Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Sustainability, public participation and environmental information questions

Just sent in two sets of questions for Cllr Jon Rogers to be put at the 24 November Bristol City Council Cabinet meeting:

*Sustainability

The current draft version of the recently developed BDF Core Strategy contains this statement,
‘ambitious and sustainable economic growth…maintaining the economic growth of Bristol above the regional and national level…’

1.Would the member recognise that this statement requires very heavy qualification to make it remotely logical or possible on into the future given environmental, social and indeed economic realities?

2.Would he agree with me that this statement should be qualified using the concepts: efficiency; environmental limits; renewability; both local and global justice, now and on into the future; health, wellbeing and quality of life, given that these are the key features of development that make it sustainable?

3.Would he agree with me that unless we make full and proper use of the term sustainable in key documents, especially when paired with economic growth, the way is open for ‘business as usual’ developments which will maintain or worsen environmental and social sustainability here and around the globe?

*Public participation and environmental information

During 1998 the UN Economic Commission for Europe prepared a Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (The Aarhus Convention). In 2003 the European Commission developed two Directives to implement the provisions of the Aarhus Convention. Article 6.2 of the convention states,
‘The public shall be informed, either by public notice or individually as appropriate, early in an environmental decision-making procedure, and in an adequate, timely and effective manner, inter alia, of…the fact that the activity is subject to…environmental impact procedure.’ (UNECE, 1998).

1. Is the member completely satisfied that all significant developments in Bristol, such as the South Bristol Link or the many proposals for dealing with waste or for energy generation in Avonmouth, like the biofuel power station, or Bus Rapid Transit plans or developments on green belt land such as the BCFC stadium…involve provision of environmental information and for public participation that is in full accord with the Aarhus Convention and associated EU Directives ie that it is early, adequate, timely and effective? If not satisfied, what actions does he propose and when?

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