The following was supposedly written by Adrian Scarrott and Steve Handley, directors of Neighbourhoods and Streetscene respectively. Both appeared with John Satchwell to defend Sandwell councils’ actions at the scrutiny meeting. It was quite apparent from the body language that the two senior officers really did not want to be there and looked ill at ease throughout.
So we are left to look at their submission, in greater detail here than we had time to (5 minutes) at the presentation of our petition. More detail and scrutiny is required of the points made in their submission, and also the “statement of purpose” proposed as some sort of future policy. We are left wondering however what their “purpose” really is from reading such an ambiguous set of sentences. More on this in a future blog post.
THEIR STATEMENTS ARE IN RED ITALICS, OUR RESPONSE IN BLUE. WHERE WE DO NOT AGREE WITH THEIR STATEMENTS, EVIDENCE IS PRESENTED TO REFUTE THIS.
Joint Neighbourhoods and Health Scrutiny Board
25 February, 2015
Consideration of Petition “Save Our Sandwell Canada Geese”
1. Summary Statement
Consideration of Petition “Save Our Sandwell Canada Geese”
1. Summary Statement
1.1 On 26 January, 2015 the Council received a petition entitled “Save Our Canada Geese”. The petition contains around 1700 signatures and reads “We the undersigned, strongly condemn the actions of Sandwell Council by instigating the unnecessary cull of Canada geese at Victoria Park, Tipton. We call on a senior officer to give evidence under public scrutiny to explain this extreme course of action and on SMBC to never again allow this measure to take place anywhere in the Borough, but to continue with non-lethal methods of site management.”
1.2 The Council’s Petitions Scheme, adopted by Council on 2 September 2014 (Minute No. 85/14 (3), states that for petitions with 1500 signatures or more, an officer can be called to give evidence in a public meeting.
1.3 In April 2013 the Director – Street Scene, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Highways and Environment, took a decision to carry out a cull of Canada geese at two locations in Sandwell, namely Dartmouth Park, West Bromwich and Victoria Park, Tipton. Further details are contained on the context of this decision and the procedures followed within the background details.
THIS STATEMENT CONTRADICTS THOSE MADE EARLIER BY SANDWELL COUNCIL. THE DIRECTOR OF STREETSCENE IS STEVE HANDLEY. IT HAS NOT BEEN PREVIOUSLY STATED THAT HE HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE CULL, MOREOVER THAT IT WAS JOHN SATCHWELL’S REPORT THAT LED TO THE CULL. STEVE HANDLEY REPLIED TO OUR FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUESTS, BUT NOWHERE WITHIN THIS DID HE STATE THAT HE WAS IN ANY WAY INVOLVED IN THE REPORT, AND IT DID NOT BARE HIS NAME.
THIS IS WHAT HE STATED IN AN FOI REQUEST DATED AUGUST 13TH 2014.
“We do not hold any information regarding the approval of the process; as such approval was given verbally for 2013/14.”
SO SUDDLENY IT NOW APPEARS THAT THE COUNCIL DID HAVE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROCESS, AND THUS STEVE HANDLEY/SANDWELL COUNCIL WERE CLEARLY LYING WHEN ANSWERING THIS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST. WHY?
THERE IS NO STATEMENT AS TO WHO AND ALSO WHY THIS REPORT WAS DRAFTED, BASED UPON LACK OF MEASURABLE EVIDENCE, OTHER THAN GOOSE NUMBERS, WHICH APPEARS TO BE RATHER AN OBSESSIVE PREOCCUPATION GETTING IN THE WAY OF VALID ARGUMENT OR SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE FROM THIS COUNCIL. THE REPORT DID NOT NAME THESE TWO PARKS DIRECTLY, SO THE CHOICE OF CULLING SITE WAS ARRANGED BY SOME MEANS NOT REVEALED IN ANY CURRENT FORM BY THIS COUNCIL.
ANY FOOL CAN COUNT BIRDS, BUT HOW DOES THAT EQUATE TO INFORMED DEBATE AS TO WHETHER THEY POSE ANY HUMAN HEALTH RISK?
1.4 The Council has, for a number of years, made attempts to try and manage the numbers of Canada geese by adopting different control measures, namely oiling and egg pricking, installing perimeter fences around pools, both permanent and temporary fencing, discouraging overfeeding and installing perimeter planting around pool perimeters but these measures have proved to be ineffective.
THIS IS STRONGLY DISPUTED. IN 1997 THE COUNCIL APPEARED TO BE WAIVERING ON THIS ISSUE BUT STATED THAT IT WOULD NOT BE PURSUING A CULLING POLICY OF ADULT BIRDS. THIS HAS BEEN MADE AS A STATEMENT OF FACT FROM THIS COUNCIL.
WE HAVE ASKED THE COUNCIL TO PROVIDE EVIDENCE AS TO WHICH SITES HAD EGG PRICKING CARRIED OUT, HOW MANY NESTS/EGGS WERE DESTROYED AND WHO CARRIED THIS OUT. THIS IS IMPORTANT EVIDENCE, AND IF THEY CANNOT PRODUCE IT THEN IT WEAKENS THEIR ARGUMENT CONSIDERABLY. WE HAVE RECEIVED THEIR RESPONSE WHICH FURTHER DAMAGES THEIR CLAIMS, GIVEN THAT THEY ONLY HAVE FIGURES FOR 2013-14. MORE DETAIL HERE.
PERIMETER FENCES HAVE BEEN INSTALLED AT SOME POOLS FOR THE PURPOSES OF A ROSPA REPORT, WHICH HAD NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH CANADA GEESE. THIS FENCING WAS UNDERTAKEN TO PREVENT PEOPLE ON BICYCLES FALLING INTO THE WATER, OR SO IT WAS STATED AT THE TIME BY THE COUNCIL. SANDWELL COUNCIL ARE NOT IN ANY WAY OBLIGED TO FOLLOW THIS CHARITIES ADVICE AND THEY ARE NOT A PROSECUTING ENTITY EITHER. READ THE WATER SAFETY POLICY HERE.
FENCING AT DARTMOUTH PARK WAS, ACCORDING TO MARIA CROMPTON, INSTALLED TO REINVENT THE PAST SPECTACLE, NOT TO DETER GEESE. IN ANY CASE THIS WAS INSTALLED AFTER 100 BIRDS HAD ALREADY BEEN MURDERED BY THE COUNCIL IN 2013 AND NOT BEFORE. THIS IS FACT, AND CAN BE EVIDENCED IN THE REPLY FROM MARIA CROMPTON TO ME OBJECTING TO THIS FENCING. I OBJECTED TO THIS AS IT CLEARLY PREVENTED ALL WILDFOWL FROM ACCESSING BETWEEN THE TWO POOLS- IN MANY INSTANCES THE ONLY PATHWAY THAT WILDFOWL COULD ACCESS NATURAL FOOD- EG GRASS.
NOTE THE PRICELESS PHRASE OF CABINET MEMBER MARIA CROMPTON, THIS LYING WITCH , JUST A COUPLE OF MONTHS AFTER 100 GEESE WERE EXTERMINATED IN THIS PARK WHICH SHE KNEW FULL WELL ABOUT.
“Whilst it is acknowledged the erection of the fencing did disrupt the bird movements initially, evidence suggests the swans, geese and ducks are adjusting to the physical changes AND THERE HAS BEEN NO DETRIMENTAL IMPACT TO THEIR WELLBEING.”
FURTHER EVIDENCE OF WHEN THIS FENCING WAS ERECTED IS SHOWN BELOW IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS, SHOWING THE DATES THAT THEY WERE TAKEN.
THE “OVERFEEDING” ISSUE IS INTRODUCED AT THIS POINT AS A DISTRACTION TO THE CULLING ISSUE. THE COUNCIL DO NOT APPEAR TO APPRECIATE THAT IT IS NOT THE AVAILABLE FOOD GIVEN OUT BY PEOPLE THAT ATTRACTS THE GEESE TO REMAIN AT THE FORMAL PARKS, BUT THE OPEN GRASSED AREAS THAT THEY NATURALLY WANT TO GRAZE ON THAT THE COUNCIL THEMSELVES HAVE PROVIDED. THIS IS THEIR ONLY “NATURAL” SOURCE OF FOOD, IN STERILE VICTORIAN PARKS.
1.5 If the Scrutiny Board feels that the Authority needs to respond to points raised within the petition it may decide to use any of its scrutiny powers under the Local Government Act 2000 which may include instigating an investigation, making a recommendation to the Executive or referring the matter to full Council.
Adrian Scarrott Director – Neighbourhoods
Steve Handley Director – Street Scene
WE OBVIOUSLY KNOW THAT THE SCRUTINY BOARD HAD NO INTEREST IN SCRUTINY AT ALL, AND NEITHER DID THE TWO OFFICERS PRODUCING THIS REPORT.
Consideration of Petition “Save Our Sandwell Canada Geese”
2.1 Canada geese can live up to 20 years of age and a pair of geese normally mates for life and can produce up to 100 goslings over that period.
THIS IS DISPUTABLE AND MISLEADING.
- NOT ALL BIRDS PRODUCE GOSLINGS,
- NOT ALL BIRDS LIVE TO 20 YEARS, AND NOR WOULD THEY LIKELY TO BE PRODUCING GOSLINGS AT A RATE OF FERTILE PRODUCTIVITY OVER 20 YEARS. TYPICALLY THE NUMBER OF FERTILE EGGS WOULD DECREASE OVER THE LIFETIME.
- NOT ALL GOSLINGS WOULD SURVIVE, MANY ARE EATEN BY PREDATORS. THEY HAVE MANY MAN MADE THREATS, NOT IDENTIFIED HERE.
- CLEARLY IF EGG PRICKING WAS CARRIED OUT, THERE WOULD NOT BE 100 GOSLINGS PRODUCED PER PAIR. FROM THE OUTSET, THE OFFICERS ARE MISLEADING ABOUT GOOSE NUMBERS.
- AS WITH EVERY STATEMENT MADE ABOUT THE GEESE BY THIS COUNCIL, THERE ARE NO CITATIONS AS TO WHERE THEY ARE GETTING THEIR INFORMATION FROM. MARIA CROMPTON IN A RECENT LETTER TO ANIMAL AID CLAIMED THAT THEY LIVE UP TO 30 YEARS, SO SUDDENLY TEN YEARS APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN CUT FROM THEIR LIVES WITHOUT EXPLANATION.
- WE WOULD RECOMMEND THAT GOOSE RINGING IS UNDERTAKEN TO PRODUCE A CLEAR ACCURATE PERSPECTIVE OF LONGEVITY AND SURVEILLANCE OF MOVEMENT BETWEEN SITES. THIS WOULD PRODUCE EVIDENCE OF RESIDENT BIRDS AND ALSO MOBILE BIRDS. THIS WAS ARRANGED AT THE LAKE DISTRICT IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE RSPCA, AND WHERE A CULLING PROPOSAL WAS THWARTED . THIS WAS BEING UNDERTAKEN IN THE LATE 1990’S EARLY 2000’S, ON GOSLINGS FROM UNPRICKED EGGS AT DARTMOUTH PARK.
2.2 The geese numbers within our formal parks can be seen as a constant source of nuisance, primarily due to the fact that their droppings, which are up to two inches long, are produced on average one every six minutes whilst feeding on grassed areas. They also excrete into water while swimming, potentially having an impact on oxygen levels within our pools and affecting the local habitat.
THIS IS A BLATANTLY INFLAMMATORY STATEMENT NOT BASED ON EVIDENCE THAT CAN BE MEASURED. WE KNOW THAT THE COUNCIL INFLATED THE NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS MADE FROM AN FOI REQUEST.
- IT IS AN OPINION. THE STATISTICS CONCERNING GOOSE MESS ARE OBSSESSIVE ON THE PART OF THIS COUNCIL, AND MAKE THEM LOOK RATHER ANAL.
- DOES SIZE MATTER, DOES FREQUENCY MATTER IF IT IS NOT A PROVEN HEALTH ISSUE?
- WHAT CONTEXT DO THEY DRAW TO THE NUMBER OF TIMES A SWAN GOES TO THE TOLIET, OR A DUCK OR A SEAGULL?
- ISSUES CONCERNING NUTRIENT LOADING ARE PUT FORWARD BY THE LIKES OF WATER COMPANIES SUCH AS UNITED UTILITIES, WHO DISCHARGE HUMAN EXCREMENT INTO WATERCOURSES LIBERALLY UNDER LICENCE.
- UNTIL RECENTLY THEY HAVE BEEN ABLE TO HIDE BEHIND HAVING TO DISCLOSE ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, THOUGH THEY HAVE NOW LOST A LANDMARK RULING OPENING THE WAY FOR SCRUTINY OF THEIR EXCREMENT MANAGEMENT AND THEIR POLLUTION OF WATERCOURSES.
THE STUDY BELOW CONTRADICTS INFORMATION PUT FORWARD BY THE LIKES OF NATURAL ENGLAND WHO CLAIM THAT GEESE PRESENT A RISK OF “PHOSPHORUS” POLLUTION. THIS IS QUITE LAUGHABLE COMPARED TO THE PHOSPHORUS CONTAMINATION OF A CERTAIN LOCAL WATERBODY BY MAN.
“In the short term, nutrient loading by geese seemed to have no measurable impact on water chemistry in the mesocosms or phytoplankton. We suggest that the bulk of the nutrients contained in the faeces simply sank to the sediment where they will eventually become part of a benthic detritus food web or be cycled back into the water column during a mixing event. Therefore, the impact of these nutrients will not be evident until long after they have been added. Because cyanobacteria populations were unaffected by fecal loading, we, therefore, observed no increase in cyanotoxin concentrations in the high treatment groups.”
The impact of nutrient loading from Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) on water quality, a mesocosm approach
Robert L. Unckless Æ Joseph C. Makarewicz
- IT IS ALSO TO BE REMEMBERED THAT THERE IS LITTLE WATER FLOW AT BOTH OF THE TWO PARKS IN QUESTION. THEY CONTAIN LITTLE WATER COMPARED TO SILT WITHIN THE BED OF THE POOL.
- I HAVE BEEN WAIST DEEP IN THEM BOTH TO RESCUE BIRDS.
- THERE IS LITTLE MANAGEMENT OF FISHING AT BOTH SITES, AND WHATEVER ANGLERS ARE THROWING INTO THE POOL, BOTH FLOATING AND SINKING DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE EVER CONSIDERED BY THIS COUNCIL. PRIMARILY THE BIRDS EAT THE MATERIAL GIVEN TO THEM. CAN THE SAME BE SAID OF THE FISH?
- NO BOATING OR SWIMMING TAKES PLACE AT THE TWO PARKS. PUBLIC HEALTH AND PUBLIC SAFETY REGARDING WATER QUALITY ARE NOT RELEVANT.
- WHAT MEASUREABLE EVIDENCE THAT GOOSE DROPPINGS HAVE BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR LOWERED OXYGEN LEVELS ALONE CAN BE PRESENTED BY SMBC IN ANY CASE?
2.3 More overly they defecate on formal grassed areas and hard standing areas around pool perimeters, which impacts on families being allowed to play safely in a clean environment. They also foul footpaths, which restricts the safe movement of families. (See Appendices 1 and 2). A statement from the friends of Dartmouth Park in regards to specific concerns they raise is attached at Appendix 3 as well as a letter from Community Volunteer Gardeners based at Dartmouth Park.
- THE IMAGE OF FAMILIES IS ONE PUT FORWARD BY THIS CLEANLINESS OBSSESSED AUTHORITY. THEIR ARGUMENTS ARE PURELY EMOTIVE AND OBVIOUSLY SENSITIVE TO SOME PEOPLE WHO CONSIDER ANIMALS AND BIRDS “UNCLEAN”. I’M NOT SURE WHAT A FAMILY WOULD BE DOING “PLAYING” AROUND A POOL, OR IF A PARK OR EVEN THEIR OWN GARDENS COULD BE CONSIDERED “A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT”.
- THIS COUNCIL HAS A JOKE RECORD ON CLEANING UP ITS OWN ENVIRONMENT UNDER ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION. WE LEARNED THIS AFTER THIS COUNCIL ATTEMPTED TO STOP US ACCESSSING THIS INFORMATION VIA AN FOI REQUEST, BUT THEY FAILED.
- WE SPOKE BRIEFLY ABOUT THE PICTURES PRESENTED BY THE COUNCIL AT THE MEETING. THESE PICTURES APPARENTLY SHOWING PATHWAYS SOILED IN GOOSE EXCREMENT SHOW A VARIETY OF FAECAL DEPOSITS, BOTH SOLID AND FLUID, WHICH CANNOT ALL BE ATTRIBUTED TO GEESE. SEAGULL SPLASHES ARE CLEARLY EVIDENT IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS BUT IT APPEARS TO BE THE GEESE THAT ARE SINGLED OUT AS CAUSING ALL OF IT. THIS IS LIKE THE COUNCIL STATING THAT ALL DOG MESS IN SANDWELL IS CAUSED BY JACK RUSSELLS AND SINGLING OUT THAT ONE BREED OF DOG.
WHY ARE ROAD SWEEPERS ONLY EMPLOYED ON A REGULAR BASIS WHEN THERE IS A COMMUNITY FUNDAY ON IN A PARK?
THE QUESTION WAS ASKED IF THIS IS SO MUCH OF A PROBLEM TO SANDWELL COUNCIL, THEN WHY ARE THEY LEAVING THE MESS TO GATHER OVER A PERIOD OF SEVERAL WEEKS, ONLY FOR THE PHOTO OPPORTUNITY, AND NOT CULLING THE TURDS?
WE DO NOT KNOW HOW OR WHY CAROL HARTILL ENGAGED IN OR BECAME THE SECRETARY OF THIS GROUP, BUT HAVING ATTENDED THE FIRST MEETING OF “THE FRIENDS OF DARTMOUTH PARK” , IT WAS A SANDWELL COUNCIL SUGGESTED ENTERPRISE, NOT STEMMING FROM THE COMMUNITY ITSELF. THIS IS BECAUSE TO APPLY FOR SIGNIFICANT LOTTERY MONEY, COUNCILS HAVE TO APPEAR TO SUGGEST THAT IT IS A COMMUNITY LED BID. THIS IS ALSO PART OF THE GREEN FLAG BUSINESS MODEL -FUNDING “KEEP BRITAIN TIDY” AS A CHARITY.
FROM MRS WELCH’S LETTER AND COMMENT CONCERNING PEOPLE IN OTHER COUNTRIES SIGNING OUR PETITION, (TOTALLY INACCURATE AND FALSE, SHE IS REFERING TO THE ONLINE PETITION NOT THE ONE PRESENTED HERE), IT IS CLEAR TO SEE THE XENOPHOPIC PARAMETERES OF HER ARGUMENT, AND HOW THIS IS SUBLIMATED INTO THE ATTACK ON A “NON-NATÏVE SPECIES LIKE THE CANADA GOOSE. “THE SENSORY GARDEN”, CONSISTING OF VERY LITTLE, OCCUPIES VERY LITTLE SPACE WITHIN THIS VACUOUS PARK, AND IS NOT WITHIN 200 METERS OF THE POOL WHERE ANY GEESE WOULD BE. THEY DO NOT FOUL THE SENSORY GARDEN.
THE FRIENDS OF DARTMOUTH PARK SHOULD REALISE THAT THEY SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES AND NOT ALL THE USERS OF DARTMOUTH PARK. MANY PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS AND NATIONALITIES SIGNED OUR PETITION IN THIS PARK, INCLDUING MEMBERS OF “SANDWELL STRIDE”. THEY ENJOYED FEEDING THE WILDFOWL AND THE GEESE, ONLY VISITING THE PARK FOR THIS PURPOSE, AND THEY DID NOT AGREE THAT THEY POSED A RISK IN THE MANNER THAT THE COUNCIL WERE TRYING TO SUGGEST.
WHEREAS OUR PETITION WAS SIGNED BY A RANGE OF DIVERSITY, SADLY THE DEMOGRAPHIC OF “THE FRIENDS OF DARTMOUTH PARK”, ALONGSIDE MOST OF THE OTHERS IS CLEARLY EVIDENT. THEY ARE A GROUP OF ELDERLY PEOPLE, MIDDLECLASS, WHITE, WHO ARE APPROACHING THE TWILIGHT YEARS OF THEIR LIVES WITH INFIRMITY AND ILLNESS AND THEIR NUMBERS WILL CONTINUE TO DECREASE YEAR UPON YEAR WITHOUT REPLACEMENT BY NATURAL WASTAGE.
IN THIS REGRESSION THEY RETREAT INTO THE PAST AND LONG TO RETURN TO SOME ROSE TINTED VIEW OF THE VICTORIAN PARK, A TIME WHEN THERE WERE NOT MANY FOREIGNERS IN PARKS, WHEN EVERYONE SUPPOSEDLY “KNEW ONE ANOTHER AND YOU COULD LEAVE YOUR DOORS WIDE OPEN”. (PERHAPS THAT IS WHY THERE WERE SO MAY ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN DUMPED IN CARE HOMES?).
GLORIFICATION OF INDUSTRIAL GANGSTERS WHO GAVE AWAY A PIECE OF LAND APPEARS ANOTHER OBSESSION, AS DOES ERECTING SOME FORM OF PARK PHALLUS, (THEY CAN NEVER SEE THIS HOWEVER), POINTING SKYWARD.
TIME MOVES ON AND TIME WILL NOT REMEMBER THEM, WHATEVER PLAQUES, MONUMENTS AND OTHER FEATURES THEY CHOOSE TO ERECT USING PUBLIC FUNDS, FUNDED BY US ALL, THE TAXPAYER TO SERVE ONLY A VERY FEW WHO WANT TO TURN BACK THE CLOCK AND PREVENT THE HANDS OF TIME TICKING ON.
2.4 Published reports show that the droppings of Canada geese contain several types of bacteria that are harmful to human health. These can survive and multiply in the droppings, giving rise to the risk of infection if they are inadvertently ingested, for example, by transfer from hands which have become contaminated.
ON THIS POINT WE SUCCESSFULLY LEARNT THAT SANDWELL COUNCIL HAD ZERO EVIDENCE TO PRODUCE OF THEIR OWN, WITHIN THEIR OWN SITES TO SUPPORT THESE STATEMENTS FROM THE LIPS OF JOHN SATCHWELL. CLICK BELOW TO CONFIRM THIS.
WE ALSO SHOWED THAT FARM ANIMALS POSE A MORE SIGNIFICANT RISK THAN GEESE IN TERMS OF HANDLING AND FAECAL MATTER. EVIDENCE OF PETTING AT FORGEMILL FARM OF NEW BORN LAMBS WAS PRESENTED, AND THE COUNCIL WERE INFORMED OF THE PUBLISHED ANIMAL AID REPORT CONCERNING HUMAN HEALTH RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THESE TYPES OF ANIMAL. READ THIS BELOW.
ONE OF THE MAIN CITED NONSENSES CONCERNING GOOSE DROPPINGS IS CONCERNED WITH CRYPTOSPIRIDIUM. Cited pathogens in council promoted literature include Cryptospiridium. Public health England state on their website “outbreaks of cryptospirosis have been linked to drinking or swimming in contaminated water and contact with infected lambs and calves during open visits to farms. “ THEY DO NOT MENTION CANADA GEESE, NOR THIS SOURCE BEING LIKELY TO AFFECT PUBLIC HEALTH.
According to patient.co.uk there were 3000 cases of Cryptospiridium in England and Wales in 2011, down from 4000 in 2010. How many of those were within Sandwell, and furthermore how many of those cases were directly connected from Canada goose infection?
IN ADDITION TO THIS OTHER ACADEMICS HAVE ALSO GONE ON RECORD TO PUT IN CONTEXT THE “RISK” ASSOCIATED WIH GEESE FAECES BEING LOW. A FORMER MAFF VETERINARY PATHOLOGIST THAT I KNOW COMPARES THE RISK AS “LIKE WINNING THE LOTTERY”
Furthermore doctor Timothy Ford formerly Microbiology Dept. of Environmental Health – Harvard School of Public Health
“Numbers of Cryptosporidium oocysts associated with Canada geese and waterfowl in general are likely to be minimal, unimportant, relative to the potential for oocysts shed from other forms of wildlife and humans. In my mind, there is no possibility that the Canada goose will ever be a major route of infection. To suggest otherwise is utterly ludicrous, and you can quote me.”
2.5 The behaviours of the geese also impacts on some of our sports facilities, preventing participation in sports activities. A letter from the Warley Sunday Football League expressing their concerns and support for action to be taken is attached at Appendix 4.
WE DO NOT KNOW WHO PETER LOWE IS OR WHY HE SHOULD FEEL SO AGGRIEVED TO ONE SPECIES. HIS CLAIM OF NUMBERS SUPPORTING HIS LETTER IS AGAIN ONE OF BOAST WITHOUT CLARITY OR EVIDENCE. WE ALSO NOTE THE NAME “CROMPTON” BEING ONE OF THE DIRECTORS OF THIS COMMITTEE. WE WOULD APPRECIATE THAT THIS IS NOT A RELATION OF COUNCILLOR MARIA CROMPTON AND SEEK CONFIRMATION THAT THERE IS NO CONNECTION.
EVIDENCE OF THE DAMAGE THAT AMATEUR FOOTBALL DOES TO PARKS IS NOT DIFFICULT TO FIND EVIDENTIALLY OR ANECDOTALLY. THE FOLLOWING IS TAKEN FROM A FRIENDS OF THE PARK MEETING FROM ONE SANDWELL SITE, WHERE JOHN SATCHWELL HIMSELF WAS PRESENT, AND HEARD CONCERNS RAISED BY LOCAL RESIDENTS THAT SOME FOOTBALLERS FROM THIS LEAGUE WERE URINATING OUTSIDE THEIR HOUSES, AS WELL AS DUMPING RUBBISH. DID HE INVESTIGATE?
FURTHERMORE AT ANOTHER MEETING SATCHWELL REVEALS THAT BETWEEN £300-400,000 OF COUNCIL TAXPAYERS MONEY PER ANNUM IS SPENT ON THE NEEDS OF THIS SELFISH SPORT. NOT IF I WAS HIS MANAGER JOHN WOULD IT BE.
ADD TO THIS THE SPITTLE, WHICH WHEN NOT BEING AIMED AT ONE ANOTHER IS PROJECTED WITH GREAT FREQUENCY ONTO THE VERY PITCHES WHICH THEY CLAIM ARE “UNSAFE” TO PLAY ON BECAUSE OF GOOSE FAECES. THE GREATER RISK IS OF COURSE HUMAN TO HUMAN CONTACT OF BODILY SUBSTANCES, WHICH COULD BE “INADVERTANTLY SWALLOWED.”
THE MOST “AGGRESSIVE” CREATURE ON THE FOOTBALL PITCH HOWEVER AND THE GREATEST RISK TO THOSE ON IT ARE THE PEOPLE ON THE PITCH PLAYING FOOTBALL THEMSELVES.
WE CAN BE GRATEFUL TO “GRASS ROOTS” FOOTBALL HOWEVER FOR PROVIDING US WITH SUCH MODEL CITIZENS WHO AS “PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALLERS” HAVE BEEN REVEALED TO BE BITERS OF PEOPLE, WIFE BEATERS, SERIAL ALCOHOLICS, DRUG USERS, DRUNK DRIVERS WHO CAUSE DEATH BY DANGEROUS DRIVING AND MORE LATTERLY RAPISTS AND ALLEGED PAEDOPHILES. WHAT HEROES THEY ARE TO THEIR DRUNKEN HOOLIGAN FOLLOWERS.
OH HOW EASY IT IS MR LOWE TO GENERALISE ABOUT ONE CERTAIN GROUPING OF INDIVIDUALS AS YOU DO OF ONE SPECIES OF BIRD.
2.6 There is very little evidence to suggest that natural factors (such as a limited food availability), which could become more severe as numbers increase, act to control current numbers. A reduction in feeding alone therefore has little effect.
WHAT EVIDENCE HAS BEEN STUDIED? WHAT DATA CAN THEY PRODUCE?
2.7 Canada geese have few natural predators and so, with such a low mortality rate, adult bird numbers have the potential to increase year on year. During the breeding season they can also be very ferocious thereby excluding other indigenous wildlife from potential nesting and breeding.
CANADA GEESE HAVE MANY NATURAL PREDATORS AND A HIGH MORTALITY RATE OF GOSLINGS. HOW CAN ADULT BIRD NUMBERS INCREASE IF EGG PRICKING HAS BEEN CARRIED OUT?
- GREY HERONS
- GREAT BLACK BACKED GULLS
- MUTE SWANS DROWNING THEM
- AND OF COURSE MAN, HIS CHILDREN, AND HIS DOGS.
WE HAVE SEEN ALL OF THESE SPECIES INVOLVED IN ATTACKING OR TAKING GOSLINGS, AND EVIDENCE OF FOX PREDATION IS CLEARLY EVIDENT AFTER THE EVENT. IF THEIR SOURCE OF FOOD IS REMOVED, IE THE GOSLINGS, THEN THESE INDIGENOUS SPECIES WOULD BE AFFECTED NEGATIVELY AS WOULD THEIR CHANCES OF SURVIVAL.
- THE TWO PARK POOLS IN QUESTION ONLY ALLOW BIRDS TO NEST ON THE ISLANDS.
- AT VICTORIA PARK TIPTON, THERE ARE TWO ISLANDS AND NO POOLSIDE VEGETATION AROUND OR ON THE POOL AT ALL.
- THERE IS ONE ISLAND AT THE MAIN LAKE AT DARTMOUTH PARK, AND A NUMBER OF ISLANDS ON THE SMALLER “DUCK POND”. THESE ISLANDS ARE MANAGED TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY OFFER LITTLE OR NO WILDLIFE VALUE AT ALL, AND WHY SHOULD THEY GIVEN THAT AS THE COUNCIL LIKE TO KEEP POINTING OUT, THESE ARE “FORMAL PARKS” AND NOT NATURE RESERVES.
- WHILST SOME ISLANDS ARE OVERGROWN, OTHERS ARE SPARSELY BARE, SUGGESTING PAST USE OF INSECTICDES AND PESTICIDES.
WHAT EVIDENCE CAN THE COUNCIL PRODUCE TO CONFIRM THAT INDIGENOUS SPECIES (LIST THEM PLEASE) HAVE BEEN PUT OFF FROM NESTING ON THESE OVERGROWN AND UNMANAGED ISLANDS?
THOUGH GEESE MAY BE LARGE THE PERCEPTION THAT THEY ARE DOMINANT OVER OTHER SPECIES IS MERELY A HUMAN PERCEPTION WITHOUT EVIDENCE.
“there is little hard evidence that Canada geese cause significant problems by competing directly with other wildlife” (NATURAL ENGLAND THE MANAGEMENET OF PROBLEMS CAUSED BY CANADA GEESE; A GUIDE TO BEST PRACTICE . TECHNICAL NOTE TIN009.
I AM CURRENTLY GOING BACK THROUGH DATA SETS DATING BACK TO 1997 OF SWAN RECORDS FOR SANDWELL AND SITE HATCHING SUCCESS. NO ONE IN SANDWELL IS LIKELY TO HAVE MORE ACCURATE INFORMATION, AFTER ALL I AM THE CO ORDINATOR OF SWANWATCH. THESE FIGURES WILL BE PRESENTED IN ANOTHER FUTURE BLOG POST, BUT I ALREADY KNOW THAT THE SUCCESS/FAILURE OF SWAN HATCHLINGS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY INCREASED ABUNDANCE OF GEESE. IT IS ENTIRELY DEPENDENT ON THE ACTIVITIES OF MAN.
2.8 The Council has, for a number of years, made attempts to try and manage the numbers of Canada geese by adopting different control measures namely oiling and egg pricking, installing perimeter fences around pools, both permanent and temporary fencing, discouraging overfeeding and installing perimeter planting around pool perimeters but these measures have proved to be ineffective.
THIS IS COMPLETELY DISPUTED, AS STATED ABOVE.
2.9 A count was undertaken in March 2013 which identified in the region of 700 Canada geese residing within our parks and green spaces. The count identified that two parks, namely Victoria park, Tipton and Dartmouth Park, West Bromwich, had in excess of 300 geese within these two parks alone. In light of this, the Director looked to alternative methods to control the geese population.
THE FIGURES ARE DISPUTED, AND AS WE HAVE ALREADY POINTED OUT THE COUNCIL HAVE CITED DIFFERENT FIGURES CONCERNING GEESE AT DIFFERENT TIMES. THE 300+ FIGURE IS NONSENSE. IN MARCH THE MAJORITY OF GEESE AT VICTORIA PARK TIPTON HAVE BY THIS TIME MOVED TO SHEEPWASH NATURE RESERVE TO BREED. THE RETURNING NON BREEDERS MAY INCREASE THE NUMBERS AT THIS SITE BY JULY/AUGUST IN TIME TO MOULT, BUT NOT BEFORE. THIS FIGURE IS A LIE. IN HAVING VISITED THIS PARK FOR NEARLY 20 YEARS I HAVE NEVER SEEN IN EXCESS OF 100 GEESE AT ANY ONE TIME, AND NEVER OUTSIDE OF THE MOULT.
THE FACT THAT GEESE ON THIS PARK AFTER THE CULL HAVE ONCE AGAIN LEFT THIS SITE, WITH UNDER 20 NOW “RESIDENT” CONFIRMS THAT WHAT I AM SAYING IS CORRECT. IF SANDWELL COUNCIL WERE IN ANY WAY CREDIBLE EXPERTS ON THIS ISSUE, THEY WOULD ALSO NOTE THAT THE NUMBER OF BIRDS AT SHEEPWASH HAS NOW INCREASED- HAVING COME FROM THIS PARK.
2.10 In order to cull geese the Council had to obtain a licence from Natural England. Under the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the decision to apply for this licence, and to proceed with the cull, was taken by the Director – Street Scene, in accordance with the responsibilities associated with his post. Although no authority was required from the Cabinet Member for Highways and Environment, nor was it a decision to be taken under the Director’s delegated responsibility, a political steer was sought on the matter.
THIS STATEMENT IS FACTUALLY INCORRECT. THE COUNCIL DID NOT HAVE TO APPLY FOR A LICENCE, THEY MERELY HAD TO FOLLOW A CERTAIN GENERAL LICENCE, WHICH THEY NOW APPEAR TO BE UNABLE TO SHOW THAT THEY WERE, BY THEIR LACK OF EVIDENCE CONCERNING THE THREAT TO HUMAN HEALTH AND SAFETY.
BY STATING THAT HE FOLLOWED SOME PROCEDURE, STEVE HANDLEY IS BY THIS ADMISSION SHOWING THAT HE DID NOT, GIVEN HIS TOTAL LACK OF KNOWLEDGE ON THE SUBJECT OF LICENSING. NATURAL ENGLAND GUIDANCE CLEARLY STATES ON THE LICENCE THAT IT DOES NOT NEED TO BE APPLIED FOR, SO WHY WOULD HE THEN HAVE APPLIED FOR A LICENCE? NATURAL ENGLAND ALSO STATE IN A FOI REQUEST THAT THEY HAVE NOT HAD ANY CORRESPONDENCE WITH SANDWELL COUNCIL ON THIS ISSUE.
2.11 The Cabinet Member for Highways and Environment was presented with a briefing report outlining the issue and a proposed way forward. (See Appendix 5). The Cabinet Member prudently sought to gain a direction from the wider Executive and discussed the matter at an informal meeting of the Cabinet.
THERE IS NO RECORDED EVIDENCE OF THIS, IN WHAT WAS A CLEAR CHANGE OF POLICY. NO RECORD OF THE DECISION EQUATES TO LIES AND CORRUPTION IN THIS COUNCIL, WITH UNPOPULAR DECISIONS APPEARING TO BE ERASED OR NEVER DISCUSSED. THE REPORT FROM APRIL 2103 IS PRESENTED TO “THE CABINET MEMBER FOR NEIGHBOURHOOD SERVICES”, ACCORDING TO THE TITLE OF THE REPORT- THE POST FOR “HIGHWAYS AND ENVIRONMENT DID NOT THEN EVEN EXIST!
I WISH THIS COUNCIL WOULD NOT KEEP DIGGING THEMSELVES A HOLE IN WHAT IS AN INVENTED, UNBELIEVABLE SET OF LIES.
2.12 Following consideration of this matter at a political level, the Director instructed officers to proceed with obtaining the relevant permissions to proceed with the course of action.
ACCORDING TO JOHN SATCHWELL, HE DID NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT A LICENCE WHEN QUESTIONED ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK FOOTAGE OF PESTEX ROUNDING UP GEESE ON HIS PARK. HE WAS ADAMANT THAT GEESE WERE BEING “RELOCATED” TO THE SANDWELL VALLEY EVEN IN 2014. ONCE AGAIN IT IS WORTH REPEATING STEVE HANDLEY’S EARLIER STATEMENT-
“We do not hold any information regarding the approval of the process; as such approval was given verbally for 2013/14.”
HE IS A LIAR.
2.13 The Council employed a local pest control company to undertake egg pricking /oiling and to undertake a culling process in the two parks identified. Strict guidelines were followed, as stipulated by Natural England technical information note TIN046. (See Appendix 6). The gathering of the geese was undertaken during the moulting season during the months of May/June.
- THIS STATEMENT COMPLETELY CONTRADICTS THEIR CLAIM TO BE UNDERTAKING EGG PRICKING OVER A NUMBER OF YEARS. THE EMAIL TO PESTEX WAS OBTAINED BY US AGAIN USING FOI.
- THE GEESE DO NOT MOULT IN MAY/JUNE, THEY ARE STILL HATCHING NESTS INTO MAY, SO WHEN WAS THE EGG PRICKING BEING UNDERTAKEN?
- PESTEX WERE VIDEOED ROUNDING UP GEESE IN VICTORIA PARK TIPTON ON 10TH JULY 2013. ARE THIS COUNCIL FACTUALLY INCOMPETENT?
- GEESE WERE NOTED TO BE MISSING IN VICTOIRA PARK IN 2014 ON 17TH JULY. THIS IS THE DATE WHEN THEY WERE ROUNDED UP AND KILLED.
WE HAVE ALWAYS DISPUTED THE NUMBER OF GEESE ALLEGED TO BE PRESENT AND TAKEN IN DARTMOUTH PARK IN 2013.
SANDWELL COUNCIL, AGAIN VIA STEVE HANDLEY, HAVE STATED IN AN FOI REQUEST THAT NO ONE EMPLOYED BY SANDWELL COUNCIL WAS EVEN PRESENT WHEN THE BIRDS WERE KILLED. NEITHER COULD ANY OF THEIR OFFICERS BRIEF MARIA CROMPTON WHEN QUESTIONED ON THE RADIO AS TO HOW THE GEESE HAD ACTUALLY BEEN KILLED.
2.14 During 2013 and 2014 a total of 220 geese were culled in Victoria Park and Dartmouth Park. There are still over 100 Canada geese at these two locations.
THIS IS NOT ACCURATE. THERE ARE CURRENTLY LESS THAN 20 GEESE AT VICTORIA PARK TIPTON AND AROUND 40 GEESE AT DARTMOUTH PARK ON THE TWO POOLS.
2.15 The briefing report to the Cabinet Member for Highways and Environment highlighted that there could be a public concern from the actions taken, and officers would gauge this public reaction. Following public reaction the Council has drafted a Statement of Purpose Policy in relation to the control of geese within formal parks. (See Appendix 7). The Board’s views are sought on the draft policy as a basis of further consultation.
- THIS STATEMENT DOES NOT SHOW HOW THE OFFICERS HAVE GAUGED THE PUBLIC REACTION.
- THEY CHOSE IN THIS BIASED REPORT TO INCLUDE LETTERS FROM SATCHWELL’S CRONIES, YET EXCLUDE LETTERS OF OBJECTION FROM ORGANISATIONS SUCH AS ANIMAL AID, THE NATIONAL SWAN CONVENTION AND SWAN RESCUE- A RESOURCE WHICH ITS COUNCIL HAVE USED TO DUMP BIRDS OFF ITS SITES IN THE PAST WHEN INJURED BY MISMANAGEMENT OF ANGLING.
- THE POLICY IS UNCLEAR AS TO WHETHER ANY GEESE IN THE FUTURE WILL BE KILLED, HOW THIS WILL BE DECIDED AND WHAT MEASURABLE CRITERIA THOSE TAKING THE DECISION WILL BE GUIDED BY.
- A FEW COMPLAINTS FROM A FEW USUAL SUSPECTS IS NOT A VALID REASON TO CULL MORE HEALTHY BIRDS.
2.16 The culling process was to address the issues within our formal parks and there was never any intention to cull geese within our Nature Reserves and Countryside areas.
THE CULLING PROCESS COULD ONLY HAVE BEEN CARRIED OUT TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF THE GEESE BEING A PROVEN RISK TO PUBLIC HEALTH AND PUBLIC SAFETY, AS EXPRESSED UNDER LAW BY THE GENERAL LICENCE THAT THE COUNCIL CLAIM TO HAVE BEEN USING, BUT TO WHICH THEY ARE UNABLE TO PRODUCE MUCH EVIDENCE OF THEIR OWN THAT THE GEESE IN THE TWO PARKS WERE A CREDIBLE RISK TO HUMAN HEALTH AND HUMAN SAFETY.
THE IDIOTS DO NOT APPEAR TO APPRECIATE THAT IF THEY PRICKED EGGS WITHIN THE NATURE RESERVE SITES THEY HASTENED THE DEPARTURE OF THE GEESE TO THE INFORMAL PARKS, THUS CREATING THEIR OWN PERCEIVED PROBLEM OF GOOSE NUMBERS.
3.1 If the Scrutiny Board feels that the Authority needs to respond to points raised within the petition it may decide to use any of its scrutiny powers under the Local Government Act 2000, as follows to:-
i) instigate an investigation; ii) make recommendations to the Council Executive; iii) arrange for the matter to be considered at a meeting of Council;
3.2 The Board may also choose to take no further action on the matter if it is satisfied with the action taken by officers.
3.3 The Board’s views are also sought on the draft policy as a basis of further consultation.
WE KNOW THE OUTCOME OF THIS, BUT NOT WHAT WAS DISCUSSED BY THE COUNCILLORS IN PRIVATE. THERE IS NO FORMAL RECORD OF ANY VOTE, NOR WHY THEY DECIDED TO TAKE NO ACTION.
Source Documents Briefing Document to Cabinet Member Natural England Technical Information Note TIN046
References Clark, Larry. “A review of pathogens of agricultural and human health interest found in Canada geese.” USDA National Wildlife Research Center-Staff Publications (2003): 205.
Converse, Kathryn, et al. “Screening for potential human pathogens in fecal material deposited by resident Canada geese on areas of public utility” USGS National Wildlife Health Centre (1999)
Kullas, Heather, et al. “Prevalence of Escherichia coli serogroups and human virulence factors in faeces of urban Canada geese (Branta canadensis).” International Journal of Environmental Health Research 12.2 (2002): 153-162.
Moriarty, E. M., et al. “Survival of Escherichia coli, enterococci and Campylobacter jejuni in Canada goose faeces on pasture.” Zoonoses and public
THESE SOURCES ADD UP TO NOTHING. ONCE AGAIN THE ONLY VALID EVIDENCE THAT THE COUNCIL COULD PRODUCE WOULD BE THAT TAKEN FROM WITHIN ITS OWN PARK BOUNDARIES. THEY FAILED TO DO THIS AND SO THE THREAT POSED BY THE GEESE, THE “DAMAGE” THAT THEY POSE AND THE “RISK” IS MERELY AN OPINION UNMEASURED BY ANY RELEVANT DATA SET AND CONTRIVED BY VISUAL OBSERVATION WITHOUT COLLATING ANY DIRECT EVIDENCE.