Development in Medway

Written by Steve Dyke (First published in the “Party People” column in Medway Messenger on 18th March).

In planning for development in the Medway area over coming years, a balance must be reached between meeting needs for housing, employment and infrastructure on the one hand, and protecting and enhancing our local natural environment on the other.  As Medway Greens made clear in our response to the recent Local Plan consultation, this must be a good balance.

Too often both national and local government give us a ‘take it or leave it’ choice: either look after the environment or grow the economy.  Environmental protection is usually presented as an obstacle to growth.  We saw this over the Lodge Hill housing and the proposed Lower Thames Crossing seems to be going the same way.

A flourishing and protected natural environment is not a barrier to progress but essential to our wellbeing.  We need to respond in a joined up way to the economic, social and environmental threats we face.  For example encouraging technological advancement in renewables and energy efficient homes would both help to reduce climate change and create local jobs.

The environment should be given full and equal consideration in any discussion over development, including locally where half of the geographical area covered by Medway Council is rural.  We are not sure that our current Council will do this.  You will see little reference on their website to things such as the countryside, wildlife or the environment, and the only member of the Cabinet with responsibility for anything like this seems to be the Deputy Leader, whose remit, among many other things vying for his attention, includes the vague term ‘green spaces’.

Wherever development takes place in the Medway area in future, it must have as little negative impact on the environment as possible.  Medway Green Party will do whatever we can to ensure this.

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