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Have you ever wondered how English Heritage committee members can reconcile their support for the short tunnel with their duty to “care for” ancient monuments?

Surely “massive new damage” and “caring for” are irreconcilable? Well, ten years ago (in Section 6.4.b of the September 2009 minutes of the English Heritage Advisory Committee) they came up with a disreputable suggestion to disguise the damage v caring quandary: “public benefit”, “economic benefit” and “other benefits” should be combined into a single term!

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“Members felt that the phrase ‘public benefits’ should be used with caution, due to the difficulty in defining how public benefit is judged. It was suggested that one single term could possibly be used to cover ‘public benefit’, ‘economic benefit’ and other benefits ….”

Sad and telling, is it not, that a conservation body should have been trying to conflate public benefit with economic benefit and indeed in so doing precluding all talk of negative cultural consequences? Yet now their successors are doing much the same: the short tunnel scheme will deliver massive cultural damage, so much that UNESCO opposes it, but English Heritage blithely confronts that reality by re-branding the damage as cultural “improvement”.

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