Cumbria CC Oppose Yorkshire Dales NP extension – as ‘it would inflate house prices’

Natural England have been consulting on extedning the Yorkshire Dales in the beautiful Orton Fells area

Cumbria County Councils cabinet has nopw formally objected.

The reasons given according to Place NW are:

The proposals involve the shift in planning and countryside access functions away from the council to the national park authorities. The changes would also affect rural communities and the wider Cumbrian public in a number of ways, including:

  • The likely limitations on housing growth and the implications for delivering housing in the Orton Fells area, where five villages have been identified as key local service centres.
  • The likelihood of affordable housing for those on low incomes becoming an even bigger problem, given the market premium attached to houses in or near national parks.
  • The potential negative impact on plans to improve the National Grid infrastructure and the high speed rail link in the M6 corridor through the Lune Gorge.
  • The increased democratic deficit, where decisions currently dealt with by elected county or district councillors would be taken by unelected members of the national park authorities.

None of these are material considerations under the CROW act, just like in the South Downs the local government objections will not turn on the real issues on which the case will be determined.

Full cabinet papers

Fosters Snarks at Ken Shuttleworth over who designed the Gherkin

Just who is responsible for a design these days, the person they drew the tracing paper sketch, the project architect, the lead on the scheme?

In any event it seems that Fosters is very narked at suggestions that he designed the Gherkin.

In the same way KIen used to get very narked at Norman earlier taking credit for it.

BD online comments

Key figures involved in the creation of 30 St Mary Axe – the Gherkin – have hit out at Ken Shuttleworth following repeated claims in the national press that he designed the landmark tower.

Shuttleworth, who founded Make after his acrimonious departure from Foster & Partners in 2003, was described in last Sunday’s Observer as “the creator” of the building following similar recent descriptions in the Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Evening Standard and the BBC website.

But the Observer’s failure to even mention Foster’s appeared to be the last straw for members of the team who delivered the Stirling Prize-winning scheme and who insist it was a team effort.

Many also objected to Shuttleworth’s comment in Building magazine last month in which he questioned its extensive use of glass and asked “why on earth did we do that?”

Former Foster’s director Robin Partington – who led the design team – flatly denied that Shuttleworth was the project’s designer, adding that he and Foster’s had previously remained silent for fear of stoking controversy.

“With a building like that you can never ever claim that one person was responsible for it,” he said. “It genuinely came out of Foster’s and I don’t think any other practice could have done it.

“For one person to claim ownership is not recognising what our profession does but this has been going on for years and years.

“I had a team of 15-20 people working on [the design] and they all deserve the credit.”

Partington was backed by client Swiss Re’s two successive project directors, Carla Picardi and Sara Fox, and by Richard Griffiths, whose firm RWG Associates acted as project manager on the tower.

“Time and wishful thinking have a habit of distorting the facts,” Griffiths said. “Ken did a sketch on a piece of tracing paper: the building was created by a team of very talented people employed by Foster & Partners, including Norman, engineers, construction people and, God forbid, cost consultants.”

Shuttleworth said he was mystified by the row, which he admitted has been simmering for almost a decade. “I’ve never said [I was the author], I just let it happen,” he said. “I was on the main board at Foster’s and I was the guy looking after the Gherkin.

“At the end of the day, I worked for Norman Foster. It was his office and he is the author of all these projects.”

A spokeswoman for Foster & Partners said it had written letters of correction on the issue.

In 2004 after Ken left to form Make he had him Photoshopped to the back of the crowd in a book of Fosters work.

But claiming credit for a building you did just a quick sketch for is par for the course with architects.  Phillip Johnson did it all the time.  Im with Laura Roberts on this one

I’m not one to applaud Shuttleworth at the moment with Make trying what seems to be on a monthly basis to spread a plague of their vile designs across London and the planning authorities seeming to want to roll over with a “yes, kill us please” mentality…. but if what Shuttleworth drew on that piece of tracing paper was a pointy round thing in the shape of gherkin, and all subsequent design evolutions and workings were based on his vision, and he was in charge of the project at Fosters, then I’ve got no problem with him being called the “creator” of it.

National Planning Policy Framework Forensics #56 Heritage

This section compares the NPPF draft to PPS5 (2010). This is one of the most up to date and most technical PPSs so any policy changes will be watched with great interest.


The ‘overarching aim’ is the same as PPS5.

The other objectives are taken from PSS5, the key loss is the stress on heritage assets are non-renewable resources, have wider social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits and that intelligently managed change may sometimes be necessary if heritage assets are to be maintained for the long term. This could well go in a preliminary paragraph. It is surprising also that the importance of heritage to our culture and character as a nation is not stressed. The paragraphs could apply to any country.

Heritage Asset Definition

This seems to have fallen off the latest leaked draft?

Conservation Strategies

Policy HE3 on conservation strategies is taken forward is a watered down form.  Though the link to local plans is not made clear and neither is the critical link of heritage to sense of place.

Information Requirements

Policy HE6 on information requirements is taken forward reasonably well, as is HE7.  Missing though is “Local planning authorities should take into account the desirability of new development making a positive contribution to the character and local distinctiveness of the historic environment” This is essential when dealing with gap sites in conservation areas.

Protection Policy

It is in this sphere where there has been the most dramatic change in policy.   Some would say the biggest downgrading of conservation protection in its history.

The key policy in PPS10 is para HE9.1

There should be a presumption in favour of the conservation of designated heritage assets and the more significant the designated heritage asset, the greater the presumption in favour of its conservation should be

The replacement wording in the practitioners draft ‘local planning authorities should favour the conservation of designated heritage assets. Any loss should require clear and convincing justification.’ & in the leaked draft ‘There is an expectation that designated heritage assets should be.- conserved. ,Any loss should require clear and convincing justification. The more significant the designation, the greater the expectation should be.’ are much weaker.

An ‘expectation’ is not as strong as a ‘presumption’. This wording is well understood as outweighing the presumption in favour of development, the onus of prrof is on the applicant. The less weighty ‘expectation’

The policy on a harmful impact on the significance of a designated heritage asset which is less than substantial harm (HE9.4) is not carried forward, this is rather important and should be.

In addition the following wording should be retained ‘Where an element does not positively contribute to [the significance of a conservation or or World Heritage Site ] local planning authorities should take into account the desirability of enhancing or better revealing the significance of the World Heritage Site or Conservation Area, including, where appropriate, through development of that element. This should be seen as part of the process of place-shaping.’

Partially in balence the ‘exceptional’, ‘wholly exceptional’ distinction in PPS10 for grade II*/I becomes ‘wholly exceptional’ for all.

Non-Designated Assets
The policy on non-designated heritage assets of archaeological interest is substantially the same as before.

Enabling development
All of the important provisos from HE11.1 are lost, this substantially water down the policy.For example the loss of ‘Where an element does not positively contribute
to its significance, local planning authorities should take into account the desirability of enhancing or better revealing the significance of the World Heritage
Site or Conservation Area, including, where appropriate, through development of that element. This should be seen as part of the process of place-shaping.

Phew 56 posts and we have reached the end.

Why the UK Debt Management Office should Destroy the Gilts it holds and solve the Sovereign Debt Crisis

A few weeks ago I suggested on here the idea that Gilts in the UK and Bonds in the US (and there equivalent including the ECB) in other countries should be destroyed these were bought with quantative easing and as their destruction would just be a bookeeping entry it would not be inflationary and would ease current future debt burdens in terms of payments on the maturity of these securities.

Others have had the same idea, including Maverick US presidential Candidate Ron Paul this has led to much head scrathing, this money would then be permanently in the money supply, it is an essentially keynsian measure.

Also endorsing the idea this week is Dr Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, DC.

The US Federal Reserve Board should destroy the government bonds it holds to resolve the impasse over the debt ceiling. This maverick move could allow the government to generate the demand needed to push the economy back toward full employment, without creating a major debt burden for future generations.
By Dean Baker for ISN Insights
Ron Paul is a long-serving representative in the US Congress. He is a committed libertarian who is now embarking on his third presidential campaign. He has built up a devoted political following over the years.
While many of his ideas are outside of the mainstream, that doesn’t mean that they do not deserve to be taken seriously. As a solution to the impasse over the debt ceiling in the United States, Paul suggested that the Federal Reserve Board destroy the $1.6 trillion in government bonds that it currently holds. This act would put the government far below its $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, providing perhaps two more years before any action would need to be taken to raise the ceiling again.
Destroying $1.6 trillion in government debt might seem far-fetched, but it actually makes a great deal of sense. The Fed acquired this huge stock of debt through its policy of quantitative easing. This was an effort to try to provide further stimulus to the economy after the short-term lending rate had already been pushed to zero. Since the short-term rate could not go any lower, the Fed bought up several trillion dollars of mortgage-backed securities and government bonds in order to directly lower long-term interest rates.
While the mortgage-backed securities are debt from private parties to the Fed, the bonds the Fed holds are literally money that the US government owes itself, since the Fed is a government agency. In fact, each year the Fed refunds back to the Treasury the interest earned on its assets in excess of its operating costs. This means that the interest that is paid on the bonds held by the Fed is effectively interest that the government is paying itself.
In this context, it is very difficult to see any downside to what would be no more than eliminating a bookkeeping entry. While the Fed would lose $1.6 trillion in assets, the government would lose $1.6 trillion in liabilities – and be suddenly far below the debt limit.
In addition to the short-term benefit of resolving the standoff over the debt ceiling, this move also has the great long-term benefit of reducing the government’s future interest burden. While the bonds do not create any net interest burden as long as they are held by the Fed, the plan is for the Fed to sell them off as the economy recovers. The Fed would do this to pull reserves out of the banking system, limiting its lending ability and thereby preventing inflation.
Once the bonds are in the hands of the private sector, they do create an interest burden for the government. While the Fed is currently expected to refund $80 billion to the Treasury in 2011, in 2017 it is projected to refund just $33 billion. The difference, of $47 billion, is lost revenue to the government.
However, if the Fed destroys the bonds that it currently holds, the interest on this debt can never be a burden to the government. The bonds would cease to exist.
This would mean that the Fed would not be able to sell bonds to pull reserves out of the banking system. However, it can accomplish the same result with a different tool. It can simply raise the reserve requirement, forcing banks to hold a larger fraction of their deposits on reserve.
Raising the reserve requirement can be just as effective as reducing the quantity of reserves in limiting lending. If the amount of reserves in the banking system is doubled, and the reserve requirement is also, then the banking system will just be able to make the same amount of loans. The big difference between these two paths is that the government would not have to pay as much interest on its debt, in the case where the volume of lending is limited by higher reserve requirements.
This is in effect exactly what we should want to see in this situation. The reason that the US government and other governments are running large deficits is because of the collapse in private sector spending. The deficits are supporting output and employment by filling the gap in demand. In normal times, deficits may be pulling away resources from the private sector and crowding out investment; this is not the case in the downturn. The deficit is sustaining demand and therefore most likely increasing private sector investment.
The one downside to this story is that the deficit is creating a tax burden for the future. However, if the government destroys the debt issued to finance its spending in the downturn, then the debt need not ever pose a tax burden.
The idea of effectively getting money for free may seem peculiar, but that is exactly the story of an economy that is below its full employment level of output. In such circumstances, the economy is not ‘supply constrained’. If there is more demand, there will be more output. The real waste in this context is the failure of the government to spend. In that case workers who have the skills and desire to work go unemployed, and factories and other facilities go idle.
Representative Paul’s proposal provides exactly the sort of mechanism that we should want to see in this situation. It allows the government to generate the demand needed to push the economy back toward full employment, without creating a major debt burden for future generations of taxpayers.

Now, this may not be exactly how Paul viewed his proposal. After all, he has a long history of hostility to the Fed as an institution. Two years ago he wrote a book titled End the Fed. But Paul’s motives don’t matter. This is a proposal that deserves to be taken seriously not just for the Fed, but by other central banks as well. The debt incurred to boost economies out of recessions should not place a burden on future taxpayers and we know how to prevent this from happening.

National Planning Policy Framework #55 Waste Management

This section compares the NPPF practitioners draft on waste with PPS10 (2005)

It should be said though that the latest leaked draft contains no section on waste at all just saying ‘The Framework does not contain specific waste policies, since national waste planning policy forms part of the National Waste Management Plan for England. However, local authorities preparing waste plans should have regard to policies in this Framework.’

This is a dangerous precedent as it completely delegates a section of planning policy to another government department; so why not do this for renewable energy, business, transport, heritage etc.

The current National Waste Strategy, this came out in 2007 – Waste Strategy for England, an integrated approach being required under the EU Framework Directive on Waste. So clearly PPS10 is out of date. The 2007 strategy though simply cross-refers back to PPS10.

The problem is further complicated by the new major infrastructure regime which requires national policy statements for some types of major waste installations.

DEFRA published a review of National Waste Policy in June 2011.

This however is a review of changes to policy not a replacement of the 2007 strategy. There is reference to a National Waste Management Plan.

The ‘Action Plan’ for this states The revised Waste Framework Directive requires each Member State to have one or more waste management plans in place. These must comply with the requirements set out in Article 28 of the Directive. Defra will be taking forward work to produce a National Waste Management Plan for England which will replace WS2007 as the “national waste management plan” for these purposes.’

The target in the action plan is Spring 2012. It is essential then that this is in place before the NPPF is finlised otherwise there will be a policy gap, or alternatively PPS10 should be ‘saved’ until the national waste action plan is ready.

The EU directive requires waste management plans (and there may be more than one) to have ‘sufficient information on the location criteria for site identification and on the capacity of future disposal or major recovery installations, if necessary;& general waste management policies, including planned waste management technologies and methods, or policies for waste posing specific management problems.’

It is much easier than if waste management plans, at national and local level, are comprehensive on waste matters, in order to demonstrate the compliance with the directive.

This begs a question should waste DPDs be integrated into local waste management plans? Well yes, and this will require primary legislation. Also as the SEA of the management plans will depend on the sites chosen the choose technology then choose site approach could easily be subject to challenge. It is very likely in the future the two processes will need to be integrated i.e. make preliminary assessment of technology, assess sites, make final choice of sites and technology in light of SEA. This will be further complicated by the need to tender, and various tenderers bringing forward their own sites.

Referring specifically to changes to waste planning in the new regime one matter that is not clear is that of timescale and interegional apportionment. PPS10 currently requires a 15-20 year time horizon for targets and interegional apportionments, and 10 years for local provision.

There is nothing in the NPPF about what time-scale waste should be planned for and how interregional waste transfer issues will be resolved. These currently occur over some distances (e.g. landfill from London to Bedfordshire). The government will need to intervene in cases where disputes cannot be resolved as a failure to arrive at a plan would be a breach of the EU framework directive on waste. What is more the RSS targets and apportionments are currently part of the national waste plan as required by the EU directive. The abolition of RSS would lead to the dropping of a critical part of the national waste plan, not due to be replaced until Spring of 2012 if at all (it is not clear if the National Waste Management Plan for England will deal with interegional targets and appoortionnments and whether this will be subject to an SEA), and this would be a clear breach of article 28 of directive 2008/98/EC. Therefore RSS cannot be abolished without replacement as this would be contrary to european law on waste management.

The practitioners draft mentions the waste hierarchy and proximity principle (though the proximity principle was curiously omitted from PPS10 as it would form part of the National Waste Strategy).

The key point about the roles of planning are twofold. Firstly to require land to be made available, this will require integration of waste plans and other DPDs, secondly the broad principles on which applications are to be decided.

On the first point the NPPF rightly requires LPAs to ‘identify sufficient opportunities to meet the identified needs of their area for waste management for all waste streams over the plan period’ This should go on to add ‘ensuring land is safeguarded for this purpose from other land uses. The planning for waste and other land uses need to take place in an integrated manner’. The risk is that if the government declares open season on land for industry to go over to housing there will no longer be any sites for waste, and this again would be a breach of the EU directive.

As worded the phrasing to ‘identify the type or types of waste management facility that would be appropriate for defined sites and areas.’ needs to be redrafted to fit with the broad technology neutral approach of the national waste strategy and its update.

The site identification criteria are pretty much the same as PPS10 but as across the board removes the preference for previously developed land.

Three critical sections on application determination need to be carried over. Firstly from para 22 of PPS10 that applications on sites in line with an up to date development plan don’t need to demonstrate market need. Secondly from para 31 the need to avoid local health and epidemiological studies. And finally para 26.

In considering planning applications for waste management facilities, waste planning authorities should concern themselves with implementing the planning strategy in the development plan and not with the control of processes which are a matter for the pollution control authorities.

Polar Bears Really Did Once Swim up the Nene

Despite what Alan Melton, outspoken leader of Fenland District thinks, Polar Bears really did once swim up the river Nene, as recently as 50,000 years ago.


According to the Telegraph

All polar bears originate from a single ancestor which lived in Britain or Ireland about 50,000 years ago, according to DNA study by scientists.

New evidence from fossils found in Irish caves shows that modern polar bars evolved from a single female brown bear at the peak of the last ice age.
Despite the significant differences between polar bears, which are expert swimmers, and brown bears, which are better climbers, the species have often come into contact over the past 100,000 years during periods of unusually hot or cold weather.

A genetic marker carried by every polar bear alive today proves that they all descend from the same female brown bear, who bred with a polar bear to create hybrid offspring.

It had been assumed that this took place in Alaska 14,000 years ago, but now analysis of 242 brown bear and polar bear DNA samples from the past 120,000 years show the hybridisation of the two species occurred much earlier.
Fossils found in Irish caves show that polar bears in fact began carrying the DNA of the female brown bear between 20,000 and 50,000 years ago, before brown bears disappeared from the British Isles.

The study, led by Dr Beth Shapiro of Penn State University in the USA and Prof Daniel Bradley of Trinity College Dublin, was published in the journal Current Biology.
Dr Shapiro said: “Previous research has indicated that the brown bear contributed genetic material to the polar bear’s mitochondrial lineage – the DNA that is passed exclusively from mothers to offspring.
“But, until now, it was unclear just when modern polar bears acquired their mitochondrial genome in its present form.”

Will now geneticists and palaeonologists join archaeologists on Mr Melton’s hit lit?

Also Private Eye reports that Eric Pickles, Mr Metlton’s hero, considers Mr Melton an ‘irrantent’, who needs to be ‘put back in his box’ theres localism for you.