Greens submit objections to Swansea Local Development Plan

The Green Party has submitted objections to 118 of the Candidate Sites proposed for the inclusion in the Swansea Local Development Plan (LDP).

The Greens are objecting to the proposed use of green space, woodland or agricultural sites for the building of new houses or for industrial development.

We recognise the urgent need to build more homes in order to address the housing crisis in this country, and the need to provide employment in rural areas, but this cannot be done at the cost of our natural environment.   We need to minimise the encroachment onto agricultural and green space sites, by re-using previously developed sites that have fallen into disuse wherever possible.

Globally over-exploitation of resources, loss of genetic diversity and damage to ecological processes and life-support systems has dangerously reduced the planet’s capacity to support people in both developed and developing countries.  The UK is no exception to this.

The countryside is a living organism, a vital and irreplaceable natural gift, not a resource to be turned into money. No one has the right to destroy its ecologically diverse character. To do so would be to the detriment of the community at large.

The availability of land on which to grow food will become increasingly important for future generations.  Agricultural land needs to be protected and preserved.

The Green Party has also objected to the development of land that is currently used for allotments, leading to a reduction in the area of land available for local people to grow their own food.

Local councils are required by law to provide allotments if there is a demand for them. Recent years have seen continuing decline in the number of allotments available, and waiting lists for allotments growing ever longer. Swansea is no exception to this.

Allotments have a vital role to play in maximising the potential for urban food growing. Allotments need to be recognised for their environmental, health and social benefits. These include: the provision of fresh affordable food, a reduction in “food miles”, the provision of open space and wildlife habitats, the reduction of waste through composting and the absence of food packaging, physical exercise, educational opportunities, and a contribution to community life.

With household grocery bills predicted to continue rising, the ability to grow at least some of their own food is a valuable asset to hard-pressed local families.

Allotment land should not be used for development unless the council is able to provide alternative areas that would increase the availability of allotments for local people.

Keith M Ross of Swansea Green Party added, “This is not a knee-jerk reaction born of opposition to development of any kind.

“The Green Party is obviously not against all industrial or housing developments in the countryside.  What has surprised us, and lead to our objections, is the sheer scale of what is being proposed.

“All the sites that we have objected to are either green space, woodland or agricultural, or land currently used for allotments.

“We have not objected to the use of industrial or “undeveloped” land adjacent to existing housing, or to development of land that is currently used for industry or other commercial purposes.  Nor have we objected to sites that propose small-scale developments.

“If all of the sites that we have objected to were to be developed this would represent the loss of 1342 acres (543 hectares) of agricultural land and 857 acres (347 hectares) of green space.

“Taken together, these sites would represent a significant loss of green space, woodland, natural habitat, and most importantly the agricultural land that future generations will need to grow their food.

“Given the difficulties with rising energy costs and the impact on food supplies that we are likely to face in the future, the potential loss of agricultural land on this scale cannot be justified.”




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