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“Its footpaths are “tortuous”, the roof likely to “channel wind and rain” and its myriad columns – meant to evoke a forest – are incongruous with the vast landscape surrounding it.”

“So says the government’s design ­watchdog over plans for a controversial £20m visitor centre at Stonehenge, the megalithic jewel in England’s cultural crown. CABE, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, has criticised the design of the proposed centre, claiming the futuristic building by Denton Corker Marshall does little to enhance the 5,000-year-old standing stones which attract more than 800,000 visitors each year.”

More here –

By Moss, Heritage Action

Wind farms are controversial at the best of times, but the Isle of Lewis with its famous prehistoric stones, wild life and rare peat habitat, is to undergo a massive building of turbines in the future, see our recent article,  It seems that the developer has also offered the villagers a chance to build their own wind farm.  It comes at a cost of 18.5 million pounds, the land is free but the villagers have to find the money to build the turbines.   A loan is being offered, for building the turbines, and the villagers will eventually reap some reward when the turbines are working. See here. 

 The John Muir charity organisation has campaigned strongly against the building of these turbines, their case rests on the use of ‘wild land’ for industrial purposes, the decline of the rare white tailed eagle, also the cumulative effect of death (by flying into the turbines) of the golden eagle  and the viewpoints from three key  summits in the area;  Beinn Mhor, An Cliseam and Calanais, to quote  “ the 33 turbines, each at 145 metres high – taller than the London Eye, will have huge visual impacts” on the stunning wildness of this Scottish island landscape.

Climate change, again in the headlines as a subject of debate, will bring changes in our landscape in the foreseeable future, water and wind the natural solutions to our carbon burning society.  The  John Muir campaign has strong arguments in its favour, and the question of  protecting our landscapes against protecting the world and its people gives no easy answers, except perhaps that profit making must always be carefully monitored and motivations questioned at all times.

Children, one might think, should be kept out of controversial issues. Two examples of the dangers of not doing so are here…

First, children from an Aberdeen primary school are to plant marram grass to stabilise sand dunes as part of an environmental education project. Sounds innocent enough, until you read that it is “part of an educational collaboration project between Aberdeenshire Council and Trump International”.  Mr Trump’s plan to build two golf courses, a hotel and around 1,000 holiday homes on this undeveloped coastline has caused huge controversy and split local opinion.  So involving the local children seems a cynical ploy at best especially as “The work started last October and represented the official start of work on the controversial development.”

A spokesperson for Trump International said: “Given that this development will one day provide employment and recreational opportunities for the next generation, this type of activity will help create a greater sense of ownership and interest amongst the young.” Of course, one wonders whether these children will be pleased with what’s happening when they are older and whether they are being manipulated at this tender age. After all, Uncle Donald isn’t very cuddly when he is confronted by people who oppose his plans, calling one of them a “village idiot” who lives in a “pig-like atmosphere”!

The second example of unfairly involving children in controversial issues is this:

The text says: Drag the metal detector across the fields, when you hear beeping you have found something!  This comes from a teaching resource provided by the Portable Antiquities Scheme and in particular a section where children can do a virtual archaeological survey and get to do their own field walking and metal detecting.

PAS would no doubt say the intention is to teach children about metal detecting as part of a structured archaeological exercise but who could deny that the main result would be to encourage children to take up hobby metal detecting (which is almost never conducted in accordance with the professional guidelines laid out by English Heritage) the resultant depletion and damage from which PAS was set up and financed to reduce, not increase!

It’s hardly rocket science to ensure children are given proper access and information about their own heritage, as the Isle of Man has just demonstrated!


David Starkey campaigns to keep Staffordshire hoard local – but is it too small?

Wiltshire metal detecting rally flouts archaeological guidelines

Metal detecting at the end of the noughties: bad just got worse

Metal detecting: a letter to English Heritage

Metal detecting: £3.2 million reward for reporting the Staffordshire hoard should have been £32 million claims detectorist!

Legalised metal detecting? “No thanks, we’re French (and we give a damn about our resource!)” – Official.

Nighthawking: much ado about the wrong thing.


February 2010

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