Save The Ribble

A blog dedicated to preserving the beauty and delicate ecosystem of the River Ribble, and opposing the Riverworks 'vision' to build a barrage on our River and develop on our riverbanks, floodplains and green spaces, causing damage to wildlife and the environment and increasing the risk of flooding to our homes. Save the Ribble Campaign is not responsible for the content of external blogs or websites which link here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Barrage Scheme 'Put on Hold'...?

If you saw today's Lancashire Evening Post headline "BARRAGE SCHEME IS SUNK", you'd be forgiven for thinking the River Ribble has been saved...
...whereas a closer read - and a look at what is online in the story on the LEP website - will reveal that the barrage and riverside development ideas are keeping their heads above water as they have merely been "put on hold" for the time being...


It is of course very good news that the pursuit of the scheme to barrage the River Ribble and build housing and other developments along the riverside and on the Green Belt and floodplain areas in Penwortham and Preston is being slowed down while Preston Council investigate the ideas to develop the Docks and potentially reinstate the Lancaster Canal back into the centre of Preston FIRST...

...but until the Ribble Barrage and Green Belt development proposals really are SUNK without trace once and for all, local residents will continue to campaign against these damaging schemes which threaten to damage a unique intertidal ecosystem, and destroy a much-valued green space which provides us with sports facilities like football and cricket, free access to fresh air and nature and wildlife, our fabulous allotments, and vitally important flood protection for our homes.

The Public Meeting already organised by Riversway Councillors and Save The Ribble for 20th November WILL STILL GO AHEAD.

We sincerely hope that if these schemes are to be considered at all, full public consultation will go ahead AT THE SAME TIME AS FULL CONSIDERATION AND CONSULTATION ABOUT A CLEAR ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL WHICH LEAVES THE RIVER RIBBLE A TIDAL RIVER AND OUR GREEN BELT AND FLOODPLAINS INTACT.


As the LEP Editorial points out, the "Ribble is awash with potential" but we need to ensure we don't "take our eyes off the ball" in our efforts to protect "an estuary which is internationally regarded" and ensure "commercial and political pressure to build new homes" does not mean building homes in inappropriate and unsustainable places - such as on our riverbanks, Green Belt, floodplains, sports pitches and allotments!

The River Ribble and Green Belt and floodplain areas are unique and valuable assets to all of our local communities...

Yes we could make much more of these assets for the benefit of local people and visitors alike...

So we urge our local councils to look at ways in which this can be done without interfering with the natural environmental functions of these unique assets!

Who would like to have a Countryside Park with an Internationally-important River running through its heart...

...Beautiful natural riverbanks with their biodiverse habitats for plants, birds, and mammals - including water voles and otters...


...Verdant meadows and dappled woodlands full of birdsong and butterflies and people walking, cycling, running, breathing clean fresh air and listening to the wind in the trees and the waters of the River Ribble on their way down to the sea...

We have all this already - so we must protect it - for the long term benefit, protection, and sustainability of the environment and all of our local communities!


Preston Council should be looking at the long-term sustainability of our environment and our communities - barrage proposals and Green Belt and floodplain developments are NOT sustainable, and nor is trying to downgrade our unique environmental assets - such as great-crested newts - in order to remove them from consideration.

We have to consider our impact on our environment NOW, and protect the River Ribble and our Green Belt, wetlands, and floodplains to ensure a sustainable future.

We welcome any efforts to solve the blue-green algae problem in the Dock basin and make much more of this unique facility - although looking at building floating homes on the Dock basin seems to be as much of a wasted opportunity as the half-finished Dock redevelopment of the 1980s...

As the Preston Dock basin is the largest single dock basin in Europe, couldn't we make much more of such a valuable public amenity than building floating (undoubtedly not even remotely "affordable") homes on it?

Surely if Preston Council like the idea of a water sports facility (one of the reasons given to promote the barrage scheme), such a large body of water as the Dock basin is the ideal place - once the blue-green algae has finally been eradicated? A water sports facility - and any other water-based public leisure amenities - here would not damage the river's unique ecosystem, increase flood risk, or cost the £hundreds of millions a barrage would cost.

Other ideas in Quayside and Canalside apparently include a mini-tram system to the Docks and water taxis on the Lancaster canal - great! Bring it on - but leave our River Ribble Wild!

The LEP story online includes this heartfelt comment sent in by LEP reader "samtwist" - thanks Sam, your support is much appreciated and your sentiments very much shared!

"Well done Save the Ribble campaign. I have not been able to take part because of ill health but have been following your campaign. As a resident for 56 years I have been extremely upset by the proposals to develop our beautiful river side. It is a disgrace that any councillors should even consider backing greedy developers who have no conscience. There are plenty of brown field sites in the area without disturbing the precious natural habitat which we do have."

Councillor Jack Davenport also urges caution: see his comment below...

2 Comments:

At 3:56 pm, Anonymous Cllr Jack Davenport, Preston Council said...

I would also urge caution. I spoke to the reporter from the LEP and it appears that this came out of a conversation about another matter with Council Leader Ken Hudson. I wonder who else Ken has consulted with and whether or not officers were aware. This didn't come out of any COuncil meeting, it appears to be Ken Hudson on his own bat. Considering what was said at the Ribble Forum I didn't see or hear any indication that the Barrage was being put on hold. This poses more questions than it resolves.

 
At 6:53 pm, Blogger Riversider said...

I agree with both the comments above - this could be a piece of clever 'spin' to put residents minds at ease, then when the Save The Ribble Campaign and all the other local environmental campaigners, allotment keepers, footballers, anglers, birdwatchers and cyclists have relaxed and packed away their placards, the council reintroduces this scheme, or something very much like it, through the back door.

Hudson must make this pledge "We will NEVER build a barrage on the Ribble, and we will NEVER allow housing to be built all over the greenbelt and floodplain land beside the Ribble".

Only then will local residents be able to sleep easy in their beds.

 

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