How Much Is A Hill Worth?

Great Britain, London

Those pesky Tories – they get back in and immediately get up to their old tricks.

The UK’s mountains, lakes, rivers and beaches are to be given an economic value under plans by George Osborne to audit the entire nation, including its landscape. He has ordered Britain’s natural features to be valued by economists and accountants appointed by the Treasury.

The aim is to find out how much such assets are worth to the nation, with a value placed even on intangibles such as the beauty of a landscape. Then, once you know if it’s worth more to, say, business than to tourism or even that intangible pointless value ‘just looking nice’, you can come up with an economic argument for building all over them.

An old friend of mine used to send me a postcard from Tower Green on the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s death every year. He died the year before they built the NatWest Tower, which was the first skyscraper to bisect the view from within the Tower of London. The Tower had remained lower than the rest of the city, and its view had been protected until the Thatcher era.

But who cares if something just makes you feel good, or looks right? It’s not worth anything, is it? I’m reminded of the tourist on TripAdvisor, probably the website I hate most in the world, who complained that she went to the Lake District and found there was nothing there but scenery.

7 comments on “How Much Is A Hill Worth?”

  1. snowy says:

    Oh its the same old thing, “those who know the price of everything, know the value of nothing”.

    And the other cliche, “if you don’t measure it you can’t control it”.

    When I’m in the poo, I want the fastest way out, not the precise depth, and not to faff about with the “Bristol Scale”. (Don’t look that up, somethings are better to be ignorant of.)

  2. Kevin says:

    I’ve got a feeling that this is one of the signs that a culture is in its death throes. When it turns inward and starts to consume itself. Like when the members of a society steal the plaques from their own war memorials for their scrap metal value. Or when people’s hard earned money is used to prop up an insane and out of control derivatives market. No good will come of it.

  3. Kompani says:

    When will the Tories realise that not everything has a price or is a profit opportunity for either ones mates or oneself. Lets get back the tax owed to us from those avoiding it. No deals. Lets get MP’s on normal pension schemes. Hands off our fabulous countryside.

  4. Alan Morgan says:

    There really is only scenery up here in the Lakes. We live on curly kale and fight over the dwindling stocks of double A batteries (when we’re not worshipping the body of a dead airman). We’re not sure what’s happened to my daughter Rowan. So any devoutly religious virgins in authority wishing to come here willingly are most welcome. It’s all very Alan Wicker, man.

  5. Dan Terrell says:

    Having just got back from Germany where they are still spending a lot of euros on preserving old buildings in historically-correct fashion and enjoying the cabbled city centers (marktplatz), I am very sorry to read the above post. It was so nice to be able to wander for several weeks through a vital country and stumble on buildings carrying labels that read “In this… On this, etc.” and the dates go way back. And the views, particularly in the “green heart of Germany” were so fantastic and so long standing.

  6. Dan Terrell says:

    Just chucked in that “cabbled” instead of cobbled to show, despite a vacation, that I can still typo with the best. Shah…

  7. snowy says:

    I believe Alan is being deliberately mischievous to put off us outsiders, and prevent them discovering the cultural and culinary gems of the area.

    The butty wagon opposite Morrison’s in Kendal, which doesn’t insult you with two scant slices of streaky in a pallid Mc’bun, but greets you with three slabs of middle in fresh bread. They are even polite enough not to look down on you if you ask for the incorrect colour sauce.

    The cosy pub in Ulverston that changes the beer glasses from glass to plastic and hides all the furniture that is not screwed down at 6 O’Clock.

    The “gastro” pub high above Wasdale, were the fried potato stick features highly in their bill of fare, but vinegar is banned, to preserve the condition of the beer. Take heart thou’ there is a vast range of artisan mustards available. And we all know that mustard seeds are magic, these little yellow dynamos lock up any naughty vinegar molecules, oh yes.

    And of course not forgetting the Keswick pencil museum, actually I don’t think that’s real, It’s probably a front for some sort of sect that worships Herdwicks.

    (The truth to tell I did enjoy the Lakes when following the pointless pursuit of scaling pointy rocks by the most vertiginous route possible.)

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