Archive for July, 2012


Anna Celeste Watson says:
Bee Cause of Plan Bee!

Category: Climate Change, Sustainable Farming & Food, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , , , ,

Image: Co-operative’s Plan BEE


Hooray, at last the Summer appears to have arrived in Dorset and most of the UK (best not speak too soon though!!!). I love seeing all the lovely wild flowers and little flying creatures in the fields, gardens and hedgerows, but have definitely noticed that there just aren’t half as many bees as there were when I was younger!

But in case you hadn’t noticed, British bees are in trouble and apparently 3 bumblebee species are already extinct which is very sad indeed. And, we need bees!

Friends of the Earth and the Co-operative are just two groups currently campaigning to raise awareness of the plight of our British bees, and ultimately, their survival affects the whole planet!

Many factors are believed to be causing bees’ decline – from habitat loss, to disease, to climate change. There is also growing evidence that some pesticides harm bees.

Thankfully, we can save bees… and that’s what Friend’s of the Earth’s ‘The Bee Cause’ campaign is all about, plus The Co-operative’s ‘Plan Bee’ campaign aims to address the decline in pollinators including bees, butterflies and moths.

Friend’s of the Earth’s ‘The Bee Cause’ campaign
Friends of the Earth are campaigning on bees because we need bees! Bees are essential to our food supply, economy and quality of life:

  • Bees pollinate 75% of our most vital crops and favourite foods.
  • Without bees and other insects we’d also have 20% less vitamin C, 41% less vitamin A and 9% less calcium.
  • Without bees it would cost UK farmers £1.8 billion a year to pollinate our crops.
  • That’s more than it costs farmers to produce all the milk consumed in the UK every year.
  • They’re essential to our gardens, parks and countryside.
  • Bees and other insects help pollinate over 75% of our plants, which in turn are vital to our insects, birds and animals.

Thankfully, they believe that people are the solution… People means the Government, so you can sign their petition to ask David Cameron to adopt a National Bee Action Plan. Let’s ensure the way we farm our food, plan our towns and cities, and protect our wildlife, is better for bees.

People also means you! You can plant bee-friendly flowers, buy local honey or go on a Bee Walk. You can help bees at home, out and about, or in schools.

Please join The Bee Cause. And help save Britain’s bees.

For more information visit Friends of the Earth’s website:

The Co-operative’s ‘Plan Bee’ campaign
The Co-operative launched ‘The Pollinator’, a FREE iPhone game, which allows people to learn about how to help bees in real life by following the tips given at the end of each level.

They launched Plan Bee in 2009 to help address this alarming decline of honeybee numbers which had fallen by up to 30%. In 2011, as part of our revolutionary Ethical Plan, the campaign was extended to address the decline of other ‘at risk’ pollinators such as bumblebees, solitary bees, butterflies and moths. There are currently six at risk bumblebees including the shrill and red-shanked carder bees. In addition, 72% of butterfly species are also in decline.

‘The Pollinator’ game for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, is available to download now and allows you to become ‘The Pollinator’ – a bee sent back from the future to save other bees from extinction.

For more information visit the Plan Bee website:

5Comments | Post your own comment

  • Chris Slade comments:
    "Yesterday I counted 6 species of pollinating insects avidly working the Globe Thistle, Echinops sphaerocephalus on my allotment. If somebody (Anna, that means YOU) reminds me, I shall try to collect seed for distribution. They look lovely; about 5 feet high, big thistley (but downy rather than prickly) leaves and bright blue globolar flower heads about 3″ in diameter. "
    August 12, 2012 a 10:58 am

  • Chris Slade comments:
    "A few days ago I visited ‘Bee Happy Plants’at South Chard and bought eleagnus, salvia, anise hyssop, leptospermum, rhodiola and minardo fistulosa among other bee-friendly plants. The nursery owner, Sarah Holdsworth, doesn’t have bees herself but is passionate about their welfare and we had a pleasant chat.
    Although the nursery is more geared up for postal sales, it is so close to West Dorset that the fuel costs less than the postage. I’ll visit again. Look at her web site: "

    August 8, 2012 a 11:39 am

  • Chris Slade comments:
    "Apart from H20, in absence or excess, the chemical that has had the most deleterious effect on pollinators is probably Round Up. This means that absolutely nothing grows in fields except that planted by the farmer, leaving nothing for the pollinating insects to feed on and, a step up the food chain, nothing for insectivorous birds. Last year I saw more swallows in 2 days in Co. Galway than all summer in Dorset, but there are a few more here this year. What can YOU do? Unless you’re into bowls, turn your lawn into a wild flower meadow. Plant your borders and beds with a range of flowers that will feed bees for most of the year as well as looking good and providing some tasty food for you. Dandelions, ivy, thistles, borage, rosebay willow herb, lavender, sage, berried fruit of all sorts, sallies (willow) of several sorts, Himalayan Balsam (the last one is frowned upon by the Authorities but beloved by beekeepers). You have no garden? Then do some subversive gardening. Get some clay, plaster of Paris, plasticine, dough or whatever you can find or devise that will roll into balls and to which seeds will stick. Boys may have a catapult that you can use; girls may find it more ladylike to carry a scarf, shawl or stocking that can, when nobody’s looking, be used as a sling! Go for a walk and fire or hurl your seeded balls into places where you perceive a need for more flowers. Then, on future walks, you can monitor progress, noting which seeds do best in your area using that method so you can adapt your mix next time. Have a care and use your common sense where to do this. Imagine that somebody’s doing it to YOUR ground and think how you’d feel about being on the receiving end. "
    August 8, 2012 a 10:21 am

  • Anna Celeste Watson comments:
    "Thanks Peter – will certainly get on the case and see if we can get some info on what plants are good to encourage bees into our gardens, so watch this space!… "
    August 1, 2012 a 9:19 am

  • Peter Bywater comments:
    "What an excellent article, would love to see a follow up about what we can do to help, like what to plant in our gardens, and who to write to at our local authorities to ask for more wild flower planting! "
    July 31, 2012 a 8:51 pm


Lets Get Energized says:
Greendor Eco-Homes Booking Now Open!

Category: Eco Homes DIY & Tourism, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living
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greendor 2012 is Dorchester’s first Open Eco-Homes weekend. Homes with eco-features will open up to the public on the weekend of 8th and 9thSeptember, during the annual Dorset Architectural Heritage Week.

A chance to see how to green your home, and chat to people who’ve done it.

Bookings are now open – visit the website to book:

Please download, print and post or forward on our poster here: Download the greendor poster.


Anna Celeste Watson says:
Loving The Green Schools Revolution!

Category: Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Farming & Food, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve come across a fab app from The Co-operative I had to share with you in case you hadn’t seen it yet!

The Green Schools Revolution Game is supposed to be ‘a fun way to turn the kids green’! The FREE game for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad is filled with fun games and quizzes to get the green message home.

They reckon that ‘Chances are, the big kids will love it too’ (I would if I had an iPhone – perhaps they’ll launch it for Android one day too – please let me know if they do!).

It features:

  • Fun quizzes about energy, water and healthy living unlock 4 levels of green games
  • Energy saving game – turn off the lightbulbs to save energy and gain points!
  • Be a water watcher – can you turn off the taps to save water and keep the ducky afloat?
  • Harvest carrots on the farm, but be quick before the rabbit beats you to it!
  • Unlock the busy bee bonus round to boost your green points even further

For more info and to download the Green Schools Revolution Game visit the website:


Wendy Pillar says:
Empowering Dorset with Renewable Energy

Category: Climate Change, Community Energy, Renewable Energy
Tags: , , , , , , ,

What would a Dorset that was self-sufficient in electricity from renewables look like? Some would have you believe that it would be a forest of giant wind turbines, its historic landscapes spoiled, but that image is a long way from the truth.

An energy-independent, low-carbon-footprint Dorset would look much like it does today, with the occasional wind turbine turning on the horizon. However, you would notice that industrial estates had photovoltaic (PV) cells on the roofs of the buildings, and canopies over the car parks carrying additional panels. Since industrial units use most power during daylight hours when the PV cells are generating, this is an efficient way to generate power.

Farms would also have PV cells on the roofs of outbuildings, and possibly a sun park on an unproductive field, reducing their energy costs and gaining a new income stream. A small-scale wind turbine might also be turning near the farm yard. Farms producing animal waste may have a circular tank among the outbuildings – an anaerobic digester producing electricity from methane generated by the composting waste.

Public buildings such as schools would have PV cells on the roof, also generating income for the community. The many mills along the Stour and its tributaries may have found a new lease of life generating electricity using modern turbines, while looking the same from the outside as they have done for centuries.

On a domestic scale, many more people would be using wood to power their heating, and many more sunny roofs of houses, garages and outbuildings would wear PV and solar hot water panels.

Ideally, each town would have decided for itself how it wanted its electricity to be generated, by sun park, biogas generated from its food waste or large wind turbine. It would select the site and install and run the equipment itself – unlike conventional power generation, the technology and costs of installing renewable generation are well within the capabilities of a local community. This means that the income generated stays within the community and is not siphoned off to multinational corporations and their shareholders.

The village of Wildpoldsried in Germany has not only become self-sufficient in renewable energy, but generates a substantial income for community projects from selling the excess energy – enough so far to build a new school, gym and community hall. A similar vision of renewable prosperity is very achievable for Dorset, not at some point in the future, but starting now, with existing resources and technology.

Everyone can get involved in this exciting energy revolution. If you have premises in North Dorset suitable for installing renewables, Energize Stur Valley, part of Transition Town Sturminster Newton, can give you independent expert advice. If you don’t have the roof, the field or the capital to install your own system, you can switch suppliers to Good Energy, and your home will be powered by 100% renewable energy.

For more information please contact Energize Stur Valley by emailing

2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Wendy Pillar comments:
    "Quite so, Simon. As well as tidal power – I read about a very neat kind of water mill on a tidal river that uses the tide coming in and going out for power. "
    October 1, 2012 a 2:06 pm

  • Simon Rayson comments:
    "Don`t forget waterpower – all those water mills that once turned to mill flour could be restored and be turning to produce electricity or even Archimedes Screws doing that same thing. And then there`s the coast – wave energy harnessed for electricity, someone`s going to come up with an effective way of doing that one of these days "
    July 19, 2012 a 9:49 pm


Vince Adams says:
For the good of all the Community

Category: Climate Change, Community Energy
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I hope that you are all coping with our English Summer, I know that I have been colder some days and nights than in Winter, oh and the rain , wow and we still don’t have enough water to go around.

Recently I entered the scary world of North Dorset Planning Committee hearings and it was a real eye opener.

How are we ever going to marry the needs of the many to those of well meaning dissenting groups who oppose so many renewable projects. ? I just do not know! Whilst respecting everyone’s right to have their say, at some stage there has to be a notion “For the good of all the Community” brought back into play.

Dorset’s approach to Sustainability and renewable energy in particular have left us languishing far behind other Counties in Britiain. In many cases the planners have stood in the way of good projects because of the need to keep small pockets of voters happy. Equally the projects themselves have failed to inspire local interest, participation and excitement. Good communication has been woefully lacking and its time to make a real effort to sort this out.

Its time we in Dorset stood up and opened our eyes to the responsibility we all share and the need for greater emphasis on renewable energy.

To do this we need groups, communities to work with planners, project installers, funders so that together they can create their own local sustainable projects that all add towards the collective good of our Countries commitments.

We in Sturminster connected to Transition Town Sturminster Newton and SQ have formed a small group called Energize Stur Valley who will are strongly supportive of community lead activity. Support for renewables on farm buildings, industrial sites and schools along with solar energy on households, and of course wind turbines where the icing is right, is all part of our brief.

We hope to be able to announce an overall strategy going forward in due course after talks and consultation with local Parish and Town Councils.

The time is now, get involved take a look at our Dorset Energized website, support your local Energy Groups but above all do something!

Please ‘share’ this blog post to spread the word about this website to light up our County, and make us top of the UK league and not bottom!

2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Vince Adams comments:
    "Great comments, our thanks so please tell your friends all about us and Spread The Word!!
    vince "

    August 24, 2012 a 6:45 pm

  • Solar Panels comments:
    "This is really true. I think it is time for us to know our responsibilities. Renewable energy is something that we must all understand. This kind of source of energy is not just cheaper but also healthier for our environment. "
    August 24, 2012 a 4:16 pm


Simon Jonathan Naish Rayson says:
The showstopping Audi Electric Bike (I’ll stick with mine though!)

Category: Electric Transport

Check out these short films featuring the Audi Electric Bike…

It is an extraordinary piece of kit, however being capable of 50mph it does not qualify as an Electric Bicycle as far as the law in the UK and anywhere else in the Europe is concerned!

It does though showcase what Electric Bikes are capable of when money is no object; things such as a wheelie mode where the riders balance is maintained automatically, while the carbon frame of the bike weighs only 1.6kg. Perhaps this Audi might best be regarded as a Concept Bicycle, but if there was such a thing as an off road Electric Bike Championship this bike would in all likelihood be a contender, and an awful lot of fun!

Meanwhile Audi have apparently scrapped their plans for an Electric Car – who knows perhaps Audi foresee a more bicycle based future? Though industry commentators suggest that Audi have been put off by the current low demand and high prices. I guess we’ll see, but in the meantime I’m happy with my Heinzmann electric bike! See my previous post on My Route Into Electric Cycling:


Beverley Satchell says:
Nissan LEAF coming to the Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show, August 15th 2012

Category: Electric Transport, Energy Events in Dorset
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The Nissan LEAF will be attending the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show with our team from FJ Chalke. You won’t miss us, our pitch will include the other franchises from FJ Chalke.

We would like to invite you to come and take a look at the Nissan LEAF, and if you like what you see, why not book a free no-obligation test drive. I will be there to answer all of your Nissan LEAF questions and show you around the car. I look forward to seeing you there!

Gillingham & Shaftesbury Agricultural Show
Wednesday 15th August 2012
8.30am – 6.30pm

Turnpike Showground
North Dorset

For more information on the event visit their website:


Lets Get Energized says:
Greendor – Dorchester’s First Open Eco-Homes Weekend

Category: Eco Homes DIY & Tourism, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

greendor 2012 is Dorchester’s first Open Eco-Homes weekend and there is now less than 2 weeks until booking opens!

Homes with eco-features will open up to the public on the weekend of 8th and 9thSeptember, during the annual Heritage Open Days. This is a chance to see how to green your home, and chat to people who’ve done it.

Here’s just a small taster of the features that will be available to see at the greendor Eco-Homes in September:-

  • buildings using local timber
  • walls made of rammed earth dug on the site
  • worktops made from recycled plastic
  • rainwater harvesting
  • sheeps-wool insulation
  • eco-paints
  • heat exchange ventilation
  • green roof
  • plenty of solar panels (both hot water and PV types)
  • wall insulation
  • and low energy lighting..

…the list goes on! Stay in touch with the site for more news:


Theresa McManus says:
Is this Freak Weather a Climate Change Wake Up Call?

Category: Climate Change
Tags: , , , , , ,

There is an acknowledged relationship between climate change and weather, and much effort is being put into predicting how climate change will affect our future weather, here in the UK.

Just a few years ago we were looking at impacts like a rapidly eroding coastline, wetter winters, more storms, increases in tropical diseases, and hotter, drier summers. Yay! Let’s plant olive groves!
Well, we now better appreciate the complexities of climate and meteorology modelling and can accept that maybe the idea of hotter and drier summers needs to be revised. Indeed, a lot of Dorset is now soggier than I have ever seen it (see the photos above including from Sturminster Newton – a month’s worth of rain fell in just 24 hours with water swamping homes, businesses, towns and villages in South and West Dorset). Many rivers have flooded, road surfaces have been washed away, and water laps at the rail line to Dorchester. The havoc is more widespread than in August last summer, when we last had flash flooding.

Will this work as a wake-up call? Will people make the connection between rising C02 emissions and deteriorating planetary-wide weather patterns? Let us know what you think!


Keith Wheaton-Green says:
Wood I lie to you?

Category: Fuel Poverty & Security, Renewable Heat Energy
Tags: , , , , , ,

We live in and off mains gas like a lot of people in rural areas and have a large propane tank that had been costing us around £1200 a year to keep filled. There have been price rises most years and sometimes more than one a year. I have asked Centrica if our village is ever likely to be connected to mains gas and was told “No, very unlikely.” So we will be stuck with having to heat our house with expensive oil or – in our case – propane gas. Or so I thought until recently (more on that later)…

We needed to reduce our reliance on this expensive fuel. Our first action was to replace the gas fire in the living room with a log burner. OK its not quite so convenient but I have learnt to enjoy acquiring wood for free from a variety of sources and the healthy exertions of sawing and chopping. Our garden actually supplies a lot of the wood. Ash trees grow here like weeds and I have allowed about 15 of them to become small trees. I cut one down every year and reckon that the stump will have produced another useful crop by the time I get back to it (15 years later) to chop again. It’s also surprising how much wood I get from friends and neighbour’s rubbish piles and my own DIY. Basically, in the 10 years we have had the log burner, I’ve only ever bought one load of wood, and that was as a favour to the seller because he was in urgent need of money.

Then earlier in 2012 we replaced the gas hob with an efficient electric induction hob. These are amazing! They heat up so quickly, controllably and safely using surprisingly little electricity. A lot of the electricity comes from our recently installed photovoltaic panels. When possible, we cook during daylight hours to use the free electricity. The propane gas tank has only been filled once this year so far and it is still 60% full. So it seems the change of hob will have reduced our energy bills significantly.

But we still need the propane for hot water and central heating and the high cost means we don’t keep the house as warm and cosy as we’d like. We get mildew in the top corners of the bedrooms because we only turn the central heating on when it’s really cold.

So I was very interested to discover – through a presentation at our village hall – that there is a company willing and able to replace our boiler with a heat exchanger, install a district heat main under the road and connect it to a wood chip boiler that will serve me and my neighbours. This is providing enough of my neighbours agree to get connected to make the scheme viable. The company will do all this at no cost to me and will then bill me for the heat we use, which will apparently cost about 65% of what we currently pay. The company reckon that – unlike oil and propane – the cost will not need to rise any more than general inflation. I suppose they might be right. (Maybe I’ll keep the boiler in the garage just in case!)

I’m going to a Residents Association meeting tonight to attempt to persuade as many of my neighbours as possible to agree to connect to a district heat main. If everything goes well I can look forward to a sustainable, warmer, cheaper future…


Simon Jonathan Naish Rayson says:
Eco Travel Taking Off in the Brecon Breacons

Category: Electric Transport
Tags: , , , , , ,

Things Electric seem to be taking off in the Brecon Beacons – the tourist sector embracing the new technology to boost trade and to bring the joys of Electric Transport to holiday makers.

Here in Dorset we also have many visitors seeking to enjoy the countryside and of course those visitors wish to enjoy the rural scene in a way that keeps it the quiet and peaceful place that drew them here in the first place.

In the Brecon Beacons they are setting an example of how this might be done – using quiet electric vehicles so people can explore and enjoy without disturbing, tourism with a light footprint.

Of course what is needed to make this effective are more charging points so those using electric vehicles of any type, can recharge their batteries. Businesses seeking to boost trade might well profit from offering charging facilities, and of course feel good by doing so as well.

In Dorset there is signs of this Electric Transport tourism emerging as well – the electric bicycle hire available near Bridport – and of course the same factors apply, electric bikes need recharging facilities as much as cars – and while the vehicle recharges, well opportunity signals for the alert business people!

Of course as electric vehicle ownership increases, more and more people will need the charging facilities – surely an opportunity not just for the switched on people in the tourist industry?!

Check out the sites below for more info on eco travel and of course our page on Electric Transport. – The Brecon Beacons project – Electric Bike Hire in Bridport


Paul McIntosh says:
Successful Appeal for Alaska Wind Farm in Purbeck

Category: Wind Power
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The appeal against the decision of councillors to oppose the proposed Alaska Wind Farm in Purbeck has been allowed by the inspector, thus paving the way for the first such development in the county of Dorset.

Permission has been granted for 4 large wind turbines generating up to 9.2MW of renewable energy which the inspector stated would make a “meaningful contribution to renewable electricity in Dorset as part of a mix of resources”.

He concluded also that the “visual amenity and noise impacts are acceptable in terms of development plan policy, and there are no other matters that add materially to the case against the proposal” and “Having regard to all the matters raised, the environmental and economic benefits of granting planning permission for the development significantly outweigh the limited degree of harm that would occur. The balance weighs in favour of granting planning permission”.

You can download a copy of the Decision Letter from the DA21 website here:

Let us know what you think of the wind turbines coming to Purbeck by leaving your comments below!

1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Len Herbert comments:
    "Personally I think they look beautiful and provided they are not within hearing distance of local residents we should welcome them. Statistics show bird deaths are miniscule. They are cheaper and cleaner when compared to Fossil fuel power stations and the dreaded Nuclear and the more we build the cheaper they become. If we want a healthy future for human kind and continue to increase our power consumption then Renewable energy is the only way. "
    July 9, 2012 a 8:56 pm


Theresa McManus says:
Green Car of the future? The Volkswagen Levitating Car

Category: Electric Transport, Renewable Energy Film/Video
Tags: , , ,

What do you think of this video for the Volkswagen Hover Concept Car?!
It’s a pod-like zero-emissions vehicle that uses electromagnetic road networks to float above the road.

I love sci-fi, and can’t wait to see a real Dalek on an anti-grav disk (I’d be looking for a nearby sofa to hide behind, though!). But my question for this concept, and for any new technology, would be what are the cradle to cradle costs, including all the environmental impacts, not just of the cars, but of the infrastructure, and the potential health risks posed by EM fields? At the end of the day, I think it is better for the planet and for people to just take a walk instead of drive : )

However, here at Dorset Energized we want to encourage people, including technogeeks, to make small steps in the right direction, so we recommend getting an electric car like the Nissan LEAF before considering a Levitating Car!

Find out more about the current zero emissions technology available today:

1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Len Herbert comments:
    "VW are clever at marketing, when people see this they think VW must be the Greenest car company, they couldn’t be more wrong! See this link for what they really get up to. "

    July 9, 2012 a 8:38 pm


Beverley Satchell says:
Vince’s Nissan LEAF Gets Dorset Energized with FJ Chalke!

Category: Electric Transport
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Dorset Energized’s very own Vince Adams came over to F J Chalke Wincanton today for his annual service… and to have the graphics done on his Nissan LEAF! Not only does it advertise the Dorset Energized website, but also gives people the opportunity to get directed via our smart phone QR reader, to our FJ Chalke – Nissan LEAF webpage for more information.

This is a brilliant idea, as we work closely with Dorset Energized, and this really seals the relationship! I think Vince is going to get a lot more interest in his Nissan LEAF then he does already (which I hear is a fair bit!), and with the car parked up, people can access the information whilst they are curious about the car.

If you see him driving around Dorset be sure to send us your comments, or maybe tweet us your photos @WincantonLeaf


Beverley Satchell says:
Win a Nissan LEAF + Help Dorset/Somerset to Win Rapid Electric Car Charging Stations

Category: Electric Transport
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Have you visited the The Big Turn On yet? Nissan LEAF aims to get one million people to Turn On to 100% electric driving on their fantastic The Big Turn On website at: Once ‘Turned On’ you will be entered onto a leader board where you could WIN a Nissan LEAF or an iPad2 as their weekly prize. You can then gain additional points by taking part in various activities and encouraging other people to ‘Turn On’ too.

Nissan will also donate rapid charging stations to the city with the most ‘Turn Ons’. Please help F J Chalke make Wincanton (in Somerset near Dorset) part of a low-carbon lifestyle for a more sustainable future, by turning on Wincanton!

Check out the Winning Cities board here: and click the ‘TURN ON’ button for Wincanton or your nearest city. Southampton and Bournemouth are currently in the top 30!

Remember you can book your FREE Nissan LEAF test drive with us at F J Chalke to see how easy it is to make the change to 100% electric driving.
To book your 24-hour test drive at FJ Chalke Wincaton visit

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