Green papers, White flags

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© Richard Hanson                                              Park Hill Estate, Sheffield

Social housing could be such a beacon. The green paper published today aims among other things “to rebalance the relationship between residents and landlords …” This seems important. Yet, there is something missing from the five core themes, alas: to build structures that make maximal use of renewable technologies.

If we can power homes through clean energy – solar panels, wind turbines, geo-thermal rods, Archimedes screws – then what’s stopping us? [Don’t say Cash: cost-benefit analysis is clear] Building new, wherever it’s done, still doesn’t have sustainable technologies sunk into the foundations of planning. This seems odder than a former foreign secretary behaving as a toddler and still being taken seriously.

The default position for design and construction has to evolve, doesn’t it? New Towns are planned: never once is mentioned how they might harmonize with the ecology by drawing directly from it. The nay-sayers flip-up like jack-in-the-boxes to denounce the ability of renewables to meet demand yet concede something must be done. It’s astounding how vested interests trickle out truth amid streams of bilge.

In the next Blogos, we shall post a graph of data which shows just how straightforward focussing utilities’ supply from renewable sources could be. And remember, intention matters. If kindness informs rational action, it generates its own energy such that housing estates would begin with and evolve an underlying positiveness.

Why is this uppermost in the mind? How many times in the past two months have people just sitting in their cars responded to requests to cut their engines with ‘what I do doesn’t matter’? The majority are happy to, saying they hadn’t noticed or yes, they really should. Slivers of resistance come mostly from 30-somethings who justify it running with dismal thin arguments: the one which has me hooting is “I need it for the air-con”.

They seem suffocatingly unaware of the irony.

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