In the current furore around the future of our countryside – treasure or sacrificial lamb – it's more important than ever to be clear that the debate is not solely about the rights and wrongs of major infrastructure projects (though some like the much-rejected Thames Estuary Airport are rotten to the core) – but how we decide which ones to back and which ones to avoid.
I’ve been planning to blog about Crossrail for a few weeks – ever since the news of the start of tunnelling was released. Now, the extra rail capacity for London is welcome... but there is another aspect to the Crossrail project that is very close to our hearts: the material that the monster moles are going to produce is going to help form one of our most exciting projects – the Wallasea Island Wild Coast project.
Big projects drive big emotions. I haven’t been to London since Kings Cross was finished – and I’m really looking forward to standing and admiring its vaulted newness. The whole St Pancras Kings Cross development bursts with pride – for London and wider across Britain. But then so does (or should) our fantastic countryside.
Carelessly trading off one against the other is short-termism of the worst kind. As the Prime Minister softens the country up to a potential onslaught on our countryside – the need for robust, progressive regulation and rules that seek to force wise decision making are needed now more than ever.
Tomorrow spring starts – and the Chancellor will sing from the dispatch box as he sets out a budget of unprecedented significance for us all – and the natural world.
There’s still time to e-mail the Chancellor – here’s how. There’s rarely been a more important time to step up for nature.
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