|A problem in rural Scotia
The scourge o modern day
Fan fowk faa hiv the money
Buy second hooses faar tae stay
Noo some young eens in the kwintraside
Leave skweel an wint tae bide
An gyaang tae wark near tae hame
Be it Skite or Deveronside
Bonnie hooses in rural villages
Snappit up bi fowk fae toons
Tae spend a wikk eyn or holidays
Oot-buyin local quines an loons
Holiday hames they are ca’ed
Faar ainers dinna bide at aa
Bit rint them oot tae tourists
Is iss nae bliddy eese ava
|The young eens are the future
O the wee villages an toons
They’re haein tae leave the area
Cos o “second hame” bliddy goons
A hoose can be left empty
Fer wikks upon a time
Only bidden in noo an agin
Jist unused steen an lime
Holiday hames help oot tourism
Some fowk they div decree
Bit withoot a local population
The villages wull seen dee
© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2013
|Some fowk doon in Stoney
Woke up tae flooded hoosies
Watter flowin a fyow fit deep
It flushed oot ony moosies
Rain cam poorin oot the sky
Rinnin doon fae field an park
The Carron burst ower it’s banks
Faar wis yon Noah wi his Ark?
Aroon Brigfield and the High Street
War hames fit wur warst hit
Drains they jist cwidna cope
Wi the watter, gunge an grit
|Some local fowk war on TV
Like Alan Smith an Isla Duncan
In Isla’s food caterin placie
Her stock it took a dunkin
Ithers in iss bonnie place
Jist sooth o Aiberdeen toon
Showed gran community spirit
Gien grub, an the odd nichtgoon
So raise a gless o Glenfiddich
Tae thae gweed Steenhive fowk
As a toast tae aa their spirit
An tae annoy yon Trumpie gowk
© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2012
Image credit: Judith Pullar
Mair hooses are tae bi biggit
Near Pinewood, an Brig o’ Don
Is’t nae time tae ca a halt
An say noo jist haud on?
Faar there’s biggins ye hiv cars
At least een tae iverry hoose
Jist think o aa the clutter
If mair motorists are lit loose
Noo fowk div need a hoosie
Faar tae bide there’s nae doot
Yet a bittie sinse is needed
Afore the foons they are laid oot
Dinna bigg in the suburbs
Some planners noo div cry
Cos congestion on the roadies
Ye wull git by an by
Developer chiels they scoff at iss
Sayin new hooses they maan bigg
Tae maximise aa their profits
Be it Grandholm or near Nigg
Aboot aa iss hoose biggin
Fowks we maan hae a think
Afore iss gweed lan o oors
Ooner hooses it dis sink
So awa an bigg yer hooses
On an inner city broonfield site
Afore aa oor bonnie green parks
Are a mass o concrete shite
©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2012
Picture © Madartists | Dreamstime.com
Voice’s Old Susannah takes a look over the past week’s event’s in the ‘Deen and beyond and finds some bizarre and downright ugly situations worthy of protest. By Suzanne Kelly.
It’s been a pretty wild week here in the Granite Web City, and wilder still in the wider world. A man was killed in Torry; a man and two women are being held on suspicion of murder. Plans for thousands of homes will soon go on display for the Bridge of Don area.
The existing residents want to get rid of any remaining ‘underused’ green areas, and they cite the excellent road network and public transportation in support of this brilliant idea, one which won’t add to pollution, traffic congestion, urban sprawl or over-crowding at all. Result!
As I listen to Eels and enjoy a few half pints of Punk in BrewDog, I sadly realise the honeymoon is well and truly over between Donald and Alex. The Donald’s revelations in the news this week caused bafflement, amusement and anger.
Inexplicably, the facts seem to indicate Trump is telling the truth when he claims Salmond sought the bewigged New Yorker’s approval over the Megrahi affair. The shock of Trump implicated in telling the truth (however belatedly) is proving difficult for the public to deal with; coupled with the fact Trump actually kept quiet about anything (well, until now) the story is quite surreal. Alex is said to have turned salmond pink at the news.
Whether or not you think Megrahi was guilty or not (and there is evidence pointing to CIA involvement and evidence tampering), clearly the most important thing was to get the American public onside with the decision to repatriate him. And what better way to curry favour with the US than to show that their beloved leader and greatest political thinker, Donald Trump, was on message?
At the time of writing it is unclear whether or not Trump’s blessing for Scottish independence is being sought. I understand that the UN are appealing to him to end the Syria/Turkey crisis, and that NASA are asking him to back further space exploration. Rumours that Obama is asking Sir Alan Sugar to back health care reforms are unconfirmed. Alex Salmond is understood to be applying for slots on ‘The Apprentice’, ‘Ex-First Minister Factor’ and ‘It’ll be all right on the night (or not)’.
Here in the UK, the ConDems are pulling out all the stops to help workers. Thanks guys. They’re also pulling out all the employment rights too (more on that later).
Aside from asking workers to give up rights to fair treatment at work in exchange for company shares, a mandatory pension scheme for the lower waged is being phased in. You and your employer will pay into a mandatory pension scheme – unless you opt out. Sounds wonderful! However, looking this gift horse in the mouth would be my suggestion.
A little boy of 5 was treated like Bin Laden as he tried to get on a flight in a wheelchair with his leg in a cast
Of course, it should not concern you at all that this pension is linked to the stock market – what could possibly go wrong with your mandatory investment? It’s not as if markets can be unpredictable, or perish the thought, stocks can ever be manipulated (except perhaps allegedly by Piers Morgan).
Remember, the Government has your best interests at heart.
Across the pond, the Americans are gearing up for presidential elections. Debates are being held, flags being waved, and Homeland Security continues in its unchecked bid to reduce the country to a police state. A little boy of 5 was treated like Bin Laden as he tried to get on a flight in a wheelchair with his leg in a cast. Fair enough, he could have just been back from months in a terrorist training camp.
On the other hand, intrepid homeland security people managed to arrest someone after using clever deductive logic.
A US citizen flew in from Japan with slightly unusual luggage. According to the BBC, he wore a bullet proof vest, had knives, handcuffs, body bags, a smoke bomb, collapsible batons, leg irons, hatchet and a bio-hazard suit and mask. And flame-retardant trousers.
Old Susannah thinks there are at least three possibilities. One – he could have been intending on getting a rental car and driving out of the airport without getting mugged or carjacked. Two – he could have been about to visit his in-laws. By the way, when he boarded his flight in Japan, no one batted an eyelid at his personal effects.
Or possibility three – he was in Japan as part of the corralling, starvation, traumatising, and air-freighting dolphins and whales in Japan’s notorious Taji Cove.
For over 10 days a variety of marine mammals have been herded into a tiny area, and are being air-freighted all over the world to perform in aquariums.
Observers saw a young dolphin crammed into a sling, hoisted in the air and as it was chucked into a shipping container, it was crying (yes they do cry – they are social animals with feelings). Still, what could be more fun for the whole family than to watch an intelligent creature used to roaming the oceans confined instead to a 50 foot tank being forced to perform for your entertainment or be starved?
They were embarrassed, and took 45 minutes before giving me some propaganda on a CD
A San Diego Sea World Orca has a massive chunk taken out of its face; this they claim is just a little accident, and not the vicious bite it appears to be.
A dolphin in Japan similarly has a massive wound and appears ill.
You could be forgiven for thinking that these wild, beautiful creatures deserve to live in peace in the oceans, not being trapped in an unspeakably small Japanese cove in nets, waiting to be bought, starved or killed. But that’s what Japan’s up to. I guess we should be grateful Japan is not doing its famous ‘scientific’ experiments on these creatures (yet) – i.e. cooking them up.
The Taji Cove animals are often herded up and slaughtered – we’ll see if the slaughter is still to come. Please do feel free to protest to the Japanese embassy. (In fact some years ago I stopped into the London Japanese Embassy, and asked for information on their ‘scientific’ whaling project.
They were embarrassed, and took 45 minutes before giving me some propaganda on a CD. They were polite – but they seemed to not believe their own hype. It was like being at a LibDem convention). Here’s the embassy email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Old Susannah has many Japanese friends and since childhood has been interested in Japanese culture and history. But if this situation isn’t resolved now and the animals released, there won’t be any more aid from me going to Japan the next time it’s decimated by say a nuclear accident of its own making. Like many others, I donated over the Fukushima disaster.
I’m not amused by Japan’s failure to listen to the rest of the world begging it to release the animals, and I’m less amused to find out that the real root cause of Fukushima seems to have been corporate greed and mismanagement. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18751374
Go on Japan – release these animals, and stop perpetuating the idea of these highly intelligent animals being harmed for entertainment in aquariums.
A German observer was arrested; there is an international protest and presence in the area. In fact it’s been quite a fortnight for protests around the world. Some small, some large, some effectual, some laughable (but not the great pro Granite Web protest of course), and some resulting in shootings.
A few definitions are in order to try and deal with all this chaos.
Peaceful Protest: (compound noun, Eng.) An event or campaign conducted in a non-violent manner to bring about justice or social change.
A Pakistani girl of 14 is in hospital in a coma; she was shot by the Taliban for ‘promoting secularism’. To you and me, that means she wanted women to be able to get an education, possibly even choose their own husbands. Ah, these young people today.
No doubt she’ll grow out of it – if the Taliban don’t kill her. Young Yousafzai has been a peaceful protestor since the age of 11 – I guess that’s what happens when you let girls learn to read. Down with this sort of thing. I think she just needs a good husband. Probably true of those Pussy Riot girls too.
Pussy Riot have endured maltreatment, isolation and human rights denial. Serves them right – the protested against Putin – what’s not to like about Vlad?
As per usual, we have Annie Lennox siding with the Riot girls in support of their right to protest. If you remember, some pro Granite Web people wrote to the papers that Lennox had no right to have an opinion on the web as she no longer lived in Aberdeen. Therefore, Lennox and anyone else who’s not living in Russia or Pakistan has any right to champion the human rights of people living there. I’m happy to have cleared that up.
Keep in mind that our very own Gordon McIntosh (perhaps one of those unnamed city admin officials who the councillors are being mean to) wanted to curtail our right to protest in Aberdeen. Sadly, the council voted him down. No wonder he feels hard done by.
Putting these trouble-making teens and women to shame, there are far wiser, older, richer people with far greater human rights taking a stand in the UK for our freedoms. Let’s have a look at two of the higher-profile UK freedom warriors.
Yellowism: (noun) Belief shared by one person, Vladimir Umanets, that er, yellow is important. Or something.
While this upstart Pakistani girl was wasting her time on human rights campaigning in the face of a violent male-dominated terrorist organisation, brave Vladimir strode into the Tate Britain, and wrote some important words (which no one understands) on a multi-million pound Mark Rothko painting. Hero!
Rothko is only worth about $80 million, so no wonder the guards did nothing at the time. Umanets claims while he wrote on the valuable artwork, he didn’t ‘deface’ it. No doubt the principles of Yellowism, the cause he says he’s fighting for, are worth it, and Rothko would be happy. However, I’m not sure the gallery owners and the law will necessarily agree with Umanets.
Umanets follows in the courageous footsteps, well breaststrokes, of the brave Aussie who swam into the Thames last summer, ruining the annual boat race between Oxford and Cambridge.
Did he want to save whales, protest the banking crisis, stop Trident, champion Yellowism? No, he was combatting ‘elitism’, which came as a happy surprise to some of the less wealthy members of each team’s crew. Some of these people had to work their way through OxBridge, and had dedicated months to training for this event, but never mind. Elitism has been defeated!
To the less enlightened, these two protestors might look like self-centered, self-serving, neurotic, attention-seeking sad cases, but I’m sure history will show them for the heroes they are. Eventually.
Worker’s Rights: (compound noun) Basic principles protecting the rights of the employee from exploitation. (Price £2,000 plus).
Returning to the theme of all the great things the ConDems have done to us – sorry, for us – George Osborne’s great plans just keep on coming. Perhaps the best one yet is this new plan for workers to surrender their rights in exchange for company shares or a bit of cash. This scheme will unite the workers, unite political parties, end the economic crisis, ensure permanent prosperity, and probably guarantee a tree for every citizen.
You will sell any rights at work which took centuries to gain, and in return you’ll own a piece of the company you’re working for (however small or however lacking in real value). Rumours that employees will also be encouraged to sell their souls to Old Nick Clegg are as yet unconfirmed.
Have you discovered that your company is manipulating the LIBOR rates? Is your hospital board cutting corners? Are you working for a deranged man who brings a gun to work in Torry and shoots gulls out of his window (any resemblance to Mervyn New is purely coincidental)? Are you a long-suffering senior admin on ACC with councillors being mean and asking you to explain your actions?
Well, you’ll not be able to do anything about it.
For one thing, you’ll be a shareholder, and if you do anything to make your company look bad, you’ll be devaluing your own shares. This is what the ConDems are calling a ‘win-win’ situation. Old Susannah may well have to re-examine what ‘win-win’ means, because either the LibDems or I am confused. Must be me.
Next week: a closer look at the ‘independent’ report saying mean councillors must be nice to the saintly city council officials – and perhaps a bit of financial news, too.
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Aberdeen Voice’s Suzanne Kelly visited Tullos Hill on 29 August and St Fitticks’ on 2 September. These were sites of tree planting – and deer culls. Around 40 animals were killed (the record-keeping is so poor and the freedom of information office reports so contradictory that the exact number is hard to tell). Suzanne presents a pictorial record of the current condition of these two sites.
As we have come to expect, the report supports the scheme and the manner in which it was carried out.
(click on pictures for description )
While we await the official minutes from this meeting, here are some photos intended as a special Thank You to scheme proponent Aileen Malone, Pete Leonard, countryside expert and ranger Ian Tallboys, mysterious consultant Chris Piper.
The city’s information office claim to have no information on his company or address – despite paying over £44,000 for this stunning result, and despite Piper writing a joint report sealing the Hill’s and the deer’s fate.
Thank you as well to all those councillors who voted in favour of the Tree for Every Citizen Scheme and who voted to stop myself and Andy Findlayson (now elected councillor) from speaking out on the scheme’s flaws when this could have been prevented.
None of this would have been possible without these peoples’ involvement and determination to turn a once beautiful, thriving hill into what you see in these photos.
Yes, parts of the hill were left intact – but much of the biodiversity and beauty is gone.
The Minutes of this meeting are not out, but word has it those who favoured the scheme have hailed it as ‘a green success.’
It seems the £43,800 we had to repay in March 2011 was ignored as somehow being relevant to the late 1990s.
The incorrect, legally unsupportable position that the deer had to be destroyed anyway was maintained.
Those responsible for decisions concerning the actual shooting and risk register are in for a surprise before long on that score.
The only good thing that came from the H&E meeting was the repeated reassurance from new Convener Neil Cooney who replaced Aileen Malone that there will be no repetition of any scheme that demands the life of deer to plant arbitrary trees.
The soil is poor, the trees will be subject to ‘wind toss’, there is salt spray from theNorth Sea, and weeds are being left totally unchecked.
Was anything like the scheduled 89,000 trees planted on Tullos and St Fitticks?
If you want to attend an upcoming meeting (date, time TBC) on next steps and lessons learned, please get in touch at email@example.com .
The scheme may be over, the PR and legal repercussions for its supporters is not.
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Voice’s Old Susannah looks at events over the the last week … and once again, what a week it’s been in the ‘Deen. By Suzanne Kelly.
Vibrant and dynamic adjectives are being used to describe the Labour, Lib Dems and Independents who voted against the beloved web.
Conspiracy theorists say that these ungrateful refusenicks have brought civilisation to an end, even that they secretly scheme to bring the monolith design for the gardens back.
Such villainy! It is hard to believe that some LibDems were not swayed by the powerful, intellectual charismatic persuasion powers of Aileen Malone. But they weren’t.
Old Susannah failed to make it to the 28 August Housing & Environment Committee; alas I missed the debate on the deer.
Pete Leonard’s reports on the tree for every citizen and deer cull say the whole thing is ( a) finished, and ( b) a success. Result! Funny how something can look like a ‘cost-neutral’, complete success to someone, and yet seem like a shambolic, environmentally unsound, unwanted, exorbitant, barbaric disaster to the rest of us.
As I wasn’t there, I missed the chance to see former Convener Aileen Malone show up to defend her scheme and those who implemented it for her; I’m sure her speech to the new H&E Committee was as moving as her speech during the Union Terrace Gardens debate.
On that occasion she said how important it was for councillors to listen to the people.
During the deer cull she embodied this tenet by ‘accidentally’ deleting emails protesting the cull, ignoring 3 community councils which implored her to stop the cull, and taking delivery of a 2,500 signature petition against the cull.
Oh, HoMalone listened all right. She just chose not to pay any attention to what she heard. I say that I missed her defence of the scheme at the H&E Committee – but even though I was not there, she – being a person of honour and principle must have put in an appearance rather than leaving Leonard hung out to dry.
Any shirking would have been cowardly and an admission of ineptitude.
We will be toasting Neil Cooney with several brewdogs; he has said there will be no further culls simply to plant trees. Perhaps he will be able to resurrect the scheme of keeping Tullos Hill meadow as, er, a meadow, even if Pete Leonard says that is more expensive than trees, tree guards, deer fencing, mechanical diggers, gorse stripping, and pesticide spraying for a few years.
I guess Pete and I went to different accounting lessons.
we have to deal with an awful lot of garbage here in Aberdeen
The dust is not settling very well on the granite web, which has been toppled. What a shame. Rather than us having shiny walkways in the sky to enjoy rain, snow or shine, to walk up and down on, to fall off, it looked for a moment as if all that lovely £50 million was going to be wasted helping people in Africa.
To put things in perspective, we have to deal with an awful lot of garbage here in Aberdeen: vacant and decaying properties acting as beacons for arsonists; closed shops, litter that never gets cleared, social problems and services slashed by the previous administration.
The relatively simpler problems which pose minor irritations in Africa include famine, infant mortality from disease and hunger; kidnapped children beaten into soldiers, civil wars, a plague of AIDS, illiteracy and so on.
When I learnt the web was not going to be built, I remembered Sir Ian’s words as told to the Press & Journal:
“Sir Ian Wood said last night that projects in Africa would benefit from the £50million he has offered toAberdeen– should the City Garden Project be rejected” - Press & Journal, 11/02/2012
How wonderful! I wondered if there was going to be an African granite web, perhaps with some fir tree bosque and underground parking – that would cheer the starving multitude a little. But like the web, this promise seemed almost too good to be true.
But then something unforeseen happened – something which has never happened before: Sir Ian changed his mind.
No – Sir Ian is going to leave the money on the table for a year in Aberdeen. Fine. It’s his money (if he actually has all this in liquid assets he is a lucky man indeed). Perhaps it’s time to turn to the dictionary for some assistance with the relevant issues.
Life Expectancy: (compound noun; English) – Statistical figure showing the mean for a group of people or living things to determine the typical time span from birth until death.
Old Susannah wondered which group of people needed £50,000,000 more – Aberdonians to turn their only city centre (common good land) garden into a giant web with an outdoor theatre next to a theatre? Or Africans for food, shelter, education and healthcare.
Just for the record, the UK’s average life expectancy is about 80.5 years. If, however, you are in parts of Africa, this can be slightly lower – say about 56.5 years if you’re born in Niger, 50.6 years in Chad, 46.2 in Rwanda and give or take a few days you get 43.5 years to live if you’re born in Zimbabwe. Figures are not available yet on the life-extending benefits of granite webs.
We live longer in the West; that’s why we need more places to shop and more theatres to entertain us.
A town of Aberdeen’s size and stature can hardly be expected to get by with a Music Hall, an AECC, a HMT, a Lemon Tree and a dozen private music venues (plus concerts now and then at Pittodrie) – no, we need to build an outdoor theatre in front of HMT while we subsidise the operation of the other publicly-owned theatres. Simples.
On the other hand, if you are likely to be killed in some form of tribal gun battle, die in childbirth, or die as either a starving infant or a child soldier, you don’t really need as many different diversions for your leisure time.
So, in a year Sir Ian may send his £50 million to Africa, if Aberdeen hasn’t begged him to put up the web, repenting of last week’s decision to just fix what we have for less than the £140 million web. Africa will just have to wait and see. And if a few million people have an extra year of hardships, then so be it.
Petition: (Eng.verb) to entreat, often formally with writing and backing of others, for a desired outcome.
I can’t help but notice how many different petitions have been started since the City cruelly turned down the chance to borrow £92,000,000 to build a bosque and a sensory hippy trail thingy (no, I don’t get it either – ask Paul at Gray’s School of Art).
There are petitions demanding Labour resign, petitions denouncing Barney Crockett and others, petitions saying the granite web was the marvel of the age. Even Kevin Stewart, last seen explaining why our vulnerable and disabled had to suffer services cuts, has come out of the woodwork and made a very clever motion in the Scottish Parliament.
I was involved in petitions to save the Tullos deer and save Union Terrace Gardens. This confused some people who called me a tree-hugger, and were baffled that I didn’t want 89,000 trees on Tullos Hill if it meant destroying what was already there.
But now I have a new petition. Do have a look, and if you agree, please feel free to sign and to share.
Dummies are being used to guard parking spaces in Old Meldrum; evidence suggests this scheme probably originated in the higher levels of ACC management.
The dummies are thought to be on secondment at the highest levels of the Housing Directorate. I am asked to point out that any resemblance between the dummies in Oldmeldrum and any former city councillors is purely coincidental. And obvious.
Next week: more definitions.
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A campaigner against a controversial deer cull has asked the Health & Safety Executive to investigate Aberdeen City Council over its failure to follow its own risk assessment which identified lethal risks to the public and ‘non-target’ species while the shooting took place. With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.
The City says the cull was necessary for its ‘Tree for Every Citizen’ scheme, which started life largely as a Liberal Democrat election pledge. Protestors and a variety of animal welfare charities disagree.
Aberdeen City later claimed that the cull was prompted by new deer management legislation (a claim again contested by opponents).
The question is: did the City endanger people during the shooting operations?
The City created a risk register concerning the cull, which warned of risks including ‘fatal injuries from misuse of / damage to firearms’. The heavily-redacted risk register was obtained by Aberdeen Voice’s Suzanne Kelly via a Freedom of Information request.
The risk register noted the ‘possibility of fatal injuries from misuse of / damage to firearms’ to ‘members of the public’. Some of the risks identified were ‘injury from firearm discharge (either via ‘blocked barrel or obstructed view when shooting deer’ and ‘trajectory of bullets beyond target’.
The Risk Register prescribed that ‘Cautionary notices will be placed at all known access points to the sites where deer management is taking place’.
Kelly and other frequent visitors to the hill during the period the cull was taking place saw no such warning signs. A Freedom of Information Request concerning the use of signs is now overdue. Kelly explains:
“We only discovered details of the shooting recently, and many protestors and local residents are alarmed that they saw no warning signs when they visited the hill. Freedom of Information Requests by Animal Concern Advice Line, myself and other cull opponents have resulted in knowledge of what animals were shot and when, but my specific request on the warning signs is now overdue and unanswered.
“People deliberately visited the hill to look out for any evidence a cull was on; none of my contacts encountered signs at any entrances to say there was cull and a lethal risk if they went further. It certainly seems people may have been on the hill oblivious to the presence of hunters with rifles killing the deer and posing lethal risk.
“Bullets can travel a considerable distance – a quarter of a mile is not impossible. The Council must prove that they informed the public as per their own risk register and safeguarded the public’s welfare, but the evidence suggests this was not the case.”
“I wrote an Aberdeen Voice article which asked whether hunters had been firing weapons while people were on the hill without warning signs being up. Well, someone from the city contacted me to correct a small part of the story (about who was involved in the shooting) – but absolutely no one to date has come forward to say the City posted the required signs.
“You would think that if the City acted correctly, they would have immediately called me once the story was published to demand a correction and to supply evidence of compliance. But this is not the case.”
Kelly acknowledges there was one small sign deep within the grounds of the hill concerning ‘forestry operations’ being carried out. This however cannot have been the appropriate warning the council’s own documents said was required.
As an example of good practice, during a recent deer cull at Bennachie, a very large sign was posted at the entrance point which clearly stated deer were being culled, shooting was going on, and what the dates and even the times were, so people were aware of danger. This sign at Bennachie clearly warned people not to be in the area during those times.
Would people have willingly gone onto Tullos Hill when marksmen were shooting animals? Kelly has her doubts.
“If there were warning signs at the entrances to the hill, then I would never taken a further step (I normally use a main signposted entrance as well as other access points). I would instead have immediately reported far and wide that this controversial cull was in progress, something the City wanted to keep secret, as evidenced by correspondence between it and the SNH.
“You have to wonder – did the city’s desire for secrecy lead to sacrificing public safety in order to hide its unpopular cull? Thank goodness there were no injuries from for instance a shot that had missed its target. But either Aberdeen Council put up signs (which no one saw as far as I know) or it didn’t.
“If it didn’t, then it is time to investigate why not, find out who is at fault, and examine this unwanted scheme in detail. I am not alone in wanting to see the project scaled down and any further culls prevented.”
The shooting took place between 12 March and 9 April 2012 with hunting often conducted in the evening hours.
“I would personally have been present on the hill on several occasions when rifles were being used. I would go very often after work, and while I saw children, families, people on motorbikes and pets, again – I never saw a single warning sign regarding the danger. It makes me feel extremely angry and a bit ill to think our safety may have been compromised. I want to get at the truth.”
“I anticipate being asked to address Aberdeen’s new Housing & Environment Committee when it next meets to discuss lessons learnt and to try and prevent next year’s and future planned culls from taking place for the benefit of this ill-advised tree planting scheme.
On Wednesday, Aberdeen Press & Journal carried an article confirming the number of animals shot, but which quotes Scottish Natural Heritage guidelines, indicating there is no legal requirement for erecting warning signs.
“Whether or not there was a legal requirement for warning signs, the City created a risk register which said there was a lethal risk, and that they would erect signs to warn people. Not to follow their own procedures will have risked public safety – and the public are not going to take this very well at all.
“I will continue my research, particularly on the cull details, and the precise legal requirements the Council claim to be sticking to about deer overpopulation. The City knows the deer migrate and are not trapped on the hill; if there is a law demanding that 23 deer in these circumstances be shot, then it should be questioned.
“These deer were nearly tame, lived in stable numbers for at least 70 years, and initially were targeted by the city strictly to further its tree-planting scheme, against public wishes.
“Those responsible for this entire situation should not think the matter is closed by any means. One last point; it is surprising and disappointing that the Press & Journal seem to have concluded that there was no reason to put up warning signs when gunfire was occurring – it may not have been a legal requirement, but the most basic common sense dictates people should not have been endangered – and looking at the shooting times, it certainly seems this was the case.”
|Some sma villages are deein
Aa ower the kwintraside
Young local fowk are cryin oot
Fer a wee hoosie fer ti bide
There are hoosies in the villages
The young canna afford ti buy
Fair forced oot o the mairket
Prices are ower damn’t high
Snappit up bi fowk nae local
Some hoosies noo a holiday hame
So the young hiv ti move awa
Iss is maist criminal an a sham
Hoosies noo jist lyin empty
Jist used a fyow wikks a eer
Or lit oot bi rich owners
At a sky high rent a fear
|Local pubs an shops are shuttin
Cos there’s nae bugger left ti spend
Except fin the absent owners
Turn up at an odd wikkend
Local skweels are slowly closin
Cos young couples move awa
Aa fer the wint o a local hoosie
Far they can becum a ma an da
A law it shud be passed
Village hooses maun be offered
Ti fowk faa bide roon aboot
Afore incomers bids are proffered
The young are a village’s future
Wark an hooses we maun provide
An keep up the community spirit
Fit holiday hame gadgies canna provide
© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie”2012
On mither earth faar we div bide
Flora an fauna are aa in decline
We build an drill an pull oot trees
Mair an mair hooses biggit near toons
Aathing noo maun be neat an tidy
Yet sna we need ti fill lochs an rivers
We cut doon rainforests so cattle can graze
Mither Earth provides us wi aa wi need
I hiv some hope Mither Earth wull survive
GRASSHOPPERS © Steffen Foerster | Dreamstime.com
PLANET EARTH © Foto_jem | Dreamstime.com
Aberdeen City Council has been warned today that its staff could face criminal prosecution for its activities on Tullos Hill. Animal Concern’s John Robins issued a press release explaining all, and Aberdeen Voice brings you this latest development in the ongoing Tullos Hill saga.
It is believed workers have started clearing gorse and shrubs on Tullos Hill in preparation for the planting of saplings which is due to start next month.
Gorse is a favoured nesting habitat for a variety of birds including members of the finch family. It is a criminal offence to disturb or destroy active nests or to harm eggs or chicks.
John Robins of Animal Concern Advice Line (ACAL) has asked the Wildlife Crime Officer at Grampian Police to investigate the situation with a view to arresting anyone found to have broken wildlife protection laws. The SSPCA and RSPB have also been asked to intervene. ACAL have warned ACC that their staff and volunteers could be prosecuted for destroying birds’ nests and they have asked the Council to suspend all work on Tullos Hill until September.
John Robins states:
“This tree planting scheme has gone from insane to criminally insane. Who in their right mind orders clearance of nest sites just at the time when song birds are nesting and then sends in an army of tree planters when ground nesting birds are trying to raise their young?
“This latest development suggests that the people behind this project really do not have a clue about what they are doing. ACC claim their Tree for Every Citizen project will provide wildlife habitat. All I can see is habitat destruction and disruption at the very worst time of year for that to happen. Will it take a criminal prosecution before ACC see sense?”
Gavin Lindsay, Wildlife Crime Officer at Grampian Police, has agreed to speak to Aberdeen City Council about possible breaches in wildlife protection laws. The SSPCA have asked their Aberdeen inspectorate to look into the matter. We await a response from RSPB Scotland.
The Council have put up temporary fencing around and on Tullos Hill. These have yellow hazard warning signs stating “Warning Forestry Operations. Please obey all signs and restrictions.”
A copy of the warning sent to the ACC Chief Exec and the Councillor behind the tree planting project is as follows:-
Dear Ms Watts and Councillor Malone,
I note that Aberdeen City Council has announced its intention to commence ground preparation work and the planting of saplings on Tullos Hill. I understand that this work will involve the removal of bracken and gorse and that clearance of these plants may already have started.
Given the long period of unseasonably mild weather you’ve had in the Aberdeen area over the last few weeks it is highly likely that birds will be nesting early and there will be nests with eggs and chicks in the gorse and on the ground at Tullos Hill. Gorse, which provides prickly protection for nesting birds, is a favoured nesting habitat for finches such as Twite, Chaffinch, Linnet, Redpoll and others. From photographs and descriptions of the terrain on Tullos Hill I expect there are also a fair number of native ground nesting birds such as Lapwing, Curlew, Skylark and perhaps Ring Ouzel nesting in the area.
Yesterday we had a report that someone has heard grouse calling on the hill so it is likely that grouse will be nesting there too. There will no doubt be many pheasant breeding on the hill as well.
As you are probably aware it is a criminal offence to disturb or destroy birds’ nests containing eggs or chicks. It is likely that it would be individual employees or volunteers who would be prosecuted should wildlife protection laws be breached while the gorse and bracken is removed or while saplings are being planted.
I ask Aberdeen City Council to suspend all activities on Tullos Hill until September to avoid disturbing or destroying any active nests. I have notified the Grampian Police Wildlife Crime Unit, RSPB and the SSPCA of the situation.
John F. Robins, Secretary to ACAL