Climate Camp

Brockley Central wandered over to Blackheath yesterday to have a look at Climate Camp. Partly as we are about the thousandth blogger to have done so (Blackheath Bugle has some excellent coverage) and partly because some of the campers are currently naked in the reception of our office, we shan't dwell on what we thought about the content.

However, we did want to make a few quick points in light of some of the discussion about the use of the heath itself.

1. Mayor Bullock's comparison of the campers with football hooligans looks all the more regrettable once you've been up and had a look around - the camp is well organised and, with the exception of one or two small fires lit on the grass, it looks as though the heath will come out largely unscathed - particularly in comparison to the damage done several times a year by the grotty funfair that the Council allows.

2. Brockley Kate's point about the hypocrisy of championing Blackheath's status as common land, while throwing up perimeter fences is very well made. We understand why they've done it of course, but they should have created more than one entrance, so that people can cross the site.

3. Many of the tents had words to the effect of "no media" written on them, which makes their headline-grabbing stunts in various parts of the City all the more confused - unless they are only keen to engage the media on their own terms. Of course some coverage will be needlessly dismissive and some may be critical of their analysis of the problems and solutions, but that's democracy.

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

On the issue of their approach to the media, this blog post by a news photographer really hit the nail on the head, in my opinion:

http://jwarren.co.uk/blog/climate-camp-code-of-conduct/

Incidentally, that photographer was later assaulted by one of the Climate Campers:
http://jwarren.co.uk/blog/climate-camp-open-letter/

As he says, that kind of aggressive, threatening behaviour towards journalists would be condemned by the Climate Campers if the police did it.

Anonymous said...

What's grotty about the funfair?

Let me guess "greasy burgers, sweets, petrol powered rides blah blah blah"

fred vest said...

low culture

Brockley Nick said...

Litter, mud, ruins the grass, etc. Don't get me wrong, I have been there many times in my life, but it does significant damage to the heath. Please don't try and turn it in to class warfare. Very tedious.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering the same about the funfair which was set up on Hilly Fields for the bank holiday weekend. Has anyone seen the site today? Is it a mess?

I remember Peckham Rye got totally trashed one year by a big funfair, incredibly deep tyre tracks mashed up a lot of the grass. I think the council made the funfair owners pay to get it fixed, but it wasn't done properly - they didn't smoothe out the gouges - so last time I saw it the grass had grown back but it wasn't nice and flat any more!

max said...

I always hated fun-fares, even when I was a child. I much rather have climate camp.

Brockley Nick said...

I used to like the arcade games, but they are totally redundant now.

fred vest said...

has anyone seen carnivale? it's briliant

Tamsin said...

Had an official phone call on Thursday afternoon in my workplace from the climate camp. The girl was ringing round various organisations in Lewisham to check that we weren’t complaining about their action and their presence and to invite anyone who wished to go on a tour of the camp. All very civil.

The attitude to the media and photographers apparent in the links above does seem a bit confused. Surely anyone committed to what is a public protest is by their very attendance giving permission for photographs to be taken by all and sundry? Agreed that as people are living on the campsite journalists should respect their privacy by not barging into closed tents microphones to the ready and cameras flashing - but anyone out and about in the open is in the public domain as it were.

Anonymous said...

Well quite. And (to be boringly repetitious) it's on public land ferchristsakes.

Tressilliana said...

Would I be right in thinking that the funfair and the circus have to apply for permission well in advance to set up on Blackheath, and that that process would involve demonstrating that they have insurance cover and paying a fee for use of the heath? Has the climate camp applied for permission to use the heath? Has it offered to pay for the use of the heath?

If not, why are they still there? I assume the bye-laws prohibit camping, and for a reason - so that the heath remains a public space that everyone can visit without wading through litter, swerving to avoid tents, camper vans etc.

If these self-righteous posturers get away with breaking the law, what's to stop the rest of us camping all over public spaces? Why is it one law for them and another for the rest of us?

Pete said...

There are too many people there to move on in any other way than with violence from the police. No one really wants to see that after what happened at G20.

I think it is a disgrace that they think they can tell people what to do on what is public land. I haven't said it before so I'm not running the risk of being repetitious.

max said...

You are completely right there, it sets a very bad precedent.

Anonymous said...

"No one really wants to see that after what happened at G20. "

Oh, I dunno. I reckon they should bring out some serious truncheon up on Blackheath!

Andrew Brown said...

@Tressilliana yes all events on the heath are supposed to go through a process, including an assessment of the potential for environmental damage.

The funfair and circus that regularly pitch up there do so on a field that is reinforced with a plastic grid, which limits the damage to the heath.

I suspect the climate camp will do very little, if any, damage to the heath. But it raises a question; if this group can choose to ignore the bye-laws why shouldn't others?

Transpontine said...

Agree with Nick that the funfair might be more damaging to the heath than the climate camp, but grass grows back, litter gets cleared up and London would be a lot duller without funfairs, circuses and indeed unauthorised demonstrations.

The thing that most struck me was how easily Blackheath managed to accommodate the camp and the fair while still leaving huge amounts of space for the more usual pursuits of kite flying and lazing around drinking by the Hare and Billet.

Anonymous said...

The 'No Media' signs were on tents where direct action was being planned. They didn't want any of it being put online or leaked in case the targets were forewarned. I only went up to the camp for 20 mins the other day and managed to gleen this information. Perhaps you should ask more questions before you jump to conclusions...

Anonymous said...

By 'direct action' I take it you are referring to the usual pursuits of trespassing, vandalism and intimidation of the enemy?

Anonymous said...

I'd rather trust the word of accredited journalists who were onsite in a professional capacity, thanks.

Anyway, your comment is misleading as the issue is not about access to tents, it is about media access to the site as a whole, and the schizophrenic response to the media (we love you/we hate you).
(As well as the fact that the CCers fenced off common land and then lectured us about it.)

Brockley Nick said...

@transpontine - I agree that sometimes these things make life more interesting - be they fairs, protests or indeed Olympic events in Greenwich Park.

I just thought it was silly for the mayor to get so worked up, ostensibly on the basis that there will be so much damage to the heath, when they allow a far-more-damaging fair on the heath several times a year.

Andrew Brown said...

Nick, the fairs are of course (largely) on the Greenwich side of the heath...

Brockley Nick said...

True enough. The Lewisham-side one is just as bad however.

Brockley Nick said...

Almost as bad, rather.

And just to be clear, when I say bad, that is a dig at the mess it makes, rather than the virtues of toffee apples and bumper cars.

Andrew Brown said...

But they do pay for the privilege of the councils coming round to pick up after them, and indeed to make improvements to the heath as a result of the income the councils receive.

I think the point I made before (about feeling free to break bye-laws and so provide a president) remains the one that the campers need to grapple with, particularly as they're interested in the environment while those that could follow (but hopefully won't) may have other motivations.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, understand the point about paying the Council.

Don't you think there has to be some room for legitimate demonstration that breaks a few laws?

It happens all the time (we had some climate camp protestors "trespassing" in our office. Pain in the neck for people trying to get in and out, wouldn't want it to set a precedent for anyone to wander in off the street and start taking their clothes off, but clearly it won't - and I don't think the camp will lead to lots of other people pitching tents on blackheath either.

What's the alternative? Haul them off to prison? Where do we draw the line?

If they leave the heath in a tip then it will do enormous damage to what credibility they have. It's not in their interest to do so and there was no sign that there will be a mess. If there is, that's a different matter - but Bullock boobed by laying in to them in such kneejerk fashion - you know he did.

max said...

You must be more understanding with Bullock, he occasionally suffers from fits of foot in mouth disease.

Andrew Brown said...

Oh I don't know, you get all sorts wanting to use the heath (and being turned down on the grounds that the damage they might do). Or at least you did when I last looked.

Robust and challenging protest is a right I'm glad to have and for others to exercise, and I don't think anyone has advocated banging people up for the camp. All I'm doing is mildly protesting that they seem to have chosen their spot for the same reasons I chose my campsite last week in Dorset, because of the view.

I'm not on this thread to defend Steve and I'm not sure that I'd have conflated the football and climate camp in the way he did; but I've no doubt of his commitment to the environment (or football) and the pressure he brings to bear in the council to improve what they do to reduce the amount of carbon used by public services in the borough.

We seem to be happy enough to throw the campers some slack why not a politician who is expressing a view that is echoed here by in a number of comments on the blog? That the campers could have chosen a less fragile site, could be a drain on the public purse and whose point may not be as clearly made as they would wish.

Brockley Nick said...

I think there has been plenty of justified criticism of the campers on this site and elsewhere. I have lots of criticisms of the camp, but setting dangerous precedent and damaging the heath are not justified criticisms in my view.

I thought it was a pretty mild rebuke of Mayor Bullock, certainly by the standards of Lewisham bloggers. And you agree that it was a regrettable statement, so you agree with the point in the OP, which was less about the Mayor and more about the respect that the campers are showing to the condition of the site - if not the principle of public land!

Monkeyboy said...

Nick, are you based at Southside? I go to the occasional LU meeting there, you know the kind of thing - how we can close lines to maximise inconvenience.

Lots of ammusing emails sent between me and colleagues there.

Brockley Nick said...

@monkeyboy - yep, we're neighbours

boxy said...

Anyone here doing that 10:10 thing?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/sep/01/how-to-reduce-emissions-10-10

Work from home two days a week instead of taking public transport to work 0.1...???

boxy said...

Here's a list of some of the people who have already signed up.

http://www.1010uk.org/people#whos_in

Monkeyboy said...

@Nick, I'm based at Ecclestone Place. LU/TfL rent some floors at Southside. I'm there occasionally, small world.

skeptical said...

'I'd rather trust the word of accredited journalists who were onsite in a professional capacity, thanks.' - a very naive view methinks. I rarely get to read journalists without an agenda...

Unknown said...

@Brockley Kate

'I'd rather trust the word of accredited journalists who were onsite in a professional capacity, thanks.'

Hmmmn methinks you have no understanding of how the media works. Everyone has an agenda. Accredited professional journalists are the last people I'd trust, (and that's coming from one).

Your real issue seems to be that a couple of byelaws were broken. A bit curtain twitchy of you, the heath isn't that small. As you say it is public land so funfairs are okay but this isn't?

You seem shocked that they are trying to have some semblance of control on the media access, just like every single celebrity and company in the world then, welcome to PR 101.

Tamsin said...

Let's see the state they leave the Heath in. (The Countryside Marches were notable in that hoards of litter-picker-uppers were sent in after the event - and there was virtually no litter to pick up.)
It did seem a well-mannered protest whenever I (oh dear!) drove past - and a point well made to the nose to tail commuter traffic coming in each morning.

Headhunter said...

Boxy - Not sure some of the suggestions in that 10:10 thing are actually that beneficial. Things like "buy a new boiler" and "buy a new A++ rated fridge" are all very well if your existing one has broken down but how much carbon is produced in scrapping these items and in production of the new one? Purely to save 0.1 of a tonne of carbon per year - doesn't sound efficient.

I'm always a bit sceptical of these "save the environment" advice articles in the paper which suggest you buy, buy, buy.

Brockley Nick said...

Boilers are energy-inefficient technology - ground or air source heat pumps are the future, officially classified as renewable technology [full disclosure: one of my clients, Mitsubishi Electric, makes one type].

Headhunter said...

All the more reason to wait before scrapping your fully functioning current boiler and replacing with another, albeit more energy efficient one, if it is likely that new technology is going to make boilers redundant.

Brockley Nick said...

Available now:

http://tinyurl.com/nvyrbu

Anonymous said...

The Climate campers have said that not only will they leave the site clear of rubbish but will also litter pick the whole of the Heath.

Headhunter said...

Available now but I would never be the first to invest in brand new technology like this, the first products of a type onto the market are always full of bugs and problems, they are always massively overpriced until the technology becomes standard and are always expensive to repair if they go wrong. Also if you buy into something before everyone else has you run the risk of it becoming defunct or surpassed before it even takes off a la MiniDisc, Betamax video, 8 track tape etc etc. Also I still don't think it's a good idea to scrap a fully functioning boiler, must be on dodgy environmental grounds there. I'll wait til it's more widely accepted, but very interesting to see though.

Brockley Nick said...

It's not brand new, it's established technology and all the examples you have cited are formats, which rely on compatibility with other things. Heat pumps don't.

I'm not suggesting you should chuck out a perfectly good boiler, I'm just saying that when your boiler is due to be replaced, get a heat pump rather than a boiler.

Manufactured in the UK, incidentally.

Anonymous said...

You're right, I am clearly deeply clueless about how the media operates, having been a professional national news journalist for only 10 years.

Please do tell me more about how to suck eggs, anonymous internet people.

Headhunter said...

OK, yuo're probably right, I've never heard of them. Not that I'm a bona fide heating expert but they can't have been universaly accepted yet, however as and when my boiler goes pop, I'll look into them in more detail.

If they operate on some kind of heat exchange principle, I suppose the bulk of their workings would be on the exterior of the building unlike boilers which are a white box inside? A bit like the enormous fan box thing that gets bolted on the side of buildings for air con. I'm not sure they sound conservation area friendly!

Headhunter said...

OK I've just looked at the link you supplied in more detail and they look damn ugly. Here's hoping that people don't start bolting those nasty things to the front of houses alongside their already ugly satellite dishes....

Brockley Nick said...

Well they double as air-con, so yes, they look like air con systems. You are right, that they'd need to be sensitively installed.

fabhat said...

Headhunter -you could talk to some of the people at the walter segal self build site at open house. I think that a couple of people there have heat exchange pumps and those are all buried in the ground, so totally conservation area friendly.

Anonymous said...

OK I've just looked at the link you supplied in more detail and they look damn ugly. Here's hoping that people don't start bolting those nasty things to the front of houses alongside their already ugly satellite dishes....

So what you are saying headhunter is that your street view is more precious than the planet we live on?

Headhunter said...

It sounds like it is possible to set these things up sensitively, ie round the back of houses rather than stuck on the front just as it is with satellite dishes which can be set up on the chimney line or at the rear of buildings, the problem is, people go for the cheap n easy option and bolt them to the front.

So it's not a question of choosing the environment or the conservation area, it's a question of getting people to consider their surroundings, but of course Lewisham BC generally don't bother enforcing that sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

http://www.iceenergy.co.uk/philip-pullman-_215/

Is a video of some author talking about having ground heat pumps installed.

Drilling rig in the back garden.

4 x 75metre deep bore holes.

And a mass of pipes.

Is that what is involved?

Graeme said...

Following the link and looking at further sites, it seems that one of the best places to locate ASHP's is in your loft (obviously if you're top floor, or are lucky enough to own an entire house), where the ambient air temp is a couple of degrees higher than outside, so they become even more efficient. The biggest disadvantage though is the noise they generate - around 49dB - somewhere around a washing machine on spin, or a Typhoon Eurofighter flying at mach 1.5, at 3000ft with afterburners deployed (I made that last one up). Sticking one in the loft, as opposed to bolting one to an outside wall seems the best way to mitigate any possible antagonism from your neighbours and the conservation area police, but to the detriment of your own peace.

Intelligent concept though (a sort of a fridge in reverse), but I'm with HH, and would wait until the technology has matured a bit.

Headhunter said...

The noise of air con units whirring away outside the window of my flat is a noise I always associate with living in Japan years ago...

Probably not going to see many of these things in attics in the conservation area as the attic is often part of someone's flat, on the dark side, where houses are still intact though it may be more likely.

How do these heat exchange things compare in efficiency with condensor boilers? I know that standard combi boilers are not especially efficient but I thought condensor boilers were the next big thing. You know, the ones that produce plumes of steam from their flues.

Anonymous said...

I think everyone should just eat mung stew and have a big wooly jumper. We'll save the world together!

Danja said...

Electricity generation is about 30%efficient after transmisson losses, while gas boilers can be up to 98-99% efficient.

The efficiency gain (electricity in versus heat out, compared to a normal electric heater) on an ASHP varies with air temp but is often less than 3. So, until the electricity network is less reliant on fossil fuel and more on nuclear/renewables, it is probably better to have an efficient condensing gas boiler from the carbon emissions point of view.

You may save some running costs, but at the expense of a fearsome capital investment with a long (10 year plus) payback time.

Ground source is more efficient as the ground temp stays at 8-10C even when the air temp is freezing, so probably is an overall improvement from a carbon emissions perspective.

fred vest said...

that guy who wrote the guardian 'get rid of the second car' article said a couple of years ago that it was better to drive to the shops than walk

HH, love the 'save the environment but not at the expense of conversation area aesthetics' line

Headhunter said...

As I said Fred, it's not a case of "save the environment but not at the expense of conversation area aesthetics", please read more carefully. I said that if sited properly these boxes may be less of an issue.

However, if I understand what Danja is saying corectly, it sounds like condensing boilers are the most efficient heating method.

Anonymous said...

@ Brockley Kate

Sorry I didn't realise that you weren't an anonymous internet person too. Your first name may be Kate and you probs live in Brockley, hardly grounds to get on your soapbox and bellow about the faceless masses disagreeing with you online. Post full name, pic, address and phone number or just be anonymous internet people like the rest of us.

Brockley Nick said...

Kate posts under a regular, registered ID, which means that you know which posts are hers.

She has also attended a range of BC events, so people know that she is who she says she is.

This site allows anonymous posting, but we do encourage people to post under a name (whether real or assumed) so that we can know whether it is one person saying the same thing 10 times, or 10 people saying the same thing.

If you enjoy using the site, please help us by creating a name for yourself. It takes two seconds and doesn't reveal any personal data.

Anonymous said...

I have always found Kate's postings interesting and sparky actually. I don't care whether her name is Kate or not.

Does anyone know anything about geothermic systems? It does make sense to me technically but can it really be cost and carbon footprint effective to drill down so far and lay piping etc just to run the average house? I'm curious...

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - great. But what about the point about giving yourself a name? It would help this site and the people who use it and we politely encourage you to do so.

Please can you choose one?

fred vest said...

i think this (mild) obsession with whipping the anonomi into posting under specific/static names is a bit odd, does it really matter who is saying what? if what's posted is shite it's shite regardless and if it's good likewise

folk who choose to post regularly as anonymous clearly have a reason for doing so, so surely it's worth indluging them that little pleasure in exchange for the value that is added to the site by the contributions made

Brockley Nick said...

@Fred

The reason is that some conversations become very difficult to follow - even anons get confused. So we end up with anons being challenged for things they didn't say, etc.

It's something that the people who spend a lot of time running this site would appreciate as it would make the discussion run more smoothly, so we ask people to do it as a common courtesy.

There are no good reasons for choosing to be "anon" rather than choosing a pseudonym - Being called "Fred" doesn't give anything away about who you are and the internet is not anonymous in any case. People's computers can be traced if necessary, as any user of any site should be aware.

Brockley Mung Bean Eater said...

There we go :-)

Brockley Nick said...

Thank you very much :)

fred vest said...

"Being called "Fred" doesn't give anything away about who you are"

true, although quite a few posters here including admins have in the past seemed happy to give away information about who I am - not bothered about myself personally but perhaps one reason why people may choose to stay anonyomous (perhaps another being JPM's creepy stalking a while back)

also the convention of responding to anon XX:XX (time) seems to work not too bad in at least addressing what people have written

Anonymous said...

"Elsewhere, naked protestors visited Edelman, a company which provides public relations to energy company EON, claiming it was behind advertising plans for a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth, Kent.

Nick Brown, 24, who took part in that protest said: “We wanted to highlight the fact that PR is a huge part of the crisis.”

Brockley Nick? :)

Brockley Nick said...

24? I wish.

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