Tuesday, 30 November 2010

More on 'ground vs green'


Copies of further comments I made yesterday in the online 'ground vs green' debate (below). 'Dog Walker' was one of the few to respond to my posts:

Dog Walker - by 'dealt with' you mean ignored or dismissed! This must be so because: f this stadium is built green belt land will be lost; carbon emissions will rise; natural flood drainage space will go; land with food production potential will go; wildlife habitats will be smaller in area; green space important to human health will be cut. Our current system has warm green words but little or no green action - which is why planning permission was given.

We are in agreement that our MPs are not competent drafters of the law! I dont agree with your assessment of my democratic credentials however - your way of thinking would mean that law has no value in a democracy and that there should be, in effect, no such thing as local democracy. I believe our democracy is not localised enough whereas your line of argument leads, in effect, to Vogons from another planet [pictured, from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy film] being allowed to turn up out of the blue and destroy the whole planet.

You make the big mistake of assuming that building this stadium will have a net positive effect on jobs and investment. To my knowledge no-one has done the research sums to see if total benefits exceed total costs, taking into account all factors, including those I've mentioned above. Mostly what we hear about is benefits - my point is ok but what about the costs?? This the opposite of selfishness, Carl, because its trying to account for the impacts both on current generations and the generations of people to come - once green land is built over its nigh on impossible to get it back again.
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Dog Walker - its so convenient for you to simply dismiss a whole range of health and environmental arguments isn't it. Is this a ground vs green debate or not? You seem to be ducking out to me. The planning process has no objective evidence whatsoever that total benefits outweigh total costs - and a decision taken on the basis of little or no evidence is irrational.

Why is it that you dont want to talk about and deal properly with climate change, biodiversity, habitats, flood management, human health and quality of life?? Where is your evidence that net economic benefits will result (you only state a possible benefit and mention no disbenefits)? Could it not be argued that the stadium proposal is an inappropriate development based on outmoded, old-fashioned, discredited economic thinking and that therefore persuing it would be unwise ? Bristol is supposed to have 'green capital' ambitions after all.

Given that we've gone beyond the planning process now wouldn't giving the land town green status mean that it would be maintain our ability to: fight climate change; increase wildlife; manage flooding; keep people healthy...If you built a stadium the opposite would happen and therefore shouldn't someone estimate the costs/benefits of all this in order for a rational decision to be made?

My point about Vogons [pictured] is not extending the argument to absurdity at all. Its my view that local democracy should count for much more than it does - and that the law should help prevent locals from being bullied into a situation they dont want. The law on town greens does empower people to apply for their space to be protected. You have not indicated that you would like any form of local democracy or legal processes to protect a community and its space and so in effect you are saying that if, as in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Vogons turn up one day to destroy our planet then that's all ok.

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