BEST optimistic over green Throne pledges

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  • David Burt, the Premier, hands over the 2017 Throne Speech to Governor John Rankin (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

    David Burt, the Premier, hands over the 2017 Throne Speech to Governor John Rankin (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Children whose parents cannot afford homes with large yards will benefit from a Throne Speech pledge to protect public open spaces, according to environmental group BEST.

BEST said Bermuda’s acres of forests and meadows were “dwindling” and praised the Progressive Labour Party for its promise to introduce legislation to make open spaces safe for future generations.

The Throne Speech said on Friday, September 8: “As a further commitment to ensure Bermuda’s future generations can also enjoy our dwindling amount of unspoilt beauty, the Government will identify the open spaces that must be protected for generations to come.

“Legislation will be introduced to take this protection beyond ministerial discretion.”

BEST described the term “beyond ministerial discretion” as vague and that it could be interpreted in several different ways.

But a spokesman said: “The concept of protecting open spaces for generations to come is clear and worthy of our support.

“Bermuda doesn’t have enough committed open space. We have only a few acres of real meadows and forests.

“Those that we do have are dwindling and under constant threat of development.

“However, there is immense value in having fields of green grass to run through and woods full of trees to climb, particularly for energetic young boys and girls.

“Access to the wilderness is a component of a healthy childhood that is missing for most of Bermuda’s young people.

“Here at BEST, much of our effort goes towards protecting and preserving public open space, in part for those children whose parents cannot afford to buy private open space.

“We applaud the government’s recognition that in addition to the attraction for tourists of our spectacular beaches and parks, these assets are a priceless resource for raising emotionally, mentally and physically healthy children and adults.”

The charity also welcomed the PLP’s commitment to prevent developers getting planning permission after construction was completed.

The Throne Speech said: “Bermuda’s planning laws and regulations are in place to ensure that Bermuda’s environment and beauty are not spoilt by rampant development and construction.

“Accordingly, as certain determined property owners construct at will and then apply for retroactive permission, legislation will be introduced to increase enforcement and introduce penalties for those who wilfully violate planning policy and then seek retroactive approval.”

The charity’s spokesman said: “BEST has been pushing for stronger legislation and enforcement to curb this practice.”

BEST described the two pledges as “nuggets of environmental treasure”.

The spokesman said: “We are glad to hear of these intentions and look forward to their realisation.”

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Published Sep 19, 2017 at 12:01 am (Updated Sep 19, 2017 at 6:41 am)

BEST optimistic over green Throne pledges

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