Monday, 6 February 2012


From The Boiling Frog, from whom I am cross-posting:
"The Environment Agency currently has a project to replace all five of the remaining old paddle and rymer weirs on the River Thames, three of which are Grade II listed structures. The EA justifies this by saying:

As owners and operators of the weirs on the River Thames, we are responsible for keeping them in good working order and safe for our staff to operate and maintain. We regularly carry out engineering surveys to identify areas on each weir that may need repair or replacement.
We are replacing the paddle and rymer weirs because they can cause inherent long-term health problems. They can also have operational issues, be time consuming and potentially dangerous to operate. 

As owners and operators of the weirs on the River Thames, we are responsible for keeping them in good working order and safe for our staff to operate and maintain. We regularly carry out engineering surveys to identify areas on each weir that may need repair or replacement.
We are replacing the paddle and rymer weirs because they can cause inherent long-term health problems. They can also have operational issues, be time consuming and potentially dangerous to operate. 
The new weirs will be operated more rapidly, safely and effectively. They will preserve the existing biodiversity and appearance of the river.The proposed work has been controversial and very unpopular - much criticism levelled at the expense of replacing weirs that have worked for over a hundred years:
Villagers in Appleton and Eaton claim motorising the weir would be a waste of money and would removed a much-loved element of local history. “It will be a tragedy when they are replaced.

“Apart from the initial installation cost of an automated weir the annual running costs to provide power to the electrical systems and maintenance costs will be a small fortune.
“But now the Environment Agency seems bent on spending unnecessary millions to achieve the same result.“It doesn’t make any commercial sense whatsoever.”And, with work soon to start on replacing the Northmoor Weir, we witnessed on this evening's local news - BBC South today - Tory MP Nicola Blackwood echoing similar views; arguing that she couldn't justify the expense to her constituents at a time of austerity, and complaining that no proper cost/ benefit analysis had been done.
Now, as anyone who follows the EU closely knows, anything to do with the environment, rivers etc will ring EU alarm bells - of the gigantic brass variety - particularly when "preserving the existing biodiversity and appearance of the river". And so it proves. Not only does river management come under EU Directive 2007/60/EC which: requires Member States to assess if all water courses and coast lines are at risk from flooding, to map the flood extent and assets and humans at risk in these areas and to take adequate and coordinated measures to reduce this flood risk. But more specifically, as this Paddle & Rymer Weirs Replacement Programme Scoping Consultation Document makes clear the weirs fall foul of this EU required regulation (my emphasis):

The need for the projectThe operation of paddle and rymer weirs is labour intensive. The Environment Agency has recognised that there are long-term health and operational issues associated with the operation of these paddle and rymer weirs, despite measures having been taken over the years to reduce the risks. A manual handling assessment (Williams 2009) concluded that there is a high risk of injury when operating these nine weirs because the guideline operational weights to be lifted/lowered as detailed in the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 are significantly surpassed. The issues were highlighted during the 2007 floods, and could mean that the weirs cannot be operated effectively during periods of flooding.The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 which is based on European Directive 90/269/EEC.
Unsurprisingly all of this goes unmentioned by the various local media outlets and not least also by Ms Blackwood. As a Tory A-lister - her eye is on promotion wiin the Cameron set - it simply wouldn't do to point out inconvenient EU truths."
Now 'paddle and rymer weirs' may be 'small beer' - or, dare one say, not 'Top Totty' in the overall scheme of things - yet they are a subject that is part of this country's heritage.

If the European Union can make something that is part of our history disappear, what is next? Should our 'Battle of Britain' flight be disbanded because it is a reminder of our history or, as the EU may well wish to plead, of 'discord in Europe'? Van Rompuy may wish to 'infuse' the states in the EU but he seems to forget that the UK 'fought' against Nazism and Communism - and it will fight again!

If we are to suffer a system of democracy involving the element of 'government', can we please have our own 'government' back, useless as it may be. At least it would be ours - and we could opt to shoot the bastards!


Oldrightie said...

The occupation gets ever nearer.

The Boiling Frog said...

Ta muchly for the link Mr WfW, appreciated as always.

You're dead right about heritage - and sadly I'm awaiting the obligatory blue EU badge to be stuck to the replacement.

livescore said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
WitteringsfromWitney said...

Or: Yes it does and how much closer does it have to get before the sheep get off the butts?

TBF: Thanks for the loan of your article.

Anonymous said...


The EU is the convenient whipping-boy for member state governments.
Intended to take blame.
Meanwhile, the project continues.
I'd love to know what the sheeple are expected to do?
Rise up in revolution?
Facing police, then troops ?

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Anon: No, you are the one missing the point!

It is our own gutless politicians who should be the whipping boys for allowing the situation to continue!

And yes, eventually the people will rebel and god help the politicians and spineless idiots (no names, but you appear to be one) who could but don't do anything about it!

cosmic said...


It isn't as simple as lot of Johnnie Foreigners in the EU telling us what to do.

The Westminster government is a willing part of the EU system of government.

Our representatives play a full part in framing the directives and very often don't push for opt-outs.

The UK interpretation is embellished. Often it looks as if the Westminster government was using the EU to do things it wanted to anyway.

When these things are implemented the EU links are not discussed and it seems to come solely from Westminster. There is something very dishonest about it.

Anonymous said...

It's called politics.
Since when has truth or honesty been part of politics ?
The project has always been one-world-one-government, since before the league of nations even.
Rising-up and slaughtering the politicians would solve nothing, the rot is widespread and the politicians just do their paymasters bidding.
Just look at how widespead Goldman-Sachs employees and ex-employees are in leading EU institutions for instance. Look at how democracy has been sidelined in Greece.
If widespead civil unrest started in the UK the people would be facing armed troops and probably armed police. Any doubts you may have that either would refuse to fire on civilians should be dissolved by reference to N Ireland.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

c: Methinks we have a CCHQ troll here.......

Anon: So what would you have us do? Roll over and just accept it without argument?

We'll find out if the army and police would shoot to kill their fellow men when the time comes - as it surely will.

Now, do you have any serious points you wish to make? If not, foxtrot oscar!

Anonymous said...

No troll, and thankyou for being so polite.
Let's see, the population is disarmed.
That started in the late 30's to deter a "bolshevic" revolution and has continued using every excuse possible.
The police have demonstrated a considerable ability to follow orders, and we already know the army will do the same.
You ignore reality: That the government of this country has actively conspired against its own citizens [subjects] with other countries. My belief is that the EU was set-up from the start as a tool to remove democracy by the governments of the original member states. The project continues. As for long as it starts after eastenders it may have a long as it doesn't conflict with coronation street or the blockbuster movie.....the welfare state has performed its prime function.....removed the ability to protest violently against the government.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Anon: First I owe you an apology - I did not spot the 'y', as against the normal 'i' - and for that, as I say, my abject apologies.

I take the points you make about Eastenders etc and have made the same point myself on earlier posts.

So far the police have 'contained' demonstrations. Even if the army were called in as back-up to the police, I still believe that they would hesitate to fire on their own. The proof of the pudding will be in my eating (to paraphrase) and God willing when that day comes that I am still alive, I can assure you I will be there!

I accept that at the moment the people are 'beaten' - I do not accept they will remain so ad infinitum. It is not in the British nature.

Anyway, time will tell which one of us is right.

cosmic said...


If you dismiss all of this as 'just politics', you may as well say nothing. Certainly politicians lie and make evasive statements, but there is a dynamic, which is supposed to be maintained in part by an opposition ready to call them to account. If the opposition is in broad agreement with the government on most things, that breaks down or becomes arguing over minor details.

The EU partly has its origins in the League of Nations. The idea behind it is that the popular will has to be disregarded because it's caused wars and the people are in no position to know what's best for them. It's turned politics into an impotent side show and bureaucrats are left to run things properly. The politicians have as much been bribed as drawn into a conspiracy.

One fatal flaw is that bureaucrats do not necessarily run things properly, they are inclined to do things for their own benefit, eg, create ever larger empires, and we end up with a stodgy bureaucracy with no means of correcting it. They also become corrupt.

Another fatal flaw is that there is no EU demos and therefore there can be no EU democracy. Not only is there no popular feedback, there can be none.

I don't see this as ending with armed insurrection, at least in the UK. What's more likely is that we end up with a huge, unwieldy and largely pointless body of law which becomes ignored and can't be enforced. We will also see things like civil disobedience campaigns.

The major parties have been relying on tribal loyalties and 'not letting the other lot in'. The Conservatives in particular seem determined to show that there's no difference and not much to lose by voting for minor parties. e.g. the aid to India business and the fuss over deporting terrorists.

One thing the EU had was the idea of inevitability. With the crisis in the Eurozone, which really has no solution, the inevitability looks to be the other way.