This is a guest article by Dalia Campoccia. It was originally published on the Birmingham Friends of the Earth website.
Last week there were stories about HS2, the airport and a new city in the greenbelt of Meriden, which shocked me so much I feel the need to express how Andrew McNaughton’s intentions are deeply wrong and harmful.
The green belt in England helps to preserve the natural local environment and the habitats of key species, providing a haven for wildlife and a carbon sink. The destruction of the “Meriden Gap” would mean a decrease in our ability to offset carbon emissions and pollution in the region, as well as affecting the biodiversity we have.
The preservation of local identity and strengthening the local economy are both features that English cities desperately seek at the moment, but this project will totally undermine both those goals.
This shows the deep gap between the decision-makers and the people who feel the effects of these decisions, demonstrating once more the problems of top-down planning.
It seems reasonable to ask for better consideration of the local environment and people’s needs in the planning, not only of HS2, but of all infrastructure in England.
It is true that people need to enjoy the positive side of living in a city with the benefits of green spaces, but this will not be achieved through the destruction of the country’s green belt and the building of new settlements in it. On the contrary, introducing more green areas in our cities and preserving the natural environment around them is the only way to increase citizens’ quality of life.
For this reason, David Cameron is probably right in foreseeing strong objections, as people and associations like BFOE, should and will stand up to defend their identity and environment.