The Jim Bull Wood

On Saturday 12 April a small group gathered in Northumberland to pay tribute to Jim Bull, who worked for the Council (later Campaign) for National Parks for over 26 years.

 Jim's friends and colleagues,after the treeplanting

Jim’s friends and colleagues,after the treeplanting

Part of this tribute included planting twenty native trees which, in time, will form a small wood, just off the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail near Milecastle 42 at Cawfields.  This will be known as the Jim Bull Wood.

The Jim Bull Wood

The Jim Bull Wood

The group included many people who had worked alongside Jim and was very ably assisted by Paget Lazzari and the National Park ranger team.  Thank goodness they had dug the holes beforehand, making the job of planting the trees and attaching protective guards much easier and quicker.

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The rangers couldn’t have suggested a more perfect spot to plant the trees – tucked away off the National Trail and with road access, with a bubbling stream flowing nearby and birdsong all around.

The day allowed us all time to remember Jim, with anecdotes, memories and extracts from a Swinburne poem (the garden of Prosperine):

From too much love of living,

From hope and fear set free,

We thank with brief thanksgiving

Whatever gods may be

That no life lives for ever;

That dead men rise up never;

That even the weariest river

Winds somewhere safe to sea.

Tribute to Jim Bull – a loyal work colleague and friend

Jim worked for the Council (later Campaign) for National Parks for over 26 years. He was a diligent, loyal work colleague and an essential part of the close CNP team while we worked there. Jim looked after the Friends of National Parks scheme, was the office manager, organised meetings of the Council (and the Park Societies conferences in earlier years), looked after the accounts, acted as the organisation’s grammar guru and generally sorted out anything that needed sorting, including the computers. If you asked Jim to help out with something he was always quick to get on the task and when we were out and about with our busy and stressful jobs, he was always the person back in the office you could rely on.

Jim (2)

Jim was keen to find ways to save CNP money so that hard won donations could be spent on important campaigns. A good example is when he found a group of muscly South African moving men who carried box after box of the precious CNP archives up and down stairs during the office move – they were a lot cheaper than conventional movers!

Working with Jim was good fun. We used to take it in turns to buy chocolate and biscuits to keep us going through office hours and Jim liked nothing better than to go out for a mid-morning pasty run to the local Greggs.

Outside work Jim was an enthusiastic volunteer for the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers – often driving the minibus or leading weekend long conservation tasks.

With his academic background (PhD) and intelligence he could have had a very different career but chose National Parks because he loved their open spaces and believed in them. We will always remember him for his integrity, compassion and commitment to a cause in which we all believed.

He lived in Clapham Junction close to the CNP office and working there played a huge part in his life. We knew that Jim was often depressed and we did our best to support him, including during the very difficult time when he was made redundant from CNP in 2012. Tragically, Jim took his own life in September 2014. He was in his mid-50s when he died.

Through all the challenges it was Jim that kept the charity ticking – the most consistent person as others came and went. If he hadn’t performed that job as he did for such a long time the family of National Parks would have been so much the poorer for not having him there. We are all very grateful to Jim for the work that he did.

Ruth Chambers and Vicki Elcoate (who worked with Jim for much of his time at CNP between 1992 and 2012)

When will the energy policy pendulum reach a steady state?

We humans are a sociable bunch and we like to associate ourselves with like-minded others, whether in politics, sport or ideology, with energy policy no exception to this congregation.

 

Generally, it seems that people associate themselves with a few distinctive camps.   Climate change campaigners who believe that this is the number 1 issue facing the planet and that measures to reduce the amount the climate will change are essential, perhaps at any cost.  Landscape lovers who hold that the current march of large scale renewable (principally wind) schemes in upland and rural areas is a step too far and are or have become anti-all renewables as a result.  Nuclear supporters who claim to have all the answers to our energy woes.  Conventionalists, who want a new dash for gas, including shale.

 

Politicians like to place themselves visibly on this spectrum, their views informed by a complex mix of constituency issues, lobbying pressure, financial considerations and a good old dose of gut reaction.

 

This results in the energy policy pendulum being in a perpetual state of motion.  Sometimes the swings are wild, like in 2009 when Ed Miliband said that opposition to wind farms should become as socially unacceptable as failing to wear a seatbelt while he was Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.  Or last week when the Secretary of State for the Environment Owen Paterson declared war on ‘Soviet style’ wind energy subsidies when he rightly recognised that renewable energy can have unintended consequences on the countryside.

 

The barricades between people who care about our changing climate and its impacts domestically and internationally, and those who care about the harm that poorly sited renewable energy schemes are causing to our landscapes are fast being piled up.

 

But there are glimmers of hope.  The Llangattock Green Valleys scheme in South Wales delivers wins all round – the only issue I have with it is why aren’t similar schemes being rolled out everywhere?  For me, this is where the energy policy pendulum should settle – on projects, policies and funding streams that deliver renewable energy (and other green goals) in ways that respect landscape (and townscape) and on which consensus – and ultimately progress – could be built.

Five reasons to love the New Forest

 

The chance to get away from it all – open space, fresh air, places to paddle

Abundant wildlife – fallow deer, silver studded blue, stonechats and plenty more

Ponies, simple as that

Quirky pubs like the Royal Oak in Fritham

Great places to stay like Little Acorns in Woodgreen village