing against beavers per se, and I have watched otters at work/play and it is a joy to witness. However they (otters) feed on fish and that will lead to an upsurge in protests among the fishing community who don’t like ANYTHING else on THEIR rivers.

        When I was a kid people used to hunt otters because they clashed over the trout,sewin etc that were far more numerous then than now. So fishing associations will be hyper sensitive about predators returning, although many country communities are largely excluded from good stretches of fishing which have been bought up by wealthy outsiders. Shades of the wealthy visitor/tourist issue yet again, bastards get in everywhere. Root cause of most of these problems is colonisation and exploitation that goes with it. Noone dares call it a conspiracy.

        1. Glen

          Otter hunting was a traditional ‘country sport’ in its own right just like fox hunting and stag hunting, there was no connection witn angling.

          The decline of otters in the 1960’s was entirely down to the chemicals used in pesticides and sheep-dip which leached into rivers and all but wiped them out.

          1. Here’s a photo from the 60s, I guess, showing otter-hounds on the Dysynni inland of Tywyn. It wasn’t a local pack, and I think it might have been a PR stunt or fund-raiser.
            Otterhounds

          2. Dafis

            I was referring to the early 60’s. That’s when informal groups with dogs used to “hunt” otters. An extermination programme because the otter was seen as a major factor in reducing natural fish stocks – no topping up by anglers or anyone else in our area then. Maybe the sheep dip and the pesticides also played a part but I know that humans also played a direct destructive role at that time.

        2. Glen

          Anglers were caring for “THEIR rivers” decades before the trendy environmentalists took an interest or the jealous eyes of the ‘paddle sports’ brigade took a fancy to them.

          Afan Valley Angling Club made up almost entirely of steelworkers and miners were taking polluters to court in the 1950’s, a time when most people considered rivers to be little more than convenient open sewers. The same club built their own fish passes around man made obstructions, planted 1,000’s of wild daffodil bulbs on the banks and erected scores of nesting boxes on what was once a industrial wasteland, and they did it all out of club funds.

          One club I belong to that is almost 100 years old, estimate over the years they have paid out close to £3m by today’s value for their fishing rights, so I would say they are entitled to regard the river as their own and protect their assets against the freeloaders who want to take it away from them.

          1. Jonathan Edwards

            Glen, I have a lot of sympathy for what you say about angling clubs. I can see why they feel they own the places they protect. They did the work. And they did not have to deal with the rest of the population much, who worked long hours in factories in towns and did not have an education in country things like fishing. But the anglers tend to go too far. Take people who fish on the Tywi and Cothi, who included President Carter. Drive along the A40 and you’d see a BMW half-parked on the verge. Then it would be gone. Apparently some well-heeled bloke had slipped in, fished for sewin, had a good dinner in the Forest Arms in Brechfa or somewhere and slipped back to civilisation. And then he’d go and lobby the Environment Agency in London who told their Welsh inferiors to do what the anglers wanted. So canoeists were blocked. OK, there is no right of navigation in Wales, yet. But why screw over the Coraclemen in Carmarthen, with a 2000+ year tradition? Because they were rough tough guys who were not smooth enough for the E.Agency and BMW types but also caught salmon and sewin. Licences for coracles became fewer and more expensive, little effort to preserve the tradition. Museum on the quay abandoned. They treated the Coraclemen like the Sioux! Wales has an NRW and a “Parliament” now so one group of the population (fly-fishermen) have a Welsh forum to debate with canoeists, Coraclemen and the rest of us. We can sort beavers. I know, I know, the Welsh political system doesn’t work properly yet. So fix it.

          2. Dafis

            Fair comment but you must acknowledge that there now exists a real market for such angling rights and the big money boys have “waded” into territory where there are still comparatively better fish populations. That said, there is a general decline in fish stocks much of it due to pollution and those who have invested heavily in fishing , both in stocks and environment will be wary of anything that brings new predators (otters) or environmental impact ( beavers).

            It’s a bit odd that many of the enthusiastic eco types who get ecstatic over the introduction of beavers because they are said to create systems that reduce flood risk downstream were so keen to plant wind turbines on boggy moorland which had acted as flood preventers since God was a boy ! Is that a case of left hand not knowing what the right hand is up to, or is it simply that every eco/green fashionable initiative is embraced without any thought of consequences, especially the unintended variety ?

              1. Brychan

                Bio-digesters which line the banks of the Llynfi, Usk and Wye are licensed to operate and monitored by NRW. They take waste slurry from the big abattoir in Merthyr, and also the recycled food waste collected by local authorities in the valleys as well as some septic waste as starter load. These bio-digesters liberate methane, promoted as green energy by NRW. Operators get eco-grants. Residual contaminant is supposed to be tanked to Dwr Cymru treatment works as it’s food chain waste. There have been two cases on this stretch of river, and unless cows have adapted to washing their faces with disinfectant or using tampons (chemical smell reported by fishing fraternity), I don’t think cow slurry spreading by an errant farmer is the culprit here.

            1. Brychan

              On the basis of the ‘chemical smell’ of the Llynfi incident(s) and the scale of the incident, I suggest that this is not just a cattle farmer with an errant slurry spray, but leakage or deliberate dumping from an industrial site or chicken farm or biomass digester.

              https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.0092282,-3.2293179,620m/data=!3m1!1e3
              Going on that basis it’s possible to do a trace upstream.

              Because Wales is governed by English criminal law, the civil provisions being Welsh law, any criminal prosecution must exhaust prior to the launch of civil process. So we see NRW try the civil route as preference. Fine chasing. For the polluter, this just means a cost benefit decision. Cheaper to pay the fine than dispose properly.

      2. Brychan

        Llandeilo? I think you’ll find the natives of Llandeilo want the by-pass. It’s one of Ken Skate’s invisible shovels. There are three groups in opposition.

        The landed gentry brigade, like Dr Fox and the National Trust.
        The eco-settler brigade like Transition Towy.
        They don’t deserve it brigade, like the Labour Party.

        As the death toll of Welsh children being run over on the road through the town and Fairfach mounts, the WG excuses for no by-pass is becoming ever thinner. The lastest excuse is coronavirus. The ‘discovery of rare beaver’ on this section of the Tywi would kill the project.

        1. Jonesy

          Brychan that comment of yours is utter nonsense, everybody wants it, there is hardly opposition to it and nobody has been run over in town by a Mansel Davies lorry, silage tractor or Sais caravan

            1. Dafis

              London government were very careful ( devious ?) when allocating funds for M4 Newport project, they linked funds specifically for that project alone. So no shifting money around to build a by-pass around any other town or indeed hand it over to some deserving third sector “initiative” aimed at solving a drug/ homelessness/ criminality problem that had to be imported to justify new funding.

      1. Brychan

        Lynx.

        I suspect the Lynx escapade from the ‘Wildwood’ animal trafficking concern of Kent was rumbled when the muralist and all-round ‘get me cash or I shoot the cat’ sponger originally from the same county, who took on the Borth zoo, screwed up. He failed to keep proper charge of his prize, one being shot by Ceredigion council the other died when the owners strangled it themselves.

        Wildwood still have some Lynx destined for Wales, and have now acquired a pair of brown bears they rescued from Albania ‘because the rest of Europe couldn’t provide sanctuary’. Perhaps they arrived in Kent on an inflatable dingy?

        http://kent.wildwoodtrust.org/

        Bison.

        Wildwood have also imported some bison, but their holding unit in Devon didn’t have enough grazing so they have been returned to Kent. They probably have their eyes on a site in theme park Wales. Question, is where?

        Beaver.

        As far as the illegal release of beaver into Wales, the release in Devon was also an act of subtifuge. Two pairs ‘appeared’, an act of ‘beaver bombing’ by eco-terrorists in 2015 and Defra allowed a five year stay of execution. This was touted as ‘beaver trial by the local wildlife trust. Time now expired, and this infestation has now been allowed by Defra in England. There are now 11 breeding pairs, tagged, along the Otter river in Devon. So who’s did the Devon release?

        Suspect.

        For a person to commit such a crime they have to have (a) opportunity, access to beavers, (b) ability, knowledge to trap, and transport and (c) motive, someone supportive of the propagation, with a complete disregard of the consequences. At the Devon crime scene in 2015, the first ‘expert ‘ present, person known to the scene, was
        this chap.

        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7525085/Ecologist-returning-Devon-farm-Stone-Age-Nazi-engineered-cows.html

        Not only does he import livestock for his Devon folly farm, he’s a ‘consultant’ in the legal beaver project in Scotland. He therefore has opportunity, ability and motive. It might be worth GogPlod or DPP asking if he’s been to Wales and for what purpose.

        Who is the Dyfi beaver bomber?

        1. There are bison on the Rhug Estate between Bala and Corwen. You can buy bison burgers at the shop and from the takeaway.

          1. Brychan

            There are loads of farms rearing bison for food in the British Isles. The one that puts bison burgers on the shelves of Waitrose is in East Grinstead, Sussex. Those are farmed animals, have to be bTB and brucellosis tested, all logged and tagged and each animal traced from birth to plate, commercially grazed like beef cattle for food.

            The ‘wild bison’ I highlight are not.

            These imported as bloodstock are to be released to the ‘wild’. The intention is to release them to run feral on common land, NRW woodland by English owned third sector projects. Wild animals are exempt from agricultural regulations and where a wild herd runs bTB would mean no cattle farming viable in the whole area due to cross-infection.

            1. Jonathan Edwards

              Glad bison are getting a mention. European or American? My wife Kate is from South Dakota and sharpened my interest in what the white man did to the red man, and the bison in the 19th Century, and where we are now. Start with the people, the Oglala/Lakota/Sioux. They live in 3rd World conditions. Got to change. Not easy in a wind-swept prairie. They don’t want casinos, and they don’t fancy just dumping Defence projects in SD, as they did in North Dakota. The answer for the Sioux is – they say – connected with the prairie. They have places like PIne Ridge where they try to keep the Sioux connected with the prairie/bison/general welfare by ranching bison. Some white S.Dakotan farmers are trying something similar, because of the logic that conventional farming/ranching on the prairie is economically marginal, and does not benefit locals properly, white or Sioux. Here are 2 fundamental changes which might work in SD. (1) Change the ownership of land ie transfer ownership of the Black Hills to the Sioux, maybe on the basis that they lease it back, on conditions. Thanks to the US Supreme Court ruling against the Federal Government they are part-way to doing this, and (2) land again, set up a fund that would buy farms/ranches as they fall vacant at a fair price to reassemble some sort of prairie. Wales needs a land policy too, to sort out which landowners will benefit the Welsh people and which landowners will not. The land needs to belong to the Dafydd Morris Joneses of this world, not arrogant outsiders, however they self-certify as well-meaning. Animals: I’m OK with beavers re-appearing, and wild boar and deer if they are culled. They can re-appear strongly because they were indigenous anyway. And exotics? Bison OK as tokens at Rhug, but prefer Welsh Blacks or Dinefwr Whites. Sheep – are big sheep ranches the answer in Wales? Ask the Scots, who know a thing or two about crofting v Clearances? And ask the Welsh of course!

  4. Glen

    The Wye also now appears to have a resident beaver population.
    This report is from Trout and Salmon magazine, March 2018.

    “One item of interest, and perhaps concern in some quarters was the discovery of a pregnant beaver found on the Bach Howey tributary which joins the main river at Erwood. Quite where it came from is a mystery as none of the wildlife bodies locally claim to know anything about it.
    The question is where did it come from and are there any more?
    Was the beaver pregnant before it was released/escaped or does it still have a mate somewhere out there?”

    Since then others have been spotted by people on the river, one as recently as last May.

    1. Dafis

      As far as I know beaver do NOT consume fish. Their activity in damming streams etc may disrupt fish habitat especially when beaver activity is new to the stretch of river. However fish are quite innovative and able to adapt as long as the water course has some access through it. I’m more concerned about the humans behind all these “re-wilding” projects. People like Monbiot can spout drivel all day long and these muppets will soak it up.

      1. Brychan

        Beaver dams not only create a migration difficulty for salmon and sewin travelling upstream to breed, but also create stagnant pools that silt up. Especially in summer, where river sections that would otherwise be oxygenated by rapids and turbulent flow. Poor oxygenation is often blamed on farm slurry run-off, killing the ecosystem. Also, a beaver pool is also ideal habitat for predator fish like pike, which feed on the newborn season sprats migrating downstream. Beaver felling of trees on the riverbank also remove overhanging branches which provide drop larvae and insects, food for fish. This is why fishermen oppose.

  5. David Smith

    Perhaps the fly-by-night beavering was done by some Banksy-esque art collective as some sort of self-referential metaphor for all the twats that turn up in our country from God knows where?

  6. Dai

    The article is all could or would or might. Beavers are herbivores. The river Otter in Devon has a big population. The local wildlife trust claims they have improved fishing opportunities. Here the river has few fish and anglers have been told not to keep catches but return to the river. Not all anglers do and no idea if they are local anglers but they certainly get their licences locally. The river or it’s tributaries are often polluted by farm run off. Wales, including many farmers, are unfortunately reliant on tourism. Tourists have changing values so the countries that need them need to adapt to what attracts. Wales needs to find alternatives to tourism but no one, including me, seems to have an alternative.

    1. The Crown estate gives permission to a subsidiary of French oil company Total to put wind turbines off our coast. But it’s OK because there’s a Pembrokeshire company involved. It’s called Blue Gem Ltd. The directors are mainly French, Irish and German. And the company itself relocated from Cornwall just over a year ago, probably to provide a ‘Welsh’ fig leaf for this project.

      Yet the ‘Welsh Government’ and the Minister for Ugandan Affairs persist in talking about ‘community benefits’ and other bullshit.

      1. Brychan

        The Crown Estate owns and manages the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It will derive revenue from this project. Decisions are made on behalf of the crown by UK ministers. Things are different in Scotland. Crown Estate Scotland is a different entity and decisions are made by Scottish ministers. This was the ‘devolution’ settlement designed by the Labour Party back in 1997. The use of the term “UK Waters” and “British Isles” in the Guardian article is wrong.

        1. David Robins

          Crown Estate Scotland was set up in 2017. Its Wikipedia entry credits SNP pressure on Westminster with its creation.

          As in Wales, the Crown Estate in Scotland wasn’t part of Labour’s 1997 devolution settlement. I assume Drakeford has no plans to bring Wales into line with more advanced parts of the disunion?

          1. Brychan

            Good shout there Mr Robins.

            There must have been an ‘option’ in the Scotland Act for the SNP to take on this responsibility, as unlike Wales with devoref extra, they have not had a subsequent upgrade of powers. I’m surprised that the self professed republican MS’s here in have not also taken the opportunity to take lands and water from Her Maj. Perhaps they are too concerned with side issues than with Welsh interests?

  7. Brychan

    Currently, the government in Chile are involved in an eradication programme of beaver as an invasive pest species causing damage to river bank ecosystems. They were introduced by misguided re-wilders. There are no existing natural predators of beaver in south America. Elsewhere, the natural predator of the beaver are..

    (a) Coyotes, in north America
    (b) Brown Bear, in north America, Finland Sweden and Russia.
    (a) Red Fox, depending on the season in Europe.
    (b) Wolf, in Scandinavia, Finland and Baltic states.
    (c) Lynx, in Iberia and Caucuses.

    Once the beaver population in Wales gets out of control it will be necessary for the taxpayer to pay for a culling project, to protect river habitat from woodland clearance. In Sweden and Norway there is a licensed beaver hunting industry due to some populations getting out of control. This year, Germany also licensed beaver hunting in some specific areas.

  8. Dafis

    Completely off topic here we go !

    Nation.cymru article – https://nation.cymru/opinion/wales-loyalty-to-the-union-is-incredibly-naive/

    Prediction that Scotland will get out of the Union is the usual fare. Seems that N.Ireland might cop a dose of sanity eventually and join the Republic ( or might it just go independent ?) while the writer worries about Wales’ blind loyalty to the Union. Well factor in the growth of English nationalism and its intolerant attitude towards anything/one perceived to be a “burden” and England might leave the Union too, but retain the Queen of course.

    That would leave Wales all on its lonesome, ill equipped to deal with the challenges of the real world because most of our political and business leadership have been playing at it for the last couple of decades. Any group that sees the 3rd sector as a key arm of our commercial future must have a rock in his /her head yet that is the norm in modern Wales. To move towards some kind of inevitable demise of the Union we need to replace the current distracted rabble with people who can see real priorities and kick fashionable ishoos into touch or better still right out of the ground.

  9. Conuts

    Beat me to the Golden Eagles story, which was mooted at least as early as last year IIRC (Daily Post).

    I’m torn between loving to see them and what will they eat? as potentially impacting taking farmers’ (especially upland) delicate livelihoods – I suppose they very odd loss might be acceptable to us but not the farmers, who are having flocks stolen for illegal butchery at unlicensed abattoirs these days with scoping by drone (I read this week).

    The eagle story goes hand in glove with reintroduction of the Mountain Hare (however that differs with the hares I’ve see around here occasionally) as a food source. Will need a lot of them and a sustainable population.

    The last Golden Eagle in England died around Haweswater in the Lakes a few years ago I read when visiting there in 2018. The birds there (before there was only one) also had Britain’s largest red deer herd (I recall I also read – Mosedale I saw them) and fallen domestic stock to consume. I imagine fallen deer rather than predation. So against the loss of the odd lamb, etc. might be the saved cost of disposing of fallen stock that farmers must also pay for now.

    Still means a fair bit of carrion needed and for them to get to it early if not first.

    1. Brychan

      Red Kite is our native carrion species.
      Peregrine Falcon is our native hunt on the wing species.

      Both have conservation status. Introducing Golden eagle, a non-native opportunist with a much bigger hunting range is likely to somewhat displace our existing endangered spices in winter, with the obvious danger to lambing livestock in spring. I suspect the first thing other birds do when they spot a golden eagle is to vacate the area asap.

      Golden eagle is the wrong species for Wales.

      Sea (white tailed) eagle is our native species, which could be re-introduced without harming our existing eco-system. It’s range is more coastal, Eryri, eats gulls too, which is the Welsh habitat, and why it’s our native eagle.

  10. Sorry – I’ve not got a lot of time to discuss beavers – although I’d blame the settlers brought her by ‘Dr’ Edna Mitty for part of this issue. The beavers are less of a problem than her and the settlers.
    As regards the EXAM screw up in Wales :-
    This is a difficult situation as :-
    Labour runs WAG and caused it here.
    WAG’s Education Head is Lib Dem Kirsty Williams who stuck firm with Labour for an undue time.
    The Tories set the Algorithm in London
    and pathetic little Plaid Cymru only want to be in a cosy coalition with Labour in Cardiff.
    So that only leaves UKIP who have not got their fingers in this pie and I would not run to them even if my arse was on fire and they had the only fire extinguisher in Cardiff Bay.
    The only option is to forget it all and move on ! Maybe good old Neil McEvoy will sort it out !

  11. Brychan

    Two questions. (a) Who’s been sourcing and deliberately releasing beavers into Wales, some by proxy? And (b) Who’s funding these endeavours.

    The answer to (a) is Derek Gow and the answer to (b) is Ben Goldsmith.

    My two suspects were confirmed in the research conducted for this article in the Guardian, published today.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/04/its-going-to-be-our-way-now-the-guerrilla-rewilder-shaking-up-british-farming-aoe

    Not only does Gow admit to releasing beavers at locations across the UK but that the operation is financed by Goldsmith who is a board member of Defra in England.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Goldsmith

    He confirms he’s been funding Gow for over a decade.

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