5 years ago I made a submission in relation to the overall sustainable development approach of the Development Plan and in particular the energy transition aspects of the Plan. I attach a copy for information.
Unfortunately, it did not lead to a fundamental change in the plan itself. However, the work of the Green Councillors in the intervening period did lead to a significant improvement in the handling of energy issues by the Council, in particular through the introduction of building energy standards in Local Area Plans. A good start has been made in progress towards sustainability in other areas as well, including residential design and incorporating biodiversity into planning and other areas of Council activity.
Nonetheless, the work in all these areas is just a start. There is a long way to go and I urge the Council in preparing a draft plan to focus on the transition to sustainability.
The plan should not assume that a continuation of business as usual is possible. In fact, we are coming up against the limits to growth. This is evident in many respects:
* We are at the peak availability of the oil and gas supplies on which our lifestyles and the growth economy are predicated.(As predicted (Before the Wells Run Dry, 2003) the resulting price spike has knocked the global economy into recession and prices have fallen again due to the recession. As demand recovers, prices will spike again.)
* We have exceeded the ability of the atmosphere to absorb fossil fuel emissions and are massively disrupting the climate as a result.
* We have exceeded the capacity of the biosphere and are causing massive biodiversity loss as a result.
Some links which will give ideas of the kinds of actions which could be integrated into the Strategy:
I suggest that the use of a methodology such as the ecological footprint (see www.envirocentre.co.uk, www.bestfootforward.co.uk)also be considered.