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Opposition to UK 'green' towns

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  • Christopher Miller
    Via Planetizen, an article about rural landowners opposition to government plans to buildi new green towns on greenfield sites:
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 17 2:59 PM
      Via Planetizen, an article about rural landowners' opposition to
      government plans to buildi new 'green' towns on greenfield sites:

      http://features.csmonitor.com/globalnews/2009/07/16/britains-ecotown-program-runs-into-nimby/

      =========================================================

      Britain’s ecotown program runs into NIMBY
      Four sites in England were announced Thursday to create new 'green'
      towns. But locals are seeing red.

      By Ben Quinn | Correspondent 07.16.09

      (graphic)
      Rich Clabaugh/Staff

      LONDON – Tempted by the thought of swapping life in a polluted city
      for a fresh start in a new town built from scratch with the latest
      “green” technology, from solar power to subterranean recycling chutes?

      In Britain, the dream is now closer than ever after the government
      announced the locations of the first four of its long-touted
      “ecotowns,” a program designed to tackle both climate change and the
      housing shortage.

      A soup-to-nuts green village may sound idyllic to city dwellers, but
      those already living in rural England are less enamored with the
      concept. The Monitor reported last summer on the launch of the program
      (and the mounting opposition).

      The first new towns here since 1960 will be low-energy, carbon-neutral
      developments constructed with recycled materials. The four sites
      announced are Rackheath in Norfolk, North West Bicester in
      Oxfordshire, Whitehill Bordon in East Hampshire, and a new community
      near St. Austell in Cornwall. All are in southern and eastern England.

      The towns are expected to include such features as charging stations
      for electric cars, parks, gardens, and playgrounds covering 40 percent
      of the town, homes within a 10-minute walk of public transportation,
      and smart (electric) meters in every home.

      But while the towns are an integral part of the British government’s
      popular “green revolution,” they face stiff opposition from many local
      communities, who view them as concrete blights on rural areas.

      Go green. But NIMBY

      Some in the British media characterize the opposition as a class fight
      between lower-income families in need of housing and better-off,
      middle-class country dwellers with a “not in my backyard” attitude. In
      any case, the government’s ecotowns are meeting fierce opposition in
      the form of protests and legal challenges.

      John Healey, the housing minister, was upbeat Thursday when he
      unveiled the first four locations, claiming they would set the
      standard for every new town and community.

      Nonsense, said his opposite number in the Conservative Party, Grant
      Shapps. “All the low-flush toilets in world can’t make dumping a
      housing estate on green fields somehow eco-friendly,” he said.

      Tony Henman, who has led a campaign against the proposal for an
      ecotown near the Oxfordshire village of Weston-on-the-Green, was just
      relieved. His village is on a list of 15 short-listed sites for
      ecotowns.

      “We have been fighting this for 21 months and it has taken a long time
      for the government to listen. A whole galaxy of reports have said this
      was a bad site for an ecotown,” added Mr. Henman, who is still in the
      dark about whether the ecotown project will eventually get a go-ahead
      in his village.

      A green-powered economic recovery?

      For now, Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s green revolution is powering
      ahead, and is helping to give his environmental credentials a much
      needed boost among the broader population.

      In an oped in the Sunday Observer, he said the ecotowns were part of a
      larger effort to put Britain on the cutting edge of green technology –
      a “new approach will underpin our push towards economic recovery -
      providing new growth, new jobs, new industries and new opportunities.”

      Mr. Brown wrote:

      Just as the Victorians made Britain the first industrialised nation
      and reaped the rewards, so we can harvest the benefits of being among
      the first major developed countries to convert to a green economy. The
      transition is not something to be delayed because of the global
      recession; instead it is the driver of our recovery.

      As visionary as that may sound, trouble may lie just around the corner.

      Rackheath, one of the four sites chosen despite polls suggesting
      strong local opposition, lies close to a constituency where a by-
      election will be held next Thursday due to the resignation of a Labour
      Party MP. If all politics are local, then the nearby eco-town project
      could cost Brown’s party a seat in Parliament.


      =========================================================

      Christopher Miller
      Montreal QC Canada
    • Ian
      The only thing green about these new town proposals is the toxic ink and paint... One of the major issues with them is that they are situated in remote
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 21 5:19 AM
        The only thing green about these new town proposals is the toxic ink and paint... One of the major issues with them is that they are situated in remote locations, not served by public transport and with no local facilities. People will have to use cars to escape - although there are plans for some new bus services.

        The buildings themselves are standard buildings, with perhaps a solar panel or windmill or two. The large builders are simply not interested in sustainable building, but making a quick profit. Some of the sites have long been refused planning permission, so the "green town" concept is designed to overcome previous planning decisions.

        Whilst the UK government claims that these towns and villages are green, it continues to support the demolition of homes to build a third runway at Heathrow.

        I strongly oppose these new towns, and they are far from my back yard.


        Ian





        --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Christopher Miller <christophermiller@...> wrote:
        >
        > Via Planetizen, an article about rural landowners' opposition to
        > government plans to buildi new 'green' towns on greenfield sites:
        >
        > http://features.csmonitor.com/globalnews/2009/07/16/britains-ecotown-program-runs-into-nimby/
        >
        > =========================================================
        >
        > Britain's ecotown program runs into NIMBY
        > Four sites in England were announced Thursday to create new 'green'
        > towns. But locals are seeing red.
        >
        > By Ben Quinn | Correspondent 07.16.09
        >
        > (graphic)
        > Rich Clabaugh/Staff
        >
        > LONDON – Tempted by the thought of swapping life in a polluted city
        > for a fresh start in a new town built from scratch with the latest
        > "green" technology, from solar power to subterranean recycling chutes?
        >
        > In Britain, the dream is now closer than ever after the government
        > announced the locations of the first four of its long-touted
        > "ecotowns," a program designed to tackle both climate change and the
        > housing shortage.
        >
        > A soup-to-nuts green village may sound idyllic to city dwellers, but
        > those already living in rural England are less enamored with the
        > concept. The Monitor reported last summer on the launch of the program
        > (and the mounting opposition).
        >
        > The first new towns here since 1960 will be low-energy, carbon-neutral
        > developments constructed with recycled materials. The four sites
        > announced are Rackheath in Norfolk, North West Bicester in
        > Oxfordshire, Whitehill Bordon in East Hampshire, and a new community
        > near St. Austell in Cornwall. All are in southern and eastern England.
        >
        > The towns are expected to include such features as charging stations
        > for electric cars, parks, gardens, and playgrounds covering 40 percent
        > of the town, homes within a 10-minute walk of public transportation,
        > and smart (electric) meters in every home.
        >
        > But while the towns are an integral part of the British government's
        > popular "green revolution," they face stiff opposition from many local
        > communities, who view them as concrete blights on rural areas.
        >
        > Go green. But NIMBY
        >
        > Some in the British media characterize the opposition as a class fight
        > between lower-income families in need of housing and better-off,
        > middle-class country dwellers with a "not in my backyard" attitude. In
        > any case, the government's ecotowns are meeting fierce opposition in
        > the form of protests and legal challenges.
        >
        > John Healey, the housing minister, was upbeat Thursday when he
        > unveiled the first four locations, claiming they would set the
        > standard for every new town and community.
        >
        > Nonsense, said his opposite number in the Conservative Party, Grant
        > Shapps. "All the low-flush toilets in world can't make dumping a
        > housing estate on green fields somehow eco-friendly," he said.
        >
        > Tony Henman, who has led a campaign against the proposal for an
        > ecotown near the Oxfordshire village of Weston-on-the-Green, was just
        > relieved. His village is on a list of 15 short-listed sites for
        > ecotowns.
        >
        > "We have been fighting this for 21 months and it has taken a long time
        > for the government to listen. A whole galaxy of reports have said this
        > was a bad site for an ecotown," added Mr. Henman, who is still in the
        > dark about whether the ecotown project will eventually get a go-ahead
        > in his village.
        >
        > A green-powered economic recovery?
        >
        > For now, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's green revolution is powering
        > ahead, and is helping to give his environmental credentials a much
        > needed boost among the broader population.
        >
        > In an oped in the Sunday Observer, he said the ecotowns were part of a
        > larger effort to put Britain on the cutting edge of green technology –
        > a "new approach will underpin our push towards economic recovery -
        > providing new growth, new jobs, new industries and new opportunities."
        >
        > Mr. Brown wrote:
        >
        > Just as the Victorians made Britain the first industrialised nation
        > and reaped the rewards, so we can harvest the benefits of being among
        > the first major developed countries to convert to a green economy. The
        > transition is not something to be delayed because of the global
        > recession; instead it is the driver of our recovery.
        >
        > As visionary as that may sound, trouble may lie just around the corner.
        >
        > Rackheath, one of the four sites chosen despite polls suggesting
        > strong local opposition, lies close to a constituency where a by-
        > election will be held next Thursday due to the resignation of a Labour
        > Party MP. If all politics are local, then the nearby eco-town project
        > could cost Brown's party a seat in Parliament.
        >
        >
        > =========================================================
        >
        > Christopher Miller
        > Montreal QC Canada
        >
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