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Monday, December 20, 2010

Bingham secures Adjournment Debate on the Bypass

Thanks once again to NMB contributor Kirtle Green for another blog, which can be read below.

Andrew Bingham, Enemy of the Peak District, has secured an imminent pre-Christmas Adjournment Debate on the Bypass, which will take place tomorrow in the House of Commons. An Adjournment Debate traditionally takes place as we understand it not before the Full House, but “in camera” as it were with any interested parties present, and a Ministerial representative from the Dept of Transport.

Incidentally, we don’t feel the MP has done much homework on the Bypass, so it will be interesting to know which version he turns up supporting, dependent perhaps on how he has been briefed (by whoever is lobbying him on all of this.) After all, there are plentiful versions of the road out there. Which one he is talking about – something he has never troubled himself to elaborate on up till now - may at last become clear. Mind you we wouldn’t bet on it! Over the past 12 months, Bingham has variously called the scheme the 'Glossop Bypass', 'Tintwistle Bypass' and now the 'Mottram-Tintwistle Bypass'. Little details like “where a particular road is to go” or the probable impacts on his constituents don’t really seem to matter in the remote and somewhat un-thought-out governmental world of Andrew Bingham MP.

At the outset we called the MP an “Enemy” because nobody who is not in some way adverse to iconic countryside would want to touch one blade of grass or animal habitat of the fragile Peak District, let alone plan to drive a road and urban sprawl through it. Its future seems far from secure whilst this guy is touting his trade.

Ironically, Bingham said in his maiden speech that he felt he represented the most “beautiful constituency” in the UK. We would not quite agree with that superlative but it is certainly one of the finest – I moved here 27 years ago and as it stands in a bypass-less state, I have never found anywhere better to live. Go out in the snowy wilderness now and who could be failed by such icy splendour.

I therefore marvel at his eagerness to undermine its status and make it mundane, suburban or desolate like so many of the urban areas it sits between. There is no accounting for MPs really - except perhaps expenses accounting - as it wasn’t any different with the late great Tom Levitt . They seem to talk up the beauty of their constituency and then lay plans for its demise.

Mr Bingham of course with his gracious lady companion, the MEP Emma McClarkin, did a foot tour of the constituency in his opposition days. Those wilderness years were very considerable, so Mr Bingham being a bit of a one trick pony, this may be one one reason why he seeks to placate the road lobby to prolong his sinecure. No doubt in his travels he came across some very scenic and ecologically important scenes which he marked down then with a note “come back and destroy in the future”.

He probably identified all kinds of spectacular areas. Take my word for it, some of the proposed bypass routes under any sane constitution would have years ago been placed under conservation orders or put in the National Park. This should still be the case now, but our elected officials have quite other thoughts in mind. One could perhaps perceive Mr Bingham on his travels keeping his beady bespectacled eye open for particularly important landscapes such as these for some deforestation, or bulldozer work for a road. Now his time has come as MP, and seemingly nowhere is safe in the Peak District as he has pledged “not to let this issue rest”.

Well done Andrew Bingham, statesman and orator, what a great spectacle you are!