Lee Moor diary July 2010

The P&H trailer at Lee Moor, with demonstration boiler and air handling system, July 2010

Warmth on Wheels?

Carsten – the Danish owner of P&H Energy in Denmark – came across with a trailer carrying a demonstration boiler and an air handling system. This is going to be crucial in selling biomass boilers to people here in the UK. The Danes are keen to sell boilers here that can burn a range of materials, from logs to sawdust and including agricultural crops and waste streams. It is thus a very flexible boiler which you can see at the Glendale Show.

A fair degree of intelligence

Friday 9th July saw me at Newcastle University. 26 years after they – rightly? – decided not to let me in to study Agriculture there, I was awarding two bursaries from the Environment Agency to students who had excelled. This was a privilege and it is great to see agriculture becoming a popular course again. The massive rise in soft commodities (such as wheat and cocoa) shows just how finite food is – in a world where we think we can outwit the climate.

CBI Regional Leaders

The digital economy might seem to have very little to do with Lee Moor? But with music being produced here, and websites optimized, the digital economy is all around. In the last few weeks we have also had BT place internal boxes so that when new tenants arrive at the business park there is plenty of capacity immediately available. Newcastle and Sunderland have some fantastic space available for modern companies, the innovative use of Hoults' Yard also shows how buildings can have a second or even third life as the business of business evolves over the years.

The Man from the Bank of England

I love to have discussions with bright people. DrAdam Posen would qualify well and truly. I was trying to get a handle on what 'regional' was in terms of economics. The truth is that all the regions do have mini-economies, and to be fair that is why the Bank of England has staff to be its eyes and ears in the region. The currency area bit of the talk was also interesting; the UK is big enough for currency stability through economy of scale, but only just. Good to have him in the North?

*0 years young

Aunty Enid has had a significant birthday and the family gathered to celebrate at Lee Moor. Without giving ages away, Enid has been here at Lee Moor for 60 years and is going strong. Three generations of Browns have had cause to thank her for her kindness over those years, turning a business into a home.

Seaside hotel, vulnerable to coastal erosion, seen on Environment Agency visit July 2010

Managed retreat

I've been to both Scarborough and Redcar to look at coastal defences in my role with the Environment Agency. The cost of being King Canute is huge, but economies such as Scarborough and Redcar are enabled by keeping the sea away and stopping it eroding the properties; a hotel falling into the sea at Scarborough was a wake-up call a number of years ago. Hard decisions will have to be made about what gets defended and what we let slide, literally!

Managed retreat of the public sector seems another theme at the minute; we cannot possibly afford to do what we have in the past. As I have been saying to people who have yet to grasp the fast-moving public sector agenda... 'That is soooo last Government!!' Really big change is all around. I shall be staying on to help ONEnortheast close its doors in March 2012 and that is only one aspect of the realigning of the public versus private sectors, not forgetting the third sector and the Big Society agenda.

Ingram Village Hall, with solar panels on roof, July 2010

Head for the hills

The Northumberland Renewable Energy Group (NREG) met in Ingram Village Hall in the wilds of Northumberland... yes there are more rural places than Lee Moor – by a country mile actually! Very impressive group who are doing good things.

Taming Tigers...

...is a metaphor, but one that resonates with me right now. Do have a look at the Taming Tigers website. The ten rules are GRRRRREAT. 'Live life as if you are going to die tomorrow' has never resonated so much, as well as – as the old saying goes – farming as if you are going to live forever.

Glass cabinet at Kellog's factory, featuring Tony the Tiger, July 2010


Tony the Tiger not in? LEAF – Linking the Environment and Farming – went to see the Kellogg's factory. Absolutely fascinating, a real treat to see the lines where 120,000 tonnes of breakfast are produced each year. Shame we never saw the monkey or Tony but, well, they are busy cartoons; people to see, places to visit!

Soon it'll be Autumn, and the wood heating back on, following the boiler being serviced.

Kind regards,

Ian Brown



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