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Debate challenges engineers to respect nature

NIMBY (not in my back yard) has become BANANA (bu i ld absolute ly nothing anywhere near anybody), according to chairman of the East Anglian association George Steele.

Speaking at the association's annual lunch debate, Steele opposed the motion 'This house believes that construction works destroy our environment', and explained his BANANA theory while arguing that adverse reaction towards construction had reached a critical point.

'Engineering has changed the environment for the better, when viewed over a 4,000 year timescale, ' he said.

Duncan Huggett of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds proposed the motion, stressing that while losses to the environment may be falling, it is vital to continue to protect remaining areas.

'I recognise that a balanced approach to the environment is frequently adopted, but I suggest that the balance should be shifted in favour of the remaining natural environment, ' he said.

'In a free market economy the environment cannot be left to fend for itself, ' he said.

Anne Bartleet of the Council for the Protection of Rural England seconded the motion, arguing that it was not sustainable to continue building at the current rate.

She challenged engineers to find technical solutions that did not compromise the quality of people's lives.

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