Letter from ODPM on Sustainability Conference

Gerrard Winstanley evnuk at gaia.org
Mon Dec 6 23:29:59 GMT 2004

Just got this letter - at last - from a private secretary at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. After the bit in the Guardian (see the bottom of this message)
Hope this helps clarify what's happening.

There is one enormous flaw in his argument though. If they have 20 extra delegates from Ecovillages it will cost them nothing and they'll be seen to be less elitist.


Mr Tony Gosling
Ecovillage Network UK
PO Box 1410

Summit Team
Eland House
Bressenden Place
London SW1E 5DU

Direct line: 01564 797620
Email: summit at rslive.co.uk

Web site: www.odpm.gov.uk/summit

November 2004

Dear Mr Gosling


Thank you for your e-mail of 4 November and your interest in attending the Delivering Sustainable Communities Summit. Your e-mail has been passed to me for reply. I am sorry for the delay in doing so.

The Summit aims to bring together those responsible for delivering the Government's Sustainable Communities Plan to take stock of progress, and look at the issues involved in creating sustainable communities. The Sustainable Communities Plan, published in February 2003, set out the Government's long term programme of action to tackle the issues of high housing demand in the South East and low demand and abandonment in parts of the North and Midlands. The
Plan set out the Government's approach to improving the design and quality of what we build and how we build; creating cleaner, safer, greener parks and public spaces; improving local services and ensuring access to jobs and economic prosperity.

Through sharing information and best practice, and through debates on the challenges involved in creating sustainable communities, we want the Summit to better equip those responsible for planning and designing the communities we live in. Let me assure you that we see the views and experiences of community groups as essential to this and we want to see them properly represented at the Summit. That is why we have already made 200 tickets available to voluntary,
community and other groups on a discounted basis. These tickets give exactly the same access to the Summit as a fully priced ticket, including:

· admission to all plenary sessions with national and international experts and opinion formers;
· admission to sub-plenary and workshop sessions, expert master classes and the major exhibition and networking area;
· site visits to successful regeneration projects around Manchester;
· information on the fringe event programme.

In addition to this we are also seeking to ensure that the perspectives of community groups are properly represented at the Summit, particularly through representatives taking part in the sub-plenary and workshop sessions.

We are also making exhibition space available to voluntary, community and other groups on a free or discounted basis. This space is being allocated to ensure a broad representation of the various groups wishing to take part in the Summit.

I am sorry that you are unable to afford a discounted ticket. We believe this is a fair price for such a major three day event, but appreciate that for some it is still a considerable amount of money. Let me assure you that this is in no way a deliberate attempt to exclude voluntary and community groups from the Summit. Unfortunately, as the Summit is intended to recover the majority of its costs, we are not in a position to reduce the price of the discounted ticket further. However, you will be pleased to know that we will be releasing a number of exhibition only day tickets early in the New Year. These will give access to the Summit exhibition and networking area and the opportunity to meet other delegates and speakers. I will send you information on this once it becomes

Yours sincerely

Robert Cayzer

Cashing in
The deputy prime minister, John Prescott, is planning a glitzy "sustainable communities" summit in Manchester, in January. Hooray, but by pitching the price at £765 for four days, it excludes those who already live in low-impact eco villages - some of whom are eager to attend and tell of their experiences. The Ecovillage Network UK has asked Prescott to set a lower entry fee for people who can prove they already live in sustainable communities, but so far has heard nothing. More information on: 0117 373 0346.

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