22 Apr 2010

Randwick woods and volcanos

Randwick Woods and volcanos - well this blog is a bit of a ramble - wanted to mention Sunday when I took a break from canvassing and went up to the woods for a walk - they are such a special place - we are mightily lucky to have them on our doorstep! They are looking wonderful at the moment with all the Wood Anemomes in flower - beautiful and just the start of some of those bluebells....

Photos: Pics from Sunday

It has also been so wonderfully quiet with no planes - and none of those contrails the planes make - just wonderful blue skies - although so many seem to have been caught up - my partners daughters are visiting family in Norway and are still stuck.....a neighbour is in Barcelona while three teachers at the school are apparently all stuck places....it sounds like some folk are now on the move....

Caroline Lucas yesterday wrote to the European Commission to urge it to uphold a crucial EU law which requires airlines to help passengers affected by the volcanic ash crisis - see here - the airline industry are trying to block passenger rights to safeguard their own profits.

Interestingly I heard from the 10:10 campaign who claim to have got to the volcanic ash issue long before the rest of us....In June 1982 a Boeing plane, the G-BDXH was flying over West Java en route to Auckland when she flew into the plume of volcanic ash produced by the eruption of Mount Galunggung.

As the 10:10 website says: "All four engines failed almost simultaneously, and the crew were forced to make an emergency landing in Jakarta. After decades spent hurtling around the lower stratosphere and making all kinds of climate mischief in the process, G-BDXH is spending her retirement making it up to us. She’s been melted down and turned into 150,000 10:10 Tags – the best (and most stylish) way to show the world you’re cutting your 10% in 2010. Thanks to 10:10 and a small independent forge in greenest Lincolnshire, pieces of G-BDXH are now proudly displayed on wrists and necks across the country, symbolising a commitment to, immediate, effective and achievable action on climate change." See them here.

One question I had on the doorstep was about the impact of the volcano compared to flying - well here is a pic I came across from Information Is Beautiful. As one of my neighbours said it certainly seems that Iceland has it in for us at the moment, what with the banking and now this volcano...:)...hey I never do those texty smiley things.....

While on Iceland it is worth noting that the District Council had two deposits with Glitnir bank in Iceland, totalling £3m - the claim that these deposits should be treated as preferential under Icelandic insolvency law was not accepted by the Glitnir Winding Up Board (WUB). It is worth noting that the WUB of Landsbanki (another Icelandic bank) did accord preferential status to Local Authority deposits.

Stroud's case for preferential treatment is now being pursued through the Icelandic Courts and it is quite possible that there will be further appeals before a final decision is reached in the High Court. The LGA is coordinating actions on behalf of all 126 Local Authorities, in conjunction with Bevan Brittan and Icelandic lawyers. The costs of this action are being borne pro-rata by depositors. Not surprisingly the legal process is taking longer than expected - an initial judgement will be received by November this year, but further appeals would prolong reaching a final resolution.

At Cabinet meeting in March and at Scrutiny last week the Cabinet Member explained how these deposits will be treated in our Annual Accounts. Last year a dispensation was agreed by Government and CIPFA whereby the deposits were left in the accounts at their face value. This year there is no such arrangement and therefore the deposits must be shown at their “true and fair value”. Because of this position with our reserves we have applied for permission from Government to write off the unrecovered debt over a number of years (should this be necessary). This permission has been granted, in the form of a capitalisation directive. This permits us to finance the bad debt by borrowing and thereby allowing us time to rebuild our reserves. The LGA is still confident that all deposits will be recovered in full. No doubt more about all this soon.

As I have said before there are better ways of investing our money than in Iceland Banks - putting it to use locally could have a huge impact - investing in the local economy or renewable energy measures that end up creating an income....yes I know it is not easy as there are all sorts of regulations and advice from Government....

Anyway on 10:10 see also my recent blog about their Later Lighter campaign here - and remembering that Stroud District was one of the first ten Councils to sign up to 10:10 due to the work of Green councillor Fi MacMillan - and Green councillors are also all signed up to make efforts to reduce our carbon footprints by 10% during the year 2010.

1 comment:

Philip Booth said...

See these stunning photos of the volcano: