by Pip Howard
We know that now English policy makers are acting only in the interests of the richest lobbyists, real sustainable development has been lost in a mire of green washing, that has stunned European neighbours and those from many other countries across the world, who are more used to a middle of the road and pragmatic stance by the UK.
The bigger surprise though is that a nation that has been the hub of sensible thinking and invention with regards sustainability has turned it’s back on it with extraordinary suddenness. And attitudes towards forests and forestry was the precursor to this strange and already very damaging financially new backward direction.
It is always all or nothing to UK politicians: New housing is needed, ok! -Lets demolish planning regulations. Flooding, ok! – Lets construct miles of concrete lined storm water drains to get it into the sea as quickly as possible. The economics of ecosystems, ok! – We can put a price tag on habitats, destroy them and pay an NGO to go play about somewhere else, preferably in one of those designated landscapes where I like to holiday. Do we need all these public owned forests?- Those square Sitka plantations you see driving North are hideous – let’s sell the lot.
Science, academic research, practitioner advice or public opinion is forsaken.
There are so many issues with regards land management and its planning that it is impossible to reach a consensus. But there are solutions and case study which are literally staring policy makers and their favoured lobbyists in the face most lunchtimes and evenings; good food.
Britain cannot sustain itself in food, it is silly for anyone to believe that mass food production is the answer. Good food production is and the very best can be obtained easily in the UK. Farmers from across the world salivate with envy at the potential that the rich and varied soils, geography and climate of Great Britain. Yet they are getting rich beyond the dreams of the average British farmer, and not by subsidies either.
Make cheese, make alcoholic beverages, jam, meat and breads – not more but the very best – because Britain can and the world will buy it.
And to do this you need to preserve and better maintain the landscape and particularly it’s soils, with a concerted effort to protect all forests and trees, which as anyone working in terroir systems will tell you, is essential. And more forests can repair the damage done, not least in that most degraded of landscapes of all, the urban landscape.
Huge amounts of money are being ploughed into sustainable land management or terroir systems on the European mainland, this is private money as the super rich invest in the tastes they have become attracted to. Action is what is wanted and what is happening – discussion is over and land management practitioners are enjoying good salaries and status. And the public benefit by default, by adherence to the principles of the European Landscape Convention and not least by the fact that their landscapes are alive, really alive and can bring absolute pleasure to all their senses.
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