Sunday, 20 January 2008

Sustainability Appraisal/Strategic Environmental Assessment Scoping Report Consultation - January 2008

More consultations from Ceredigion County Council - see the documents here and pass your feedback on to the council if you wish, by 4th February 2008.

Many people who care about the environment would generally agree with the points in their Non Technical Summary, but there are some exceptions, and comments worth making.

"Topic 6: Ensure suitable, affordable housing stock with access to education and employment facilities." "Improve the County's housing stock."

If that involves building more houses then many people might wish to object. For example Aberystwyth alone has seen a huge amount of building to the detriment of the character and environment - the view from Cefn Llan is now all housing estates and retail parks, including the horrible ones at Park Avenue that have destroyed the riverside habitats there.

While many of the goals in the document are commendable, we have seen similar things from Ceredigion County Council in the past - and in practice they are ignored. For example "Topic 7: Encourage walking or cycling as an alternative means of transportation" (Appears again under Topic 11). This is no different from other Ceredigion County Council stated goals in the past, yet when the new roundabout at Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth was put in Ceredigion County Council ignored demands (and the opportunity) to include cycle lanes - and now many cyclists avoid using that route because of the dangers of roundabouts to cyclists. It is an example of a missed opportunity, leading to less cycle use, which would not have happened if Ceredigion County Council really cared about the environment. Making traffic flow 'smoother' only increases car use.

"Topic 12: Employment and Economy To provide sustainable and economic growth."

We would question the value of economic growth - growth is unsustainable and always contrary to environmental principles, and should not be an aim.

The whole of Topic 12 is ironic when we see small, independent shops closing down in the town centre, and the council allowing large national chains to open up nearby instead, with whom the independents can't compete. Likewise the large supermarkets (including out-of-town ones like Morrisons) should never have been allowed, because they are destroying the local independents that would have kept money within the county, rather than syphoning it out to England.

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