The West Oxfordshire Green Party has submitted its response to the Oxfordshire Plan 2050. The submission reads as follows.
We reject the underlying premise of the Plan that the “Oxfordshire authorities” and the government have the right to commit us to the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal, which has not been the subject of any meaningful public debate or consultation and which proposes new housing development many times in excess of current housing needs in the county.
The Growth Deal is based on an entirely flawed economic model of infinite GDP growth at the expense of critical ecological systems and, often, of population health and wellbeing. This 20th century approach is responsible for the environmental crisis which we currently face, and which threatens “the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world” (Sir David Attenborough, speaking at the UN conference on climate change, COP24, 2018).
We call for a fundamental reversal of planning policy in Oxfordshire, founded on the recognition of the central importance of the natural environment for human survival and prosperity. The first priority should be a deep, thorough survey of our natural and societal ecosystem to develop our understanding of how this can be restored through planning and land management. Any infrastructure investments should take place in this context and should be designed to facilitate the urgent transition to a zero carbon economy, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified as necessary to prevent climate change of >1.5 degrees Celsius, and the resultant ecological and human devastation.
Transitioning to a zero carbon economy can unlock many societal and economic benefits, and can be used to support the flourishing of new jobs and skills that are in keeping with not only achieving a net zero carbon UK by 2030, but also making Oxfordshire more resilient to the future challenges posed by climate change, our growing and ageing population, and international geopolitics.