Always happy to enlighten.
What I was incredulous at and thought ridiculous was the idea that two wealthy blokes who are currently going through a planning process that which was always likely to be lengthy and involved due to its nature, and who therefore probably anticipated it, should require or even want sympathy. I still am.
Your other comments re wealth etc are another discussion which I don't have time for at this moment but the projected wealth creation element is the nub of the issue and the only reason this application has got this far. That's where maybe there should be more discussion.
Yes Mr. Niall C, but are you always so willing to be enlightened?
The reality is that class warfare is most often in play. And while the rich may not deserve our sympathy, we all should demand fairness, if for no other than the selfish reason that it could involve us as well. Do we sheepishly accept government's intrusion into a bathroom remodel (reference Bob Huntley's attempt thwarted by the regulatory overreach of the California Coastal Commission though his home was over five miles from the ocean)?
The Coul Links project is on private property. The SSI designation is as much political as scientific, in effect a taking of private property by essentially prohibiting its owners from enjoying its use. The site in question has not been maintained and, reportedly, has been degraded considerably by previous uses and neglect. Further, the owners- not terribly wealthy from all appearances- as much as the developer (Mike Keiser) stand to finally reap some reward.
Whether the project will generate positive economic activity beyond its construction and stabilization phases might be of interest, but not, IMO, relevant to the base case- a fallow, not very attractive tract with extremely limited use under the present regulatory burden beyond the minds of a very small number of professional interveners. And yes, the societal value placed on the debatable survival of an insect (in my part of the world, they seem to be quite mobile as I learned when a former neighbor treated for termites without telling me and the little bastards invaded my home), is in the realm of politics much more than science.
If the SSI is so terribly important, the environmental groups include some very rich elements and could purchase the land on behalf of the people of Scotland and the critters who call it home. Knowing of Mr. Keiser's past land purchases, my bet is that the tract could be acquired for a reasonable sum- maybe within the reach of a GoFundMe scheme.
Someone asked about the cost of planning in a difficult regulatory environment. 25+ years ago C & C designed a course for a site previously used for crude oil logistics (tank depot, as I recall) in coastal SoCal. I had access to the economics and it would have been a homerun for everyone involved. A 10+ year fight ensued involving the CCC and numerous environmental groups and finally the developer tossed the towel in. I was told by an individual working with the group that north of $3 Million had been spent before pulling the plug. As far as I know, and TommyN might be able to verify this, the site remains unused, contaminated, and probably ignored by even the people who pass it on the train each day. For the public good!