Plan to be extended

PUBLISHED: 13:46 06 November 2008 | UPDATED: 14:24 10 May 2010

THE East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) announced on Monday October 27 that the East of England Plan, which sets out future plans for the Eastern Region, will be reviewed and extended to 2031. While I welcome the objective of EERA, namely, to discus

THE East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) announced on Monday October 27 that the East of England Plan, which sets out future plans for the Eastern Region, will be reviewed and extended to 2031.

While I welcome the objective of EERA, namely, to discuss and plan the region's

mid-term future I have grave concerns about the basis on which their plans are laid.

There is a risk of EERA maintaining its assumptions and virtually ignoring the advent of diminishing oil reserves, the dramatic loss of current economic confidence and the onset of dangerous climate change.

Thus it is hard to see how their 'review' could possibly adapt to this massive 'triple crunch' of adverse global circumstances.

Regional planning has for too long conformed with wholly unrealistic assumptions handed down by central Government and its agencies.

The dramatic economic changes and heightened awareness of the imminence of dangerous climate change afford an opportunity for a radically different perspective on the possible futures for our region particularly the rapidly growing county of Cambridgeshire.

The oil does not exist to fuel everlasting growth in road traffic and the roads such as the A14 and A10 cannot cope anyway, yet the Highways Agency still assumes this is the case.

Who now believes that house-building projections for this region will be fulfilled? Rather, we should be regenerating the communities where houses are decaying as people move to the South East, while building family and affordable housing here, something that until now has all too often been neglected in expensive new housing developments.

The Green Party fully supports the ambitious renewable energy assumptions of the 2021 Plan, but urges that higher percentages of renewable energy are projected for 2031. Recent climate change forecasts imply the loss of farmland and settlements in Cambridgeshire as the sea rises, and a review will need to take this contingency into account, while striving to cut our own emissions and contribution to the problem so as to minimise these losses.

The 'Green New Deal' proposed by Caroline Lucas MEP, Green Party Leader, that puts forward a radical but achievable manifesto on how to tackle both the economic and ecological crisis together, can play an essential part in this.

Cllr Rupert Read, Green Party Lead Candidate European Elections 2009

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