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Lee Moor diary - February 2010

Senseless visits...

Rustic avenue in the snow - February 2010 at Lee Moor

...or maybe I should say, "sense reduced"? Thanks to LEAF (whose Open Farm Sunday will be happening here on 13th June), and especially to the Sensory Trust (who are involved in the visits to Lee Moor of groups who may well have diminished sensory abilities), we met at Blagdon in February to work out how to get the very best from a farm visit. With a farm with a bakery on it, smell has always been an easy one. The poplar trees in summer make a great noise, as does the water falling from the pump into pond. There are textured surfaces all around... The more we thought about it the more we realised what a fantastic venue we have.


Creating a Better Place

The new strategy sounds like motherhood and apple pie, and so it should be, but agreeing the actions that come from it isn't so straightforward. I'm paid to chair a committee for the Environment Agency (EA) and I'm very proud of what the staff do. On flood defence we know the work well, but there are many other areas of protection of air, land and water that are less well understood. The EA has recently taken on more coastal duties and also part of a more co-ordinated team on urban drainage issues. Have a look at their work; with the way Lee Moor keeps flooding, I may well be asking for advice from them to see how we can slow down the water entering our fields.

The Institute of Directors (IOD)'s infamous speaker

I was a guest of Colling Construction – this is a very interesting company that I am working with. Valerie and Darren are the key partners in the business and came up to Lee Moor in mid February. Now the IOD dinner this year was at The Radisson in Durham, the event was very good, and the star turn was Gerald Ratner who I have to say was inspiring. The scale of the roller-coaster ride of his business is extreme, and yes, I know his downfall was self-induced, but frankly it was the 1980s – greed was good back then and a lot of humble pie has been eaten since by many in big business! Ratner is back in the jewellery business and it certainly made me feel that the secret in business is always to dust yourself down and get back up and try again.


The CBI are running a leaders' course. This last week I had the chance to understand the actions that are taking place in relation to electric cars, followed by an opportunity to ask questions of a shadow minister. In terms of Lee Moor, I am keen to have a charging point for battery-powered cars here at Lee Moor Business Park as soon as possible. In terms of asking Conservatives what they might do if in power, I had the conversation with them about what they might do to help the rural economy. In the afternoon we spent two hours at Nissan seeing Qashqai models being built in Sunderland and I have to say I was very impressed. Many years ago my father went to France to see Renault tractors being built and saw a man manually filing the rough edges off gear cogs... he vowed never to buy a Renault, and never did! Renault is now in partnership with Nissan and I can report no filing was going on that I could see. The staff at Nissan are fantastic and you do wonder, if the whole workforce of the north east was into constant improvement, where would the economy be?

photo of teasles against a snowy Lee Moor landscape



Bong... green business

Service Network had a good event on sustainable issues which included this video clip. It is a little rude, but sometimes you need to cut through to the point.

Green business is here to stay - to those who thought I was mad, I say, "I told you so!"

Ian Brown


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