Highland Greens have condemned The Highland Council for its indifference to fundamentally addressing climate change in its Highland-wide Development Plan proposals.
The chaos caused by recent weather has shown how unprepared the area is to deal with an increasingly volatile climate, yet the Plan’s proposals will greatly increase carbon emissions. We have seen once again how vulnerable our communities are to disruptions on the roads yet the proposals will see more of us dependent on increasing car travel. In a time of austerity the new developments already underway to the East of Inverness will see us all having to spend more money on fuel. It is inexcusable to be building new developments rather than seeking ways to support the communities in Nairnshire that will be affected by looming defence cuts.
Donnie Macleod, a Scottish Green Party candidate for Highlands and Islands, said “The Plan should have tackling climate change at its core. It should primarily focus on developing existing communities, so minimising the need to travel. Instead, the LibDem-led Council’s policies will result in more, not less travel.
“The Plan’s proposals for the A96 corridor in particular demonstrate this unavoidable conclusion. The Council’s intentions for Stratton in East Inverness envisage over 11,000 sq.m. of retail space, yet make no provision at all for industrial premises, which would provide much-needed highly-skilled employment opportunities. Similarly for Tornagrain, 15,000 sq.m. of retail space is planned, with a paltry 800 sq.m. of industrial space – and which only becomes available after 2021. The net effect of all this will be to draw in vast volumes of additional traffic from far and wide.
“Furthermore, the Plan is heavily roads-biased, while specification for cycleways in East Inverness and elsewhere is virtually non-existent. Provision for green networks generally is relegated to the status of supplementary guidance – and even that states that ‘It is not the intention of the green network to create new formal green spaces in the countryside’. Greens consider that cycling and green networks should be at the heart of the Plan.
“All this is a direct contradiction of the Council’s stated intention of reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the air.
“In our response to the consultation, we called for the Plan to be fundamentally recast, to reflect the core theme of sustainability in the Highlands, including addressing climate change.”
(1) The HIGP response to the Highland-wide Development Plan consultation can be read here.