Making up a number

I have recently discovered an old Express and Star clipping from 1997, as well as a letter from Sandwell council at the time concerning a letter that I wrote back then when it was intimated that the council were thinking of culling geese.

The upshot of all this is that the council did not do this at this time, but instead drew up a policy of controlled egg pricking based on a report carried out by officers.

Following the controversial cull in 2013/14 where several Sandwell council officers lied, (as well as lying in a freedom of information request to another individual about not lying!) I had asked for the original report from 1997 under a freedom of information act request, yet the then Head of Neighbourhoods, Adrian Scarrott, claimed that no copies remained. I always believed this to be another pack of lies and very convenient, as this report would no doubt have given an estimate of numbers of geese in Sandwell’s parks and open spaces as they then stood, which would have informed opinion or not of how their numbers had supposedly increased as the council claimed in their defence in 2014- or at least that would be a basis for a theory.

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This reply from Scarrott of 26th August 2015

What we have from the claimed 2013 report by the liar John Satchwell, is a number of 700 Canada geese in Sandwell’s parks, yet this figure appeared to vary between different letters and statements made and received at different times by numerous Sandwell council sources– i.e they were all invention. The fact that this alleged report was never minuted at any meeting nor apparently ever minuted as being discussed, and only became available after the infamous FOI that I put in always made me doubt whether any report had ever been written or approved at all, and the action of culling was entirely down to one officer’s own actions. We of course cannot believe anything that the fat odious and now thankfully deceased former leader of Sadwell council Darren Cooper said to be the truth as he was as wide with the truth as he was in girth.

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The report which went to the so called “scrutiny committee”, compiles by Scarrott

But this article from 1997 gives a clear reference to the number that Sandwell council were claiming to be present in 1997 at the time of their policy- and that number is “more than 700 Canada geese”!

This then provides clear evidence that in the intervening 16 year period between a policy that the council officers had appeared to have forgotten, and the ludicrous and heavily Natural England plagiarised Satchwell report, that Sandwell council’s own estimates of geese had in fact not gone up at all, but were the same or had gone down.


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From Express and Star 14/1/1997

We do not get which officers drew up this report or the verification of the cogence of evidence about the claims about footpaths and lakes being fouled. Of course they attempted the same thing after culling in 2013/14 and it didn’t stack up then.

Two former councillors are quoted in this article, Bill Archer and Jim Mckenzie. I have never heard of the latter, though it was not uncommon for Bill Archer to be quoted on just about anything at this time given the lack of Conservatives in this Labour dominated council. Mckenzie’s claims are garbage and unsubstantiated. I have no idea how he does not agree with the council officer figure, though like most amateur politicians, pet theories trump any scientific evidence- “the Satchwell way” it appears was rife back then too it seems. Of course, if this ex councillor was right, which he wasn’t, then that would make the situation even worse for this Labour controlled authority which culled on the basis of figures that were their own invention.

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The key figure about Canada goose numbers in Sandwell- from Sandwell council’s own report

I am aware that I made numerous points in a letter following this article, and another that had appeared on the front page of this paper. The letter from Stuart Gallacher, then director of Education and Community services states that the article in the paper was misinformed and that the council in fact would not be culling any birds but undertaking egg pricking. We have to take his claims at face value.

He did however enclose a copy of a Defra report on the subject of Canada goose control at the time, and I will look at this in an upcoming post in more depth as it is quite interesting.





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