And then there are those at the bottom who smugly sing enticing ballads about sustainability while in reality planning for massive population growth. This is the worm at the core of Cornwall Council’s Core Strategy currently out for ‘consultation’ for another seven weeks.
Plenty of empty verbiage in it about
'economic growth within environmental limits'
But the usual refusal to specify exactly what those limits might be or even admit there are such limits. And stultifying silence about the long-term results of the insane process they’re locking us into.
Here’s the basic data.
Population has grown by 295,000 since 1961. In each of the last two 20-year periods (the period of the Core Strategy) it’s been just under 80,000. A stable absolute growth means a falling percentage growth (21.0% for1971-91 down to 16.9% for 1991-2011).
However, we’re told this falling relative growth is set to rise again over the next 20 years. The key here for the planners are the population projections provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Although these change wildly every time they’re updated they’re treated as some sort of holy grail. At the moment they’re predicting a jump to 97,500 (or 18.1%) over the period 2011-31. That’s 12% higher than the historic growth rate.
But what the architects of this exercise in futility don’t or won’t admit is that even at the absolute growth rates of the past 40 years the population of Cornwall will be 939,900 by 2111.
On the other hand if we assume population grows by the ONS holy grail absolute figure over each 20 year period in the next century that rises to 1,024,000.
Now, 97,500 extra bodies that the ONS predicts for the next 20 years will require around 42,000 houses according to Cornwall Council’s own consultants in 2010. Yet the Council is actually proposing a minimum 48,000 housing target, equal to a 111,000 population growth. So despite all the rhetoric about sustainability the Council is planning for at least 1,049,900 people by 2111.
And it doesn’t end there. There are even worse scenarios. Take the average 18.65% growth rate of the three 20 year periods between 1971 and 2031 and extrapolate that forward. In that case the population of Cornwall becomes 1,263,000 by 2111.
|Can we step off the escalator? Cornwall's population|
Interesting isn’t it that Cornwall Council seems to be deliberately proposing a housing target above the ONS projected level? For this recognises that planning policies can in fact affect the rate of growth. But if the Council can plan for extra growth they could also plan for reduced growth rates as part of a long-term strategic plan to slow down this unsustainable growth rate. They could. But they won’t. It’s apparently much more important to keep the profits flowing to up-country developers who build houses for people from up-country rather than plan to provide decent houses for our own people while protecting our environment for future generations.