Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Three Times? That’s Enemy Action, Right?

Yesterday, council bosses admitted they have once again massacred one of the last remaining habitats of the narrow-leaved helleborine - a highly distinctive white wild flower.
Yes, for the third year running…
The orchids are officially classed as one of the world's most 'vulnerable' flowers - meaning they are at high risk of extinction in the wild.
Well, not so much in the wild as in the perimeter of council influence…
For more than 50 years, the orchids have grown on a road verge at Mascoombe Bottom in the Meon Valley, Hampshire. The open conditions and south-facing slope make it ideal for the plants, which flower between May and July.

But three years ago Hampshire County Council changed its roadside mowing routine and cut down the flowers before they could set seed - putting the population at risk.

The charity Plantlife contacted the council and was given a guarantee the mistake would not happen again.

But the error was repeated last year and this year by the council's contractors, despite more complaints.
Ah, well, you have to see it from the council’s point of view: complaints are bad, but, y’know, no-one’s going to lose any sleep over them. They are bits of paper. They don’t materially affect pensions or careers….
The council was unable to say how the mistake occurred.
I’ll tell you, shall I?

It happened because there were no consequences to it happening.
But councillor Mel Kendal, executive member for environment, said he 'will be ensuring the council's procedure is changed so that all the designated verges of ecological importance, among the 4,000 miles of rural verges we cut, are individually assessed to protect rare species of plantlife.'
Well, unless you change that procedure to allow for the ritual disembowelment of the parks manager on the village green in the event of this happening, expect more of it.

Alternatively, you could just ensure that a particularly large fine will come directly out of his salary? That’ll do the trick…

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

well, its on the list, see? here? I mean if it's on the list I've got to cut it, 'aven't I, eh?

Bucko said...

These flowers are vulnerable? I thought councils were champions of the vulnerable.
Im suprised they haven put the flowers in their own designated monority group and given them a council house and benefits.
What are they playing at? What happened to flower power?

microdave said...

I'm sure we can guess what would happen if a member of the public accidentally cut down a preserved tree which was threatening his house.
- He would have the book thrown at him.

On the other hand we KNOW what happens when a developer "accidentally" cuts down a number of trees on his latest site.

Or a group of travellers lay a few hundred tons of tarmac over a bank holiday weekend.

Or the council screw up themselves...

John R said...

I'm not a treehugger, but they do have some good ideas to stop brainless morons removing rare plants from the environment. You're right, they wont listed unless there are consequences, so why not give them some to think about?

Over the next few months hammer a number of stout metal spikes into the ground where the orchids grow. Leave 6-9 inches sticking out above the surface. (Night might be the best time to do this).

Tell the council that the verges have been "spiked" and that there is now a major "elfin safety" risk if they try to mow down the orchids again.

Anonymous said...

If only we had some plant technology like, seed saving, tissue culture or propagation by cuttings...

Maybe one day, someone somewhere will invent the greenhouse, imagine, we'd be able to grow and multiply rare plants in a controlled way.

But nah, guilt-tripping and obsessing over a small non-viable collection of plants and animal we haven't bothered to maintain is a lot more fun.

Anonymous said...

JohnR you're a moron. The spikes will not degrade over time and eventually, someone somewhere will get killed or maimed by them, probably long after the orchids died out naturally.

JuliaM said...

"I'm sure we can guess what would happen if a member of the public accidentally cut down a preserved tree which was threatening his house.
- He would have the book thrown at him."


Indeed. It's the disparity that so galls.

"You're right, they wont listed unless there are consequences, so why not give them some to think about?"

I'm all in favour of consequences. They tend to concentrate the mind wonderfully...

"But nah, guilt-tripping and obsessing over a small non-viable collection of plants and animal we haven't bothered to maintain is a lot more fun."

Well, you'd still get people obsessing - just over things like 'captivity' instead...