Wildlife still in peril
Sir: Ironically, the new protection given to "Special Areas of Conservation" could make them more, rather than less, susceptible to the road builders.
In the case of Twyford Down, the Government's cost-benefit analysis valued land at its commercial value without planning permission. Under this assumption, protected sites are given less value than, say, agricultural land, and so SSSIs appear highly desirable for development.
Conversely, the use of land with less ecological worth but more commercial value, such as brownfield sites, will have been ruled out long before the planners present their shortlist of options to their political masters. While the initial sift of routes continues to be carried out using such dubious economics, many more sites of ecological importance will disappear under the bulldozer.
Blyth, NorthumberlandReuse content