Ed Revill: clean burning gas from woodchips, the waste ‘biochar’ makes excellent fertiliser

By Ed Lovelace – from 2011

Ed Revill from Swansea gives us the low-down on biochar-producing stoves and how they can be harnessed to convert chemical energy stored in wood into useful heat and nutrient retaining, “carbon negative” charcoal known as ‘biochar’.

Audio interview

Permaculture revolution Ed Revill, from Swansea Biochar.
– Explore techniques which allow us to live in balance with the Earth.
– Recaim sovereignty from food and energy corporations and start to build resilient systems.
– Explore how to produce healthy soil as well as domestic heat by stabilising carbon in soil.
– Producing food and energy by stabilising carbon in soil enables us to reverse our ecological footprints and live in harmony with the Earth.
– This is the reverse of the current practice of burning fossil fuels to produce energy and food.
http://www.soil-carbon-regeneration.co.uk

UK Permaculture revolution

http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/73642

Download http://www.radio4all.net/files/tony@cultureshop.org.uk/2149-1-Dialect07Jan14.mp3

Tory behind Grenfell cladding downgrade hosts lavish party just before 2nd anniversary of fire

EXCLUSIVE: Rock Hugo Basil Feilding-Mellen, the Tory councillor who oversaw Grenfell’s refurbishment, invited actress Rosamund Pike and John Lennon’s musician son Sean to his 40th bash

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/grenfell-torys-star-studded-party-16520379

By Alan Selby 14 JUN 2019

Rock Hugo Basil Feilding-Mellen (known in Ladbroke Grove as ‘Cock Wielding Felon’) organised the bash

The Tory councillor who oversaw Grenfell’s refurbishment has been slammed for throwing a star-studded party at his family’s country pile weeks before the horror’s two-year anniversary.

Rock Hugo Basil Feilding-Mellen’s 40th birthday bash saw a who’s who of socialites and stars descend on Stanway House in Gloucestershire, including actress Rosamund Pike and John Lennon’s musician son Sean.

Photos on social media showed millionaires rubbing shoulders at his mum’s 5,000-acre Jacobean manor as families prepared themselves to commemorate the tragedy that killed 72.

Grenfell United, the survivors and bereaved families group, said: “Seeing these pictures is like a gut punch.

“We are no closer to justice, yet people that should be answering questions for the deaths of 72 people and the devastation of our community are living without consequence. It’s disgraceful.

“Because of what was done to us there are 72 birthdays we didn’t celebrate this year and two children who never made it to their first.”

Edward Daffarn lived in Grenfell Tower and almost lost his life in the fire.

He said: “It makes me feel like I did when reading the following quote from the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: ‘they were careless people…they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clear up the mess that they made’.”

A source who revealed the party had taken place said: “I’m just appalled at the arrogance of these people revelling in the run-up to the Grenfell anniversary.

“There are seventy-two people who’ll never have another birthday.”

Moyra Samuels, of the Justice 4 Grenfell campaign, said Rock Feilding-Mellen’s decision to hold a party with his rich and famous pals just three weeks before the two year anniversary of the fire showed he was “morally bankrupt”.

She said “He’s quite indifferent to the impact that such a thing might have on a grieving and quite sensitive community. He’s oblivious, continuing to act as if it is of no consequence that 72 people died.

“He lives in an elite and removed world, and always has, even though he was he was based not far from the tower.

“He’s been raised, nurtured and brought up with this entitled attitude.

“It comes as no surprise, but it is indicative of the fact that actually people like him who were involved in the council at the time of the fire and made some serious decisions that influenced what happened are still continuing to act as if it is of no consequence that 72 people died.

“They think this should not change their lives, and they will continue to indulge.”She added: “You would have thought this would be a time to show some sensitivity and some subtlety.”

Moyra, a teacher, said as the inquiry into the fire dragged on slowly the community felt justice was being denied as key decision makers like Mr Feilding-Mellen moved on with their lives and escaped sanction.

She said: “Every aspect of the procedure of justice and truth has been thwarted, in all sorts of ways, by a ruling, privileged elite who indicate to this community and, quite frankly, the rest of the country, that they don’t have any shame in them.”

 

Fielding-Mellen did not comment when approached by the Mirror.

Mr Feilding-Mellen was deputy mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea during the refurbishment of the tower, and was the chairman of the housing committee.

He reportedly urged refurbishment consultants in 2014 to reduce costs on cladding.

At that point £300,000 was cut from a £10 million budget and now-banned flammable aluminium panels were to be installed, rather than the zinc cladding which was originally planned.

After being elected to Kensington in 2006 Mr Feilding-Mellen became deputy leader in 2013 and took a seat on the powerful major planning development committee.

In 2015 he warned that the council’s housing redevelopment programme would need to be completed “with no recurrent cost to the general council taxpayer”.

After news of his involvement in the Grenfell refit emerged he was forced to flee his family’s £1.2million Kensington home in the wake of the fire, fearing for his family’s safety.

He stood down as deputy mayor of the borough after the fire, and left the council at last year’s local elections.

Days after Grenfell, in 2017, he told friends he was cancelling plans to visit Stanway House for the 30th birthday of his step-sister Mary Charteris, who is a model and member of the band The Big Pink.

Those who did go to Mary’s party included Cara Delevingne, actor Jaime Winstone and aristocrats including Scarlett Spencer-Churchill.

Mr Feilding-Mellen, known as Rocky, is the son of Amanda Feilding, the Countess of Wemyss and March.

He is the great-great-great-grandson of the seventh Earl of Denbigh and a direct descendant of the Hapsburgs.

Amanda Feilding is an outspoken critic of drugs policy, and campaigns on the benefits of LSD and cannabis.

The UK’s 50 biggest landowners revealed – lovemoney.com

Solution to inequality? UK Labour party embraces Land Value Tax (LVT)

Labour could stop renters paying council tax in major property laws shake-up

Labour has shown once again that it wants nothing less than the abolition of private property

Tax land: Winston Churchill said it all better then we can

Want to tackle inequality? Then first change our land ownership laws

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/04/tackle-inequality-land-ownership-laws

George Monbiot From housing costs to wildlife collapse, we pay the price while the rich boost their profits. But from today we can fight back @GeorgeMonbiot

Tue 4 Jun 2019 06.00 BSTLast modified on Tue 4 Jun 2019 12.35 BST

What is the most neglected issue in British politics? I would say land. Literally and metaphorically, land underlies our lives, but its ownership and control have been captured by a tiny number of people. The results include soaring inequality and exclusion; the massive cost of renting or buying a decent home; the collapse of wildlife and ecosystems; repeated financial crises; and the loss of public space. Yet for 70 years this crucial issue has scarcely featured in political discussions.

Today, I hope, this changes, with the publication of the report to the Labour party – Land for the Many – that I’ve written with six experts in the field. Our aim is to put this neglected issue where it belongs: at the heart of political debate and discussion.

Since 1995, land values in this country have risen by 412%. Land now accounts for an astonishing 51% of the UK’s net worth. Why? In large part because successive governments have used tax exemptions and other advantages to turn the ground beneath our feet into a speculative money machine. A report published this week by Tax Justice UK reveals that, through owning agricultural land, 261 rich families escaped £208m in inheritance tax in 2015-16. Because farmland is used as a tax shelter, farmers are being priced out. In 2011, farmers bought 60% of the land that was on the market; within six years this had fallen to 40%.

Homes are so expensive not because of the price of bricks and mortar, but because land now accounts for 70% of the price

Worse still, when planning permission is granted on agricultural land, its value can rise 250-fold. Though this jackpot was created by society, the owner gets to keep most of it. We pay for this vast inflation in land values through outrageous rents and mortgages. Capital gains tax is lower than income tax, and council tax is proportionately more expensive for the poor than for the rich. As a result of such giveaways, and the amazing opacity of the system, land in the UK has become a magnet for international criminals seeking to launder their money.

We pay for these distortions every day. Homes have become so expensive not because the price of bricks and mortar has risen, but because the land that underlies them now accounts for 70% of their price. Twenty years ago, the average working family needed to save for three years to afford a deposit. Today, it must save for 19 years. Life is even worse for renters. While housing costs swallow 12% of average household incomes for those with mortgages, renters pay 36%.

Because we hear so little about the underlying issues, we blame the wrong causes for the cost and scarcity of housing: immigration, population growth, the green belt, red tape. In reality, the power of landowners and building companies, their tax and financial advantages and the vast shift in bank lending towards the housing sector have inflated prices so much that even a massive house building programme could not counteract them.

The same forces are responsible for the loss of public space in cities, a right to roam that covers only 10% of the land, the lack of provision for allotments and of opportunities for new farmers, and the wholesale destruction of the living world. Our report aims to confront these structural forces and take back control of the fabric of the nation.

A Labour government should replace council tax with a progressive property tax, payable by owners, not tenants. Empty homes should automatically be taxed at a higher rate. Inheritance tax should be replaced with a lifetime gifts tax levied on the recipient. Capital gains tax on second homes and investment properties should match or exceed the rates of income tax. Business rates should be replaced with a land value tax, based on rental value. A 15% offshore tax should be levied on properties owned through tax havens.

To democratise development and planning, we want to create new public development corporations. Alongside local authorities, they would assemble the land needed for affordable homes and new communities. Builders would have to compete on quality, rather than by amassing land banks. These public corporations would use compulsory purchase to buy land at agricultural prices, rather than having to pay through the nose for the uplift created by planning permission. This could reduce the price of affordable homes in the south-east by nearly 50%.

We propose a community participation agency, to help people, rather than big companies, become the driving force in creating local plans and influencing major infrastructure. To ensure a wide range of voices is heard, we suggest a form of jury service for plan-making. To represent children and the unborn, we would like every local authority to appoint a future generations champion.

Councils should have new duties to create parks, urban green spaces, wildlife refuges and public amenities. We propose a new definition of public space, granting citizens a legal right to use it and overturning the power of private landowners in cities to stifle leisure, cultural events and protest.

We propose much tighter rent and eviction controls, and an ambitious social housebuilding programme. We also want to create new opportunities for people to design and build their own homes, supported by a community right to buy of the kind that Scotland enjoys. Compulsory sale orders should be used to bring vacant and derelict land on to the market, and community groups should have first rights to buy it.

To help stabilise land prices and make homes more affordable, we propose a new body, called the Common Ground Trust. When people can’t afford to buy a home, they can ask the trust to purchase the land that underlies it, while they pay only for the bricks and mortar (about 30% of the cost). They then pay the trust a land rent. Their overall housing costs are reduced, while the trust gradually accumulates a pool of land that acts as a buffer against speculation, and creates common ownership on a large scale.

We call for a right to roam across all uncultivated land and waterways (except gardens and similar limitations). We want to change the Allotments Act, to ensure that no one needs wait for a plot for more than a year. We would like to use part of the Land Registry’s vast surplus to help community land trusts buy rural land for farming, forestry, conservation and rewilding. We would like a new English land commission to decide whether to make major farming and forestry decisions subject to planning permission, to help arrest the environmental crisis. And we want to transform the public’s right to know, by ensuring that all information about land ownership, subsidies and planning is published freely as open data.

These proposals, we hope, will make the UK a more equal, inclusive and generous-spirited nation, characterised not by private enclosure and public squalor, but by private sufficiency and public luxury. Our land should work for the many, not just the few.

a Landrights campaign for Britain

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