Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Tories and Devastation (bit of a Howeller)

He [Conservative Lord Howell of Guildford in the Greater South East] added: “But there are large and uninhabited and desolate areas. Certainly in part of the North East where there’s plenty of room for fracking, well away from anybody’s residence, where we could conduct without any kind of threat to the rural environment.”
BBC News Website 30 July 2013 Fracking OK for ‘desolate’ North East, says Tory peer

Lord Howell obviously has a loose understanding of geography (and recent history).

The desolate parts of the North East often have a lot to do with the effects of the last Conservative Government’s de-industrialisation strategy.  Unfortunately for the noble Lord these desolate areas are still inhabited – he might want to think about re-housing all these awkward people in Guildford (where they might be able to get jobs – I am sure that he can find some building plots – say Stoke park or Henley Grove).

So what about the “uninhabited areas” – those areas marked on the map “here be dragons”?  Well there are some inhabitants even in the most rural areas.  These areas tend to be upland areas and are hard to reach, so unless he plans to fly in the fracking equipment there will need to be significant investment in infrastructure (roads, bridges etc.).  He also needs to remember that North of Newcastle most of the A1 is single carriage-way.  (He is probably used to “major roads” (such as the A1, A2, A3, A4 etc. being two or even three lane dual carriageways – possibly even built to motorway standards.  The A69 east of Newcastle has a few miles of dual carriageway before running out of interest.

Aside: What route do you have to take if you want to take a wide load by dual carriage way from Newcastle to Edinburgh? Answer:

Newcastle to Edinburgh by Dual Carriageway

Newcastle to Edinburgh by Dual Carriageway: 381 mi, 6 hours 5 mins
(by single carriageway roads 120 mi, 2 hours 23 mins)
Map by Google

The uninhabited areas are also catchment areas for river systems like the Tyne, the Coquet, the Aln and the Tweed.  We don’t want them despoiled.  I see salmon in the Tyne at Hexham; does Lord Howell see salmon in the Wey at Guildford or is it too desolated?

It would be far better to cover the (uninhabited) Commons and Heaths of the Surrey/Hampshire area with wind turbines – generate the power near where the greediest users of energy are.

Oh by the way, the Noble Tory may care to know that many of his shooting friends value these uplands so he should be careful what he wishes on them.


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2 thoughts on “Tories and Devastation (bit of a Howeller)

  1. Pingback: Fracking Good Geography, Howell | Outside the marginals

  2. Pingback: HS2: This service is running late or cancelled | Outside the marginals

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