Golf course comments
1:23pm Friday 24th August 2012 in Letters
I FEEL I must reply to some incorrect comments made in letters (Western Telegraph, June 25th) regarding my professional integrity as a scientist.
I write concerning the planning application for the extension of the golf course at St Davids (which has been subsequently withdrawn). I have never voiced support or opposition to the golf course development. Rather, I wrote to the St Davids City Council outlining my concerns regarding the inadequacies of the assessment of potential environmental impacts included in the planning application, giving my professional, unbiased opinion as an ecologist and entomologist.
I am slightly confused by Mr Davies’ comment where he misquoted me as saying that “the pesticides we are supposed to use would tear up [asphalt]”. I am unsure from where he got this quote.
Instead my letter read: “...
golf courses are notoriously detrimental to invertebrates due to the excessive use of pesticides on the greens to create what is essentially a monoculture with the biodiversity value of a asphalt carpark”.
Whilst sympathetic management of the non-green areas can enhance golf course biodiversity, the intrinsic biodiversity value of the Towyn as it is, is such that development and thus fragmentation of the current habitat on the site should be questioned.
I am also unsure of Mr Davies’ meaning where the letter goes on to state “how much damage can horse manure make when dispersed over asphalt?” I fail to see the relevancy of this comment. He then asks “where did she get her information from as to what we use?”
I did not suggest at any point that I was referring to the management of the current St Davids golf course. As a scientist, I will only form an opinion based upon either scientific research of my own, or from the unbiased, peer-reviewed scientific literature.
I would also like to reply to Mr Davies’ comment that “...pesticides still used are harmless and used under the regulations of the government”.
Many licensed pesticides used at manufacturerrecommended doses have severe negative, non-target environmental impacts, some of which I have addressed in recent review papers.
Finally, I would like to respond to the comment by Mr Cannon that “comments expressed regarding environmental concerns were the conjecture of unqualified opponents”.
As a scientist at the University of Oxford, I research the environmental impacts of pesticide use and publish my research in international peer-reviewed journals. I advise government policy decisions on the topic at an international level and regularly speak at international scientific conferences.
I am also an environmental consultant having worked, amongst others, with the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group before setting up my own consultancy business. I therefore consider myself qualified to give my opinions on this issue. I would be happy to share my initial letter of concern and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org SARAH BEYNON Entomologist and Ecologist (University of Oxford) St Davids