Re: [Diggers350] Barclay Bros colonize Sark
- here is our short film on this topic
shot on location & a bit klunky - but hopefully to the point ;-)
At 22:12 09/05/2013, Simon Fairlie wrote:
From: Susan Synnott [mailto:synnott@...]
Sent: 25 November 2012 10:47
Subject: Sark, Channel Islands
Why I am writing to you now is because I thought you might be interested to hear about what is happening on Sark in the Channel islands. Plantlife took great interest in the island in the late 1990s because of the existence of Filago gallica here, which, as you know, is extremely rare. I may add that it is still doing well and is not threatened by the vineyards to which I refer to in the following paragraph.
The Barclays brothers (owners of the Ritz Hotel, London and the Daily Telegraph etc) own a lot of property on Sark since 2007. In 2010 under their company Sark Estate Management (SEM) they started to plant vines. Some of these vineyards were on very good grazing land where a large number of plants had been recorded in previous years. On Good Friday 2011 they cleared more land for vines, destroying nesting habitat for breeding birds. The cleared, charred area was not very inviting to tourists or wild flower walkers at the start of our spring wild flower fortnight. By late 2011 14 fields had been planted, but concern really set in when in September this year planting of more vines recommenced at a tremendous rate. We found it hard to keep pace with it all. In the last few weeks at least another 12 fields have been planted or prepared for vines. Sark farmers have lost or are losing some of their land because in Sark most farmers dont own their land but rent/lease it from others on a sort of gentlemans agreement usually, as was the traditional way of doing things. Also horses are vital for our tourism industry because we dont have cars and one of the ways tourists get around is by horse and carriage. But some of the carriage owners will be squeezed out, if this continues from lack of grazing land. Apart from the loss of land for farmers there will be a loss of diversity as it could seriously disturb or destroy the balance in Sarks ecosystem. If 250,000 vines are planted, as is SEMs aim, on the plateau of Big Sark only (fortunately, they own no land on Little Sark) you can imagine what change this will bring on the whole environment. Tourists visit Sark for its traditional rural landscape, but we seem to be heading towards a monoculture on a large scale. At the moment there seems to be very little we can do as there are no laws to stop people doing what they like on their land. Sark residents are also worried about their water supply in the long term, as our water source is either from boreholes or wells, if they spray the amount of copper sulphate that seems to be needed for vines. Anyone who speaks out against them is vilified in their weekly Sark Newsletter. Sark is equated with 1930s Germany as being the equivalent of a Fascist State. It is all really horrible. Our little peaceful island is in a bit of a fix at the moment; hopefully a compromise or a solution can be reached, but it is hard to see that when we are dealing with big money.
The attached Press Release on 1st November sparked a protest in the island of Sark attended by 115 residents. This took place on Saturday 3rd November at the Mill, in the centre of the island and adjacent to a field recently turned over from cattle pasture into a vineyard. Various concerned residents spoke out against the continued planting of yet more grapevines by the Barclay Brothers through their company, Sark Estate Management. This was followed by a petition headed We call on SEM to halt present work and reconsider the agricultural plans and priorities for the land in Sark. It was signed by 125 residents and sent to Kevin Delaney, project manager of SEM and copies were also sent to Sir Frederick and Sir David Barclay in Brecqhou.
In view of the fact that there are 470 residents on the electoral roll and the petition was signed by 125 of them, we feel this deserves a wider audience. The entire effort of the Press Release, the protest and the petition were directed against the increasing number of vineyards and the consequent change to the landscape and loss of biodiversity.
(for the Botany section of La Societe Sercquaise)
Please note I have moved to Frome - new contact details are given below.
Technical Adviser to Flora locale
23 Stonewall Terrace
Somerset BA11 5AX
Land: 01373 472656
Mob: 07779 204015
Sue Everett MIEEM, PG Dip Arch: AEES
Ecology and Sustainability Consultant
Editor: Conservation News, British WIldife
Tel: +44 (0) 1373 472656
Mob: 07779 204015
W: http://warmerandwilder.blogspot.com and www.meadowmaker.me.uk
British Wildife: www.britishwildlife.com
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