Peak District quarrying...
Just in case anyone was interested.
Original petition can be found here.
Response from Government.
"The Government is fully committed to the care and protection of the landscapes and biodiversity of our National Parks. In performing their functions, National Park and other authorities must have regard to the statutory purposes of the National Parks. These include the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Parks. The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 places a duty on all public bodies to have regard to the purpose of conserving biodiversity.
However, we cannot escape the fact that minerals, which are essential to the economy, can only be worked where they naturally occur. Often that is in the most scenic areas of the country, including the National Parks.
The extent of limestone extraction at the eastern end of Longstone Edge under a planning permission granted in 1952 has been the subject of enforcement and stop notices issued by the Peak District National Park Authority, the mineral planning authority for the area.
The Peak District National Park Authority has responsibility for deciding whether the 1952 permission should be revoked to stop mineral extraction permanently.
Decisions about revocation of mineral permissions must be made on the basis of all the relevant planning issues, including consideration of the impact of the mining and the contribution the many mineral sites in our National Parks make to our national mineral supply. The authority would also need to consider the financial consequences of any revocation. Compensation would be payable for lost mineral production. This can be very substantial."
This is not the first of the "on line" petitions that appear to have been a wasted effort, given the tone and content of the replies given by the Government.
I am of the firm belief that the sole purpose of this petition website is to give people a harmless focus to vent their frustration, giving them the false impression that they are being listened to and the net result is that it prevents/minimises more effective opposition in the form of direct action/protest.
Are there actually ANY petitions on this website that have achieved a change in law/Government policy?
Very clever move really!
Having been at a conference at which the DfT spoke of their road-pricing proposals, I genuinely think that this U-turn is because of the technological problems associated with the proposals. I think the 1.8 Million signatures is incidental.
I have to say I tend to agree with Tony - I think the petition website is not much more than a very clever marketing move - it gives people the opportunity to vent at the same time as 'distracting' such people away from other approaches, and also makes the government appear as though they care, and that they're listening to the views of the populous.
Oh, I'm not suggesting it's all down to the petition, but 2,500 people whining about a quarry in the Peaks can easily be ignored, 1.8 million, on the other hand, are not so easily dismissed. I don't put much weight in them, but since the Peaks one is in my 'backyard' and, to be fair, the quarrying in the Peaks is excessive, imho, I did add my name to that one.
There appear to be a large number of pretty pointless petitions it seems, but I would imagine there would be a handful of really good ideas amongst all the crap too. Maybe the politicians do steal the good ideas or use the site to gauge public opinion on the more contentious issues of the day. Or maybe they don't give a damn, who knows...
It is perfectly possible that it could be a useful tool to gauge public opinion, but even 1.8 million is not representative of the whole population, just an indication of those who feel strongly enough to sign a petition. I wouldn't think it is a reliable tool to actually formulate policy from.
I am surprised that someone hasn't petitioned for the return of the death penalty for example, and I would imagine that if the media is to be believed, that would attract a large number of signatories. We all know however that capital punishment will never again be on the statute books!
I will return the compliment and agree with Michael, I think that in view of the fact that the road pricing scheme has been "put on hold" rather than scrapped altogether is to save the embarrassment that the technology is way too inadequate as it stands.
Very clever strategy in my view to allow the thought that the 1.8 millions signatures has been an influence on that decision!
If you don't try, you don't get to find out.
IMHO the success of an E_Petition isn't necessarily to be measured in any immediate statute change. For instance a rallying point for interested parties who may not have realised the depth of the issue, or the concern of other associated groups (thats the serious E-Ps BTW)
For instance the Wildcamping in England & Wales E-Petition has put a lot of information on the current position into the public forum. That includes some "facts" that even those of us who have been doing it for some may not have been aware of e.g. Dartmoor NP Policy, camping above 450m
Think more focusing the attention?
That's a fair point actually John. Especially when (as occasionally happens) the media (in one or more forms) get's wind of the petition and reports it.
On the whole though, I still think that, in a large number of instances, there are better ways for people to campaign. People might sign an e-petition and think "right, I've done my bit" and sink away back into inaction.
I must admit I have put my name to about 4 or 5 Downing Street e-petitions - but I'm still not totally convinced about their value or worth.
I'd be very dissapointed if the government were to govern the country via the internet. I agree that the website is probabley used as a way of distracting people from the more vociferous types of protest but it could also be used as a good source of ideas.
As far as I'm concearned we voted them in to run the country for 5 years and they should get on with it as they see fit within the boundries of their manifesto(not that they are doing this nesesarily). If they buckled to every petition that gathered more that a specific number of votes they'd never get anything done!
They are not necesarily ignoring the views of the people by dismising the petitions it could just be that they have looked into it, know a good deal more about it than most and have a good deal more responcibility and simply dissagree with the petition.
Wish they would get to the point and be honest in their replies though.
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