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Newbury Today Forum _ Random Rants _ Water and hills

Posted by: SirWilliam Jul 9 2017, 07:07 PM


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-40547691

So some bright spark has decided that our beloved Lake District should be given UNESCO status.

Now I am all for conservation but history shows us that when we place these things in the hands of people who live miles away then it is a recipe for disaster, ( a bit like the pricks in Westminster ). Most people only visit the lakes in summer but it is a landscape forged by millenniums of weather, ( usually VERY wet ), hill farming and a singular lack of human intervention.

I do like the passing reference to Stonehenge and, as anyone who has had the misfortune to drive down that way of late will testify, what a pig's ear they have achieved with that.

Posted by: On the edge Jul 9 2017, 08:09 PM

QUOTE (SirWilliam @ Jul 9 2017, 08:07 PM) *
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-40547691

So some bright spark has decided that our beloved Lake District should be given UNESCO status.

Now I am all for conservation but history shows us that when we place these things in the hands of people who live miles away then it is a recipe for disaster, ( a bit like the pricks in Westminster ). Most people only visit the lakes in summer but it is a landscape forged by millenniums of weather, ( usually VERY wet ), hill farming and a singular lack of human intervention.

I do like the passing reference to Stonehenge and, as anyone who has had the misfortune to drive down that way of late will testify, what a pig's ear they have achieved with that.


Bit of a circular argument there Sir, a good few would claim that in such places it's the locals wot do the damage. 'Just a few extra square feet in my cafe' and 'desperately needed accommodation for my family' and 'social housing for local poor people'. What's so wrong with market forces here? Let the customers decide.

Posted by: SirWilliam Jul 10 2017, 10:12 AM

QUOTE (On the edge @ Jul 9 2017, 09:09 PM) *
Bit of a circular argument there Sir, a good few would claim that in such places it's the locals wot do the damage. 'Just a few extra square feet in my cafe' and 'desperately needed accommodation for my family' and 'social housing for local poor people'. What's so wrong with market forces here? Let the customers decide.



This is why I cited Stonehenge as the model. When it was a few sarsen stones in a field visited by unruly school kids and a few odd bods who called themselves Druids / new age travellers etc it had little or no impact on either the local economy or traffic. Then the boys in beige built a monstrosity called a visitors centre, closed off a main road and caused a continual traffic jam which they propose rectifying by building a multi-million pound, ( read taxpayer footed ), tunnel. The impact on the area has little or no advantages but an awful lot of detriment to the overall ambience.

Not the best of credentials for an organisation that supposedly has "conservation" as it's raison d'etre.

Posted by: Berkshirelad Jul 10 2017, 12:56 PM

Grammar Police Warning

The plural of millennium is millennia

Posted by: Andy Capp Jul 10 2017, 04:49 PM

QUOTE (Berkshirelad @ Jul 10 2017, 01:56 PM) *
Grammar Police Warning

The plural of millennium is millennia

From what I read, both are OK.

Posted by: Simon Kirby Jul 10 2017, 05:14 PM

QUOTE (SirWilliam @ Jul 9 2017, 08:07 PM) *
Now I am all for conservation but history shows us that when we place these things in the hands of people who live miles away then it is a recipe for disaster, ( a bit like the pricks in Westminster ). Most people only visit the lakes in summer but it is a landscape forged by millenniums of weather, ( usually VERY wet ), hill farming and a singular lack of human intervention.

If I remember my O'level geography right, the Lake District is a landscape forged by glaciation rather than weather as such.

Do you have specific examples of "these things" that have ended in disaster at the "hands of people who live miles away"?

Posted by: Simon Kirby Jul 10 2017, 05:37 PM

QUOTE (SirWilliam @ Jul 10 2017, 11:12 AM) *
This is why I cited Stonehenge as the model. When it was a few sarsen stones in a field visited by unruly school kids and a few odd bods who called themselves Druids / new age travellers etc it had little or no impact on either the local economy or traffic. Then the boys in beige built a monstrosity called a visitors centre, closed off a main road and caused a continual traffic jam ...

Sorry, but this isn't true. From Wikipedia:

QUOTE (Wikipedia A303 Road)
Since the 1950s, the A303 has been criticised for being inadequate for the level of traffic along it. In 1959, it was reported that a typical queue for holiday traffic along the road could be as much as 15 miles (24 km).[28] As of 2016, over 35 miles (56 km) of the road west of Amesbury remains single carriageway, interrupted by various sections of dual carriageway. The switches between the latter to the former act as bottlenecks and are major sources of congestion along the route.

Posted by: SirWilliam Jul 10 2017, 06:17 PM

QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Jul 10 2017, 06:37 PM) *
Sorry, but this isn't true. From Wikipedia:



Sorry ! Obviously Wikipedia knows more than someone who actually lived close by for a number of years, ( 70's). They didn't have Specsavers then, rolleyes.gif
Seriously though, the 303 was the main artery, along with the A30, to the West Country, and yes it was busy but that was due in part to being single carriageway for most of its length. The addition of dual carriageway sections has had the effect of causing a "wave flow" in the traffic, and as any budding physicist will tell you if you pour milk too quickly into a bottle some will spill over.

On a side issue, though relevant to the original post, the problem has been exacerbated by those who think they know how to manage these things as opposed to actually knowing.

Posted by: SirWilliam Jul 10 2017, 06:46 PM

QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Jul 10 2017, 06:14 PM) *
If I remember my O'level geography right, the Lake District is a landscape forged by glaciation rather than weather as such.

Do you have specific examples of "these things" that have ended in disaster at the "hands of people who live miles away"?



On the first point, the contours may not have altered a great deal in 10,000 years but the fauna and flora certainly has, and this is due in main to those who have lived and worked here over the centuries.

On the second? everything! angry.gif

Posted by: je suis Charlie Jul 10 2017, 06:56 PM

QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Jul 10 2017, 05:14 PM) *
If I remember my O'level geography right, the Lake District is a landscape forged by glaciation rather than weather as such.

And water erosion, and frost erosion, oh and copper mining, lots n lots of that!

Posted by: SirWilliam Jul 10 2017, 07:12 PM

QUOTE (je suis Charlie @ Jul 10 2017, 07:56 PM) *
And water erosion, and frost erosion, oh and copper mining, lots n lots of that!



https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj7rKmTtP_UAhXJIsAKHevsB3oQFggoMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cumbria-industries.org.uk%2Fa-z-of-industries%2Fcopper%2F&usg=AFQjCNGbsyvxsmq066CrGdGNHjdhqKst4w

Lot of interesting facts on the subject here.

Posted by: Simon Kirby Jul 10 2017, 07:13 PM

QUOTE (je suis Charlie @ Jul 10 2017, 07:56 PM) *
And water erosion, and frost erosion, oh and copper mining, lots n lots of that!

No, the landscape is basically glacial with U-shaped valleys.

Posted by: Simon Kirby Jul 10 2017, 07:23 PM

QUOTE (SirWilliam @ Jul 10 2017, 07:17 PM) *
On a side issue, though relevant to the original post, the problem has been exacerbated by those who think they know how to manage these things as opposed to actually knowing.

Yes, you said that, but you haven't shown that to be true, and your example of the traffic jams on the A303 being caused by the visitor center is not supported by the evidence.

Posted by: Biker1 Jul 11 2017, 05:08 AM

QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Jul 10 2017, 08:23 PM) *
Yes, you said that, but you haven't shown that to be true, and your example of the traffic jams on the A303 being caused by the visitor center is not supported by the evidence.

Grammar Police warning!!
It's actually "centre" on this side of the Atlantic!! tongue.gif
Oh and I thought the closure of the A360 at Stonehenge was done in an attempt to alleviate the jams there on the A303?

Posted by: Simon Kirby Jul 11 2017, 06:30 AM

QUOTE (Biker1 @ Jul 11 2017, 06:08 AM) *
Grammar Police warning!!
It's actually "centre" on this side of the Atlantic!! tongue.gif

Give over, do we really need to nit-pick over spelling?


QUOTE (Biker1 @ Jul 11 2017, 06:08 AM) *
Oh and I thought the closure of the A360 at Stonehenge was done in an attempt to alleviate the jams there on the A303?

I wouldn't know, but the point is that the A303 has suffered from traffic jams for decades because it's a largely single-lane road that carries heavy traffic and because people have a tendency to slow right down to have a good look at the stones as they pass. Sir William's argument was that the traffic jams were caused by the visitor cente but the traffic jams existed decades before it was built and this spurious example was his only support for his argument that UNESCO would be bad for the Lake District.

Posted by: blackdog Jul 11 2017, 08:04 AM

QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Jul 10 2017, 06:37 PM) *
Sorry, but this isn't true. From Wikipedia:


I remember one of those queues - caused by the bottleneck at the traffic lights in the middle of Andover every warm bank holiday weekend - nowhere near Stonehenge.

I also remember clambering over the fallen stones at Stonehenge, a far better 'visitor experience' than today.

Posted by: blackdog Jul 11 2017, 08:12 AM

QUOTE (On the edge @ Jul 9 2017, 09:09 PM) *
Bit of a circular argument there Sir, a good few would claim that in such places it's the locals wot do the damage. 'Just a few extra square feet in my cafe' and 'desperately needed accommodation for my family' and 'social housing for local poor people'. What's so wrong with market forces here? Let the customers decide.


Market forces would ensure that houses were built all over the landscape, richer folk buying a nice view, poorer folk pushed out. Until of course, the views ceased to be nice owing to the encroaching housing estates. Market forces gave us the American suburban landscape - truly hideous; thankfully they came up with the idea of national parks to ensure that a few places would be spared market forces - one of the best US inventions.

Posted by: SirWilliam Jul 11 2017, 10:37 AM

QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Jul 11 2017, 07:30 AM) *
Give over, do we really need to nit-pick over spelling?



I wouldn't know, but the point is that the A303 has suffered from traffic jams for decades because it's a largely single-lane road that carries heavy traffic and because people have a tendency to slow right down to have a good look at the stones as they pass. Sir William's argument was that the traffic jams were caused by the visitor cente but the traffic jams existed decades before it was built and this spurious example was his only support for his argument that UNESCO would be bad for the Lake District.


My submission is that placing it under the auspices of an "outside" organisation does not in itself guarantee the continuation of the status quo. Is it of greater importance to generate prosperity in an area or maintain it like a museum frozen in time?
Little doubt World Heritage Status will assist the local economy but the cost to the environment is the footprint of the increase in countless walkers on the fells.
The "visitor centre" at Stonehenge is a monstrous blot on the landscape as opposed to a direct contributor to the traffic chaos. If the stones were not there the problem would still exist. Based on that premise if we moved Winterbourne Stoke and upgraded the 303 to dual carriageway for its entire length then it would benefit many, ( as did the Newbury bypass ), but is it right?

Incidentally, I have given your question over evidential support a little thought and to be honest most of it is anecdotal and therefore of little clout. Let us return to this in 100 years and see.

Posted by: On the edge Jul 11 2017, 03:50 PM

QUOTE (blackdog @ Jul 11 2017, 09:12 AM) *
Market forces would ensure that houses were built all over the landscape, richer folk buying a nice view, poorer folk pushed out. Until of course, the views ceased to be nice owing to the encroaching housing estates. Market forces gave us the American suburban landscape - truly hideous; thankfully they came up with the idea of national parks to ensure that a few places would be spared market forces - one of the best US inventions.


Surely our existing legislation deals with the potential for over development. In the case of the Lake District it's reinforced by the National Park rules as well. Arguably, by applying the UNESCO status, the Chairman is insulting our Governance by implying we can't or won't protect this area ourselves, so like some third world republic, we need help.

Posted by: Biker1 Jul 11 2017, 06:17 PM

QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Jul 11 2017, 07:30 AM) *
Give over, do we really need to nit-pick over spelling?

Wasn't me that started it on this thread!
Didn't you spot the tongue-in-cheek emoticon?? laugh.gif

Posted by: Simon Kirby Jul 11 2017, 06:59 PM

QUOTE (Biker1 @ Jul 11 2017, 07:17 PM) *
Wasn't me that started it on this thread!
Didn't you spot the tongue-in-cheek emoticon?? laugh.gif

Fair enough. wink.gif

Posted by: Simon Kirby Jul 11 2017, 07:10 PM

QUOTE (SirWilliam @ Jul 11 2017, 11:37 AM) *
My submission is that placing it under the auspices of an "outside" organisation does not in itself guarantee the continuation of the status quo. Is it of greater importance to generate prosperity in an area or maintain it like a museum frozen in time?
Little doubt World Heritage Status will assist the local economy but the cost to the environment is the footprint of the increase in countless walkers on the fells.
The "visitor centre" at Stonehenge is a monstrous blot on the landscape as opposed to a direct contributor to the traffic chaos. If the stones were not there the problem would still exist. Based on that premise if we moved Winterbourne Stoke and upgraded the 303 to dual carriageway for its entire length then it would benefit many, ( as did the Newbury bypass ), but is it right?

Incidentally, I have given your question over evidential support a little thought and to be honest most of it is anecdotal and therefore of little clout. Let us return to this in 100 years and see.

I don't think your A303 example helps your argument.

Whether or not the UNESCO WHS designation helps or hinders the landscape, inhabitants, and visitors is open for debate and I suggest it depends very much on your perspective.

Posted by: blackdog Jul 12 2017, 06:32 PM

QUOTE (On the edge @ Jul 11 2017, 04:50 PM) *
Surely our existing legislation deals with the potential for over development. In the case of the Lake District it's reinforced by the National Park rules as well. Arguably, by applying the UNESCO status, the Chairman is insulting our Governance by implying we can't or won't protect this area ourselves, so like some third world republic, we need help.


Yes, thankfully our existing legislation protects against the market forces you were promoting. UNESCO status is an irrelevance in those terms - it's benefits will be a slight increase in the promotion of the area as a tourist destination - in essence defeating its own aims if those aims are the protection of a rural landscape.

Interesting point though, does UNESCO status have any impact in British/European law?

Posted by: Simon Kirby Jul 12 2017, 06:54 PM

QUOTE (blackdog @ Jul 12 2017, 07:32 PM) *
Interesting point though, does UNESCO status have any impact in British/European law?

It's managed through the usual planning legislation, much like an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The National Park designation already provides good protection and like you say the WHS designation is just kudos.

Posted by: On the edge Jul 12 2017, 09:40 PM

QUOTE (blackdog @ Jul 12 2017, 07:32 PM) *
Yes, thankfully our existing legislation protects against the market forces you were promoting. UNESCO status is an irrelevance in those terms - it's benefits will be a slight increase in the promotion of the area as a tourist destination - in essence defeating its own aims if those aims are the protection of a rural landscape.

Interesting point though, does UNESCO status have any impact in British/European law?


To be honest, it was more a poor attempt at irony on my part; driven by the erosion of the 'Green Belt' paricularly round London. I suspect UNESCO status has absolutely no impact on English law; save as a component of pleadings in defence of any proposed incursion, which gives a little more strength to those seeking to protect. As countless examples even round here demonstrate, we are pretty cavalier when it comes to protecting such areas.

Posted by: SirWilliam Sep 13 2017, 10:06 AM

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-41227359

1.6 billion just in case the sun decides to show it's face in the middle of December ? Plotus Lostus comes to mind .

Yes the 303 has a problem that needs addressing , and it aint going to be cheap but for that sort of money they could upgrade to dual carriageway from Amesbury to Honiton , including a new section going North of Winterbourne Stoke .

Why does traffic use this route over M4 / M5 when everyone knows they are going to be held up anyway ?

I surmise that if you are using someone elses money all they need to do is have austerity for another 20 years and it will be paid for . angry.gif

Posted by: Biker1 Sep 13 2017, 11:24 AM

QUOTE (SirWilliam @ Sep 13 2017, 11:06 AM) *
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-41227359
Why does traffic use this route over M4 / M5 when everyone knows they are going to be held up anyway ?

I should imagine that one of the reasons is that it is about 35 miles shorter.
In these days of major concern about the emissions of cars (ref. the diesel debarcle!) maybe folks think this matters?
Also, if everyone currently using the 303 switched to M4/5 then I would imagine that they would become a car park themselves?

As an aside there was one comment from someone on the Jeremy Vine show yesterday who declared he wanted things to remain as they are as he and his kids enjoyed the slow ride past the monument and that this was of historical value to his children!! wink.gif laugh.gif

Posted by: On the edge Sep 13 2017, 01:45 PM

Surprises me that no one has suggested moving the stones.

Posted by: newres Sep 13 2017, 04:09 PM

QUOTE (On the edge @ Sep 13 2017, 02:45 PM) *
Surprises me that no one has suggested moving the stones.

And the mountains as let's be honest they aren't in a very convenient location. My suggestion would be a straight swap with the Chilterns and that way they'd be more convenient for us in the south and I doubt the northerners would mind as whippets aren't good on mountains.

Posted by: SirWilliam Sep 13 2017, 05:08 PM

QUOTE (On the edge @ Sep 13 2017, 02:45 PM) *
Surprises me that no one has suggested moving the stones.


If stone age man can, ( supposedly ), drag the wretched things all the way from Wales , a low loader should have no problem taking them back .

On a par with the Elgin marbles it's a wonder that the Welsh office hasn't already petitioned . We could throw in Avebury stones as a gesture of goodwill . rolleyes.gif

Posted by: On the edge Sep 14 2017, 03:15 PM

QUOTE (SirWilliam @ Sep 13 2017, 06:08 PM) *
If stone age man can, ( supposedly ), drag the wretched things all the way from Wales , a low loader should have no problem taking them back .

On a par with the Elgin marbles it's a wonder that the Welsh office hasn't already petitioned . We could throw in Avebury stones as a gesture of goodwill . rolleyes.gif


On the matter of the marbles, given the state of the Greek economy, now would be a good time to offer them a few bob to settle the sale question once and for all. We could do it via their EU bankers whilst we are still technically 'in' and knock it off our final settlement. Job done; triples all round.

Posted by: SirWilliam Sep 14 2017, 05:22 PM

QUOTE (On the edge @ Sep 14 2017, 04:15 PM) *
On the matter of the marbles, given the state of the Greek economy, now would be a good time to offer them a few bob to settle the sale question once and for all. We could do it via their EU bankers whilst we are still technically 'in' and knock it off our final settlement. Job done; triples all round.


Not such a daft idea OTE . Certainly it is something on the table which at the moment seems singularly lacking . cool.gif

Posted by: newres Sep 15 2017, 06:44 AM

QUOTE (SirWilliam @ Sep 14 2017, 06:22 PM) *
Not such a daft idea OTE . Certainly it is something on the table which at the moment seems singularly lacking . cool.gif

Why not just give 'em back?

Posted by: SirWilliam Sep 15 2017, 08:19 AM

QUOTE (newres @ Sep 15 2017, 07:44 AM) *
Why not just give 'em back?


Which ? Stonehenge or the Parthenon coving ?
Next we will be returning the Moon rocks . rolleyes.gif

Posted by: newres Sep 15 2017, 11:21 AM

QUOTE (SirWilliam @ Sep 15 2017, 09:19 AM) *
Which ? Stonehenge or the Parthenon coving ?
Next we will be returning the Moon rocks . rolleyes.gif

They were taken from Greece whilst it was occupied by the Turks. If I'd bought a bit of French property from the Nazis in WW2, should I not feel a moral duty to return it to the people the Nazis took it from?

Posted by: SirWilliam Sep 15 2017, 11:36 AM

QUOTE (newres @ Sep 15 2017, 12:21 PM) *
They were taken from Greece whilst it was occupied by the Turks. If I'd bought a bit of French property from the Nazis in WW2, should I not feel a moral duty to return it to the people the Nazis took it from?


" Victoribus Spolia " seems in bad taste in today's world but it is a sad reality . I agree that they would probably be better off in a Greek museum but I can't see it happening .

Posted by: On the edge Sep 15 2017, 01:07 PM

QUOTE (newres @ Sep 15 2017, 12:21 PM) *
They were taken from Greece whilst it was occupied by the Turks. If I'd bought a bit of French property from the Nazis in WW2, should I not feel a moral duty to return it to the people the Nazis took it from?


Rather different situation; the Marbles were purchased by agreement from a legitimate civil authority in a time of peace. Rather like our dear Government selling off our assets at knock down prices back in the 1980s. Now, there's a thought, perhaps we should be demanding the return of our airports and such like back from their continental owners. laugh.gif

Posted by: newres Sep 15 2017, 01:30 PM

QUOTE (On the edge @ Sep 15 2017, 02:07 PM) *
Rather different situation; the Marbles were purchased by agreement from a legitimate civil authority in a time of peace. Rather like our dear Government selling off our assets at knock down prices back in the 1980s. Now, there's a thought, perhaps we should be demanding the return of our airports and such like back from their continental owners. laugh.gif

Well there are a lot of arguments that could be made there, but imagine the British Government selling off Treasures from Northern Ireland during the troubles. "Legitimate" on the face of it, but it would be inappropriate to be selling off treasures (not that I can think of any).

Morally, they should be returned. And the Greeks argue that it wasn't a genuine sale I believe.

Posted by: On the edge Sep 15 2017, 03:14 PM

QUOTE (newres @ Sep 15 2017, 02:30 PM) *
Well there are a lot of arguments that could be made there, but imagine the British Government selling off Treasures from Northern Ireland during the troubles. "Legitimate" on the face of it, but it would be inappropriate to be selling off treasures (not that I can think of any).

Morally, they should be returned. And the Greeks argue that it wasn't a genuine sale I believe.


Depends what you mean by 'treasures' of course, I tend to think that a network of very useful pipes which have been running round London for many years a 'national treasure' and should not have been sold to foreign interests. The Indians are calling for the return of the Imperial State Crown which they 'gave' their Emperor at the turn of the last centuary. Presumably the Greeks will be willing to recompense nations disadvantaged when they themselves had imperial designs. So, where does one stop?

If it wasn't a genuine sale, then the Ottoman Empire did have a legal system just as we had. Litigation could have been commenced in either jurisdiction; no one is above the law.....or is it just the decisions they don't like!

Posted by: Turin Machine Sep 15 2017, 03:20 PM

Being Welsh I demand that the bluestones be returned. Forthwith. 🐉

Posted by: SirWilliam Sep 15 2017, 05:52 PM

QUOTE (Turin Machine @ Sep 15 2017, 04:20 PM) *
Being Welsh I demand that the bluestones be returned. Forthwith. 🐉


Being English I concur . wink.gif

Posted by: newres Sep 15 2017, 06:45 PM

Being English I demand the Welsh be returned.

Posted by: Turin Machine Sep 15 2017, 09:41 PM

QUOTE (newres @ Sep 15 2017, 07:45 PM) *
Being English I demand the Welsh be returned.

To POWAAH. I concur.

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