Greenock Telegraph 7th May 2021

Having complained loudly and often about the environmental vandalism being perpetrated by Inverclyde council on the local tree stock, I was delighted to see that they are now advertising for an Arborist. Hopefully, this will ensure ongoing responsible tree management and not the neglect and subsequent drastic actions we have witnessed of late. But just as one hand giveth another taketh away.

Recently, there have been moves to establish an ‘Inverclyde Pollinator Corridor’. The aim is to save the bees and pollinators by creating a corridor of beautiful wildflowers across Inverclyde. I like to think of it as service stations for bees. Schemes have been launched across Inverclyde, including up at the Cut, Belville Gardens and the site of the old Hector McNeil baths.

With this in mind, I was disappointed that Inverclyde Council has decided to include greenbelt land at Kilmacolm in the Proposed Local Development Land to meet the housing requirements identified within the Clyde Plan, and the subsequent decision by the Planning Board to approve a related housing development, which will result in the destruction of a natural wild meadow and all the wildlife within it. In this example the planning system has let people down. The proposal is for housing that embraces some aspects that I welcome, including not being connected to the gas network, instead “it is proposed that air source heat pump technology is employed to serve the heating and hot water demands of the residential elements”. And I note that the plans state “it is proposed to incorporate high levels of passive and energy efficient design measures in order to reduce the development’s energy consumption and associated CO2 emissions”. All in all, it is an admirable attempt at building in an environmental fashion, but it doesn’t begin to offset the environmental damage that building on this site will do in the first place. Is prevention no longer better than cure?