One of the things that has been completely overlooked in predictions such as Gatwick Airport forecasts, migration to the area and the promise of employment, is that oil is a finite resource and that our whole economy is focused around it.
There seems to be a deep reluctance by politicians and businesses to take a responsible approach and accept that oil is an increasingly expensive and dwindling resource.
Alternative fuels are likely to come from a number of sources including electricity, nuclear and a small percentage of biofuels to name a just a few.
However they will not replace the single source we have relied on for hundreds of years, and this will change our lifestyles in many ways.
For that reason, this should be a key time for planning to actively encourage a way of life less dependent on fossil fuels. Unfortunately it seems that the opposite is occurring.
Unsustainable homes continue to be built with no means of accessing employment without getting in the car. Shops, services and leisure are all reached by driving. The continual argument is that we need more homes for our children, but surely what really counts is how and where they are built.
The thought should be how to build on an active sustainable working community, but instead this is currently driven apart by an acceptance of constant commuting.
This also raises the issue of local food security which should be safeguarded for the future by ensuring communities have access to locally produced food – by retaining the maximum amount of agricultural land possible. The NPFF guidance reflects all of this, however, its content seems to be lost in translation.
Responsibility lies with current politicians, businesses and councils to ensure that growth is natural and organic with a sustainable economy and truly locally led housing numbers along with a focus on the necessity of a thriving natural environment to support it.
Economy predictions should also be realistic and account for Peak oil, taking positive, early action now for future generations.
Although there are very few that dare to commit to giving an estimation to when oil production will start to dwindle, there has to be an acknowledgement that this day will come. Question is, will we be ready?
Guyhurst Spinney, Thakeham, CPRE Sussex-Horsham District