Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Crystal Balls are hard to come by, but I'm going to try to make some predictions about possible events and outcomes regarding the Bypass and other environmental issues in Glossopdale and Longdendale over the next 12 months...
We already know that this has been delayed indefinitely, with the Highways Agency (HA) only giving a vague commitment to return by Easter to tell Inspector John Watson how long they are going to take to finish their work.
We think it's unlikely to finish this year, given that it all effectively has to start from scratch. But will anyone boycott it? Last year saw a increasingly worrying tendency for objectors to play ball with the farce that it has become and one has to wonder how long it will be before someone (anyone!) stands up and refuses to co-operate with a process that has little credibility. Otherwise, it could be a case of being tainted by association with this whole mess.
We may also find out the reason why the HA have been delayed. But it may not come from them, but from elsewhere. We have our own info, which we will divulge very soon...
The end of 2007 has already seen defeats and victories over the ongoing issue of development in the area. In 2008, we will see new assaults on the environment in Longdendale and Glossopdale, 2 of which will be the subject of future blogs over the next few days. One can be assured that more defeats will only mean more applications for development.
And we'd like to think that these plans are increasingly resisted by residents, using a variety of (as yet unadopted) methods. But it's not clear that that will now happen.
From the perspective of High Peak Borough Council (HPBC), the increasing traffic assured through further development is grist to their mill in arguing more strongly for the Glossop Spur, whose planning permission has to be renewed in December 2008. The latter will be another cause for a showdown, the result of which will be highly significant.
We can confidently predict that he will appear several times in the local papers, pointing out how his plans to make an honest living have been thwarted by HPBC.
Political Pundits think it's unlikely there'll be a General Election this year, but if there is, we're sure Tom Levitt will be out on his ear. But does anyone think it'll be anything other than 'business as usual' for his successor? We doubt it...
3 Greater Manchester local authorities are now opposed to AGMA's plans for a Manchester Congestion Charge. It will only take one other to change their mind for the plan to fail, and we wouldn't like to call the result of this one. A victory for AGMA will mean that (in our view) naive environmentalists will think this has something to do with preventing climate change whereas defeat should mean that serious campaigners argue for ultra-cheap, reliable and extensive public transport initiatives without the utterly pathetic (and locally financially crippling) strings attached to AGMA's bid.
However, what has underpinned this whole issue from a Green/Left perspective is complete ignorance of the central importance of the motor industry has to capitalism. A lack of rigorous analysis and advocacy of reformist politics on certain sections of the Green/Left axis is hampering progress.
Government Transport Policy
Following the publication of their discussion paper about future transport policy, the DfT has committed itself to start a consultation exercise by July 2008, and to publish a white paper by December. We don't believe in Damascene conversions, and it's certain that current transport policy and projects will meet resistance by effective activists. There will be another Climate Camp - which may focus on road projects - and (much needed) widespread Direct Action will take place.
National Grid will attempt to commence their vandalism of the Woodhead Tunnel - their schedule tells us this is days away. We predict they will meet a widening tide of resistance, and on different levels.
This time next year, it will be interesting to see what has come to pass from all of the above.