January 21, 2011
England, Letters

Insolence has taken the wind from village’s sails

Lincolnshire Echo, www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk 21 January 2011

Not a lot usually happens in the peaceful village of Beckingham and the residents are reasonably content with things as they are.

Picture, then, their surprise when, at short notice and just before Christmas, an exhibition was held to display the intention of a developer to construct an intrusive wind energy scheme just across the A17 from the village.

Nobody in the village had heard of this proposal until your article appeared (December 20), but feverish research during the festive season revealed that a formal “screening opinion” had already been given, in relation to the scheme, by an official of North Kesteven District Council.

This opinion wrote off the village of Beckingham as “relatively few dwellings in an area of no environmental significance”.

This description freed the developer of the wind farm to proceed with his planning application based only on a minimal assessment of the actual impact of his proposal on the lives of residents and their environment.

How could it be that such an official acquired the power so to dismiss the whole significance of an ancient village in rural England and the lives of its residents?

Community Wellbeing, one of the council’s “corporate priorities”, it says, is intended to promote the wellbeing, safety and health of the 100 small, flourishing, rural communities under its care in the district and to promote respect for the providers of that care.

The evidence seems to indicate that the council has generally been effective in pursuit of this priority.

Why, then, was the wellbeing of the small community living in Beckingham excluded from any support arising from this priority?

The result of this exclusion is that there is now little respect for the ability or intention of the district council in any way to promote residents’ wellbeing, safety or health.

A citizen of England must ask himself how did the ethos of public service become redundant in those employed to serve the community, to be replaced by what author Richard North recently referred to as “the insolence of office”?

Why do those holding office in local planning authorities feel that they have such power to dismiss, and in such an offhand manner, the significance of the lives of a community for which they have a duty of care?

Such officials might do well to remember that Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the American Declaration of Independence, had a deep understanding of the relationship between people and their governments when he stated: “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

The people of Beckingham have had a sudden introduction to one of the ways in which the insolence of office may appear as tyranny.

That capacity for tyranny might become much more manifest were taxes owed to the council to be withheld.

This is not the England in which I was brought up and which I still love.


URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2011/01/21/insolence-has-taken-the-wind-from-villages-sails/