A new article in the Telegraph sees Ray Mears sharing his thoughts on the recent controversy over government plans to build new homes on Britain’s hallowed green belt.
In his extensive statement, Ray explains why he believes that this so-called protected land provides “a backdrop to our lives where we can maintain contact with the seasons and influences of nature.”
Ray first spoke out about the green belt during his recent appearance on BBC Radio 4’s iconic Desert Island Discs show. Speaking to presenter Kirsty Young, Ray said “We live in a time now where there’s a huge pressure to build on the green belt. Now, as I understood it, that was put aside in perpetuity by our ancestors, our elders, and I think it should still be so.”
Ray added that, while he accepts that new homes are needed, “If we don’t have green spaces, what sort of people do we become, living in those spaces?”
The issue recently gained publicity following a warning from the National Trust, that half of English councils with green-belt land are preparing to allocate some of it for development ahead of brownfield sites.
Ray went on to say that the “green belt, by its nature, is rich in hedgerows and strip woodland, which link green spaces. Such ‘wildlife corridors’ play a vital role in connecting smaller habitats, which in isolation would be far less viable.”
Read the full Telegraph article
I live in Cranleigh village, Surrey, which is a stone’s throw away from the scenic Surrey North Downs and Surrey Hills. Like many rural communities across Britain, Cranleigh is threatened with greenfield development (despite the fact that there are nearby brownfield sites available, such as Dunsfold Park). My home borders a very biodiverse greenfield site (deciduous oak scrubland) which, despite its ‘Countryside Beyond the Greenbelt’ designation, is teeming with wildlife: roe deer, foxes, pipistrelle bats (according to the Bat Conservation Trust, all UK bat species are protected by domestic and international legislation), tawny owls, Eurasian jays, pheasants, blu tits, sparrowhawks, lesser-sopotted woodpeckers, and cuckoos. The prospect of such biodiverse (wildlife-rich) greenfield being destroyed for the sake of development sickens me to the stomach. In fact, it depresses me so much that I’m having trouble sleeping at night.
The following measures will go a long way to protect what remains of our cherished countryside:
Restore our population to an environmentally sustainable level:
Deport the many thousands who reside here illegally (I’m referring to illegal immigrants). Halt or restrict all further immigration: close the immigration door firmly shut (this will necessistate leaving the undemocratic EU so that we can exert full control of our own borders). Adopt voluntary repatriation schemes & provide financial incentives for immigrants who wish to return to their homelands.
The government must adopt an environmentally harmonious planning policy:
Renovate and bring back into circulation the thousands of empty/derelict homes and focus on urban regeneration. Make our towns and cities pleasant & safe places to live in.
Prioritise brownfield (previously developed) land for new development
The obvious (but ignored, probably due to Political Correctness) ‘elephant in the room’ is an evironmentally unsustainable population growth encouraged by the open immigration policies of successive pro-EU Labour and Conservative governments. Environmentally unsustainble population growth (driven by the government’s/EU’s open borders immigration policy), the government’s endless drive for economic growth (or growth for growth’s sake) and environmentally unsound planning policies (Cameron, Eric Pickles and Nick Boles need to take note) are major threats to our diminishing countryside. Economic growth & consumerism should not come at the expense of our countryside.
I am not supporting or endorsing any particular political party or cause, but these articles make for interesting reading. Please read them and make up your own mind:
To learn some facts about the Greenbelt look up
This is from the Government Library.
If you want your families to be able to buy or rent an affordable home in the UK and the South East in particular, then start to support planning applications for new homes in your area.
If you want a home to live in , in the Greenbelt, as Ray did when he was growing up, with public access to the open countryside, support new homes in the UK.
The tide needs to turn, when someone makes a planning application in a town with say a population of 100,000, you may get 100 letters of objection and none in support.