David Levy – The Silly Season – Aug 17

Yes, we are in the period of time called the Silly Season and what happens traditionally during this time is really unbelievable, but happens with a regularity which leaves you feeling it is planned to deliver a result clear of scrutiny.

It is a strong feature of the role of the consultation process, a feature I have already shared with you, to serve as a sop to public opinion. It means nothing in terms of contributing to monitoring change and sound science.

What has happened in the past is that this is the time when people are away on holiday and as the governance apparatus is generally closed down, they can and do slip through an approval for a controversial licence application.

Once a decision is given, it leaves the public with a tricky judgment of whether to challenge the process legally. It is particularly difficult to get a judge to go against a government agency once it has made the decision to give assent to a license application — even though the case against the decision has teeth and needs answering.

In my experience I have had an agency who failed to answer any question other than saying that they had looked at the issues and made their decision. This I was expected to agree to and accept.

My choice was to insist on detail and the sound science which the government agency was unable to provide.

This cost me both personally and time-wise, and I did not come out of the confrontation with any feeling that the public are well served by the regulator or by the law. The latter is designed to be prohibitively expensive and getting free service is now almost non-existent unless you are an unemployed one legged, gay Nigerian and then only if you are homeless. No offence to anyone.

Certainly if you are a concerned community you have to raise all monies yourself and this is not a matter to be taken to lightly.

I leave you frequently to watch this space . . . .

. . and this blog is no different.

David Levy — August 2017


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