09 September 2005

CPRE propaganda

In the news today: some utter, utter drivel from the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

If it had happened all at once, there would have been a huge outcry; determined, concerted action. But it didn't; it happened over several decades - gradually, incrementally, without anyone really knowing who was responsible, or whether it was anything to do with them. And so those who can remember how things used to be look back uneasily. They find it hard to believe that it happened. But it did. It's 2035, and the countryside is all but over.
The report itself is 48 pages. It will take me a while to give it the fisking it deserves, though I hope to get round to it. My first pass was to look through it for any evidence at all that would seem to contradict the key relevant fact, that Britain is mostly empty.

The report does state that the developed area of Britain is increasing (by 21 square miles per year, apparently), but nowhere does it put this in context of the area which is undeveloped. The nearest it gets to such a claim is the last bullet point on page 15:

"the total area of 'tranquil countryside' declined by 20% between 1960s and 1994, and continues to do so".

The source for this claim is a 10-year-old publication by the same organisation.

They do make some accurate points: Farming is declining (good!). Light pollution is an aesthetic problem (can be fixed, by, er, pointing the lights downwards, and should be.) Some bird species are in dangerous decline (but how much of that is caused by changing farming methods rather than encroaching development?). But the central claim is that we are running out of countryside, and that claim is utterly false, and indeed is made dishonestly, since they surely must have noticed that there was no evidence to support it, when they looked for some to put in their report and couldn't find any.

Related posts:
Crowded Island
The War on Housing

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