Saturday, 18 January 2014

Stop the Incinerator/ Protect Beddington Farmlands Nature Reserve Update

Beddington Farmlands: View over the Northern Lake

Had a meeting this morning regarding progress with the judicial review regarding the Beddington Farmlands Incinerator. The review (if it goes ahead) will investigate the details of the process that has occurred leading to the planning approval. In our opinion that process has been un-balanced and even though great care has been taken by the applicant and the planning officers to ensure that all necessary boxes have been ticked, a ticked box can hide a lot of important details. A box can be ticked that the local community have been consulted but that does not necessarily mean that the applicant or the planning officers have listened to a word they said and incorporated the consultation results. In our case- it's more of the degree to how much the applicant and planning officers have incorporated the comments made by local community groups and whether they have successfully been able to un-weave the emotive and mis-guided comments from the comments that if ignored could undermine their case. In my opinion they have taken a risk which has been driven by an urgency to solve a major waste issue and a priority of certain interests over the interests of and also an underestimation of the reaction from the local society and the environment sector. I personally hope very much that this does come to judicial review and that that risk (hoping the pro-local society and environmental camp cannot defend itself)  is realised. 

I have several concerns about the unfolding events leading up to this Judicial Review particularly to the personal financial risks that certain (very brave) members of the local community are exposing themselves too and I quite sensibly am also concerned about the intentions and advice being given by the legal teams that are advising on these matters. I am particularly concerned by the involvement of the partner of the Labour party leader Ed Milliband as there is a risk here of the politicisation of the issue in which local community members get caught up in a whirlwind of concurrent agendas- there is a risk of people becoming pawns rather than players. Between me and you I also seriously doubt the sanity of a person who is the romantic partner of Ed Miliband- party politics is outside my area of expertise but to me and in layman terms, Ed comes across as a prat or at least someone who doesn't strike me as being a genuine champion for what I care about which is nature and it's significance to people and society.  Anyway despite my reservations I have never met the woman so its only fair to have my doubts but also to give the poor lady (who appears to have been unlucky in love) the benefit of those doubts . 

I was working in the week on the usual stuff I do (green space management) and came across this new development in Worcester Park (see below pics). To my mind it looked like a good example of the planning system working- looked like a good looking estate, new trees, nature reserve, good design- it looked impressive with a good balance for people and nature. So I do believe the planning system can work, it just hasn't worked round here yet. Let's hope that's where the judicial review comes in. Lets hope we can pull it off. 

Nature Reserve at the Hamptons
The Hamptons, Worcester Park- an example of an apparently well balanced development. Good design, attractive, provision for nature and profitable

Groundsel? Is it? Found this on the Mile Road Bridge this morning- already flowering. 

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