Sunday, 14 March 2010

Economy versus environment

I grew up in Manchester. There are some parks but apart from that there are not many green bits. I could recognise some wildlife but pigeon was the main type of bird. The road names gave away the type of area that I lived in. Forge Lane, Pit Street, Tanhouse Road, Brick Street, Gas Street.

After twenty years I moved to east Lancashire and I found some natural green bits there. After another twenty years I moved to Morecambe. There are less green bits here but it is more than compensated for by the views over Morecambe Bay.

My primary school was at the end of a cul-de-sac. The M60 now runs past it and I don't think the hard shoulder is more than 20yards from the school. My first house in east Lancashire had fine views at the front and the back if you like to look at rows of terraced houses.

I am not looking for sympathy. I am setting the scene for opposing Nimby opinions. Most rail lines and roads are built with consideration for the view. Napoleon built roads that are tree-lined. They protect the traveller from the sun and the walker is spared the view of the road. We do this now with the added consideration for the environment. Everyone is talking about offsetting the carbon footprint but the trees also offer some protection from sound as well as the view.

There are arguments for protecting areas of outstanding beauty, but they have to be balanced with arguments for improving the infrastructure and the economy. A view of another house is really not so bad. Compare that with no home and no job and any house is wonderful.

Change the world

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