Eco-Towns – do we need them?

The simple answer, sweet and simple, would be a firm NO

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

We do not need those ever so highly touted Eco-towns and we also cannot afford them either.

Our aim, first and foremost, must not be Eco-Towns but to green our existing towns and villages instead, instead of talking of building and considering to build x-number of new Eco-Towns, the latter which are now supposed to also be part of the “need” new housing stock. This is totally and utterly crazy.

We do not need to build those new Eco-Towns. Instead, as said, we must do something about our existing towns and villages.

One can but wonder what really behind the stupid idea of the British government to keep pushing this agenda. It is an agenda that must be stopped! Those towns are a waste of time and effort and money and will do nothing to stop – as if we could anyway – climate change. The fact that most of them are in the countryside, often relatively far away from public transport access to the wider world will make the car something that cannot be given up at all. This despite the fact that the residents, at least half of them, will not permitted to have a car in those Eco-Towns. So, can someone please explain to me how they are going to get to the nearest rail station or such and – the cost of the tickets of the trains in the UK are making train travel very expensive and inaccessible to the lower range of the population which therefore (1) cannot live in such Eco-Towns – despite the fact that the government says many of the homes are supposed to be for those on lower incomes – because they would not able to be without a car and (2) all the travel to and from such towns, which probably will be nothing more than dormitory towns anyway, will add to the carbon emissions and all that.

Instead, if we would, like other countries are doing, green our existing cities, towns and villages, the savings, in many ways, could be immense, including the carbon savings.

Some of this greening of our villages, towns and cities could, certainly, be done, or more precisely, they should be done, by the residents, such as residents of a city block. Those eco-block and real eco-villages, from existing stock, could even become somewhat communities like Christiania in Denmark, the former military barracks that was taken over by then Hippies in sometime in the 1970s or thereabouts and that to this very day is a community/commune that has its own infrastructure. All is possible if but the will, the political will especially, would be there.

Eco-Towns, and so many experts have said already as well, will do more harm than good and will not, in any way, help the UK towards its sustainability goals.

So, let's abandon this silly and expensive notion and do something (more) positive with out existing centers of living, whether villages, towns or cities. This does make much more sense and would be money well spent.

I do, however, assume that the British government will press ahead with those silly ideas regardless for somewhere along the line someone's career is on the line should he or she not aid the developers in getting those Eco-Towns come along nicely.

Let us not be stupid. Let us go and build new homes where there is the infrastructure already in place and then improve upon the infrastructure, whether transport or other.

To start from scratch, much like the “New Towns” of some decades ago, such as Lego Town, erm, sorry, Milton Keynes and such like, is a silly idea, especially as many experts say that it is not going to do any good and may rather do harm.

Woah! Let's reign in those horses a wee bit. Rethink please!

© M Smith (Veshengro), July 2008