Sometimes It's What You Don't Say That Matters

WHEN we are thinking about the pros and cons of the two large projects local to Ely, Wicken Fen (National Trust) and the Great Fen (largely Wildlife Trust) it is easy to take an oversimplified view. What you mention or don t mention makes a lot of differ

WHEN we are thinking about the pros and cons of the two large projects local to Ely, Wicken Fen (National Trust) and the Great Fen (largely Wildlife Trust) it is easy to take an oversimplified view. What you mention or don't mention makes a lot of difference! For instance:

One million hectares of British countryside are used as golf courses,

Seven hundred thousand hectares are currently unproductive, though technically farmed;

The Great Fen will be about three thousand hectares, some of which will still be productive;

Under the care of the farming community, and also those who regard land as an investment rather than a long-term irreplaceable legacy, the thickness of peat soil remaining has diminished to almost nothing over wide areas.

The post at Holme Fen marking the height of the peat in the mid 19th century now shows 18 feet above ground (or thereabouts)

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Worsening storms and more extreme weather mean that a natural system of wetlands is vital to prevent flooding and even out the flow of water to the sea.

Looking for instances of poor reserves management is a winner - until someone starts looking for instances of bits of farmland covered with old rusting machinery, disused concrete bases or nettles and brambles. So let's not go there!! It is right to point out that some things haven't been done well, but that doesn't damn the whole enterprise.

With 40 per cent of purchased food going to waste, we can make a lot more difference by buying and cooking economically than banning nature reserves.

The issue of biofuels is a vexed one and hangs in the balance. It is clear that the world can't really replace much oil in this way, and other ways of harvesting solar and water power will be more effective. I do not imagine the Bishop intended his words to be used to attack the recreation of fenland in East Anglia, but if so, I think he would say so himself and enter the debate. We are stewards of this world and the church has recognised this on many occasions.

ANTHEA MAYBURY

Downham Road

Ely

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