[Diggers350] Barclay Bros colonize Sark

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Fri May 10 12:25:47 BST 2013

here is our short film on this topic
shot on location & a bit klunky - but hopefully to the point ;-)


At 22:12 09/05/2013, Simon Fairlie wrote:
>>From: Susan Synnott [<mailto:synnott at cwgsy.net>mailto:synnott at cwgsy.net]
>>Sent: 25 November 2012 10:47
>>To: Enquiries
>>Subject: Sark, Channel Islands
>>Dear Sir/Madam,
>>Why I am writing to you now is because I 
>>thought you might be interested to hear about 
>>what is happening on Sark in the Channel 
>>islands.  Plantlife took great interest in the 
>>island in the late 1990s because of the 
>>existence of Filago gallica here, which, as you 
>>know, is extremely rare. I may add that it is 
>>still doing well and is not threatened by the 
>>vineyards to which I refer to in the following paragraph.
>>The Barclays brothers (owners of the Ritz 
>>Hotel, London and the Daily Telegraph etc) own 
>>a lot of property on Sark since 2007.  In 2010 
>>under their company Sark Estate Management 
>>(SEM) they started to plant vines.    Some of 
>>these vineyards were on very good grazing land 
>>where a large number of plants had been 
>>recorded in previous years.   On Good Friday 
>>2011 they cleared more land for vines, 
>>destroying nesting habitat for breeding birds. 
>>The cleared, charred  area was not very 
>>inviting to tourists or wild flower walkers at 
>>the start of our spring wild flower fortnight. 
>>By late 2011 14 fields had been planted, but 
>>concern really set in when in September this 
>>year planting of more vines recommenced at a 
>>tremendous rate.  We found it hard to keep pace 
>>with it all.  In the last few weeks at least 
>>another 12 fields have been planted or prepared 
>>for vines.  Sark farmers have lost or are 
>>losing some of their land because in Sark most 
>>farmers don’t own their land but rent/lease it 
>>from others on a sort of ‘gentleman’s 
>>agreement’ usually, as was the traditional way 
>>of doing things.  Also horses are vital for our 
>>tourism industry because we don’t have cars and 
>>one of the ways tourists get around is by horse 
>>and carriage.  But some of the carriage owners 
>>will be squeezed out, if this continues from 
>>lack of grazing land.  Apart from the loss of 
>>land for farmers there will be a loss of 
>>diversity as it could seriously disturb or 
>>destroy the balance in Sark’s ecosystem.  If 
>>250,000 vines are planted, as is SEM’s aim, on 
>>the plateau of Big Sark only (fortunately, they 
>>own no land on Little Sark) you can imagine 
>>what change this will bring on the whole 
>>environment.  Tourists visit Sark for its 
>>traditional rural landscape, but we seem to be 
>>heading towards a monoculture on a large 
>>scale.  At the moment there seems to be very 
>>little we can do as there are no laws to stop 
>>people doing what they like on their 
>>land.  Sark residents are also worried about 
>>their water supply in the long term, as our 
>>water source is either from boreholes or wells, 
>>if they spray the amount of copper sulphate 
>>that seems to be needed for vines.  Anyone who 
>>speaks out against them is vilified in their 
>>weekly Sark Newsletter.  Sark is equated with 
>>1930s Germany as being the equivalent of a 
>>Fascist State.  It is all really horrible.  Our 
>>little peaceful island is in a bit of a fix at 
>>the moment; hopefully a compromise or a 
>>solution can be reached, but it is hard to see 
>>that when we are dealing with big 
>>The attached Press Release on 1st November 
>>sparked a protest in the island of Sark 
>>attended by 115 residents. This took place on 
>>Saturday 3rd November at the Mill, in the 
>>centre of the island and adjacent to a field 
>>recently turned over from cattle pasture into a 
>>vineyard. Various concerned residents spoke out 
>>against the continued planting of yet more 
>>grapevines by the Barclay Brothers through 
>>their company, Sark Estate Management. This was 
>>followed by a petition headed “We call on SEM 
>>to halt present work and reconsider the 
>>agricultural plans and priorities for the land 
>>in Sark”. It was  signed by 125 residents and 
>>sent to Kevin Delaney, project manager of SEM 
>>and copies were also sent to Sir Frederick and Sir David Barclay in Brecqhou.
>>In view of the fact that there are 470 
>>residents on the electoral roll and the 
>>petition was signed by 125 of them, we feel 
>>this deserves a wider audience.  The entire 
>>effort of the Press Release, the protest and 
>>the petition were directed against the 
>>increasing number of vineyards and the 
>>consequent change to the landscape and loss of biodiversity.
>>Yours faithfully,
>>Susan Synnott
>>(for the Botany section of La Societe Sercquaise)
>>Please note I have moved to Frome - new contact details are given below.
>>Sue Everett
>>Technical Adviser to Flora locale
>>23 Stonewall Terrace
>>Somerset BA11 5AX
>>Land: 01373 472656
>>Mob: 07779 204015
>><mailto:sueeverett.floralocale at gmail.com>sueeverett.floralocale at gmail.com
>>Web: <http://www.floralocale.org>www.floralocale.org
>>Sue Everett MIEEM, PG Dip Arch: AEES
>>Ecology and Sustainability Consultant
>>Editor: Conservation News, British WIldife
>>Tel: +44 (0) 1373 472656
>>Mob: 07779 204015
>>Email: <mailto:conservation.news at googlemail.com>conservation.news at gmail.com
>>and <http://www.meadowmaker.me.uk/>www.meadowmaker.me.uk
>>British Wildife: <http://www.britishwildlife.com/>www.britishwildlife.com
>>You received this message because you are 
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shall not be made known. What I tell you in 
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