Swans in danger

A local resident has recently reported a number of dead swans in the Fareham Creek area, and they have been found to have had Avian Flu.

Fareham Borough Council’s Environment Department have confirmed to
Councillor Katrina Trott that they are liaising with both the lead agencies, DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and the
Environment Agency.

Katrina has now received this report from FBC’s Head of
Environmental Health:
“As you know now the swans that died a couple of weeks ago were
tested by DEFRA and the result was positive for Avian Flu, also
contacted and advised at the time were APHA (Animal and Plant
Health Agency) and Public Health England.

“It appears that there was a process in place where DEFRA advertise
the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77, and this is where dead
birds should be reported. They will either come and remove the birds
for testing and/or contact the Council’s depot to arrange removal of
the birds.

“It seems the APHA are only interested in more than 5 birds
and that’s really only for surveillance in the environment and to allow
them to take measures to protect farmed birds.

“Public Health England have informed us that the strains of Avian flu
found in the UK recently pose little risk to human health and we were
advised yesterday that we could put signs up if we wanted to.

“Coincidentally yesterday some more dead swans were reported on
the Cams Golf Course side and we are arranging for signage to be put up as soon as possible now, which will basically advise the public
not to go near dead birds and advise them to report to the DEFRA
helpline.

” We urge you NOT to walk along the coastline of Fareham Creek
where swans congregate and certainly not to feed the birds at
this time.”

Paula Headley, a caring and very concerned local resident contacted Katrina, and DEFRA, RSPB and RSPCA. Fareham Borough Council
is at last producing and placing notices.

Praise must go to Paula who had already placed notices in the area to warn the public, as shown here.

Minors are future majors

They should not be discouraged

When the Daily Echo ran a story recently featuring the likely sea-rise impact on Southampton, it unleashed a torrent of outraged climate change denial. Climate Central’s data was viewed as preposterous, extremely unlikely and unwarranted fearmongering. Barely 20% of respondents agreed with the report.

That reaction – the refusal to countenance the full impact of the way we live now – is perfectly understandable. There are not many things these days as trusted as bricks and mortar . . . as safe as houses. Unfortunately, that trust flies in the face of science. While countries are firmly in the grip of an addiction to never-ending growth, it is difficult to face up to the consequences of damage to our planet.

This deep resistance to radical change is a central concern in Jason Hickel’s studies summarised in his book, Less Is More. You may recoil from his remedies and, like Echo readers, dismiss such analysis as preposterous propaganda. It does, however, form part of a fresh and enlightened approach to curricula development.

Readers who cannot tolerate Greta Thunberg’s criticisms of leadership or close their minds to any alternatives to capitalism, are unlikely to be planning to move to higher ground. 2050 may seem a very long was away. Surely the children will find a solution. Or maybe the scientists are just plain wrong? Maybe we should cross our fingers or pray harder for deliverance? Or maybe we should, at the very least, be working harder right now to resolve the funding prioritisation of sea defences.

But more than that, the sad thing is that we should by now know that we must change. Science has been clear about this for decades. Brilliant minds have espoused parts of solution. Communities and entire nations can adapt to more circular economies, understand doughnut economics, drastically reduce dependency on fossil fuels, and reset societal priorities to reduce inequality and increase wellbeing – and, in some countries, that is happening. But none of that is likely to happen with the current crew in charge of the UK.

Fortunately, young people really do know better. They may not yet be allowed to vote, they may not yet be skilled at leadership, but they will be challenged to live in the mess we are bequeathing. They will, one hopes, not be fooled as their parents have been fooled. Our greatest contribution will be to not discourage them.

Changing the lightbulbs

Are Fareham’s communities thriving? And, if not, what can be done?

There are umpteen ways of gauging local communities. Do people want to live here? Is there work? Good schools? Full fibre? Are the natives friendly? Affordability? Clean air?

Positive answers to most of these questions are very much in the hands of the local council. How concerned are Councillors with Fareham’s 3000 households suffering fuel poverty or the families reliant on food banks to feed their children? What priority will they give to climate change actions?

It is far too easy to shift the blame for all our local woes onto central government – just as it was for them to shift the blame for their poor economic management onto ‘foreigners’. If you feel that your community is not thriving, it’s well worth asking why.

Within the patch managed by Fareham Borough Council we have many different communities and many different priorities – but how many of those standing for election next May really understand what’s going on?

Communities vary – some are tight-knit, cohesive and strictly law-abiding. Others might be looser, more individualistic and yearning for freedom. The balance between tight and loose will always be shifting. What matters more is how much support there is for stuff that really matters – our social foundations and the environment – and serious efforts to tackle our shortfalls.

But how much do we really know about our communities here in Fareham? Your Council has started to try and measure the air damage from its own operations but there is much more to discover – and no requirement (yet) for local businesses to do similar audits.

Similarly, we know a little about fuel poverty (affecting very nearly 3,000 local households) but we must surely focus on the details for all aspects of healthy living. It may be complex, but tools are available , and there is little excuse for ignoring deprivations.

Next May we will have no ordinary local election. Our Council seats come up for re-election every four years. But with the deferred elections from last May, half of all Council seats will need to be filled. Time to focus a spotlight on our communities’ priorities. How many Councillors do we need to change Fareham’s light bulb?