The challenge to keep NOrth Devon world class

SIR - The Joint Core Strategy – the spatial planning vision for northern Devon to 2026, prepared by our District Councils is out to public consultation. This document is crucial for everyone who cares for this area, as it describes the intended types,

SIR - The "Joint Core Strategy" - the spatial planning vision for northern Devon to 2026, prepared by our District Councils is out to public consultation.

This document is crucial for everyone who cares for this area, as it describes the intended types, locations and scale of future housing and infrastructure developments.

In implementing the strategy the Councils aim for northern Devon to become "an exemplar for sustainable development based on the objectives of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve". As chairman of the Partnership that supports our Biosphere Reserve (the only one in England), I strongly welcome this ambitious goal.

Our wonderful environment is why many people choose to live and work here, and why so many others visit - bringing massive income to the area. It supports our agriculture and wood-based industries, helps us adapt to climate change and provides inspiration for us all.


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The finest assets (such as the wonderful coast and moors) are designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks. However the Biosphere Reserve celebrates and supports the world class quality of the whole area - villages, towns, lanes, woodlands, farms, rivers, coast and sea.

It will be a huge challenge to keep North Devon "world class" in the face of perhaps 20,000 new homes and other infrastructure, the need to create jobs and to address the issues of climate change - all with a dwindling public purse.

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Biosphere Reserves require a sustainable approach to development that enhances, rather than degrades, our environment. But how can this be achieved?

New developments should be carefully located, attractively designed to the highest environmental standards and built by local skilled labour.

They should promote energy efficiency, use recycled and local products (eg timber) in construction, and include wildlife corridors and even create new local nature reserves. There will inevitably be environmental losses, and these should be compensated.

For example, a green fund could be established through which developers could mitigate their impacts on the Biosphere Reserve by investing some of their profits in our environmental future.

Our Partnership will respond to this consultation, but now is your chance to speak up. Do you want a future of mediocrity, or do you want to keep our world class status? Respond to the consultation on either the Torridge or North Devon Council web sites - deadline March 4th.

Mike Moser, Chairman, North Devon's Biosphere

Reserve Partnership

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