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Conflict over the use of a local resource

Conflict over the use of a local resource

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Conflict over the use of a local resource (e.g. land, buildings, space)
The reason for the conflict, and the attitudes of different groups of people to the conflict.
The processes which operate to resolve the conflict.
Recognition that some people benefit, whereas others may lose, when the outcome is decided.

What you need to know:

A fully worked-up case study. In the case study you must be able to state why there is a conflict (i.e. different groups or individuals have differing views as to the outcomes of the use of a particular resource).

Attitudes are important. In geography we consider the attitude of a group or individual to mean how they feel about an issue and why they feel that way. To get credit in an essay you must go beyond the simple ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ or ‘for’ and ‘against’. E.g. ‘Existing residents of the village of Swinburn are against the construction of a new housing estate because it will cause increased traffic which poses a danger to both young children and old people.’ Or ‘The governors and staff of the small local primary school are in favour of the construction because there will be more children in the village and some of these will go to the school, guaranteeing its future.’

Conflict resolution can be brought about by the use of the planning process. Local Authorities have a legal responsibility to make sure that any development fits in with their ten year development plan as well as meeting any statutory requirements.

The planning process is one which is designed to make the local authority listen to the public as well as the applicant, but retain overall control of what happens in their area.

It is important to note that the final decision, at a local level is made by councillors, elected officials who generally have the best wishes of their constituents at heart.

Appeals: The Government introduced new procedures to streamline the appeal process and speed up planning decisions, while safeguarding public participation and the fairness, openness and quality of decision-making. There is a hierarchy of appeals. Initially you can ask for a local review of a decision. This can be formal or informal. There can be a public enquiry: a formal process where the applicant and a representative from the council each present evidence, other witnesses can be called and cross-examination may take place.

Finally the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government can ask to consider proposals for development of major importance having more than local significance e.g.

• Proposals giving rise to substantial regional or national controversy e.g. HS2 rail route from London to Birmingham

• Proposals which raise important or novel issues of development control, and/or legal difficulties

• Proposals against which another Government department has raised major objections or has a major interest

• Proposals of major significance for the delivery of the Government’s climate change programme and energy policies

• Any proposal for residential development of over 150 units or on sites of over 5 hectares, which would significantly impact on the Government’s objective to secure a better balance between housing demand and supply and create high quality, sustainable, mixed and inclusive communities

• Certain proposals which involve any main town centre use or and which are proposed on a site in an edge-of-centre or out-of-centre location.

• Proposals for significant development in the Green Belt

• Major proposals involving the winning and working of minerals

• Proposals which would have an adverse impact on a World Heritage Site.

Market Processes operate where the ability of the organisation undertaking the project to pay the going rate takes precedence over any local or national concerns. Often, objectors cannot afford to outbid the developer and the development goes ahead with the minimum of consultation. Where consultation does occur it often takes the form of an opportunity to voice objections or propose counter-arguments, but with no right of independent arbitration or appeal.

Gains and losses: It must be recognised that whatever decision is made, there are always people who gain and people who lose.

Gains can be in the form of:

• Financial return on investment

• Improvements in infrastructure

• Increased services
Losses could be:

• Reduction in quality of landscape/views etc

• Increased pressure on existing infrastructure

• Disruption during construction

Local conflict case study: 3rd runway at Heathrow

Conflict BORIS-AIRPORT-SUM_3024705b

Today Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world. In 2008 a fifth terminal was opened in Heathrow, known as T5.  A huge amount of conflict and controversy has surrounded T5 and a public enquiry lasting from May 1995 to March 1999 was held before the decision to go ahead was finally made.
Attitudes towards the third runway:

Many different groups of people were involved in this conflict including:

BAA (the ones who proposed the expansion)
More revenue streams coming in to cope with rising costs. Increasing ability to compete with the biggest airport operators in the world. The Labour party (in power at the time)
Bring in more revenue for the country – business and tourism. Keep Heathrow as Europe’s main international hub
Influential British industries e.g. The Confederation of British Industry, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic
Bring in more business – easier to fly goods in/out and bring in products involved in manufacture

The Conservative and Lib Dem parties
Opposing it as a vote winner (Conservatives now back an amended plan)
Local residents e.g. from the village of Sipson
Loss of homes in the village. Increase noise and vibration disruption underneath the flight path
Environmental groups e.g. Greenpeace
Increase of CO2 levels leading to more global warming, removal of green/open space
Campaign groups e.g. HACAN and NoTRAG
Backing up of the villagers.

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Third runway:

 In January 2009 the then Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon announced that the UK government supported the expansion of Heathrow by building a third runway (2200m) and sixth terminal building. The government would not undertake construction, but encourage the airport operator (BAA) to apply for planning permission and carry out the work. The government anticipated that the new runway will be operational in 2015 or soon after. In 2009 the government declared that they did not intend that the third runway should be used at full capacity when it is first opened. Initially the extra flights should be limited to 125,000 a year until 2020, rather than the 222,000 at full capacity.

In January 2009 more detailed plans for the third runway were approved together with a sixth terminal and also a major new Heathrow Hub railway station which would provide better high-speed domestic rail links to the Great Western Main Line.  Plans for a high-speed rail connection direct to Heathrow were however dropped during 2010.

In March 2010 the route for High Speed 2 was announced which did not include a direct connection with Heathrow, preferring a new station at Old Oak Common to the west of Paddington on the Crossrail route.

On 12 May 2010, the expansion was cancelled by the new coalition government. BAA formally dropped its plans on 24 May 2010.However, London First, a lobby group representing many of London’s businesses and major employers, continue to press the coalition government to rethink their opposition to the expansion of the airport.

(The above information has been taken from:

Third runway - proposed site.

Third runway – proposed site.

For the development:

Heathrow needs more capacity.

Third runway will boost economy

European competition

There is no alternative

Against the development:

Health of Londoners at risk

Economic case overstated

We need to reduce enthusiasm not increase

Impact on local area

There are alternatives.

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