Monday, March 09, 2009

Greenbelt, housing, roads, population...

Contributed to the online debate about this report, which begins, 'More than 100 protesters held a demonstration in the centre of Bristol to fight plans to build thousands of new homes on the green belt surrounding the city. Members of a number of groups set up by residents in areas threatened with the loss of protected land gathered on Harbourside to voice their protests. From Dundry, Whitchurch and Long Ashton to Shortwood, Siston and Warmley, they travelled to the Architecture Centre, where recently unveiled plans for a new town of 10,000 homes south of Long Ashton have gone on display...' to answer charges of NIMBYISM.

*Anon/David - You are not presenting any genuine argument here at all. You are just labelling, name calling and accusing. Its cheap and easy to use the term NIMBY (not in my back yard).

Huge loss of green space to housing (and associated roads...) adds to climate change, makes us more prone to flooding, destroys wildlife habitat, removes attractive landscape and reduces the area available for our leisure and recreation....and more! It makes meeting many vital social and especially environmental targets that much harder.

Campaigners achieved a great turnout at this protest and are putting fair arguments about why we have green belt, which is supposed to be protected, in the first place!!

*I agree very strongly with Sarah about proposing to build more houses on proteced green spaces when there are significant numbers of empty houses - I believe there are 7000 in Bristol alone!

We are also a very long way from exhausting the brown field sites within cities. Classifying land as green belt is meaningless if we are just going to build over it as planned...

I do appreciate the contribution of Peter from Kingsdown however, as it raises a key issue - that of population growth (click to see enlarged graph of UK population growth). We would have the pressure for house building eased considerably and would find many social and environmental targets easier to meet if we could prevent large population growth and preferably reduce it a little from where we are today.

Sustainable Development Commission Chairman Jonathon Porritt has recently called for people to voluntarily have a maximum of two children (and in his latest blog post favours a policy of immigration numbers that equal emigration numbers ie no net increase). If you look at the undeniable arithmetic his view makes good sense.

We should be doing much more to get sex education right, not least because of our sky high teenage pregnancy rate and the rate of various sexually transmitted diseases! Population considerations should form a part of this process.