David Levy – Defeating the “rubber stamp” with the right arguments – Oct 16

The advantage of consulting Marinet is that you get advice that is honed by years/decades of campaigning. This provides you with experience about many issues and the knowledge to pick out those issues you can win on, if you follow a strategic plan.

Unfortunately those who engage with an issue get sucked into the consultation package with the understanding that if they follow the arguments they will win. I am here to tell you that you are just being steered towards areas that the regulator and company can swat away.

Once the consultation time is over then nothing is there to stop the licence application getting approved, and all you have done is waste an opportunity — if it was ever there. Those opportunities are few and far between and when you understand that most licence applications are rubber stamped, approved almost in advance between the regulator and company, then your strategy has to be effective.

Government agencies are driven by economic benefit in determining applications, and the onus is to approve.

Marinet cannot, because we do not have the resources, take on every issue. Therefore we aim to assist those local communities who wish to engage.

This normally starts from a point of outrage and frenetic energy but unless you take the advice that is given it will lead to frustration and surrender, simply because the community did not understand the demands required of them to go the distance.

I have to praise the dedication of those who seek to strive for environmental protection but there is a requirement to fully appreciate what you are up against.

A local issue for me took 10 years of my life to change, and believe me it dominated my life during that time. I made all of the errors that I am pointing to now and I would have given up if public health wasn’t at the centre of the issue.

I fought for what was right and for my children and future generations, but I was up against a multi billion £ industry and a complacent regulator who had to be taken screaming and reluctantly to court to realise that public health did matter.

The business moved away as it was old fashioned technology and air quality standards improved, but the costs to people over the years was that of poor health and even death.

So what I am saying is that some issues are worth fighting on the principles that you find important.

David Levy

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