I watched a bit of the inquiry yesterday and was surprised by a few things:https://dpea.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/409100
- I didn't realise it would be essentially like a court case with cross examination! I thought the Ministers would be leading the questioning, but from what I watched, it seemed like the legal team from the applicant were trying to poke holes in the arguments of the scientific interest of the site - Yikes! I would not want to be questioned by that Ms. Wilson (think that's her name) - holy smokes, she was making me nervous.
- There are documents galore! How could anyone keep up with all there is to read? They were referring to so many different letters, it would be impossible to keep up, unless this was your full-time job
The more I watched, the more I realised I see both sides of the argument. From a selfish perspective, I'd love there to be a golf course there. Looking specifically at the special scientific interest of the site, a few things became clear:
- There is no way that the developers can legitimately say that building the course on the site will have the same or more positive impact on the entire site, than if it was left in its current site. The site is accepted by both sides to generally be in decline as it relates to its SSSI, but as the Professor being questioned said, the scales are not even even close to being comparable.
- That said, it became painfully clear that the site has been left abandoned. I normally wouldn't think this is a big deal as I am of the thinking that you should 'let nature be nature'. But the SNH and all the opposing forces have lauded on about how vital this particular site is for both the dunes and the wildlife it shelters, and yet, since 1973 the site seems to be in steady decline with loss of dune land (debatable by both sides) and increase in invasive specie (not debatable), which threatens the wildlife they seem so set on protecting, and the stability of the dune system.
If the course doesn't go ahead, and I can see arguments why this should be the case, then the SNH and other bodies must respond by ensuring the site gets the attention and dedication that they say it deserves. If that course does go ahead, I genuinely think the parts of the site that aren't covered by course will generally see an uptick in maintenance.