It was suggested by Perth Business Gateway to rewrite the 2001 proposal to use the Millennium Dome as a global environmental management centre, this time relevant for Scotland in 2006. The outline executive summary, Scotland:The World's First Ecological Superpower, was produced. The next stage is to implement it, what do you think?

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Perthshire Flood Damage: A Case Against the Government?


The UK Government knew about and were given the solutions to the recent flooding in Perthshire on 17th April 2001. On that day there was a discussion with the consultants Jones Lang LaSalle appointed by the UK Government and English Partnerships to find a use for the Millennium Dome. The proposal submitted was to use it as a global environmental management centre, providing the solution to climate change and most importantly global ecological life support system collapse. This was the proposal the consultants wanted to back as a use for the Dome. That proposal contained the threat, to Perthshire and elsewhere, and the solutions. The final decision was to have a venue/casino complex instead. No alternative attempt or strategy was made by the Government to protect Perthshire and other places from environmental damage to the same degree or appropriate magnitude. Is there a case for Perthshire to take action against the Government for civil or criminal neglect or other legal action?

On 9th January 2006 I had a meeting with Pete Wishart MP for Perth and North Perthshire at his Perth office. At that meeting Mr Wishart was given an outline of the bid and process to use the Millennium Dome as a global environmental management centre. Though at the time, in 2001, of the competition for the Dome the UNEP IPCC and other sources had put the cost of global damage due to climate change at $200 billion per year, my submission to the consultants that the true cost of total environmental damage was nearer $1000 billion per year. Due to the effective argument in support of that revised figure both the Government consultants in 2001 and Mr Wishart in 2006 accepted it as a valid reasoning. A figure in October 2006 supported by the Stern Report.

As the proposal had been removed from the competition despite it’s short listing, by default, due to the non supply of the competition criteria to allow it to continue in the process, Mr Wishart said he would try and obtain the competition criteria.

Mr Wishart did eventually obtain the criteria, though these came from Jim Fitzpatrick MP Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, not Tessa Jowell DCMS as we had both originally thought.

The criteria of the competition were: a worthwhile and sustainable use for the dome; value for money; deliverability of the deal; and regeneration benefits. As the proposal for the use of the Dome as a global environmental management centre would have beaten the venue/casino on all these grounds, the question must be asked, were these withheld to ensure another, but not the best, proposal won?

What Perthshire and elsewhere are now doing, is paying the cost of the decision not to use the Dome as an environmental management centre. Perthshire is in fact subsidising AEG to run a venue and casino in London. The environmental and social costs of the decision being imposed on Perthshire and everywhere else as environmental damage. A decision that was not made on the true criteria of the competition, which the tax payer paid to have run.

Even without going into detail ask yourself would you rather have, 1) the problem of climate change resolved or 2) a casino/venue in London, what would you choose? The Government chose a casino/venue.

Perthshire should consider whether it has a legal case against the Government for the damage it has suffered as a result of that decision.

As a damage limitation exercise, which was in the interests of Perthshire, when I was invited to make recommendations to DEFRA on sustainable policy. I very specifically and strongly pushed for changes in the Common Agricultural Policy to allow the provision of land to be taken out of production allowing the development of natural flood plains etc. together with other land use changes to reduce the damage of flooding by smoothing out river surges.

When the Cabinet Office asked me to review Regulatory Impact Assessment; Guidelines for Legislation, I took the model for multiple goal analysis of economic, social and environmental factors and made strong recommendation that this be changed to a concept of optimum win win scenarios, specifically using the example of river hydrology and flood prevention.

The implementation of these recommendations will have resulted in some minimisation of the recent flood damage to Perthshire, but not to the extent which could have been achieved had the criteria for the Millennium Dome competition been adhered to.

In submission to a United Nations Environment and Development -UK report commissioned by the UK Government the article Changing Futures gave the original and now globally known risk assessment "climate change is a greater threat than terrorism". Please use this link then, go to the specific document from within that text ‘published’. Most importantly for Perthshire, the original outline for the agenda of the G8 Summit in 2005.

An assessment of the Millennium Dome competition criteria has been sent to Mr Wishart as requested. I have asked him for his advice on launching an inquiry into the running of the competition, which as Perthshire is now paying the costs of that competition it is particularly relevant. At present I am awaiting his reply.


1) Consider is there a legal case against the Government in view that the damage to Perthshire could largely been avoided?

2) What support can Perth and Kinross Council give to setting up a global environmental management centre in Perthshire as laid out in the consultancy document Scotland: The World’s First Ecological Superpower, sent to all MSPs at the start of April 2006. All the solutions to climate change already exist they only need implementing?

3) We are the leading and most influential authority on sustainable planetary evolution and are local. As such would be delighted to provide any consultancy, strategy and other services to Perth and Kinross to overcome the environmental challenges and ensure a safer better future for the area and the planet.

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