Smethwick Hall park- The Severn Trent “misconnections” Connection

There are serious pollution issues at this pool at present and proven sewage has gone into the pool, which as far  as I am concerned, are linked to the bird deaths at the site. Severn Trent have attempted to deny this, yet after receiving information from an FOI/EIR request to the environment agency about past reported pollution incidents under their National Incident Reporting scheme, there is an uncomfortable pattern which appears for this three star  ♠♠♠   environmental terrorist water company.


A recent claim by Severn Trent Water stated that the water quality in the pool was much improved. LOL

The following details as revealed in this supplied information demonstrates that pollution “misconnections” as Severn Trent likes to call them, has been occurring for many years, in particular from Severn Trent Water’s apparatus. The reports go back as far as 2006. THEY ALSO DEMONSTRATE THAT AT LEAST ON SOME OF THEE OCCASSIONS, THERE HAVE ALSO BEEN NOTED TO BE DEAD BIRDS WHEN THESE POLLUTION INCIDENTS HAVE BEEN WITNESSED. 

00399837 17/5/2006


“Caller reporting oil on the pond… there have been dead geese there and also dead fish recently.”

It appears that there was some confusion in the report originally, but little doubt after establishment, that Smethwick Hall Park was the polluted source of concern.


“Sounds like wrong connections, and the dead birds are a cause for concern.”

“Smethwick hall park is quite heavily polluted by wrong connections and is also covered with litter to the extent that litter is the favoured nesting material for coots, no dead birds seen at time of visit, but seven were seen during a second visit a week later”

This report, from the EA officer themselves perhaps sets the scene, and is a sad indictment of not only Severn Trent’s failure, but also of Sandwell council’s to properly manage this litter strewn site.

This connects to following incident 00401674 24/5/2006


“Report of four dead ducks & a misconnection to the pool Off Londonderry lane.” 

Severn Trent and Defra were informed, and presumably the birds were sent for post mortem. It is not clear what happened with this, but presumably no detailed post mortem was undertaken or investigation made into the clear link to the pollution concern.

“Pool is grey/blue with misconnections smell. Six dead ducks.”


There is no evidence recorded as to how these “misconnections” were resolved, but I remember from conversations with former drainage engineer at SMBC, John Ashcroft, that Severn Trent had supposedly found “many”. The fact that these 2006 events again occurred into the summer months suggests that there may have been a die off of birds related to botulism evolving from a sewage “misconnection” again.

The following report I know to be one of mine concerning diesel going into the pool in 2013. 01085293     10/02/2013.

I reported this when I saw it, yet it appears that the EA attended in the fading light. 



A 2016 incident, perhaps the red herring of the bunch, was reported by SMBC after motorbikes had been dumped into the pool which leaked diesel. 01413658   24/02/2016




And then to this year, and another call that I know I made.

01672260 06/01/2019

I tried to give as much detailed information as possible, and at this time there was concern about the situation at Victoria Park Smethwick (and still is) with bird deaths. There appears to be some confusion recorded on here, as the collapsed sewer relates to Victoria Park and not Smethwick Hall. I noted a dead goose and duck were present on this occasion, which had not been there on my visit a week earlier.


 What I didn’t get from this was much in the way of feedback, which looking at what is recorded below appears to demonstrate that sewage was already going into this pool and from the same source as later found in May.

Unfortuanely, as I have reported before, the EA now call the polluter to investigate the scene, rather than doing it themselves, and so Severn Trent attended this incident.

“08/01/2019 S. Roe (EA)  rang STWL for an update. Informed that a crew attended and a strong sewage odour was observed. Ammonia readings at the weir were 3.7 and 4.5 at end of lake.”

It is important here that Severn Trent themselves observed “a sewage odour”. As these readings were taken by Severn Trent themselves, they are not independent, and this needs to be questioned when looking at the source of the ammonia readings- usually indicative of sewage related releases.

Severn Trent again failed to locate this issue.

The ammonia readings relate to parts per million, with anything above 1 giving the EA cause for concern. They concluded that there were   “multiple misconnections”, but what exactly is the bloody point of stating this time and time again, yet failing to ever actually identify their source? 


It is further revealed that Severn Trent had “placed a bung” at the outlet , I  think they mean inlet, to stop further pollution entering the lake. They also claimed to not be able to reach a suspected polluted manhole due to traffic. Again we get the same “multiple misconnections” which attempts to absolve them of any blame.

It appears at a later date that the EA were contacted by Severn Trent ti claim that they had traced one misconnection to a property. What happened to the “multiple” ?

It is also claimed that  CCTV camera was put down, possibly Margaret Gardens, (though this is redacted) where foul is entering the surface water sewer, ie shit is entering the lake. 

And then perhaps the final damning statement made by Severn Trent, which as we know was to prove utter bullshit.

“As far as we can tell from the extensive searches we have been conducting over the last few weeks, there are not any blockages contributing to this pollution and it seems to be multiple miscons that intermittently  pollute. “


This is of course not the case, as was later proven by the incident in April, which I again reported.  01696951 24/4/2019

Severn Trent reported finding “misconnections” at the inlet yet again :roll: and “faeces visible”.

I ask the question that given that they have now identified misconnections along a line in Margaret Gardens as to why “despite their extensive searches” just 3 months earlier they had failed to detect this?

It is however revealed that their own blockage of their own pipe was not found- again. What interest you could argue would it be in their interest to, given that they face a fine for such failures?

The EA staff then subsequently attended, finding their own observations.

P.Mullard and B.Baily attended the Smethwick Hall Pool finding the pool containing grey water and solid sewage. P.M and B.B collected water samples and sent them to the lab for analysis. Tom reported Severn Trent had attended on the 28/04/19 and not found a blockage. “


The lack of finding a blockage is bollocks


The subsequent NIRS form was also obtained from this FOI which relates to investigations the EA made on the brook course running into the pool, revealed by local campaigner Mike Allen amongst others to be highly polluted with both sewage and other chemicals.

01705882   01/05/2019

Multiple misconnections are again noted by the EA , though there appears over the course of this report to have been little progress made in finding them.




I have to say from reading this it only further gives me the feeling that water companies, who were recently severely criticised by The EA in an annual report  for their “Generally woeful environmental performance”,  are failing to prevent these issues from arising, a product of a system where they are basically allowed to mark their own work.

Severn Trent Water can try to apportion blame onto those not fitting washing machines or other appliances correctly, but the question must now be asked after seeing for how long this has been going on and their failure to stop it as to whether it is time that Sandwell council , if they can, can disconnect Severn Trent’s apparatus from entering their beleaguered and polluted swamp off Stoney lane for good. I do not have ANY confidence that Severn Trent will prevent these occurrences in the future, nor in that they will be monitored sufficiently by a regulator under a system which is not fit for purpose. 

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Smethwick Hall Park sewage pollution- correcting misinformation and inaccurate reporting


Turds have been spotted

The impact on the confirmed sewage pollution incident at this lake has been horrendous, yet three themes have emerged over the last week in response to the bad publicity for Sandwell council and Severn Trent Water. These are 1. Procrastination on the part of SMBC 2. Denials by Severn Trent. 3 Inaccurate reporting of the facts.

Unfortunately, as I have found before, the local media in this part of the world are NEVER on the side of the underdog or investigative journalism. They merely print the lies of the spin doctors and don’t challenge them with incisive questions. 

Let’s look first at the headline in this article, “Smethwick pool sealed off following mysterious geese deaths”.

This allies some apparent decisive action by SMBC with there being “mystery” about the geese deaths. In fact the truth is SMBC’s action is very limited and for show only after the event, and does nothing to prevent the goose deaths, from which there is no “mystery”. The pool has been “fenced off” , which I will show is also inaccurate, but was NOT fenced off when the proven sewage leak had occurred, and Sandwell council managers were fully aware of the fact that this had occurred. All SMBC has done is to put up some herras fencing around part of the pathway around the lake. You can still walk around the entire lake, and I also last Friday saw children squatting in the same area that the geese are dying in.


You can walk right round this to the left

One notes that the first picture in the above story shows SMBC  operatives removing a dumped trolley that has been in there some time in this same area, and Not any dead birds.

The second shows a council operative in a boat that the council have suddenly acquired, yet look at the lack of any PPE in both pictures.

“Back in May, a blocked sewer pipe caused waste water to enter the pool. However Severn Trent said it was “confident” the bird deaths were not connected due to the ‘extensive nature’ of the repair work.”


Firstly , as I have demonstrated already, the EA as well as myself and several other members of the community smelt and saw “crude sewage” and “raw sewage” solids in the pool. IT WAS NOT “WASTE WATER”. This is inaccurate reporting. All that Severn Trent actually did was to pump out dirty water and pump in clean- so they claim. There was NEVER any removal of the “crude sewage” and “raw sewage” that had gone into the pool.

“We’re confident the quality of the pool is much improved as a result and that these bird deaths are unconnected.”

The quality of the pool is still terrible, as any blind fool would realise. The depth of the “water”,  if you can even call it that, is dredged up as a black treacle every time the birds swim through it. They are ingesting this faecal contaminated matter and dying afterwards. If this is “unconnected” to their deaths then why are Sandwell council now “fencing off” the pool? Would any Severn Trent official care to come to the pool and create a brew from the said “quality” water they have pumped into this shithole in the ground?

There is another  example in the Express and Star about this factual incident where it is “claimed” that sewage had gone into the pool. There is no “CLAIM” ,it is an established FACT. It is not denied by Severn Trent, and the Environment Agency themselves described it as “crude sewage” and “raw sewage”. So why therefore the  inaccurate statement concerning “claim” in these reports?

A “claim” is something that is not backed up by any evidence, just opinion. It is wrong to report something of which there is indisputable evidence as “claim” therefore. Anchored to this is a seemingly authoritative statement, which is a “claim”, but is never stated as such, by Severn Trent. The story also mentions nothing of the “misconnections” going into the pool which have not been fixed at all.


  • For how long had “crude sewage” and “raw sewage” been going into the pool?
  • What volume of “crude sewage” and “raw sewage” and solids entered the pool?
  • Why did SMBC not fence off the pool when the incident was occurring and known to them?
  • Why did it communicate VERY limited information to the public about this human health risk, only mentioning “mud”?


  • Why are SMBC not stopping the birds entering the area of concern where misconnections are still coming into the pool via an also still vile contaminated brook?


  • Why haven’t the media asked them these specific questions?


I have spoken to Max Cookson, his director Alan Caddick, and cabinet member Maria Crompton, yet all appear to ignore the issue that I am trying to get them to action , and the longer this goes on, I doubt their sincerity about this situation. Or perhaps they believe that I have nothing to offer and don’t know what I am talking about? Either way the deaths of birds will continue if they continue to take no action to stop the birds accessing this area.


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Carnage at Smethwick Hall Park #CG22

Well. where to start with  this one! Perhaps here, in May, when I previously outlined how I had reported raw sewage and other contaminants going into this small pool off Londonderry Lane Smethwick, just less than half a mile from where a new aquatics centre is being built for Sandwell’s bit part in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games of 2022.

shall6 - Copy

Severn “stench” Trent, had had a blocked sewer from off the main road, as well as “misconnections” going into the pool from the inlet. Actually , I have been reporting these grey water issues for years, and had discussions about them with former SMBC drainage officer John Ashcroft. He has been retired many years, so it goes back this far!

I put in a freedom of information request to The Environment Agency about this specific incident, which can be read HERE.Monitoring data for Smethwick Hall park following human excrement contamination 

“Please provide by electronic means all test data sets provided to you by Severn Trent Water at this pool located in Londonderry Lane Smethwick West Midlands from 1st January 2019 to the present day.
Please also supply all the actual test data sets taken by your own staff following the confirmed contamination of human excrement into the lake from Severn Trent Water apparatus.” 

The EA responded with The National Incident Reporting System form (NIRS) for this job, numbered 01696951.

Some background info on how this works via the Common_incident_classification_system_04_01  , can be read in this previous blog post about how the EA are failing along with the Canal and Rivers Trust to accurately assess the real damage to the environment caused by environmental pollution. They are interested in only fish deaths, and not birds. It is a system devised by cretins, and no doubt by those who have financial interests in fisheries management and those former MP’s like Martin Salter who went on to get a job at The Angling Trust. IT DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THE DEMISE OF WILDFOWL- IT DOESN’T CARE AT ALL ABOUT THEIR DEMISE AND SLOW DEATH THROUGH POLLUTION. 

This system has a range from 1-4, with 1 being the most serious- in their short sighted view.


The first thing I would like to point out about the supplied EA form, is the redaction of my name as the reporter of this initial incident. I have amended this below accordingly, and the observations that I made when the call was made on April 24th  are noted.


This issue was then categorised as 3 on the CICS system and on the NIRS form- meaning that they attached low priority to it- also meaning that no EA officer actually was attending, but that they had basically informed the polluter Severn Trent to mark their own work. THIS IS WHY THIS SCHEME IS A FAILURE, AND ONE OPEN TO CORPORATE FRAUD.



Severn Trent reported finding “misconnections” at the inlet and “faeces visible”.

It is however revealed that their own blockage of their own pipe was not found. What interest you could argue would it be in their interest to, given that they face a fine for such failures?

The EA staff then subsequently attended, finding their own observations.

P.Mullard and B.Baily attended the Smethwick Hall Pool finding the pool containing grey water and solid sewage. P.M and B.B collected water samples and sent them to the lab for analysis. Tom reported Severn Trent had attended on the 28/04/19 and not found a blockage. “


The lack of finding a blockage is bollocks

When in attendance with the EA, they found reduced oxygen levels and high ammonia levels around various points in the pool- obviously indicative of sewage pollution.

The EA supplied data they had taken as part of the exercise which can be read HERE.Unfortunately this doesn’t say very much.

ST then put in some PR management by putting a pump at the pool to recirculate water and expel the contaminated top layer. PLEASE REMEMBER HOWEVER, THAT AT THIS STAGE, THIS SEWAGE ISSUE HAD ALREADY BEEN OCCURRING FOR SOME TIME. Excrement, like everything else sinks, and forms into a layer on the bottom of whatever it rests on- in this case, years worth of silt and debris that had been accumulating over many, many years.

What happened next was a disastrous decision taken by kneejerk SMBC management to try to disguise this failure. They employ a contractor HILLS to allegedly clear out the debris of this pool which collects at the outlet. From here it flows into The Birmingham Canal. This clearly had not been done for MANY months and there was a thick layer of material blocking the water course. On lowering this they would have course be lowering the water level in the pool, which in turn made the contaminated silt more reachable to the birds, and the bacterial pathogens within it exposed to direct sunlight to multiply to their hearts content.

The sum total of SMBC’s managerial actions to protect the public at this stage was to erect this useless laminated sign. No communication was made to advise the public of this public health risk. Children were seen playing in the “mud”- silt contaminated excrement.

59920892_1581668668643705_3761557539230056448_oChildren continued to play in the excrement infested waters.


This turdberg was visible and accessible to the birds, and the water was black when they paddled through it.

Heras fencing put in to protect Severn Trent’s pump was also tossed into the crap heap.




Within the last week many birds have been found ill and dead, suffering from botulism type symptoms- but let’s remember the direct causal link to this- the sewage pollution incident. The scene has been horrific, but yet again, to date SMBC have yet to take any practical action to prevent the birds from coming into contact with the contaminated area.

They have again knee jerked only due to the bad publicity and threat of it by putting up some token fencing, that s not doing anything at all. This same ploy occurred at Victoria Park Smethwick last year.


What information does this even communicate to warn and inform the public- where is the publicising the link to the sewage incident?


But not the birds contact with the dangerous material


A goose waits for death on the contaminated exposed silt

The full horror of this can be seen in a video I took, before SMBC turned up to try to remove the evidence before any press turned up.



A Sandwell council body bag, full of dead birds


A young goose fights to stay alive off the island

Severn Trent Water however have disgracefully attempted to distance themselves from their caused serious pollution incident in comments made in press articles, which unfortunately although mentioning the proven sewage pollution have given them enough room to apply “mystery” to the bird deaths- well there IS NO “MYSTERY” .

Comments about water quality are a nonsense, but a distraction technique away from the silt and taking samples of that which will confirm the botulism causing pathogens present.

In the FOI request, the EA supplied previous reported pollution incidents they have on record at the site, most likely ones I have reported going back to 2006. These were grey water issues , the same “misconnections” that ST have been blathering on about, but not preventing for years. I have now FOI’D these NIRS reports also to see what the EA recorded about them. By no means is this a full list of observations that myself and others have made, just the times that they have been reported.

Notification # Notification Date
401674 24/05/2006 11:36
1085293 10/02/2013 14:31
1413658 24/02/2016 14:58
399837 17/05/2006 09:42
1672260 06/01/2019 14:43

This incident makes bad timing for this persistent environmental polluter. An EA report into water company performance reveals that Severn Trent have been docked a star from their rating by the EA- from 4 to 3, personally don’t see how they even get 1.

Dave Throup, EA manager for H/W said in a tweet

“Generally woeful environmental performance by English water companies during 2018 highlighted in our annual report. Our local company @stwater performance has deteriorated and it failed to meet targets on discharges or ceilings on pollutions.”


Severn Trent had 287 confirmed pollution incidents, but how many went unreported because of the open to fraud self reporting system?



Open to total serious fraud


There is all sorts of talk now between the main players, but most if not all of it is bullshit. Talk about “working together” is crap; they are blaming one another behind the scenes. SMBC claim to have “fenced off the pool” yet children were seen playing in the same area the other night, and not all the ill birds were removed at all, when I went there.

If SMBC want to stop bird deaths, then they have to act fast, and block off the contaminated area to the birds.



But I don’t think they will do this, as this is SMBC, the same authority who in 2013/14 murdered 220 Canada geese by breaking their necks in two of their green flag parks. I’m sure that many in SMBC are loving this, a way to offload many more without apparently having to spend any money on doing so. BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE, SMBC, AND THE CABINET MEMBERS AND COUNCILLORS WILL BE JUDGED ON WHAT THEY DO NOT DO TO PREVENT MORE BIRDS FROM DYING AT THIS SITE. 




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Shittish Waterways and The Canal and Rivers distrust

As a wildfowl rescuer in the West Midlands for over 20 years, the most common recurring problem facing these type of birds is pollution in the water. This is not just from industrial sources but often from boat traffic on the canal.

There are not a great deal of problems from boats in permanent moorings, but when they start to travel, some boats  leave behind a vile scum of diesel contamination like some form of watery slugs.

I have no idea as to why at present there are political idiots claiming “climate emergencies” and taking action on land travel pollution, yet the real visible pollution on the canal waterways as far as I know has no plans to be tackled. ALL DIESEL POWERED MARINE CRAFT AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED SHOULD BE PHASED OUT IN THE NEXT DECADE. IT IS POLLUTING THE WATER ENVIRONMENT AND DOES NOTHING TO HELP WATER BIRDS OR THEIR ENVIRONMENT AT ALL.

Before anyone jumps on me and starts pontificating on the original uses of these structures and the deluded rose tinted recollections of steam and how this region “made things”, I don’t care. This retrograde amnesia has no place.  The present and future  do, and some of these boats are causing real problems for wildfowl that are now attracted to these areas, which are increasingly becoming centres of housing around them also.

This post deals with two sites and two incidents that have recently caused me to wonder if it is any longer possible for swans to nest and have cygnets in these shitty Canal and Rivers Trust run boat lanes.

I am not a fan of the CRT, and never were of their forerunner British Waterways either. They have orchestrated a fake and misleading campaign about bread being “harmful” to ducks, which in itself has been more harmful to the birds as some rescue organisations and experts have pointed out. The CRT ad was a marketing campaign, originally to promote them as a new charity when the part publicly funded BW ceased to exist.

The strange thing about the CRT is their support of fishing and boating- their two main income streams, and the complete lack of acknowledgement of these activities being the real harm causing significant impact on water birds that they claim to want to conserve.

In the shithole that is Sandwell, for the first time in 20 years, two pairs of swans nested at Titford Pools and The Old Mainline Canal in Tipton. Both of these are on what is known as The BCN – Birmingham Canal Navigations. Both pairs hatched 5 cygnets.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the pair at Titford were in trouble, and their cygnets were missing. I could see one dead on the island by where they had had a nest. Both were covered in some contaminant which I suspected was diesel. The problem with this canal area is that it is situated immediately under the M5 motorway, and it is likely that there is considerable run off from this source off the road and into the water.


Not a great picture, but a dead cygnet on the island

Having called the RSPCA and with no action being taken, myself and Wychbold swan rescue picked up the pair from the site, and I  would note after having had harassment from the police who had been called by someone thinking that we were stealing the swans. If only these same people had been around to care about the missing cygnets and the contaminated swans eh? 😡


Other previous swans in this area have had the same issues. Drunks continue to squat under the motorway and most of the anglers who fish in this area are pissheads who toss their rubbish behind them carefree of anyone ever challenging their illegal behaviour.

At Tipton, a pair of swans nested near to Factory Locks. At just 5 weeks old I had noted that they were near to the Coseley Tunnel near to where 5 boats had been mooring for approximately two weeks. The next day I did not see the family.

The area around these boats was polluted with contaminants, though notably not anywhere else on the network for well over a mile in both directions. This at least tells me the likely or suspected source. It was apparent that one boat had recently been “blacked”- the cans of paint still on the deck. This practice of waterproofing should not be carried out in the water, but in dry dock on land- what do you think happens when paint enters the water?





At this same area I noted a coot in distress which had clearly become a sponge due to the pollution it had been through.


The swans minus any cygnets were on land near to where they had nested, but  out of the water , vigorously preening themselves and also clearly affected by what they had swam through.


I called various agencies, and eventually a couple of days later the swans were caught and taken to the RSPCA rescue centre.

S2270011 I had contacted both the Environment Agency and the Canal and Rivers Trust, not only about the actual harmful pollution, but also about the likely source. I was tasked with sending them pictures and I expected them to do their jobs and clean it up, but perhaps from previous experience I knew that this was a vain hope. As it transpired they have done absolutely nothing.

The EA officer told me that he had left it with the CRT, as they now only have 6 staff and no longer attend incidents on canals and pass them on to the CRT. The CRT state that one of their ecologists went out and assessed the scene, recording it as “localised” and would be broken up by boat traffic. This of course is the problem for water birds, in that it does not break up when they go through it, and also this drifting mass of pollution is only likely to affect more water birds wherever it drifts due to it not being controlled and contained.

It is this categorisation of “low priority” by the CRT ecologist from which I have the most anger.



The agency use the ” Common incident Classification Scheme as guidance ” for incident reports when members of the public report incidents of environmental pollution via the Freephone 0800 number. The CRT no doubt follow this same protocol.

This can be read below.


I have previously written a blog about this on the sister website whatliesbeneathrattlechainlagoon, and my experiences with reporting a repeat pollution incident, which surprise, surprise involved Severn Trent (stench) water.

To summarise again here, Two tiered systems are used and within this different category level responses are noted.

ea 1


ea 2




The wording of these categories are rather vague , but appear to relate primarily to fish, and not to any water birds affected- one notes what I have already said about how these organisations do not care about wildfowl in distress.




So to these organisations, fish are priority and wildlfowl are not. The impact of 5 cygnets (all of them) being lost were categorised as category 3 by the CRT ecologist, at which point the EA would not attend, with the CRT deploying no resources either. I’m not sure how the adult swans feel about this incident being “a very limited impact” or anyone who had marvelled at these birds and their cygnets cruising the waterway for over a mile stretch. Boaters fed them near to the Malthouse stables, and they were doing well. The effects of their loss is not “reversible” , they will not be coming back from the dead.

The last pair of swans on this canal to breed or even attempt to breed was in 2001. They too lost all 8 cygnets to pollution from an industrial source- Masefield Epson and their hydraulic oil spill into the canal system near Newcommen Drive.

Having reported this issue to the EA, where they then did attend themselves, I gave a statement leading to the prosecution of these dirty Dudley port scumbag polluters.

These are press reports from the time, though the fine of just £2000 was derisory.

Scan_20190629 (7)

Scan_20190629 (6)

The mysterious “Grime reaper” even paid a visit to the scene with a mop and bucket. Perhaps he may appear again….

Scan_20190629 (5)

I can only once again hope that the CRT drastically rethink their ill though out responses to the plight of these birds. We do not have many in the West Midlands, and they have faced dreadful persecution from thugs and pollution. Unfortunately the “responsible authority” appears to be on their side, and not ours.

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Back to water

Swanderwoman and Gooseman although working hard fighting grime and corruption in the background have now emerged for personal appearances at some waterway festival events.


Swanderwoman deputised for The Park Knight at The Hawne Basin open weekend in Halesowen on the Dudley Number 2 canal. “She” was especially pleased to be “manning” the tombola stall, whilst also promoting a new swanwatch leaflet.

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Swanderwoman sported a packed lunch on this occasion, and also her trusty swan hook, just in case there were any birds in distress in the vicinity.


Feeling a little half and half?


As always the stall had a variety of cards, keyrings, information leaflets and goose/swan food available.


It was a well attended and organised event by The Coombeswood Canal Trust.

The following weekend, the action switched to Brownhills and “the curly wyrley”.



The local birds can be thankful of the generous nature of the Brownhills folk who cleared out all of our supply of goose food! Swanderwoman even had a trip to find the local swan family who were fed.


Gooseman also bought his sidekick Goosuki with him.


Well done to The Birmingham Canal Navigations Society who have taken over the running of this event.

Selfies were posed and all had a great time. I’m not sure if Brownhills had ever seen anything quite so theatrical, well maybe not……


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MURDER most fowl!

If you live in Great Britain, you will probably never see a ruddy duck, again, ever. These lovely birds , particularly males with their blue beaks have a peculiar head bobbing display that resembles a pneumatic drill. Originally a North American bird, their story started and ended in this country with the interference of man. Firstly their introduction through the wildfowling murdering scum bag Peter Scott- much lauded by mainstream society through the WWT . Many of the birds which he introduced to this country escaped and began to breed in the wild, with their numbers growing steadily, particularly in the land locked West Midlands.

There were no issues with the birds in this country- none at all, they were totally harmless. The West Midland Bird club even adopted them in its logo, for many years the bird fronting their literature and reports. But then came someone with influence from The European Union.

Prior to the planned destruction of this bird, two clandestine and insidious EU directives had already began to weed out anything that the fanatical agricultural business lobby fraud that is the European union, did not like. That is anything which is considered to be “non European” is “non native”, and should be eradicated. These directives were “The Habitats Directive” , and “The Birds Directive.”

The Habitats Directive (more formally known as Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora) is a European Union directive adopted in 1992 as an EU response to the Berne Convention.

Let’s look at how this ghastly EU legislation, backed up by the likes of Birdlife International (should be Birddeath International) and the RSPB treated the ruddy duck. These avian eugenicists preach about biodiversity, yet do nothing about hunting, which is what the current EU led directives protect and facilitate. This summary appears in one of the EU’s justification for avian slaughter citing their own warped law making, which unfortunately due to our membership of this corrupt bureaucracy, we are forced to participate in.

“Ruddy Duck Control EU Directive (79/409/EEC) on the Conservation of Wild Birds (Birds Directive) With regards to Ruddy Duck control, Article 11 of the EU Directive (79/409/EEC) on the Conservation of Wild Birds (Birds Directive) states that “Member States shall see that any introduction of species of bird which do not occur naturally in the wild state in the European territory of the Member States does not prejudice the local flora and fauna.”

EU Directive (92/43/EEC) on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (Habitats Directive) Article 22 (b) of the EU Directive (92/43/EEC) on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (Habitats Directive) states that “Member States shall ensure that the deliberate introduction into the wild of any species which is not native to their territory is regulated so as not to prejudice natural habitats within their natural range or the wild native flora and fauna and, if they consider it necessary, prohibit such introduction. The results of the assessment undertaken shall be forwarded to the committee for information.”
“Convention on Biological Diversity (Biodiversity Convention) Article 8 (h) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (Biodiversity Convention) states that “each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and appropriate, prevent the introduction of, control or eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species.”

“Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) Article 11 (2) (b) of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) states that “each Contracting Party undertakes to strictly control the introduction of non-native species.”

“Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) Article III (4c) of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) which relates to endangered migratory species states that “parties that are Range States of a migratory species listed in Appendix I shall endeavour to the extent feasible and appropriate, to prevent, reduce or control factors that are endangering or are likely to further endanger the species, including strictly controlling the introduction of, or controlling or eliminating, already introduced exotic species.”

These laws were passed into UK legislation by the useless Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981- an animal welfare fraud championed by the likes of the shooting and agricultural lobby  friends like the RSPB and the wildlife trusts, as well as Scott’s vile WWT. This introduced the concept of general licences to control so called “non-native species”. The directives are straight out of the Nazi handbook, supported by and serving the violent pitchfork wielding garlic smelling French farming Merde.

The alleged crime of the ruddy duck is that it was flying to Spain and mating with the female white headed duck, a species threatened by the actions of Spanish and Portuguese hunters. It is interesting to note that several statements are made in the following EU paper concerning the white headed duck.


“Declines are caused by habitat loss, over-hunting, unsustainable use of water resources and in long-term by the introgressive hybridization with non-native species such as the Ruddy Duck.”

“….Other threats include inadequate wetland management (leading to the dry out of wetland habitats), competition with introduced carp, drowning in fishing nets, lead-poisoning, pollution and human disturbance.”

Of course one could ask what were they doing about any of the aforementioned man made issues that are economically motivated and protected by the ghastly EU? Why were they not forbidding anglers introducing carp and banning lead in shooting and fishing permanently?

“All countries with records of Ruddy Ducks should endorse and implement the International Ruddy Duck Eradication Strategy of the Bern Convention, and produce official statements of intent regarding Ruddy Duck control. “

Thank you Adolf Hitler.

The fanatical EU species eugenicists sealed the fate of this bird, and no doubt that of the white headed duck in forbidding any “hybridisation”. Quite what business they have in duck fucking is anyone’s guess, but these zealots are manipulative in order to promote further hunting interests in the guise of fake altruism about the unimportant white headed duck.  I say unimportant because if it was to start with, why did the EU laws fail so dismally to protect this species from being persecuted by man?

You can see where I am coming from with this, and it is EU legislation that has proposed culls of grey squirrels amongst others.

Those who support Britain’s membership of the EU, do so in total ignorance as to what its Directives have done for urban wildlife. I like ruddy ducks, and with over 5000 of them killed in the UK to “protect” a Spanish bird that some gun toting  posse of Juans are responsible for making on the red list is a sick idea. Ban the hunting and stand up to those greasy Mediterranean murderers, but why should our ruddy have had to be shot?

It was the convicted criminal thief and liar Labour’s Elliot Morley who introduced the death warrant for ruddy ducks in the UK from 2005. From here the civil servant shooting industry confederates in DEFRA took the lead.

One principle name associated with Britain’s murder of Ruddy ducks is Iain Henderson. Operating under the guise of “wildlife management” ,Henderson actively began the process of extreme bird spotting in an attempt to kill every last ruddy duck in the UK. Many birders began to stop reporting sightings of the bird, though others were in cahoots with this vain Scottish avian slayer.



A bird offering no threat whatsoever to “animal health” of the UK.

Having been funded by The European Union, the nicely titled “rinse” programme set about the genocide of this one harmless duck. Birds were shot in  numbers around the country by scum from the Food and Environment Research Agency ( a cover organisation for the BASC) , and it is from here that this post looks at one particular site and Birmingham City Council’s part in this pre meditated murder.


Witton lakes is situated in a heavily urbanised area near Erdington in Birmingham. The area in general has little going for it, but this open space is an important site for wildfowl in The West Midands. In early 2013 I noted the presence of ruddy ducks at this site, and hoped that the birds would stay safe from the gunmen of FERA. Unfortunately it appears that someone, probably a “conservationist” c44t in local birding circles tipped off the .GOV hit squad.         .

When I learned about what had happened , I submitted a freedom of information request to Birmingham City Council. I asked for the email trail and what they knew about this cull, particularly if they had given permission as land owner.

The response was a convoluted mess of emails but which reveal several things.  Below is the cleaned up chronological chain between FERA and BCC which shows how Iain Henderson of FERA’s “wildlife management team” was in direct contact with several BCC officers, most notably Jo Haden – Ranger Services manager    and John Porter “constituency park manager”.


29/1/13 Henderson sends general email to BCC

He then contacts Darren share, a parks director in BCC  on 20/2/13



The attached letter is bullshit. It outlines the Government cull and the dubious reasoning behind it, revealing that 98% had already been killed in the UK. He asks BCC for permission to kill the birds by shooting, boasting that 130 sites have already been visited. Given that he knows how many birds were at the site already, some local twitching scumbag was obviously in direct contact with him.


The claims made by Henderson and by the Government’s cull programme in general are not supported by any direct evidence except supposition. THIS IS IMPORTANT AS I ASKED DEFRA THIS QUESTION IN ANOTHER FOI REQUEST AS TO SITES THEY HAD VISITED. There is no evidence other than presumptive that any of the UK birds were the ones that reached or migrated to Spain.

The threat to the white headed duck is of course a matter for the Spanish, and given their cruelty for killing birds, has nothing to do with the UK ruddy ducks. It is noted that Henderson’s letter also states that the “work”, i.e the murder of the ruddy ducks  is supported by the RSPB and the WWT- hardly surprising if you know the MO of  these fraudulent charities who claim to “protect” birds by killing others.


20/2/13 Share to Henderson, gives Jo Hayden’s contact details who contacted him the same day.


20/2/13 Hayden to Henderson giving his mobile number and requests risk assessment.


20/2/13 Henderson to Hayden -attaches risk assessment. It is clear that Henderson’s blood lust for his pathetic programme knows no bounds in how eager he is to kill the birds.

They would be able to visit with “24 hours notice”. Henderson also mentions “The Friends of Witton Lakes” , and having a cosy chat with them, no doubt to spin his bullshit lies about public enemy number ruddy. I will say more about this organisation as the emails unravel.



I am not outlining the full risk assessment here as it is of no consequence to the murder itself. This snippet however forms some interesting info. They intended to use air rifles and sound moderated shotguns, whilst also deploying look outs.



Hayden to Share attaching risk assessment.

This is perhaps the most important email of all as regards BCC’s involvement, and also that of the Nazis in the EU.


BCC did have a choice. It had a choice to stand up for wild birds in their city, but it failed miserably and only showed that these officers themselves were arse lickers to a FERA anus.

He also reveals that this would require a political decision, and that the cabinet member, local councillors and the chair of the friends of Witton Lakes should be informed. Thus we see this Pontious pilot deflect responsibility from himself. IT IS WORTH POINTING OUT THAT NOT ONLY WAS THIS A LABOUR GOVERNMENT CULL,WHICH THEN CONTINUED UNDER THE COALITION,  BUT A LABOUR COUNCIL WITH LABOUR LOCAL STOCKLAND GREEN COUNCILLORS- SO MUCH THERE FOR “THE PARTY OF ANIMAL WELFARE.”


27/2/13 Hayden to Porter and Danny Squire – head ranger re cull. It is stated that the deputy leader would be informed and that FERA would likely be given permission that day- hence what response was there from the Labour deputy leader- were they against it, where was the protest from “the party of animal welfare”. It is also apparent that BCC’s PR were involved in the murder plot, no doubt to try and deflect some of this fraud should it have become public knowledge.



Henderson also outlines this fact and fear of BCC to his own press department. “PR is one of their main concerns”- I bet it was, exposing the fraud that is Labour and animal welfare that supposedly opposes culls in opposition to win votes  yet allows culls in power and then tries to hide this fact.


27/2/13 Henderson to Hayden asking for timetable.



27/2/13 Hayden to Henderson – Share briefed director, who in turn briefed the deputy leader. Permission would likely be given swiftly for the kill, the next day.



27/2/13 Henderson to Hayden requesting vehicular access. Things would go “more smoothly” if they were allowed access, and he asks if the gates would be opened for them.


27/2/13 Hayden to porter regards key collection. I do not know why they have omitted Iain Henderon’s name in this email, it is obviously him who would be leading this cowardly “operation”, so let’s unredact that for starters.



27/2/13 Hayden to Henderson stating that keys can be picked up from Sutton park. Hand washing time again so it seems. They never do appear to have staff this council, perhaps they should have sent lazy Paddy from Brookvale to do something useful for a change.


27/2/13 Hayden to Henderson confirming key pick up from Sutton Park.


28/2/13 Unnamed to unnamed about the cull. Presumably one of these was Henderson.




28/2/13 Hayden to Henderson “hope it all goes well”. What a wonderful statement to make, as is this officer’s prime concern about the public learning of what is happening and showing some objection unlike he and his council.



4/3/13 Henderson to Hayden thanking him for arranging access “so quickly”.  Henderson reveals that six birds were killed, a male, a female and four young birds- ie a Birmingham based family and none that had flown to Spain to mate with the fictitious story of the white headed duck.  



8/3/13 Porter to Hayden re feedback. Porter states that he had met with the Friends of Witton lakes the night previously and it is revealed that they “all accepted the cull”. They heard gunfire and knew what was happening.


Hayden to Porter giving email of Henderson to feedback. It is revealed that seven shots were fired between 6.30 and 7.30 am. One person had approached the murderers from the Friends group.


8/3/13 Porter to Henderson feedback. The gunfire “alarmed” some locals- perhaps not surprising for an area riddled by gun crime. It is stated that the Friends group raised absolutely no objections to this cull, as revealed by porter. It is worth stating at this point when I found out about this cull at the time, I contacted Linda Hines- the chairperson of this group. SHE LIED TO MY FACE THAT SHE HAD EXPRESSED OBJECTION AND HAD WRITTEN TO FERA ABOUT THIS CULL. EARLIER EMAILS SHOW THAT SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN COPIED INTO THIS SCHEME, AND KNEW OF IT IN ADVANCE,

She is then quoted as supporting this “essential” murder in a newspaper article when I tipped off the Birmingham Evening Mail about what had happened. That’s some objection, yet the FOWL are an organisation who have received large amounts of funding from BCC, bizarrely as something that Hines called “ducking watch”. FOUR RUDDY DUCK DUCKLINGS WERE MURDERED THAT DAY! They and their parents had never even left The Midlands, let alone venture to Spain.



watch what

Er what?


8/2/13 Henderson to Porter re feedback. It is stated that a member of the gunmen were taken ill suddenly and that the air rifle was unavailable as a result. It’s just a pity the bastard did not shoot himself fatally or one of his mates instead.



I put in another FOI request to  DEFRA    questioning on which sites they had carried out this genocide. I also asked the following essential questions.

(ii) Could you please supply any direct factual evidence that you hold regards any ringed ruddy ducks in the UK reaching Spain that have subsequently bred with any Spanish White-headed ducks.
By factual I do not mean supposition, opinion or speculation by any civil servants , land owners or bird watching charities who have supported/taken part in this eradication scheme. If you do not hold any such factual direct evidence could you please confirm this.
(iii) Could you please confirm that any birds shot under this scheme on public or private land has only been possible with the agreement of the site owner or tenant.


It is clear from the answer “Following a search of our paper and electronic records, the information that you have requested is not held by APHA.” This is because we have no evidence of any ringed ruddy ducks from the Great Britain reaching Spain that have subsequently bred with any Spanish White-headed ducks”  that Henderson et als “science” and rationale behind this scheme is an EU sponsored fraud.  THERE IS NO EVIDENCE BECAUSE NONE EXISTS. His statements and literature sent out to the likes of Birmingham City Council is not founded on any factual evidence base which supports the statements. HOW CAN IT BE PROVEN THAT ANY BIRDS FROM THE UK EVER REACHED OR MIGRATED TO SPAIN IF THEY HAVE NO METHOD OF OR CANNOT IDENTIFY ANY SINGLE BIRD?


This statement confirms that Haden and Co from BCC did have the right of refusal to the Fera fanatic’s requests to set foot on the site with guns. That they caved in, and that it was also backed politically is perhaps an indication as to how these people operate in terms of obeying bureaucratic dictates from a foreign dictatorship that infests our everyday lives.

The cost to the UK economy from this senseless slaughter was reported to be at  £2400 per bird. This would have of course lined the pockets of the shooters, whilst depleting ours from the EU subsidy.

The full list of sites and number of birds killed , for no scientific purpose but under European Union “order”, can be read here.


Confirmation of the murdered Witton Lakes 6

I can only hope that the white headed duck in Spain does not become extinct. But this will have had nothing to do with any of the “work” of Henderson or those like him. There is a part of me that would like to see it become extinct however , only for Henderson to realise on his retirement that his whole civil service working life for this purpose was a complete and utter fucking failure; yet if ruddy ducks had not been persecuted by shooting and agricultural business lobby scum, it may have lived on with the spirit of the ruddy duck genes.


Rest in peace.

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The Smethwick Turdberg- POO DONE IT?


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Some time ago Sandwell council famously used the threat to public health and public safety to justify the murder of 220 Canada geese in two of its green flag parks. One of the often quoted nonsensical rubbish lifted from a Defra paper stated that geese “defecate every few minutes, and that the droppings may be harmful if swallowed.” Councillors like then head of Environment Maria Crompton , who appeared to have been dropped in the brown stuff by a certain ex parks manager recited this garbage to anyone who would listen.

There is of course no evidence whatsoever from any study which confirms the transmission of such pathogens to humans, but this sells the idea of lazy culling, propagated by the pest control/agricultural industry and their bought shill confederates of civil service frauds in organisations like Natural England. In the last couple of weeks the general licences issued by this fraudulent quango have come in for some scrutiny that they should have years ago with Chris Packham’s organisation WILD JUSTICE challenging their use to slaughter vast numbers of birds for spurious reasons, without having to demonstrate any valid non lethal methods or even proof that these birds ARE causing any harm to public health. Sandwell council’s reasons for culling were a total fraud, and we exposed this. I will go into more detail about the issue of general licences as it unfolds in due course.

What is clear from any casual internet search is that the confederate frauds of “scientists”, bought by the aforementioned industries pack their meaningless studies onto the internet for all to see- this is particularly the case in America where their aviation industry is intent on destroying any birds anywhere near to an airport , trying to frame birds like Canada geese for any illness that they claim could be transmissible to humans- even though they cannot prove any direct links. But what about the other way around? What about human excrement flowing into brook courses and lakes, and then causing significant damage to the environment, birds and ultimately human health itself?

A swarm welcome to Smethwick Hall Park.

It is quite clear that such an occurrence has occurred in Smethwick Hall Park, in Smethwick, and has been occurring there over many years. I have gone into great detail about problems in Victoria Park Smethwick and the effect on birds there, specifically the way it has been managed by Sandwell council and the fault of Severn Trent water. I believe that as a result of the occurrence at the other site, which is only half a mile away, this human waste transmission is the cause of the illness in these birds at both sites.

It of course suits the main protagonists, those involved in multiple failure to prevent this occurrence from happening and to detect it to call this “avian botulism” ,with the emphasis entirely being on the fault of the birds and it being somehow “natural”, and also that it has occurred on many other sites across the country. But this fraud can be exposed when into Smethwick Hall Park, birds have exhibited exactly the same clinical signs associated with AB from ingesting this foul brown water and human turds.

It was clear a couple of weeks ago that this site was giving off the pungence of a sewage works filter bed- and that is precisely what it appears to have been acting as for considerable time. I was contacted by a concerned member of the public about a sick goose. I was at work and unable to attend, but my friend and local campaigner Mike Allen was in the area looking at Victoria Park Smethwick and this lake when he intervened and caught the bird that was beached upon a slew of litter and debris that Sandwell council and their contractors had failed to clear for some time. The level of the crud was over 1 foot from the drop, whereby from here it allegedly flows into the Birmingham Canal.


Mike gets the weak flaccid winged bird from the blocked outlet.



Mike got onto SMBC who then cleared this course, taking away a great volume of debris. As the water level dropped, so the stench got worse however, and we could clearly see human excrement flowing through the shit bath of a pool. I reported this to the environment agency, yet they initially came back to me stating that Severn Trent (stench)had claimed that the smell and appearance of excrement was “mud”. This was clearly bollocks!

I met an EA officer at the site and told him that there was a serious issue, and he agreed that there was. Mike and fellow campaigner Sue O’dell then met him on site later in the week where the tale of Severn Trent was quickly unravelled. There were two sources of human excrement flowing into the lake, one from a manhole in Londonderry Lane, and the other from the inlet fed by a brook course that flows from Manor Road, openly through the allotments in this same street.



EA officer tests water in the allotments brook, and confirms human waste and low oxygen levels. Picture credit Mike Allen


shit flowing freely in the brook, just feet away from growing vegetables. Picture credit Mike Allen.



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It appears scrutiny is now falling on a housing development built in 1996 by Barratt Homes (aka the UK’s dodgyist house builder) of 108 dwellings and encompassing Hitchcock Close, Bartleet Road, Jackson Drive and Small Close. Quite what if any sewage network was put in here is now open to scrutiny, and no doubt there will be legal ramifications here played out as to who is going to foot this clean up bill. Barratt Homes of course were involved in another housing development next to rattlechain lagoon, hazardous waste landfill site containing white phosphorus that I proved was poisoning birds,  building on a Severn Trent former sewage works at Tividale- “a crap site for residential” . Isn’t it funny how shit clings together in close association?

Severn Stench, now it appears under strict supervision from the EA are attempting to pump out the crap , which they initially denied and lied about was in there) whilst adding clean water in.





The inlet from Margaret Gardens, fed from the housing estate via the allotment brook course.

The water level has dropped significantly which has exposed the turdburg in all its smelly glory. At this site yesterday I observed children playing and standing on top of the solid mass. A young girl tested the firmness by putting in a stick which broke. She picked up the stick with her hand making direct contact with the burg.

There are no health and safety notices on site put there by anyone, and no sign of Sandwell council, or even the useless and ignorant Councillor Gavan- alleged Head of Parks in Sandwell who has not bothered to respond to anyone concerning the issues at Victoria Park which are undoubtedly related to this fiasco that his council are a big player in creating.

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This has been a multi agency f$$k up of the worst order, and I have been reporting issues of pollution into this pool for years. They were aware of the misconnections, yet it is not clear that these were ever fixed. There was even one occasion in 2013 when the site was turned into this ludicrous spectacle of swan boats sailing on this shithole site.


picture facebook

It is quite ironic that the former leader of SMBC Darren Cooper lived just over the road from this site, and the blocked manhole from this direction may well have served his house.


Cooper fronted the ridiculous “no shit Sherlock” campaign of SMBC regards dogs, and getting owners to pick up their mess. In fact SMBC appear to be obsessed with animal excrement and coprophobic anxiety. They must be having shitemares with all this going on now, and what a wonderful spectacle , when the Commonwealth Games site for aquatics is to be built, right opposite the site where the turds  are free flowing from! 😆


The entrance to Londonderry Lane playing fields, opposite the Barratt Homes development.

If only the great man had been here to see the opening.



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For the not many goose



It should come as little surprise to regular blog readers of this campaign, that I am not a Labour voter, and for good reason.

Whatever the impression others may have nationally about this party being “the party of animal welfare”- this is far from the truth in the corrupt pocket borough of Sandwell.

The evidence is clear. A labour council with no opposition councillors chose to murder 220 Canada geese in two green flag parks in 2013/14 on the back of a heavily plagiarised report, written by a man who was a labour party member, and who lived in one of the said parks. The conflict of interest here was clear, yet the Oldbury comrades were silent about this cull, in fact there was no record of any meeting where the matter was even approved.

This liar and several officers stated that no birds had been culled. Again the labour councillors were silent on the truth of the matter and the fraud was officially unravelled in a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.

When I unravelled what had happened through FOI requests, a labour councillor lied on air about the council’s policy. There were claims about there being “too many” geese- and complaints- though when challenged the figures were too few. A so called “scrutiny” committee (of all Labour councillors) did nothing of the sort when we handed in a petition against the council’s cull and scrutiny of it- despite clear failings of the officers and of the council’s policy. This labour council also lied in an FOI request about not lying! You really could not make this shit up.

I contacted the group calling itself “the Labour animal welfare society” (LAWS) as to what it made of all this, yet received no response whatsoever. I similarly received very little in the way of support from the two main Labour MP’s in the area Tom Watson and Adrian Bailey. It is also noted that in Birmingham, it was two of Jeremy Corbyn’s party who were advocates of killing geese in a park there. A labour administration also were privy and gave permission for six ruddy ducks to be murdered at another Birmingham park in 2013- more on this soon.

We are now once again in the midst of that period of local elections, when candidates will be looking for votes. In fact the last time that many of these same set of councillors were up in Sandwell in 2015, I emailed them asking for their thoughts on the cull issue, and of the councils’ lies and manner in which it had conducted itself. I received just two very brief responses from those standing as serving councillors in the 24 seats- the rest didn’t bother at all.

Sandwell has 72 elected members in the 24 wards. If you look at those who are councillors and do some homework, you can quickly identify the cronyism and nepotism that exist amongst these few. Husband and wives, siblings- they are many. Whilst some have many relations, there are also those who appear to be having them with one another. 😆

There are too many councillors. This is not a democracy, in fact it is an elitist façade where certain families appear by default to be promoted to a highly paid job where they do very little except pass on information to council officers, who unfortunately are usually of the same political persuasion. They read from and nod through scripts written by these same middle class champagne socialist civil service luvvies. Many get top ups with so called “special responsibility” bonuses for positions of convenience funded by more taxpayers cash.

Julian Saunders aka The Sandwell skidder has uncovered a multitude of corruption and lies within Sandwell Labour council and amongst its labour supporting partisan officers, yet when faced with the truth it appears the socialists turn on one another in factions, fighting amongst themselves for power and control. They also regularly use the police force that has become corrupted itself by political left leaning ideology.

In these circumstances, I cannot see why anyone in their right mind would vote for such continuance, where so few get so much for so doing so little. For these reasons whatever your politics, it is time to vote for any other party but Labour in these Sandwell council elections. If the same 24 seats are again re-elected for this one party, there will remain no opposition and scrutiny of any activities. A cull could happen again. You cannot trust Labour in Sandwell.


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Victoria park Smethwick- A metaphor for Sandwell council




I have previously set out my shear disgust at Sandwell Council’s abysmal handling of the draining lake at Victoria Park Smethwick in connection with the numerous bird deaths that have coincided with this. The email chain evidence from this is clear.

I can now report on the response from them to my  letter of complaint, and after further enquiries and FOI requests, shed some more light on the continuing situation.

It is worth however recapping some of the key events leading up to this.

  • A report in The Express and Star regarding complaints by members of the public concerning dead birds that had been in the lake “for weeks” appeared on 6/8/18

  • Media appearances and comments by Cabinet member Bill Gavan made no reference to the draining pool and at this point the officers of SMBC appeared unaware of this issue.
  • I pointed out the issue of the draining lake, which has occurred on at least two previous occasions, the last in 2016.

Here is an email which confirms how I reported this at this time, as up to this point I had been told by officers of SMBC  that it was down to The Canal and Rivers Trust to fix- which was garbage.

vicp9Here are screenshots of messages received from the then “street wardens” about this issue. They claim that the issue was reported to Severn Trent, that the correct officer was aware, and that their supervisor was also aware. Please note further on when Severn Trent claim to have had no previous reports about this issue at this time.

I received the following response from Max Cookson -Waste and Transportation manager SMBC on 11/12/18

“Dear Mr Carroll

Ref – Complaint Victoria Park, Smethwick

Thank you for your recent correspondence relating to Environmental issues/bird deaths at the above-named location. In respect of your claim that “no action has been forthcoming in fixing the damaged pool”, I can confirm the following facts.

  1. The foul water sewer which is defective and allowing water to escape from the pool is the responsibility of Severn Trent. Officers from SMBC have been in regular contact with Severn Trent since this defect was first discovered. However, as yet, Severn Trent (and/or their contractors) have yet to provide SMBC with a fixed date when the repair to this sewer pipe will take place. I am due to meet with Severn Trent this week. Should further delays occur in the repair of this sewer pipe SMBC will consider all available options open to remedy this matter.

Officers from SMBC have also been in constant contact with the RSPCA, and sought advice/guidance on how best to deal with the ongoing situation at the pool, with particular attention being paid to possible remedies regarding water aeration. The original advice from the RSPCA was not to aerate the water as this, along with possibly adding water to the pool following the extremely dry summer and low water levels (suggested prior to the discovery of the foul sewer break), may only serve to raise contaminants from the bottom of the pool. Furthermore, I am in possession of an E Mail from the RSPCA dated 15/11/2018 which confirms that all birds sent for Post Mortem by the RSPCA have had cause of death confirmed as Avian Botulism, the exception being one carcass that may have been the victim of a dog attack. Tests for Avian flu and viral enteritis all proved negative. This fact would therefore now negate your comment in your E Mail dated 13/9/2018 that Botulism has not been proven as a cause of bird deaths at Victoria Pool.

3     I can also now confirm that following further advice from the RSPCA (received 30/11/18), the use of aerators can be considered along with removal of a top layer of soil/silt from around the edge of the pool. SMBC staff are progressing with this matter.

4   With respect to the cleansing of the pool I can confirm that SMBC contractors      were requested to cleanse the “Beach” area and around the edges of the pool in September of this year; however, as the cause of bird deaths was not yet confirmed the contractor sought further Health and Safety advice with regard to employees working in/around the water/water’s edge.  This advice was provided by the RSPCA and subsequently the area was cleansed / litter picked in October.

Given the above facts, it is clear that both SMBC and our colleagues in the RSPCA have gone to great lengths to bring this matter to a successful conclusion, and will continue to do so.

The fact that we did not inform you of every action we took does not, in itself, mean we were not addressing the issues as a matter of urgency.

Based on the above, I would therefore refute your allegation that “No Action” has been taken with regard to the ongoing issues at Victoria Park pool. The Council, in association with the RSPCA, has worked diligently to identify the issues and has acted decisively and appropriately to try and resolve matters.

Yours sincerely

Max Cookson

Service Manager – Commercial Services”

After this letter, I set about confirming the voracity of many of the claims in Max Cookson’s letter. Continuing bird deaths and ill birds were noted at the site throughout. I can now report that many of Max Cookson’s claims are just not the case.


  1. Max Cookson claimed to have been in constant contact with Severn Trent, suggesting that it was their responsibility and that “Should further delays occur in the repair of this sewer pipe SMBC will consider all available options open to remedy this matter.”

I contacted Severn Trent who stated the following, also telling me that they have no records or reports of any repair prior to this having been undertaken by THEM to this same site and structure. This is most interesting as this obviously reveals that the bodge job carried out to fix this issue in 2016 (see above), and which I clearly pointed out to SMBC officers who were aware of it, must have been carried out by someone else. I WONDER WHICH AUTHORITY THIS COULD HAVE BEEN?


Ian Shaw of ST stated the following in an email of 7/1/19

“I’ve been asked to address your concerns in your email sent to our Customer Team.

 We appear to have commenced investigations into this matter on 18/10/2018 following the problem being reported to us by Sandwell MB Council.  They informed us they believed the low water level of the Victoria Pool was due our defective brick mains sewer & there appeared to be some missing bricks causing a hole through which the water was escaping. This was confirmed to be correct. 

Unfortunately, we did take some time & many attendances (mostly in the early hours) to investigate this sewerage issue.  The main problem was trying to cctv survey the large brick sewer but due to high flow rates we were unsuccessful.  We liaised regularly with Sandwell MB Council during this period.

I can confirm that a temporary repair was completed on 21/12/2018.

We are presently investigating whether this sewer requires an immediate further / permanent repair, however, this would require a major engineering solution which would take some time to scope options & complete.

If you wish to discuss this matter further please contact me on my contact details below.


Ian Shaw

A number of points are noted here.

  • SMBC officers complete lack of knowledge of their pool draining and not bothering to contact the authority they later claimed to be responsible for fixing the leak for MANY months after the deaths of birds-Severn Trent only investigating the bloody obvious on 18/10/18
  • The claim of “a temporary repair” being made- more on this bollocks later.



Another seriously ill goose.


Max Cookson claims to be working closely with the RSPCA on this matter, yet it is worth pointing out that despite delivering a cache of dead birds to SMBC to undertake post mortems, the same council had failed to progress this matter any further some weeks later. The birds were kept in poor refrigeration and were going off. They were eventually collected by the Wildlife investigation scheme officer, WHOM I CONTACTED ABOUT THIS ISSUE.

I can only state that the RSPCA officers involved in this matter have been VERY candid with me about what they think of Sandwell council and the manner in which they have dealt with this issue, and it is certainly a very different picture to the one Max Cookson is trying to present in this response!

Max Cookson then states that he is in

possession of an E Mail from the RSPCA dated 15/11/2018 which confirms that all birds sent for Post Mortem by the RSPCA have had cause of death confirmed as Avian Botulism, the exception being one carcass that may have been the victim of a dog attack.”

I tested this statement by asking him for this said email.

For some reason he did not respond, but subsequently this was treated as a freedom of information request by SMBC – despite me not asking for it to be dealt with in this way. I received this email via the FOI on 22/1/19.


It is clear that Inspector Lasserre sent this email to John Satchwell of SMBC . He specifically states that having been on contact with the post mortem vet at the APHA they stated: “they can confirm all the carcasses, (bar one) show the typical signs of botulism.”

Let’s look at this statement in contrast to the one which Max Cookson stated in his letter to me of 21/12/18.

an E Mail from the RSPCA dated 15/11/2018 which confirms that all birds sent for Post Mortem by the RSPCA have had cause of death confirmed as Avian Botulism, the exception being one carcass that may have been the victim of a dog attack.”

“they can confirm all the carcasses, (bar one) show the typical signs of botulism.”

Inspector Lasserre’s email DOES NOT state that all birds sent for post mortem by the RSPCA have had cause of death “confirmed” as avian botulism. “Typical signs” can relate to circumstantial evidence, but NOT proof. For that to occur, a specific test would need to be carried out to confirm botulism, and at the time of this email, and at the time of Max Cookson’s reply to me, THIS HAD NOT BEEN CONDUCTED.

I then put in an FOI request to the APHA – to see exactly what their perspective was. I had of course put in a preliminary FOI to them when SMBC had claimed to have sent off  “birds” for post mortem– which was revealed to be just one duckand not tested for botulism.

“Could you please supply me with the preliminary, supplementary and final reports concerning recent bird deaths at Victoria Park Smethwick boating lake, West Midlands- approximate nat grid reference SP025879.
These were submitted to the Shrewsbury laboratory around October. “

The APHA responded with 2 appendices.

The first can be read HERE.



This confirms that the WIS officer as a result if liaison with the RSPCA collected not only dead birds from the lake at the park, but also the ones that the RSPCA had previously delivered to the council- which they had failed to progress any further. IN ALL TEN BIRDS WERE SENT FOR POST MORTEM. Five geese, four mallards and one swan. The officer had also paid a visit to the lake.

“Ten birds were submitted from Victoria Park in Smethwick. A couple of birds had been collected and frozen by the council, the remainder had been collected by the RSPCA. The water in the park appeared to be of poor quality. Some birds appear to die very acutely, the swan was alive and appeared normal on one day and was dead the next. The live cases seen by the RSPCA included a Canada goose described as having a “floppy neck” and geese gasping/mouth breathing and then dying very quickly. Head shaking and curved necks were also observed as well as birds unable to walk but dragging themselves around using their wings, particularly some of the mallard ducks. Birds were seen just floating on the water appearing not interested in food.

One bird had leaches around its eyes and had damage to the eyes themselves. Many of the dead birds have been on the water or on the islands. There were bird deaths also back in July, when 12-15 birds were found dead. This time 15 dead bird carcases had been collected, a couple from the 27th September and the rest were from 8th October. There were numerous rodent bait boxes around the lake, it appeared the lids were not properly closed on some of them.


This confirms that the RSPCA put down a duck and goose caught alive.

The mallard (bird 4) had had beak and neck fractures- this suggests to me that this was vandalism- what other conclusion could be drawn? Similarly the goose (bird 5) also has suspicious injuries.

Further comments are described about internal examination.


The report states that AI was not detected in any of the birds and that the findings were “suspicious of botulism as the potential cause of death”. This conclusion is quite cautious in the absence of any test being a=carried out, though the findings on the injuries to at least two of the birds are not discussed which I find remiss on the part of the APHA. This cautious comment is howvere far from the direct statement given by Max Cookson.




Appendix 2 related to west nile virus (none detected ) but also stated that “WORK IN PROGRESS Intestinal botulinum toxin testing.” This then confirmed that no tests had been undertaken to confirm botulism by 1.2.19


I further queried if these test results had been returned in another FOI request.

“Thank you for your recent response to my freedom of information request ref APHA Ref No. 26-B0088-10-18 – bird deaths at Victoria Park Smethwick West Midlands.
As part of this submission it is stated that some of these birds deaths were ” suspicious of botulism as the potential cause of death”- but there is no proof of this from the post mortems. It also stated “WORK IN PROGRESS Intestinal botulinum toxin testing.” Can you confirm and release the results of these tests if they have been carried out?”

The APHA responded with this response.

“There is Clostridium botulinum toxin testing underway for submission 26-B0088-10-18, but as this test is carried out at an external laboratory it may take a while before we have a result. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) decided to carry out diagnostic testing on a few of the submissions from 2018 (which happened to include 26-B0088-1018) by selecting a few cases that were felt to be representative of the waterfowl die-off incidents during the summer.

A negative botulinum toxin test result would not rule out the diagnosis, as the toxin can become undetectable once it is bound to the nerve endings. In the majority of cases a diagnosis of botulism is made from gross post mortem findings without a supportive diagnostic test result, particularly when birds with consistent clinical signs have also been observed. The post mortem findings in all but one of the examined birds were consistent with botulism as the cause of weakness or death. In this case there were also clinical signs consistent with botulism in other birds on the site to further support this diagnosis.
There is more information available on the disease in the attached Appendix 1.
Please see Appendix 2 the third interim report. “


There are a number of observations here with this further information.

  • There have yet to be confirmation of botulism as cause of death in these birds.
  • The APHA state that bird 4 the mallard was tested for botulism intestinal contents, yet they ignore the injuries which ARE NOT associated with botulism in this case which I find bizarre.
  • They then state that a negative test for botulism may not confirm that the bird did not die of botulism as it can be evanescent to detect. This is quite bizarre to me, as this same organisation would not make any positive diagnosis of bird deaths at Rattlechain  lagoon from white phosphorus poisoning, (a substance equally evanescent in nature and that could only be detected from testing for this chemical. WP poisoning clinical signs are quite distinct in birds observed also.

The information supplied from the APHA avian botulism link (written July 2017) is also of interest about a number of points.

“Summary of disease
 Avian botulism outbreaks in wild waterbirds occur relatively frequently in England and Wales.
 The clinical signs are of a progressive flaccid paralysis. Affected birds are unable to use their wings and legs resulting in a loss of ambulation and inability to fly.
 Large numbers of birds may be affected resulting in hundreds of deaths. Outbreaks can last for several weeks and may recur.
 Affected birds may be paralysed for several days before dying or recovering, and this is a cause of concern for the public and public authorities.
 There are no reported human health threats associated with Type C botulism in the UK. Prevention of drinking, swimming, bathing and water sports should be considered.
 Environmental management and water engineering methods can be used to prevent environmental factors conducive to production of botulinum toxin in water bodies.”

Avian botulism is a paralytic and often fatal disease caused by ingestion of toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Avian botulism outbreaks in wild waterbirds occur relatively frequently in England and Wales. Large numbers of birds may be affected which can result in hundreds of deaths. Outbreaks of avian botulism can last for several weeks and may recur. C. botulinum is an anaerobic (oxygen intolerant) bacterium that multiplies in putrefying plant and animal material and is thus often found in lakes in periods of anoxic conditions and poor water quality.”

Incidents can occur anywhere in Britain and in any month. However, they are more frequent in warm summers. The clinical signs of a progressive flaccid paralysis are characteristic and provide a presumptive diagnosis. Affected birds are unable to use their wings and legs resulting in a loss of ambulation and inability to fly. Birds with paralysis of the neck muscles lose the ability to hold their heads normally (so-called limberneck). Birds can remain in this state for a number of days. Death is due to respiratory failure and / or drowning. Laboratory diagnosis of avian botulism is difficult as the tests used are relatively insensitive. “

“The APHA no longer offers diagnostic tests for botulinum toxin. “

The report also mentions the Management, control, and prevention of botulism outbreaks.
All dead birds should be promptly removed as these are a potent source of toxin. The toxin may frequently be found in maggots feeding on dead birds and these represent an important way of toxin dispersal to feeding waterbirds. Sick birds should be removed, either for humane veterinary euthanasia or (with prior consultation) to a wildlife rehabilitation centre. “


There are several techniques and water engineering devices that may prevent avian botulism incidents or reduce the severity of avian botulism outbreaks:  

Treatment of lakes
C. botulinum bacteria and resistant bacterial spores are present in rotting material and in the lake sediments / silts. The following steps have been taken, particularly by London Royal Park authorities, and have prevented the recurrence of the disease or reduced its effects. 
Preventative measures
 Maintaining good circulation of water.
 Maintaining healthy communities of oxygenating plants.
 Prevention of the water level falling in the lake, preventing deoxygenation and the exposure of putrefying material.
 Removal of decaying plant material (including leaves) from the water. In particular removing vegetative material that collects on branches dipping into the surface of the water. These branches should be removed.
 If appropriate, removal of silts by pump action (in the face of an incident this may temporarily exacerbate the disease due to agitation of material).
 Searching and removal of dead animals in high risk periods e.g. warm summer months.
 The aim is to keep water levels high and reduce or lower the levels of silt.
Responses in the face of an avian botulism outbreak
 Vigilance for and removal of all dead birds, as before – these are a potent source of toxin and toxin-contaminated maggots (such maggots can be eaten by waterbirds and cause disease).  
Sick birds should be removed, either for humane veterinary euthanasia or (with prior consultation) to a wildlife rehabilitation centre.  Increasing oxygenation of the lake by e.g. increasing circulation or raising the water level in the lake although care needs to be taken.”

The guidance goes into some length about how The London Park authorities used these methods 24/7 by pumping to circulate the water, whilst also suggesting:
  “Effective procedures include: 
  • Drain the lake completely and remove silt and mud. This is easier in lakes with concrete bases. With the use of barrages, sections of the lake can be drained at a time with the water being pumped through special filter bags.
  • Identify stagnant areas (dead areas) of the lake where toxin may be concentrated and target these areas for water circulation and oxygenation.
  • Make the lake deeper by dredging, or by extracting silt using pumps; this slows the increase in water temperature (increasing water temperatures encourages toxin production).
  • Employ large gauge (30 cm diameter mains) pumps. These are used to improve water circulation and to remove water from ‘dead areas’ and pump it to other areas using large bore pipes. Movement of this water over boulders / stones facilitates aeration of the pumped water.
     Some lakes in London have wide bore pipes with inlet and outlet valves running the length of the lake, improving circulation of water and water oxygenation.
     Inlet valves on the pumps and pipes which mechanically add air to the pumped water.
    Employ floating pumps (like those used in fish farms). These remove water from the bottom levels and ‘dead areas’, and pump it over a ‘weir’ on the float causing aeration of water.”
NONE OF THESE TECHNIQUES HAVE BEEN USED BY SANDWELL COUNCIL. Max Cookson in his email of 11/12/18 stated
“The original advice from the RSPCA was not to aerate the water as this, along with possibly adding water to the pool following the extremely dry summer and low water levels (suggested prior to the discovery of the foul sewer break), may only serve to raise contaminants from the bottom of the pool.”
Of course, I only have his claims about this, which have already been found wanting in respect of other statements he claimed to have been made by the RSPCA which were not what they had actually stated. If it was the case that the RSPCA advised this, then they too are to blame for this situation continuing, given the published advice by the APHA.
What Sandwell council have done is appear to cover over certain areas with bricks, but this is not a repair to the underlying issue. It is more about aesthetics and trying to create the impression that the problem has gone away.
ST email
Despite claiming a “temporary repair” had been undertaken, with continuing deaths and no change in the water levels, I again contacted Severn Trent via Ian Shaw, asking for more specifics about what repair had been undertaken by them. I expected this to have been some form of clay capping.

“Morning Ian

 Unfortunately, I’ve not received an update from my STW colleagues yet > I’ll chase immediately.

 I did received a prompt reply from Sandwell MBC on 4th March:

1st reply –I have not been made aware of any problems but will get it checked out’.

2nd reply – ‘Please see the image attached. It would appear that the water level has dropped at Victoria Park Smethwick again. Whilst I’m not 100% sure that the repair work has failed, the height of the pool water level suggests that the previous leak may have returned. Can we convene a meeting at the earliest possible convenience to look into this?  Welcome your comments.

The temporary repair involved the covering of the exposed & defective brick type sewer with a strong tarpaulin sheet covered in sandbags to try to prevent any further deterioration / leakage, which seemed to work from initial inspections.  We had thought about using a temporary inflatable dam but decided this would be a target for vandalism.

 Can’t comment regarding dead birds & alleged avian botulism, as I was only informed that council were investigating with Environment Agency & RSPB.


 Ian Shaw”


 I have heard nothing since from Ian Shaw, and have now made a formal complaint to Severn Trent about this matter. I have unsurprisingly done the same with Max Cookson’s response.

A “repair” by charlatons

The response from Severn Trent is perhaps typical of a company who are not only a serial environmental polluter, but also notorious in their utter failure for repairing damaged leaks. Perhaps they could send round some local Smethwick taxi drivers– there are certainly no shortage of them in this area and with strong links to Sandwell council. 😆 
Only last week it was revealed that ST had polluted a vast area of Sutton Park in Birmingham, with sewage that had entered a watercourse. They were fined half a million pounds for this 2013 failure. This is not the first 6 figure fine that they have faced. One may question if another has occurred from their apparatus causing this whole issue at this park!
It is clear that their “temporary repair” was the derisory dumping of sandbags into the void. THIS IS NOT A “REPAIR”.
It is also the case that SMBC officers were again not following the water levels in the lake.
Once again there is talk of holding a meeting about the issue, yet why is this the case given Max Cookson’s claims about the council acting to solve the issue if ST continued not to?
I can only state that having visited this park for the last 21 years, knowing summers as hot and prolonged as the last one and also with dropped water levels when this leak occurred before, this issue of bird deaths has never occurred before. There is something clearly different at work here regards the source of AB , if that is what this is.
All of this of course comes back to Sandwell council’s management of this green flag park. Their deficiencies in allowing their own pest controllers to operate a very dodgy practice is already noted. But their management of this situation has been farcical from day one, when they failed to identify that a botched leak that they had “repaired” was responsible for the drop in water levels. I wrote to Keep Britain Tidy about this situation, and I received a curt response from a Lynsey Atherton who stated that she would share my concerns with the judges before the next assessment of this park.



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Winter visitors

In the land locked coastal lacking West Midlands, the sighting of unusual wildfowl- particularly on migratory routes makes for a rewarding experience. Many twitchers regard such foreign originating birds as “plastic” or “feral”, in that they are likely to have escaped from some private collection. But this is unfair to the birds, and perhaps the only chance to see such avian species unless you are prepared to go to more exotic climbs. Personally I’d rather stay here.

A red breasted male goose recently appeared with a flock of other Canada geese. He is highly distinctive in colouration.




This tiny goose is usually found in Winter in countries like Romania and Bulgaria, though this one seemed quite at home in Dudley. :mrgreen:


This Northern Pintail pair, more likely to be truly “wild” were on a river in Birmingham.  They cover a large part of Europe and Asia, as well as North America.



And finally again in Birmingham, a pair of red-crested pochard. I had seen a striking male before in other locations, but this was the first pair I had seen. Mainly seen in Southern Europe and Asia , they winter in the Indian sub continent and Northern Africa.




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