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At last the question is asked:
"Who is going to pay for all the environmental and social goodies
involved in 'sustainable' development?"
Teviot Scientific, Cultybraggan Farm, Comrie,
Filed 03 Feb 05
The Westminster Government through the office
of the Deputy Prime Minister has announced its overreaching policy
(PPS1) aimed at delivering sustainable development (1).
Appropriately, the Country Land & Business
Association (CLA) has questioned who is going to pay for the environmental
and social goods if not enough priority is placed on stimulating
a strong economy. The CLA is the main organisation safeguarding
the interests of those responsible for land, property and business
throughout rural England and Wales.
Mark Hudson, CLA President said,
"It is the economy that creates jobs and investment opportunities
that ultimately funds the environment and social needs. To believe
otherwise is naive. That is why we are disappointed to see another
Government document hoping to create the reverse: economic development
automatically flowing from environmental regulation. Stimulating
economic development and investing in infrastructure are expensive
and long-term activities but they will yield real sustainability."
Mark Hudson continued:
"The Government talks of the need for a balance of considerations
to create sustainable development and we agree ... but with regards
to PPS1 the dice appears weighted in favour of popular environmental
issues. Without proper support for a thriving economy which in
turn will support environmental and social considerations, sustainable
development simply becomes unsustainable development"
Compare the clarity of the statement from the CLA
with the government-speak comments of the SRBPA
To find the view of what is purported to be the
equivalent in Scotland of the CLA the words 'Scottish Rural Business
Property Association' were entered into good friend google. Interestingly,
the lead item this remarkable search engine produced in an instant
"SRBPA ...in an effort to get away from the image of "landowners"
which they are (the Scottish Landowners Federation) has been renamed
Opening the homepage of the SRBPA website there
appeared to be no recent entry on the subject of PPS1, but maybe
that was because the matter may be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
The most recent entry to be found on the matter
of 'sustainability' was the following:
SRPBA response to DEFRA consultation: Taking it on - Developing
UK Sustainable Development Strategy Together
The SRPBA recognises the Government's efforts to galvanise the
concept of sustainable development into everyday life and deliver
The SRPBA believes that the close interaction, if not interdependence,
between the economic, environmental and social dimensions of rural
life can provide insight for the attainment of sustainable development.
Is it not time we got away from such oleaginous
jargon? But the problem is that the SRBPA, being the revamped Scottish
Landowners Federation (SLF), has a seat at the table when rural
matters are being discussed by the Scottish Executive or its agency
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Indeed, its rural policy adviser
was on the working party that drew up "A forward strategy for
Scottish agriculture" (2) - a policy
that is now having a seriously damaging impact on Scottish farmers.
I resigned from the SLF after serving some years
on its Central Region Committee to apparently little effect (3),
and decided not to join what appeared to be the same organisation
calling itself something else. SRBPA or SLF - call it what you will
- the agenda seems to be the same and not in the interests of farmers
who happen to own the land on which they farm, such as myself.
Counter to the propaganda put about by wealthy
single focus lobby groups - who seem largely ignorant of any considerations
other than their own - farmers do care for their land both in terms
of running a farming business and also in terms of its environmental
quality. Ironically it will be the "greens" who will do
more damage to the environment by stifling the work of the farmers
who look after it.
The directness of what the CLA had to say is refreshing.
Indeed a lot more questions have to be asked as
to who is paying for a government policy (Westminster or Holyrood)
that is overburdened by ideological environmental and biodiversity
issues at the expense of those who have cared for the land and its
wildlife for generations.
1. Planning Policy Statement 1
(PPS1): "Delivering Sustainable Development" is available
from the website of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister http://www.odpm.gov.uk
2. Scottish Executive (2001).
A forward strategy for Scottish agriculture.
3. Irvine, James (2003). Why I
resigned from the Scottish Landowners Federation.
See SOCIAL/ECONOMIC/POLITICAL Homepage, filed 23 03, www.land-care.org.uk
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