Adam Smith institute 1 - CPRE 0

Mark mark at
Fri May 19 12:11:41 BST 2006

In response to the e-mail entitled "Adam Smith institute 1 - CPRE 0":

From: Simon Fairlie
e-mail: chapter7 at
Date: Wed 17th May, 11.30pm

Dear Mark

Like James Armstrong, you are too cavalier about supporting free
marketeers who justify more housebuilding in the countryside because
agriculture is "ugly, and provides no habitat for wildlife".

Yes , a lot of agriculture is high impact and chemical and over
mechanized and ugly, but a lot of it isn't, including the greater
part of the farming in West Country. More importantly, agriculture
provides our food,  our fibre and our renewable fuel, and if we don't
maintain our agriculture in the UK, then we have to get it from
somewhere else, or starve. It is a regrettable fact growing food and
fibre inevitably means altering nature and keeping wildlife at bay,
to some extent (though not to the degree that conventional farming
does at the moment)   and if we don't practice agriculture here  in
England,  we will be paying other countries to trash their
environment on our behalf.

Balen states that "cropland, rough grazing and grass land account for
the vast majority of the countryside, land which is not worth
protecting". This is the voice of a townie who either believes that
human beings don't need to eat, or else is happy to import all his
food from abroad.

The argument that there are acres of agricultural land to spare, and
that development is more nature-friendly than agriculture opens the
door for unlimited market housing which will turn the whole of the
South of England UK into a carbon copy of a leafy American suburb,
with three car families living on three acre plots driving their kids
miles to school every day. That's why Balen advocates a planning
system for England the same as in Hoiuston, Texas.  And if the free
market reigned, there would still be a lack of affordable housing.

Free market analysts like Mark Pennington and Mischa Balen are
superficially attractive because, being free market economists,  they
home in on the economic distortions caused by a planning system which
relies on restricting the area of building land. But as free market
economists, they don't give a shit who grows their  food, how little
the farmworkers  get paid, or what environmental sacrifices they have
to make to keep us living in leafy luxury.

Sustainable affordable low impact rural communities can only be
founded on sustainable agriculture. Rural development which is not
based on  agriculture is suburban sprawl.

I  think that CPRE, despite all  their  faults, are rather nearer to
an appreciation of this fact than the likes of Balen and Pennington.
I'd be  happier if  CPRE bought the County Farm down the road which
is up for sale, than if the Adam Smith institute bought it

Simon Fairlie
Hats: Chapter 7, The Land, The Scythe Shop

The Potato Store, Flaxdrayton Farm,
S. Petherton, Somerset TA 13 5LR

01460 249204
chapter7 at

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