All entries for Sunday 07 May 2006

May 07, 2006

Environmental Rant (in odd tense!)

I have been brought up in a fairly green area with much surrounding army and Ministry of Defence land. However sadly this area has become less green with each coming year. Although it is understandable that more people are likely to want to live here, the current system is unsustainable.

Most of the available land around has been built upon and many of the local smaller properties have been demolished to give way to larger dwellings and any green land has been seized up by developers. These larger dwellings often have little garden so as to increase the number that can be fitted. Infact in an area renown for high housing prices there seems to be little done to encourage or enforce the building of affordable properties. I am a student and when I hopefully become a house owner there is no chance I can live anywhere near here. There is only one motivation for these developers and that is to make a large profit and I think something should be done to encourage and to leave some greenery. There is few places safe for children to play and the diminishing gardens provide little encouragement, hardly ideal for a population steadily becoming obese.

In fact developers seem to have little regard for where they build. There are flood plains which frequently, and unsurprisingly flood, yet building has commenced here with no obvious protection. What I wonder is what will happen to the unfortunate occupiers of these properties if flooding occurs. Even when the local council has rejected plans, fairly rare in an area where due to lack of space building opportunities are limited in comparison to other counties especially as housing targets have to be met, people wishing to build just to keep reapplying.

My worry is that due to budget cuts that certain governmental departments are suffering that they will have to sell off a lot of their land .Much of the land is being sold off to property developers at cut rates and this is not sustainable with the current infrastructure. Water ban have already commenced yet there are plans to build many thousands more houses in concentrated spots. Building hundreds of properties without improving existing facilities will lead to a misallocation of resources. How are emergency services supposed to deal with the increase in demand? The lack of water in the South has already led to a hosepipe ban by early April, so extensive building is just going to intensify the problem.

It is not infrequent to see large swathes of forest disappear overnight to be replaced by with no gardens or trees or anything other than concrete. Apart from the large impact this has on the environment, this leads to the development of estates where life is of a far lower standard. This is surely giving out the message that housing at the cheaper end of the market has little character or thought given to them just see how many the developer can jam in to maximise profit. Surely some effort should be made to create smaller estates with some greenery that will in turn make the places less foreboding and more hospitable. Why should far less thought go into the aesthetics of these properties, after all they are still someone’s home?

Many of the places under threat are homes of rare species and some of the ‘town sized’ developments will lead to the complete annihilation of their habitat and hence the aforementioned. No effort is ever made to keep some habitat available for these creatures to dwell and because it is formerly governmental land it is easier to pass development without inspection or objection.

Technology is available if companies could be made to work together on green programs, especially in the cars and other electrical industries but there is no incentive too and many have become powerful enough to dictate there own legislation. All these plans are far too long term and will have little impact if not everyone abides by these pacts. Why doesn’t this Government be the ones to lead the World to change its ways to become more efficient and dynamic, instead of money getting its way as is the norm these days.

I know that there are many targets that have been set and which you strive to achieve, nevertheless unless, they are less long term and the right legislation is put into place little impact will be made. For example recycling has been enforced and has been a success but the number of allegations of recycling firms not dealing with the waste professionally is frequent. For example on ‘Dispatches’ a few weeks ago, there were claims that fly tipping and disposal or waste illegally was on the up as organised gangs could make large profits with lenient punishments for those court, one man who had been sent to prison for burning waste on an extensive scale illegally for two years was given a few months and claimed he had never made money so quickly in his life. Also a recycling company in Northern Ireland was alleged on this program to be dumping waste sent in from the Republic for recycling, as is also banned. The environmental officers have little power and whilst huge money can be made in the way and is perceived as an easy picking it is going to attract organise crime as was suggested by the officials investigating.

A lot of this maybe bias from my point of view, nevertheless there are questions and considerations which do arise. On television I heard a Labour MP say environmental issues, mainly in the context of global warming and increased emission releases, was an issue that people only worried about when there are no other problems to worry about, this outlook worries and angers me in a society where the increased car of choice seems to be off road vehicles which are far less efficient and in my opinion should have a levy on cars with consumption above a certain rate. Britain is a small place and is far less green than many of its counterparts already there is not the room to continue like this. By all means increase the number of dwellings to fit demand but do it in a more sustainable thought out manor.

I know that a lot of this is a rant and will be amazed if someone actually reads this or takes it seriously; however some points are well founded. If this worries others contact the government, local councils and Defra, to make yourself heard

May 2006

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