Greenbelt should be protected in law.

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World renowned, pioneering Scottish visionaries such as John Muir, who established the first National Parks, recognised the value of Nature and the need to protect green spaces from human encroachment and 'development'.

 

Yet in spite of this, the mantra of endless growth coupled with the meme of a supposed housing 'crisis' has meant that Greenbelts are now coming under immense pressure to be released and rezoned for 'development' purposes.

 

While the concept of 'carrying capacity' and 'sustainability' are now widely understood and respected by those sensitive enough to realise the wisdom of elders* and not enslaved to the construct of money, Greenbelt is yet to be afforded proper protection in law. Instead, this finite and fundamental resource has come to be considered a land bank, motivated by the possibilities of immense financial returns given the market value of what should otherwise be regarded as a priceless resource and an essential asset in ensuring social and environmental well being and the potential food security of future generations in a low carbon society.

 

The population is relatively stable and the principle of carrying capacity is such that we will go the way of Easter Island if we continue to be aligned to the avarice construct of endless economic growth on a finite planet. Yet the Scottish Government has somehow come up with a staggering projected figure of 450,000 new houses to be built by 2034 while also recognising that presently there are tens of thousands of long term EMPTY houses across the country.

 

The current obsession with house building is largely a fiction in order to appease the insatiable appetite of the current amoral economic system and has typically resulted in producing soulless identikit housing which, unlike the quality of building from the past that still stands today, is likely to be demolished within a generation.

 

The myth of the housing 'crisis' is somewhat debunked in this article:

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http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/30/housing-crisis-policy-myth-realities

 

* “...the most affluent of countries, operate on a depletion economy, leaving destruction in its wake... When the last tree is cut, the last fish caught, and the last river polluted, when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realise too late that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.” - American Indian proverb

 

Why the contribution is important

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If a case for development can be made there are many brown field sites available, but due to the chicanery of the market and the lack of legal protection and enforcement it is currently considerably more profitable to 'develop' green field sites.

 

For the sake of common sense and the security of future generations, true to the guiding words inscribed on the parliamentary mace at the heart of the Scottish Parliament (Wisdom - Justice - Compassion – Integrity) all Greenbelt should be properly valued, beyond the construct of current economic thinking, and given the highest protection in law.

 

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I'm truly sorry man's dominion has broken Nature's social union” - Robert Burns

by SimonB on February 05, 2016 at 12:06AM

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Based on : 20 votes

Comments

  • Posted by SeanieRW February 16, 2016 at 14:11

    There's around 5.6 million hectares of agricultural land in Scotland, and less than 4% of it is Greenbelt. Maintaining the Greenbelt in all circumstances can displace development to other greenfield sites without the designation, with potentially greater adverse effects.
  • Posted by SimonB February 16, 2016 at 22:26

    The area of Greenbelt and surrounding land extending from the Greenbelt is among the highest quality agricultural land in the country. Safeguarding this is vital if we are serious about securing the wellbeing of future generations.
  • Posted by SeanieRW February 17, 2016 at 00:21

    Not only is the proportion of Greenbelt land very small, it is frequently intensively farmed agricultural land that offers little in terms of amenity or biodiversity.

    A Greenbelt of some description is of value in places, but it's generally overrated as a policy.
  • Posted by SimonB February 23, 2016 at 16:11

    In response to SeanieRW's comments, "Greenbelt... offers little in terms of amenity or biodiversity." If this is so by remaining Greenbelt it can be improved over time and can then be relied upon by future generations as an essential asset.

    To consider that retaining "Greenbelt... (is) overrated as a policy" seems misguided when this priceless resource acts as 'the lungs' of the City, providing clean air, clean water and top soil, a recreational space, a haven for wildlife, and most importantly an essential agricultural asset in realising the security of a sustainable, post-fossil fuel, future. Moreover, Greenbelt protects against urban sprawl and coalescence, a phenomenon which degrades the quality of life which is perfectly evident in making a comparison between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
  • Posted by SeanieRW February 26, 2016 at 01:12

    Greenbelt is not "the lungs of the city", that would be parks, and as it's mainly intensively farmed agricultural land it is neither a haven for wildlife nor much in the way of recreational space. And what Greenbelt has undoubtedly done in some instances is merely divert development to other greenfield non-greenbelt land, away from cities to satellite conurbations.
  • Posted by JohnColledge February 29, 2016 at 10:37

    There appears to be nothing to prevent local authorities retrospectively amended zoning after a development has been approved and built. How cynical is that?
  • Posted by Alisoun February 29, 2016 at 11:54

    Unfortunately, there are too many people and too many cars in the world and some places have too high a concentration of both. There will not be enough food in the world to support the increasing population, and the supply of rare metals and fossil fuels on which our lifestyle depends heavily is finite. Any suggestions? Emigration to Mars?

    Local authorities could certainly legislate to keep open spaces and agricultural land, while providing better public transport with cheaper fares and restricting building development to brownland. But that won't cope for ever with an increasing population and increasing use of the private car.
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