This was a blog post for Viceland.com that never was. It was too 'environmental'.
If you walked past St Paul’s today you would have seen a bunch of hippies outside waving banners and yelling. Usually I want to throw my coffee on those guys but this time they are on to something that matters as of right now. One of Blair’s final decisions before going off to be an actor or whatever is one that will really actually affect people. He has handed the process of planning permission from a publicly accessible committee procedure of democratically elected, accountable politicians to a shady non-governmental group with 100% approval and 0% accountability. Way to go Western first world democracy!
We spoke to Tom Picken from Friends Of The Earth. He told us that the new measures would lead to scary things like nuclear power stations and airport runways being forced through planning by the Government regardless of consequence or proper scrutiny. In 1997 a group of regular members of the public overturned the Nuclear giants Nirex application to build a Godzilla sized plant in their back gardens
The protestor dudes, going under the group name, ‘Planning Disaster’
(www.planningdisaster.co.uk), have managed to find a sense of humor somewhere amongst the Steely Dan sing-alongs and incense burning. They submitted planning permission to the Corporation Of London’s Planning Office to build an incinerator next to St Pauls. This obviously won’t get approved as it won’t pass the current public approval process. In a months time however that is exactly the short-term gain long term death sentence project that will get approved by the new and pretty creepy sounding ‘Infrastructure Planning Comission’ who sound kind of like the evil council of cylons in Battlestar Galactica. They are set to remove the right for local people to be heard and cross examine developer witnesses at public inquiries as well as restrict what issues a development can be challenged on full stop including safety and important environmental factors.
2007 is a pretty scary place.