Monday, November 02, 2009

Copenhagen and Climate Change - The Cornish Declaration

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I've not long been back from a holiday in Little Petherick, just outside Padstow in Cornwall. Whilst there we looked around an interesting little church, originally 14th century. I picked up, signed and sent off a postcard I came across in the church - Climate Change - The Cornish Declaration, an initiative 'spearheaded by Truro Cathedral, [which] encourages people and organisations in Cornwall to support action to ensure that Cornwall is part of a planet which lives within its means so that families and communities survive to freely enjoy the county and beauty of Cornwall.

This includes making specific pledges that strive to

*restore the balance between nature and society

*lead sustainable lives

*leave positive footprints on the path to Copenhagen and into the future.' (details)

If you live in Cornwall or are/have been a visitor there, please consider signing and sending off a copy of the declaration (which will then be sent off with many others to PM Gordon Brown before the Copenhagen meeting on climate change).

For more on this part of Cornwall, especially the Saints Way walking and canoeing breaks, see...

Green BCFC stadium design planned for our 'green' city? Should be but isn't...

Copy of my objection to the new BCFC stadium plans, sent in just over a week ago...
Please reject this planning application (09/02242/P). Loss of green belt land and stimulus to further loss of green belt land should be unacceptable, particularly given the extent to which the stadium is not green in design.

There are concrete and long term disbenefits from loss of green belt - a land use designation that is supposed to be used to retain areas of largely undeveloped, wild, or agricultural land surrounding or neighbouring urban areas. Granting planning permission would also be a big stimulus to further loss of green belt and yet more impacts on local communities and environment, compared with benefits that are merely possibilities under certain circumstances - and they are pretty uncertain and transient in nature. For example: credible hard facts that demonstrate that [possibly] having a bit of World Cup football in Bristol for a short period many years hence would give significant net social, economic and environmental benefits are very, very hard to come by, though hype, trivia and illusion on this issue are very easy to find!!

There are certain factors that, under current planning law and guidance, are not legitimate planning criteria against which the application should be judged. These include: World Cup games in Bristol aspirations; Bristol City FC premiership aspirations; support for the application from the local media for the stadium; support from political party leaders for the stadium; support from a multi-millionaire and major supermarket chain for the stadium proposal. These things therefore, at least in theory, should not affect decision making - I sincerely hope that this is the case.

Very little or nothing of what is planned matches the sustainable development all politicians say they are signed up to!! Bristol City have had the option of following good, green practice – but have not taken it. It would of course have gone well with Bristol's green capital ambitions and would have compensated to a degree for the loss of green belt – but they have not abided by this principle.

To what extent is sustainable economic activity promoted eg the use of local labour and local energy and materials? To what extent are the latest energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable transport technologies employed? Are sustainable access options - walking, cycling and light rail transport links – maximised? Will the stadium be unobtrusive in appearance and sound? Does it feature permanently protected nature reserves around the stadium, designed to maximise biodiversity? Does it aim to be a carbon neutral stadium? Do proposals avoid any 'sprawl' in design? Has there been a thorough ecological assessment of the whole area, at various times of the year before drawing up plans?

How do BCFCs plans compare with examples of football clubs who have used or attempted to use at least some green principles, designs and technologies: Dartford FC (pictured) – living grass roof, solar electricity and heating, rainwater collection and low noise and light pollution design; Ipswich Town – carbon neutral scheme; Middlesborough – solar roof and wind turbines project; Man City – community involvement, transport and waste initiatives (wind turbines were planned but sadly now abandoned)??