GF Blog 23 – Week 28

11th August

From corn crimping to brassica perfection, I start with a trip to West Cornwall and end in Hawaii, leading into an enormous topic – how Tourist Areas must Adapt to survive.

Let me dive straight in today, with a big apology to Jason, the farmer who provided me with the starting point last time, about crimping corn. This summary I provided was correct:-

Crimped grain enhances animal health and saves costs in farming, harvesting, drying and storing crops. In the crimping process, the grain is harvested earlier when it is still moist and run through a specialised crimping mill, which breaks and flattens the grains (which are fed to livestock).

But my choice of images was not!

The minute he read my piece, he sent me a text with a correction:- “Wrong type of crimping machine. The one you found is for making ‘hay’ out of a cereal crop and it is popular in America and Australia. In Cornwall we harvest the grain by combine, then use a crimper (like this snazzy purple one), to process the grain. It is like a roller mill, that we all used since the 1960s, but with a much bigger throughput of 10 tons per hour. Then the rolled grain is mixed with preservative and ensiled.

The roller mill style of crimper, for grain in Cornwall.
The other type of Crimping machine, for making; hay’ out of a cereal crop, as used in U.S.A. & Australia.

There is a very obvious lesson for me to learn here. I must not write any more future farming stories, without getting some wellies on and stomping a piece of ground with a friendly farmer/expert to advise. That way my pictures and commentary should be accurate and correct! Happily, the expert agronomist who accompanied me on a day out in West Cornwall this week, exploring many fascinating elements of growing cauliflowers and kale, gave me plenty of opportunities for excellent pictures. Here are some, to whet your appetite, but I shall share the whole story of the very impressive set up at Riviera Produce next time, as well as some Carley’s Organics in a tasty recipe or two.

Fresh delicious kale, with insect-friendly crops sown into strips between (strip tilling)
Phacelia with bees & lady birds A beautiful plant, that’s full of benefits for insects and soil
Annual check of soil health counts worms, finds anything from 8 to 50, per 2m square

Riviera Produce is at Connor Downs near Hayle, which meant – against all my instincts – a trip down the A30 along with the throngs of tourists in mid-August. What a stupid thing to think of, especially knowing of the major road works in the middle. Well, I diverted off onto various side roads and made it in the end, but was very clear in my own mind that the return had to be a more peaceful and scenic route, out to the coast and travelling north on B roads.

This is the view as you come away from Connor Downs towards Hayle area, Gwithian and the Towans. Shame about the old droopy telegraph wires! But even so, a sight like this is what brings tourists in. What they don’t know is that it could change radically in future – some changes will be unseen but others could make a massive and very visible difference. Why? Well, just a quite short distance off the shore is a redundant ‘electrical socket’ embedded into the seabed. I will start with my own short intro about this and then use a really good report, to explain the sad history of ‘Wave Hub’ to youbut be aware this first secton dates back to 2018. More recent info will follow!

My memory of Wave Hub

I have known about Wave Hub for well over a decade and sat in public meetings to learn more on a number of occasions. The people at the helm then did not give me confidence, so I was not surprised to see a mainly unhappy story unfold. It is told on this website –,from%20wave%20energy%20technology%20developers

Designed to support the demonstration and testing of wave energy technology, Wave Hub was first commissioned in 2010. The purpose-built cable connection point has a 30 MW export capacity, upgradable to 48 MW, and operates at either 11 kV or 33 kV. However, it has not succeeded in exporting any power to the mainland grid so far. Indeed, in keeping the cable connection energised the device has apparently consumed power.

Supported by an £18 million investment from the European Regional Development Fund and more than £15 million from the Southwest of England Regional Development Agency, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department of Energy and Climate Change, total funding to the project is estimated at around £42 million to date.

But so far Wave Hub has succeeded in installing just a single device, which was commissioned in May 2016. This was the “Oceanus” design by Seatricity, which uses a high-pressure hydraulic pump and a pipeline to generate power on shore and, somewhat ironically, does not therefore require an export cable.

Since becoming operational in 2010, Wave Hub has failed to secure significant industry backing. Critics of the installation argue that an offshore socket and 16 km export cable is not what is required by the nascent wave power industry, which is why the installation has failed to garner the anticipated uptake from wave energy technology developers.

Wave goodbye and future prospects

Despite these perceived technical issues, Carnegie Clean Energy had been expected to install its 1 MW CETO 6 device at the Wave Hub site this year. Now though it is to first install the device off the coast of Albany in Western Australia.

Everything clearly ground to a halt, but then I find that – ownership of Wave Hub had already transferred to Cornwall Council in April 2017 when they received around £14 million to cover ongoing operations, support for the marine renewables sector and decommissioning costs as part of the transfer arrangements with the Department of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Helen Wilson-Prowse, the head of Business Services at Wave Hub Ltd, said: “Although the wave energy sector has not developed as quickly as originally hoped, the Wave Hub team continue to explore alternative technologies. Cornwall is home to a number of world-leading marine technology and logistics companies which continue to grow and thrive, benefiting from the growth of the marine renewables sector in the UK and beyond.”

Trade group, ‘RenewableUK’s head of External Affairs, Luke Clark, told M.P.s, “The UK is a global leader in the development of marine energy, including wave power. Our world-class testing facilities, including Wave Hub in Cornwall, demonstrate the huge potential for this innovative technology.” (that does not sound like a realist, does it?)

The next chapter in this saga is shrouded in mystery, but it is clearly linked to plans for a massive off-shore wind project. Wave Hub Development Services Ltd became known as Celtic Sea Power in 2021, before its sale to Hexicon, a Swedish floating windfarm developer.

The FLOW Test and Demonstration site in the Celtic Sea will be built off Hayle in Cornwall. Scheduled for installation by 2026, Hexicon’s TwinHub will utilise existing infrastructure and, whilst a relatively small 32MW, will represent a major milestone and stimulus for local supply chain companies, the Ultimate Celtic Sea resource is estimated to be more than 100GW.

What will the impact really be on Gwithian and surrounding areas? Having hunted a while, I found a long film on YouTube, issued by one of numerous organisations eager to come on board with FLOW. Simply Blue outlines many of the opportunities and lots of financial predictions, but seemingly without thought for how it will impact the land.

This image and the next give just a tiny hint of the scale of gear to be used and the way a technical site on-shore might look; admittedly this next one involves Hydrogen, but that is also part of their big plan. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see these technologies succeed, but not if they ruin the marine life or adjacent landscape.

Impact Surveys

Yes, some surveys have been conducted into impacts on marine wildlife, but I do not see any for the coastal communities. Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE)’s report of June 2022 seems to be underpinned by a determination to drive through regardless, with promises to safeguard species etc, but no practical ideas for how to do so.

The national Guardian newspaper, not the Cornish one, in September 2022 wrote about the deep apprehension of Newlyn fishermen, as they viewed the sale of ocean areas to development companies and feared for the effects on their industry:-

An auction last year of other plots off England and Wales saw unprecedented interest from energy companies, driving bids to record levels, with the crown estate set to receive up to £9bn over the next decade. Those zones are expected to house six new windfarms, generating enough electricity for 7m homes, and could be an essential step in the drive to de-carbonise the UK’s power system.

Whoever is in charge, whether Celtic Sea Power or Simply Blue or A.N. Other, they will need to build very substantial new coastal infrastructure to deliver this. Instead of quiet B roads, there will have to be much expanded routes to a quayside, to deliver the mega-size turbines which then will have to be shipped out for installation. Peaceful little Gwithian and the Towans, Hayle and the entire bay area will most likely be totally changed and – unless some very clever designer with empathy is brought in – Celtic FLOW will have a disastrous impact on residents quality of life and tourism prospects.

More thoughts on Tourism

What is tourism really? An alternative, but equally true descriptive phrase could be ‘temporary migration’, but I doubt people would like that to be adopted! But think about it. Movement of significant numbers of people from their home area to another place, is migration. The only difference is in tourism it lasts for a short time with the aim of enjoying such things as sun, sea, fresh clean air, good food and relaxation. Both cause problems due to too many people e.g. the things we are hearing as negatives in relation to migrants on Dorset evening TV repeatedly, (with ref to the boat for housing migrants off Portland). They demand too much of our resources, especially (looking into the future) our water, our power, our NHS and other services and our housing. Their ‘left-overs’, cause a massive headache e.g. tons of extra waste brought with them and/or created whilst here, to go into our incinerator system or more commonly be left on our paths and beaches. Then there is the excessive pressures on our roads. And last but to my mind not least, the ignorance they bring of our way-of-life, the lack of respect for our landscape, culture and heritage.

I have made this list, not only in regard to Cornwall but also as I am suggesting we must think seriously about the results of tourism at this time, across the world in Hawaii.

HAWAII – the Paradise of the Pacific is now Paradise Lost.  How could it happen?  

Honolulu, Hawaii is at the top, but all these islands need similar consideration

Hawaii has been in the back of mind for many years, because it is on my ‘Bucket List’!! But over the past few weeks it has suddenly come onto my radar not once, but twice, and neither time for happy reasons.

 A couple of weekends ago my attention was caught by an unusual addition to our local carnival, advertised as a Tropical Holiday/Paradise Experience with climate awareness at its heart. So I bought a ticket and off I went to find out more and report for you.

There are 3 items here:-

Discarded vape, left on a country path

Flyer for the creative project

Mock-up of a Cornish passport, which – to my great surprise – is the one element of the project that has continued to resonate with me and is leading to some radical ideas for the future! 

Sea levels are rising …join us in some fun and creative ways to raise awareness and explore a more regenerative culture!

The project encourages regenerative approaches to making work, low impact on the earth’s resources and brings creative attention to the vulnerability of the Hawaiian islands, who like us are affected by rising sea levels.

To cut a very long story short (full review available if you want it) the performance side was colourful and fun, but also flippant, no serious content about climate change, so I left with an over-riding sense of frustration. Reference was made just once to the warming sea temperatures and rising sea levels, which we were told have been addressed by the creation of an artificial ocean. Or that was all I could recall when I left.

I had asked if there would be any paperwork to take away but no, so I came home and researched for hours on end without results, until at last I looked up artificial reef and it led to an answer. The thing that we were meant to grasp is called the artificial coastline at the heart of the Great Pacific Garbage patch!  This is a recent approach to managing the immense quantities of plastics in the sea between Hawaii and California using a system called 002 (soon to be replaced by 03). It is a long U-shaped barrier that guides plastic into a retention zone at its far end and enables it to be caught and presumably recycled, but there is very little about the recycling on the webpage. I feel this is what we all should have been given a flyer about and asked to support –

I also researched coastal resilience and rising sea levels, finding a number of useful links –

What can we learn?

Once I began really researching, I found more and more parallels between Hawaii and Cornwall. Apart from fearing the rising sea levels, the Islands are home to a proud indigenous people in a beautiful landscape surrounded by blue seas and sandy beaches. They have a language, a culture, residents who cannot find homes or jobs, unless they be minimum wage catering to tourists; they have potential for major mining developments (manganese and geothermal). They are a very far distant off-shoot from their seat of government in Washington, USA, as we are from Westminster.

I was struck in particular by these words from a much longer article, copyright Cultural Survival, Inc. which examines the ways Hawaiians are beginning to fight back for their identity and a more responsible future: –

As Hawaiians, one of the first steps is to look at ourselves and think about the impact of tourism on our culture. Unfortunately, many of our people, and Hawaiian women in particular, don’t agree that tourism prostitutes our culture. This is a measure of the depth of our mental oppression: we can’t understand our own cultural degradation because we are living it. When awareness begins, so, too, does de-colonisation.

Judging by the growing resistance to new hotels, to exploiting the islands’ geothermal energy, and to manganese nodule mining, de-colonisation has begun. But we have a long way to go. We also need to educate others and join with them. This problem is not unique to Hawaii. It is suffered by peoples as far away as Tahiti and the southwestern United States. Tourism is not a neutral industry, and native people on the mainland should be wary of its ways. And, as indigenous women, we need to look at it especially carefully. 

There is one sentence there, which I think is vital; it is this one:-

We also need to educate others and join with them

Even before the catastrophic wildfires on Maui this past few days, I was thinking how Tourist Hot Spots are posed particular challenges in adapting to climate change and trying to protect their natural environments. Let me return once more to the image shown above, of a Cornwall passport and wonder, could we not use something like this as a means of educating rather than as a legal document? I am suggesting that a charitable organisation lobbies the company in charge of the Tamar Bridge and persuades them to stop charging for leaving Cornwall (always was a stupid idea, if you ask me) and instead let the volunteers, coordinated by the charity, meet and greet non-local people as they arrive. Yes we ask them for money but the real purpose is education.

Tolls at the Tamar Bridge crossing

Their task at that entry point (or another) at the Devon/Cornwall border would be to guide every visitor as they read and complete a passport to carry with them. They will be asked to tick agreement and accept terms that they will not

  1. Burden the NHS or coast guard service, through careless & therefore potentially dangerous behaviour at sea or on land
  2. Drop litter, all kinds but especially plastics, cans, cigarettes, vapes, nappies, food cartons and wrappings  (PS there is discarded vape in that passport picture, as I found it littering my running path yesterday ☹)
  3. Light barbecues or other outdoor fires
  4. Waste water      ( ?  maybe others, let me know if you think of any!)

If reported for breaching these rules, the fine should be massive, like £500 or £1000, with the income being saved and used to pay for research into climate adaptations.

At this point in my pondering, the Maui wildfires were just starting to be shown on TV. The scenes of damage were devastating, the people panic stricken trying to get into the sea as their only possible retreat from the flames. A day or so later and we know the death toll has been 55 and will continue rising, with about 1000 people missing. This is the bleakest reality of Global Boiling (as United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres described our heating planet in a speech last Thursday 27 July, at the UN headquarters in New York City).  

I wonder now, how likely is it that the fires started because of human carelessness? Probably tourists? And further, if the Island authorities had been accumulating funds from fines of tourists, could something more and/or better have been done, using the money to help fight the fires? For instance

  • They do seem to need a warning system – no texts or sirens or similar were used to alert people in advance of the impending danger, as high winds fanned and spread the flames.
  • Most wildfires appear to be tackled by helicopters dropping water, but I have also seen it written that Oxygen may be removed from a fire by smothering it with soil or sand. I think it would be worth researching this.
  • Even without the fines, there would seem to be other ways to pay, others who benefit and should start investing in research of this nature. I am thinking of companies that make their millions from flying in the tourists such as TUI, which has revealed recent wildfires in Greece cost it around €25m (£21.5m) in compensation and other costs.
  • But for us, back in Cornwall, so much more obvious would be THE CROWN ESTATE. Did you notice, £9 bn is the predicted amount for leasing the seabed to Celtic FLOW over the next decade? Who is Duke of Cornwall, well now it is William, the Prince of Wales. He should be made to set up a Foundation for responsible delivery of FLOW in Cornwall and Wales. What a massive difference re-investing this money into our communities could make! I wonder about the right acronym for this? What about a very Cornish sounding ‘CLEVERR’ standing for Community Led Engagement of Volunteers to Extend Renewables Responsibly!

The Last Lap

On Wednesday my return journey deliberately went out to the coast and travelled north on the little roads. Eventually I arrived at Blackwater, and stopped into Mitchell and Webber (see Blog Week 20). There I heard the latest update, about George Eustice fighting a cause.  Well done him. Well done for getting it onto TV too! 

The link is still on BBC and very worth watching; a comparison of ULEZ for town dwellers with banning oil boilers in rural locations –

If this is no longer available, send me a comment message ‘cos I have a recording of the relevant clip I could send you by We Transfer

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