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The truths they don't want you to read....

Friday, January 21, 2011

No National Park in Harris

So Roseanna Cunningham can make up her mind, just this time she is rejecting the aspiration for Harris to become a National Park.

I've always had concerns about the impact that this would have on future developments in the area - not the current plans and hopes, but the things we don't yet know about, but it was more a series of worries than opposition to the idea.

Still, looking at the reasons, I am puzzled by the logic, which I think may come back to haunt the Minister, and her representatives in the Western Isles:
"In the absence of council support and within the context of the tight financial pressures facing Scotland, proceeding with the formal statutory process would be premature, create unwarranted expectations and cause confusion.
Leave the Council's position aside for one moment.

Since when has the budget process been an issue in assessing the appropriateness of awarding an area National Park status?  I thought the decision was based upon environmental and socio-economic factors rather than whether the Civil Servants could find the necessary cash to pump into the area.

Of course there is an issue about sustainability - which means cash - as well as the management and control - which means cash - of the designated area, but it either meets the statutory conditions or it doesn't.

In this case, it looks like Harris meets the conditions, but the Government won't give it the money: so let's make that a "No" then.

The Hearachs will be bemused to think that they might be 'confused' by a statutory process, the poor uneducated peasants that they are; but I am sure that there are a few consultants from Edinburgh that the Government could appoint to make sure that they understood what they were asking for; and that the whole process was explained in simple terms to the poor simple souls.

More than anything, the decision betrays the mindset in Edinburgh towards the periphery; a mindset that appears pervasive through the Civil Servants and their (nominal) masters, the Government.


Anonymous said...

As the muppet said:

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan said: "Obviously some islanders had concerns about the implications of national park status and I would be hopeful that negotiations with the government would respect and engage with all of the community regardless of how they voted.

"However, the people of Harris have sent out a very clear signal today that they want new life and prosperity for one of Scotland's most fragile island communities."

No new life or prosperity for Harris, then, thanks to the SNP.

Anonymous said...

Or here, as Tintin boasted about what he was going to do for Harris:

Commenting on the results of the ballot Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan said: “I am delighted that this result is a decisive one. On a 70% turnout 732 people voted yes to 311 voting no. This allows the local steering group to pursue this issue with Government. It is worth stressing that this idea has not come from Edinburgh but from the community itself. Outgoing Environment Minister, Mike Russell, made clear that he would engage very positively with any plan for a national park but had no interest in forcing one on Harris against its will.

“I will now be seeking a meeting between the new Environment Minister, Roseanna Cunningham, the Steering Group and myself to help plan the way ahead.

Can we see the correspondence and hear the detail of the talks? Probably not, as he was told what to do and say and think as usual.

And as usual he will obey, without a word of criticism.

Anonymous said...

So, Harris wants a designation and they won't grant it, and Barra doesn't want one but they're hell bent on giving us it!

Can we do a swap?

Anonymous said...

Joined up thinking??? or as Snooker would say where's the math & logic of keeping a school open then refusing the status to attract growth & development thence young couples and families to the area, Manford & Maclean did'nt see this own goal coming from within.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps they are waiting to make the whole of the Western Isles a National Park..........

Anonymous said...

As 6.10 has pointed out, why get up everyone's noses in Barra and do the same in Harris? How to win friends and influence people or how to keep your options open if you want to route DC through Harris via pylons and cables.

Anonymous said...

Remarkably understandable info. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Or the resurrection of Lingerbay Super Quarry?

Anonymous said...

There were many reasons to grant Harris National Park status however there were also many reasons not to. The uncertainly of what developments would be allowed and the extra red tape that National Park status would almost certainly bring with it is at the top of the list of concerns. A National Park is a pretty significant title and ‘tight financial pressures’ should have absolutely nothing to do with it.

However there is another issue that was a fundamental flaw of this bid. What defines a National Park should have absolutely nothing to do with council ward boundaries. The geographical, wildlife & environmental reasons for the park should have been identified and these definitions then used to determine the park boundaries. So it may well have taken in part of Uig also for example whist possibly leaving out parts of Harris. That would have avoided unnecessary planning and development red tape to certain areas whilst still having National Park status for the areas that really deserve it.

Anonymous said...

10:16 You wrote

"Or the resurrection of Lingerbay Super Quarry?"

Strangely coincidental timing. Have you been reading what I was reading last thursday?

Anonymous said...

@1:08pm So the fundamental flaw in this plan is that it didn't encapsulate Uig??? Seem to remember Uig robbed them St. Kilda Centre and now you're suggesting they should be part of their idea for a National Park. They'll be delighted with that suggestion!

Anonymous said...

Ya wana read all the words of the posting?

My suggestion is that the boundaries should be carefully thought out and 'may' encompass Uig, it may also encompass Pairc, the sound of Harris, etc, etc. Or it may not. But it needs to be discussed.

I don't think it should be based on the Historic dividing line between Lewis & Harris or sour grapes of a bad judgement on the St Kilda centre.

Looks like you are assuming I am not from Harris.