Crackdown on rural house building
By Mike McKimm
BBC Northern Ireland environment correspondent
The government has moved to end the blight of building single houses at random in the Northern Ireland countryside.
From Thursday onwards, new plans will not be considered for single rural dwellings, with few exceptions. ...
So it looks as if the Irish countryside is going to be saved… well, up here at least. I note that one of the main justifications for the move is the unsustainable and car dependant nature of most random rural development. So in response our direct rulers have extended the UK policy on urban versus rural development to include the North as well. Excellent news.
Now all I’m waiting for is the first challenge to this plan from local politicians on the grounds that preserving the countryside and proper planning are not part of Irish culture. ‘Why, it’s yet more Brit oppression I tell ya.’
I wonder how different the two bits of Ireland will look some decades from now if new development is restricted to urban areas up here while one-off construction continues apace in the Republic. It would be highly ironic indeed if British rule is responsible for the only part of Ireland where the emerald isle has been preserved. ‘Damn those Sassenach and their planning tyranny.’
I suppose it also adds a new dimension to the age old political question: do I vote for a united Ireland and completely wreck the Irish countryside or support a continued union with Britain and preserve what’s left of it!
Anyway, I'm off down to the local hedge school where this week we’ll be learning about the Annals of the Four Masters and how building yellow bungalows on hilltops was always apart of our ancient culture… really. Better watch out for the Red Coats on the way.