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Monday, October 13, 2008


This is the Solway Firth which forms much of the border between Scotland & England. It is extremely low lying indeed at low tide a very large area of it is above water level. It has long been known as a place where the tide coming in can outrace a galloping horse. This is the only map I could find of it & while not as large as I would have liked & older it gives the idea & shows how much of it is ground at low tide.

Holland consists of deeper land recovered from the sea by people to whom the horse & cart were the peak of technology.

We could reclaim either by building a short dyke from what is shown here as Salterness across, a distance of 8 miles. Alternately from the point south of Whitehaven north a distance of 20 miles. The latter should produce a land area of near [50% x 20 x 40} 400 square miles the former of {50% x 8 x 21} 84 square miles. At £10,000 an acre for agricultural land, which seems to be right inn Cumbria that is worth £2.5 billion or 0.5 billion. I can have no figures for what such a length of dyke would cost but I suspect it would be feasible on those figures if done as a private project. If used as building land it would obviously be many times more valuable. It would certainly be very much larger & less expensive than the plan for a £70 billion artificial island in the Thames.

This does in turn bring up the possibility of creating an airport there. The middle of the estuary is, by definition, miles from any disturbed locals so it could be done without such complaints. It would be about 30 miles from Carlisle, 100 from Glasgow & Newcastle & 130 from Manchester. A really large airport could act both as a European hub if the London airports are going to be prevented from expanding as seems likely & as an industrial centre for "just in time" worldwide distribution. This would have enormous economic effects on the north & be a progressive alternative to the Tory report that suggested all the northerners move south to London because that is where the infrastructure is "People in the north should be told bluntly that their best chance of an affluent future is to move south". Producing modern infrastructure would be easier than building millions of new houses in London.

It would also be possible to build a much better road, along or behind the dyke, to Galloway, which would be very useful if the Scottish Tunnel Project is invoked to build tunnel connections to Ulster & the Isle of Man (Belfast would also thus become a city 100 miles from the airport). Don't know if it would be economically sensible but drilling out the tunnels might provide mass to help build the dyke.

Government - It shouldn't be part of either Scotland or England & I would suggest giving it a regime like the nearby Isle of Man while making it a customs free zone.

Does anybody know any economic or engineering show stoppers with this or are they all political & "green"?

"It shouldn't be part of either Scotland or England": the border in the firth is already defined so you'd need a new Act to change that.
Pretty sure we would need an Act to do the whole thing but that is how they used to permit railways & if anything they intruded on more peoples propoerty.

Nonetheless I am interested in where the boundary does lie. It may well not have been defined since there hasn't really been much need, well not since the Union of the Crowns in 1603 & the sandbanks aren't equally distributed.
Government - It shouldn't be part of either Scotland or England & I would suggest giving it a regime like the nearby Isle of Man while making it a customs free zone.

My late father came from Cumbria and like my mother I am a native of Annan.

I hereby announce my intention to run for President of the Greater Solway Liberated Territory.

Vote for the native son!
Wonderful idea! From the viewpoint of world commerce it rings true. If the Netherlands, Japan, Dubai, Hong Kong, and all the rest can do it, the Scots certainly can. Just get the highlanders and lowlanders to sign a temporary truce until the project is finished. ;-)

The obstacles will be in terms of destroying habitat for wetlands creatures.
I think you would also like the Aquarius floating islands I have blogged on before.
Again they would be in territory where government has not bee established before. Also since they would be almost endlessly replicable they could each have different governmental (if you will excuse the swear word) forms turning politics into an experimantal science.
Al as a regular follower of the hi-tech posts on your own blog I appreciate that. I have no doubt that the "environmentalists" will oppose it, nominally on those grounds & probably also on innumerate arguments about sea level rise, but in practice because they are against anything. Rven in those terms it would be less destructive thann all the windmills they push on us.

It is actually a fight between Scots & English, the Highlands being further north, but all the more in need of common purpose for that.
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