Posted: 12/03/2013 at 21:50
Interesting, BB. I live in an area where there is a lot of empty space and I have to acknowledge that green belt is extremely valuable as an amenity, especially where there is a lot of intensive building, as in the south east.
I'm not so much arguing that Jean B should be an exception as that a pond and mown grass is not much of an infringement and an apropriate response should be given. She still owns the land if it reverts to its rough state and it is still enclosed and inaccessible as a leisure amenity for others.
Only 10% of Britain is built upon, although much green land is within sight and sound of development. We want green belt - and we want development, because it creates housing and wealth. There's an outcry every time a road is built through it, with people chaining themselves to trees, etc, but the alternative is congestion and traffic thundering past people's houses day and night.
I do think that zero tolerance sounds good and worthy, but actually it is dangerous. It leads to using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, if you see what I mean. Mistakes are treated the same as crimes. It is completely insensitive to people's real needs and lives. Most people stop believing in it when it affects their own home and family.
For example, in the US in some states, murder carries a mandatory life sentence as part of a zero tolerance policy. Cold-blooded, planned murder is therefore punished the same as a crime of passion under intense stress, as when one young man shot his girlfriend's violent ex-husband when he thought she was going to be attacked. He is a soldier with a record of gallantry, and he is a devout Christian. Things are just not black and white.
So I'll have to disagree with you, even while I respect and sympathise with what you are saying.
P.S. I enjoy debate, but I hope I am not being a total pain in the neck for keeping up the argument.