Some things just cannot be stopped

PUBLISHED: 17:00 15 March 2013

Would we be able to deal with a massive asterioid heading for earth?

Would we be able to deal with a massive asterioid heading for earth?


SCIENTISTS are usually pretty good at spotting dangers to our planet and the national media excellent at blowing the risk out of all proportion and putting the fear of Armageddon into everyone.

Our puds are so trendy . . .

ALL this craze for nosh-talgia has been making my mouth water.

It seems throwback food is the latest fad – even posh nosh London restaurants are serving jam roly-poly and custard, treacle pudding and spotted dick. Comfort food apparently for the recession times we live in.

It reminds me of my schooldays when chocolate crunch, rice pudding, bakewell tart, apple pie, rhubarb crumble, bread and butter pudding and others were served and eaten every day.

We’re at the forefront of foody fashion for once as we often enjoy nosh-talgia at home – semolina twice last week! – but it’s interesting to see others now eating it, too.

It was surprising then that scientists missed the double-decker bus sized meteorite that clattered into Russia and injured 1,000 people.

Apparently, they couldn’t see it because it was coming from the direction of the sun – that old war-time dogfight trick.

Asteroids, of varying sizes, threaten earth all the time and mostly we don’t even notice.

There is always talk that one day there will be one so huge it will destroy the planet, like those Hollywood movies where Tom Cruise or Harrison Ford, has just hours to find a solution.

In reality, of course, if such a thing was to happen, there would be no way of stopping it.

Firstly, scientists would have to decide on a solution. They would need to draw up a number of sustainable options and carry out a series of public engagement exercises, probably beginning with an informal chat to find out the issues and concerns and then altering their proposals accordingly.

Then there would be an exhibition, possibly two, and many more months would pass with repeated rumours that plans were about to be submitted. At last planning permission would be lodged, followed by weeks of document checking by council planning officers, then eight weeks of public consultation, more months of analysis and report writing, before councillors refuse it.

That would mean a public inquiry – delays of years.

It took more than three years to get the Walton Green Tesco application this far, so imagine how long it would take to get permission for something really important. Then it would go out to tender to get a contractor etc. We stand no chance.

Another group that stands no chance are those protesting against the high-speed train line which is going to be gouged through the heart of the country, ruining some of our most precious landscapes, simply to shave 50 minutes off the journey time between London and Leeds.

Whether many people actually need to make that trip though has not been quantified.

But at a time when we are all being told we must be more sustainable, surely more people in the future will be working from home, having meetings via online high speed broadband video conferencing – not travelling hundreds of miles there and back on trains.

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