Honister Zip-Wire Controversy

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Honister Zip-Wire Controversy Did anyone watch ‘Tales from the National Parks’ last night on BBC 4? It was a great example of the commons debate. The programme demonstrated well a variety of different views over what is felt to be a common resource.

The basic viewpoints are that Mark Weir wanted to build a zip-wire as part of an adventure capital development of the Lake District. Mark owned a slate mine in the area and distinguished himself and his family as ‘local’ people which entitled them to specific rights. He had already developed an adventure rock climb in the area called the ‘Via Ferrata’ without seeking prior planning permission as he felt the process to seek authorisation was to laborious and filled with red tape.

Richard Leafe, who was the Chief Executive of the Lake District National Park, supported mark’s application for the zip wire as he believed in the rationale behind introducing adventure capital to the National Park.

Natural England fiercely contested the proposal as did the ‘Friends of the Lake District’ due to the environmental impact of the attraction and the plans for the attraction were withdrawn (BBC News Cubria) after being voted against by the National Park Board.

I found this hugely interesting as it raised a lot of poignant issues. Mark’s view was that everyone should have the right to enjoy the park and he was merely adding in an attraction that people would enjoy, and at the same time making a lot of money out of the venture himself. His current business initiatives in the area already funded a private helicopter. He painted himself out to be at one with the local environment and therefore have specific rights to the resources. He held a total disregard for the agencies that were in place to protect this environment.

What was even more amazing was that CEO of the National Park, Richard Leafe, presented as being completely taken in by the views of Mark and supported him in his campaign for the new venture. Natural England took legal proceedings against Richard for the implementation of the ‘Via Ferrata’ without seeking prior authorisation and Richard made attempts to try and persuade them against taking these proceedings.

If individuals were allowed to do what they like without consequence then it would open the flood gates for development of the National Park. There has to be some level of authority to regulate and uphold standards as without this conflicting views of what the land should be used for would be opposed. This mirrors the situation with the Dale Farm Gypsys in my perspective as if laws are not upheld there would be complete anarchy.

I did think however that in the Honister Zip-wire case, the Board members who made the final decision on the implementation of the Zip-line only reflected a small cross section of society. They were all white, elderly, middle class members that clearly did not reflect our population within the UK. Ultimately their needs to be some level of governance but this governance should reflect the various perspectives that are held by the commoners.

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4 Responses to “Honister Zip-Wire Controversy”

  1. Arthur Clarke Says:

    “They were all white, elderly, middle class members that clearly did not reflect our population within the UK.”

    Well around 85% of people in the UK are white, the median age passed 40 in 2009, and I’ve never been quite sure what middle class meant and you certainly couldn’t tell just by looking at them…

  2. ngoziokei Says:

    I find Mark’s view and actions an interesting proposal. First of all, Mark did not seek prior planning permission as he felt only to seek for authorisation which was laborious and filled with red tape. Mark’s action alone is against the government rules/laws that deals with environment and land protection. This should not be so, even though the programme demonstrates a well variety of different views in regards to what is felt to be a common pool resources. This proposal of Mark’s view and actions, at the same time yields a lot of money out of the venture for him/family and having a total disregard for the Agencies that were in place to protect the environment.
    Taking legal proceedings against Richard Leafe (CEO of National Park) for the implementation of the “Via Ferrata” without seeking prior authorisation by Natural England, will definitely not solve the problem, because this venture is seen as a common pool resources, which is benefitted by the public (ie the commoners) who are commoning from a common resource.
    Individuals (commons) should not be allowed to do anything they feel like doing, whereby breaking the environmental law/rules which governs the public welfare for their healthy/safety reasons. Also commoners who have dreams/values in life, should be free in establishing a common pool resources within the commoners and should not be oppressed and opposed unnesssary by the government on what to do OR what to use their lands for. Therefore such law breakers should face the consequences and fined for such action, even if it is a common pool resource that is beneficial to the commoners. There is a slight similarity that happened few weeks ago with the Dale Farm Gypsys that resided in a place of a community of Basildon/Berrilecay councils. Government should always involve the wellfare of the public, commons values and decisions for any development growth and its sustainability. This is because UNITY IS POWER AND PROGRESS.

  3. richardlevell Says:

    “Well around 85% of people in the UK are white, the median age passed 40 in 2009, and I’ve never been quite sure what middle class meant and you certainly couldn’t tell just by looking at them”

    You have given a median age for the country but a median of ideas is not as simple as that. Ten people of the same age, even if that is the ‘median age’ of the country, does not represent the beadth and variety of ideas within a country. The only way to represent a diverse population is to have a diverse selection for the board. Young adverture loving individuals may have thoughts on how this land should be used, older people who may like a quiet leisurely walk may have an opinion, nature lovers may have an opinion and individuals involved in busienss and industry may have an opinion – How does a the ‘median’ person represent all of these differing perspectives?

  4. richardlevell Says:

    Another example of governing bodies not truly representing the population they are speaking on behalf of

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/28/tanya-gold-media-ignores-feminism

    “The glass ceiling is still bulletproof; men outnumber women in parliament by four to one, and there are more millionaires than women in the cabinet (and it shows). “

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