Thursday, 14 January 2010

John Muir`s Blue Sierra # 2

Further to my earlier article, the government has confirmed it intends to proceed with the proposed Beauly-Denny powerline.

Now that a little time has passed since the announcement, I thought it would be interesting to check out the resonses of some of the interested parties.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland has expressed "great disappointment".

The John Muir Trust goes further, describing this as "the wrong choice for Scotland" and expressing the belief that there has been insufficient attention paid to possible alternatives such as sub-sea cables.

Ramblers Scotland seem to have issued the strongest statement. Describing the planning process as "deeply flawed" , they note that it will be "many years" before work can begin and point out that this allows time for a legal challenge. With election time looming, they are turning their attention to politicians, commenting that  "those seeking election" in both Scotland and England "need to be asked where they stand".

Various links to relevant organistations and publications can be found at the foot of my original article. For a more detailed account of the government`s announcement, and the reactions of local people, it`s worth  visiting

Footnote - Pylons and the planning issues relating to pylons are also a big issue in the Somerset area, spawning a number of community -based protest groups, many with names characterised by terrible puns on the word `pylon` -  No Moor Pylons, Pylon Moor Pressure, Pylon the Pressure, Save Nailsea West and Yatton Against Pylons . Fortunately, an umbrella group has been formed and is a `pun free zone`, opting for the more straightforward (though less imaginative) Save our Valley , (on the web at ) .  I was impressed to learn that Save our Valley and Save Nailsea West started the year with a New Year Protest March to the Pub. Now that really is a community-based approach ! Seriously, apart from the pylon issue itself, there are serious underrlying issues relating to representation and accountability which have been raised by campaigners and by Liam Fox MP, which do need to be addressed and are likely to crop up again elsewhere.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Waterways 2

Following on from my earlier article, the governments` precise intentions towards British waterways remain unclear.

At a time of economic uncertainty this may seem rather a parochial little dispute, but it`s worth considering the benefits canal regeneration can bring to an area. The recently formed Cromford Canal Partnership, an alliance between local authorities, canal users and others similar in form to the Chesterfield Canal Trust, has high hopes of revitalising the surrounding area with the work it envisages  including making the entire 17 mile-long canal from the Great Northern Basin at Langley Mill through Cromford to Pinxton navigable by boat, which would include  re-opening the Butterley Tunnel.

In response to the current uncertainties,  the Save Our Waterways group has become a membership organisation with intelligently thought out proposals and clear campaigning objectives. They envisage building alliances of local people, canal users, environmentalists, historians and other interested parties in seeking a secure future for Britain`s canal network. A key aim they have is that British Waterways should not be separated from its` property assets and they feel the government is avoiding this issue, perhaps intentionally. As they point out, if Britain`s waterways go into decline there will be a clear detriment to tourism, education, local communities, employment and even a knock-on effect on the Treasury`s revenue.

Those of us that can remember the state of Britain`s canals during the `70s and `80s, edged on either side as they often were by derelict warehouses and other signs of urban decay  will certainly see some merit to their proposals. I`ll be adding links to this blog for those who want to see how they fare.

As mentioned before, there are also relevant links at