Prepared by Nikita Myshov, Anton Potapov and
2 – I was going to be a journalist, before I became a lawyer. So I did all the training in the UK. But then it didn’t work out, so I became a lawyer instead.
1 – Aha, I see…What year was it?
2 – In 1999…I started. So…20 years now.
1 – Hmm…I see. Robert, can you say, what the main goal of your presentation today was?
2 – The main goal was to tell the conference about how the British planning system works and how it balances economic growth with environmental protection.
1 – Aha…I see. And, what do you think: Are we on the right track to improving Voronezh? Can you compare it to Birmingham?
2 – Yes, certainly! from what I’ve seen, absolutely right. But it needs to be kept under review the whole time. You can’t just start and hope it works. You have to have good people working hard to make sure it happens. But yes, it looks good to me.
1 – Aha, interesting. So, you’re Queen’s counselor, yes?
2 – Yes
1 –It’s a big thing for you to be. Do you also sometimes contact her directly or what? How does that works?
2 – Umm…interesting, huh. The queen herself…I’m gonna show you a picture. It sure will make you laugh.
2 – …and it unfolds. It’s a big piece of paper and lovely old writing. And that is what makes you the QC. But it’s…I got that not from the queen but from the Lord Chancellor. So I met the Lord Chancellor but not the queen.
1 – Hmm, okay. This is also fine.
2 – Yeah. The politician, but not the queen.
1 – Anyways. So, you’re working in the colleges?
2 – Yes
1 – Do they influence the businesses, the enterprise? I mean, to build not how they want, but how better for the environment.
2 – Yes! In the UK that is so important. If you’re building the housing or a factory, you have to show, that you won’t have an unacceptable impact on the environment. So, for air quality, you have to show no problem. And traffic, you have to show no problem. But if there is a problem, you have to pay money to fix it to make sure it works So every housing scheme in London has to pay money towards «Crossrail». Crossrail is our big new transport project under London.
1 – So is it underground?
2 – Underground, yeah. Right across London. And so, every new development in London has to pay a tax to fund Crossrail, because more buildings – more people. More people – more transport. And that’s how we’re funding our transport projects.
1 – Huh, okay, interesting. I just have one more question about this underground road. Will it be held away underground?
2 – Yeah. And London, as you know, is massive. And it’s going to go from one side all the way through Heathrow airport.
1 – But with the stops, yes?
2 – Some stops in central London. Not too many. So be quick! Or like a metro, it’s like an underground railway.
1 – And who is the main organizer of the…
2 – Government. It’s a government’s idea. And then, the mayor of London. Then as I say, there’s this tax. So everybody pays for it.
1 – Aha…ok. So it’s not a private sector?
2 – No, it’s not. Exactly. In the UK there’s almost no ability for the private sector to build roads or railways. It’s all government land.
1- We have the same thing in Russia, you know
2 – Yeah, yeah..
1 – And, what do you think about the prime minister…
2 – Boris Johnson
1 – Yes! I think he will be better in ecology
2 – Umm, he was very keen to build a new airport. In London, he wanted to build a new airport here. So you fly over from Russia, Germany, and then you land in the airport right on the coast and then build a road into London. This is his idea. It has not worked.
1 – Why?
2 – Because it would have too much of an impact on the environment and the birds. It’s a very special area. So you can’t just build an airport on it, because the law says you can’t do it. So that was his idea. It was called «Boris Island»
1 – Aha. So he wanted to build it on the island…
2 – It was going to be called Boris Island. Yeah, make a new airport. International airport, yeah. That was his big idea. But it has been scrapped.
1 – Yeah. But was it when he was a mayor of London?
2 – Actually, when he was…yeah, when he was a mayor of London, exactly.
1 – Do you maybe have some ideas, that Voronezh should implement, that we don’t have right now?
2 – Umm, I think the thing that makes really good cities is parks. So if you have a lot of parks…small parks, local areas, bigger parks for the wider areas, that’s what can make a city really really great. And, from speaking to people…I don’t know the city that well, but people say: «we have some parks, but we need more parks». Because then, it’s good for people to live. But also, you come to see the city, because it’s lovely and green and it’s a nice place to spend time. So, tourism. That’s the thing I think will be good to know.
1 – What do you think about just cutting off the trees. Some trees I think are cut really massively. In some parks. I think it’s how it shouldn't be.
2 – Yeah. it’s got to be done more carefully. Because if you cut the trees down, it makes them look ugly.
1 – Yeah, because…they cut it not the whole way.
2 – It saves money, if we cut it big, and then let it grow back, then cut 1 year, cut another year...
1 – I see…that’s a problem. So there should also be a responsibility. And how much money does the funding of the college Ecology department have, for example? Do you have the ecology department in the UK?
2 – Yeah
1 – And do you know the funding?
2 – I don’t know the funding they get. I know that most counsels in the UK don’t have much money. So they are struggling. But again, if they look to the development…so if you’re in Birmingham and you’re building some plants, you pay towards the keeper of the local park or you make a contribution to park. So the money comes from the profit on housing. Because we’re such a small island and because we’ve got such a shortage of housing, housing is worth lots of money, so the developers can build the houses and pay for park and pay for roads. So that’s how it’s done
1 – So the main thing is the developers. And do you maybe have statistics, so it’s possible to find how much money the ecology department get for the renovation?
2 – I don’t know. I suspect you could find it. But it’s not something I do right now, so I don’t think I know the answers to that. Sorry.
1 – Interesting. You also made me think more. Thank you very much.
2 – Yeah, nice to meet you.