Monday, 10 January 2022

Daily Mail on the topic of "They own land, give them money!"

Janet Street-Porter in The Daily Mail, is on good form:

The largest landowner in Scotland is a Danish billionaire who is busy returning his holdings in the remote Highlands to wilderness areas where you can rent beautifully restored crofters cottages and lodges for luxury breaks.

Other huge rewilding fans are the Goldsmith millionaires, Ben and Zac, pals of Carrie Johnson, who is the PR for millionaire Damian Aspinall's Foundation in Kent.

Aspinall owns Howletts Zoo (he prefers the term 'nature park') where the public can pay £20 to gawp at gorillas and cheetahs who are being reared to eventually return to Africa. Ben Goldsmith is a rewilding-mad financier who owns 300 acres in the West Country, and wants to return his estate to a 'species-rich scrubby wood', planning to introduce polecats and glow worms...

Ben holds a non-executive role as an advisor at Defra, giving him a good chance to bend the ear of government with his rewilding crusade. To be fair he hasn't taken a salary – then again he doesn't need to. Older brother Zac, a charming man but a failed Tory MP, now sits in the House of Lords as Baron Goldsmith of Richmond Park, personally appointed by Boris, holding the environment brief.

Zac and Ben are old pals of the Prime Minister- they all attended Eton. Last autumn the Prime Minister borrowed the Goldsmith's family house in Spain for a short holiday.

But inevitably, she lapses into Home-Owner-Ism:

... shouldn't the government do more to protect farmland and forestry by refusing to allow unrestricted housing development on rural sites? Instead, every small town in England is becoming surrounded by building sites churning out identikit estates of noddyland housing on land which once produced food.

"Every small town"? "surrounded"? Really? As to "Noddlyland", most people live in fairly non-descript housing (my house is fugly, if truth be told), I don't see why that's a problem. And they get far more benefit from their home than they would have done growing a bit of fruit and veg on the plot. I'm still waiting for the first Nimby activist to buy and demolish housing and sell the land back to a farmer.

But hey, she's got the general idea.


Bayard said...

"planning to introduce polecats and glow worms..."

Good luck with that. Glowworms are very picky about where they live: they were rare even in the C18th.

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, "planning to apply for grants to introduce polecats and glow worms". Does the applicant care whether it works or not? Better if it doesn't then you can apply again in a few years' time.

I'm a big fan of glow worms though.

Bayard said...

What's not to like? They eat slugs and snails and employ a method of turning chemical energy into light that is more efficient than anything we have been able to come up with, and they look pretty for the few days of their adult life.