Response to
Caradon's 'Sustainability' Questionnaire.
by Roger Lovejoy, 10th October - 4th November, 2002

Point 1 | Point 2 | Point 3 | Point 4 | Point 5 | Point 6 | Point 7 | Point 8 | Indicators
Examples: Diggers (Gerrad Winstanley) | Tinkers Bubble (Simon Fairlie) | Hockerton Housing Project
Lastwords: Ideology | Sustainability


 

Point Two. Putting sustainability at the centre of everything the Council does:

We think that by adopting the use of a sustainability checklist* we can:

  1. better understand how our policies support sustainability
  2. understand how sustainable our action plans are and how we can make them more susutainable
  3. identify how to make oue services more sustainable

* a comprehensive list of social, economic and environmental issues needing consideration.

What are your views on this?

'Point Two. Putting sustainability at the centre of everything the Council does:' Sounds too good to be true!

Although dependent upon the interpretation of 'sustainability', that the Council may chose from time to time, Point Two does seem to recognise the importance of the concerns about the massive human consumption, waste and consequent pollution that cannot be justified on terms of needs or basic comforts.

However the checklist is a bit of a worry. Point Six already provides 'Local Quality of Life Indictors' which cover the same idea and another checklist will just give more jobs to the administrators and worse a conflict of which list to apply to which topic.

Sustainability will only be effective when the consumers what to do the work themselves not when being administered by some unanswerable authority with no understanding that the emotional state of the people is the only criteria than, if measured, would indicate the sustainability of any endevour.

Amendment added on 24th July, 2004

The next statement including the link <Sustainability Checklist>, is defunct, due to the Checklist not being created although it still seems a good idea to make one. - Link cleared!

I will append a sample of a checklist <Sustainability Checklist> which may be used to indicate or measure the success of any allegedly sustainable action or development'

Can you recommend any other methods of mainstreaming sustainability into our policies, action plans and services?

I'm not sure that the word mainstreaming is appropriate, it doesn't sound very low impact. What does it really mean?

Where there is a flow of substance, some parts may be seen as being in the mainstream whilst others hug the surroundings, but there really needs to be a constant and considerable flow of materail success to warrant promoting 'sustainabilty' as a going concern worthy of peoples investment of time and effort. Else the promotion of susatainbility becomes the primary goal leading only to more unnesceary conferences regulations and officials being paid for yapping shuffling documents about things they have no idea of and or prospect or intention of understanding. No thanks!

Yes

Would you be interested in using the checklist? if so, please provide your contact details here:

  Point 1 | Point 2 | Point 3 | Point 4 | Point 5 | Point 6 | Point 7 | Point 8


Point Three. Sustainability Training:

In partnership with North Cornwall and Restormel Councils, Caradon has developed an introductory sustainability training session for staff and Councillors.

Should all Councillors attend this training?

Parish Councils have also shown an interest in attending this sustainabilty training. Who else do you think may be interested?

Can you suggest any other specific types of sustainability training which you may of had experience of which we could use to train our staff and councillors?

  • I cannot see how these questions can be answered with any integrity as I've no idea what the 'sustainabilty training' entales.
  • How therefore could I recomend it to anyone let alone insist that all Councillors attend?
  • Further how can I suggest 'any other .... sustainabilty training' when I have no knowledge of the content of the training firstmentioned?
  • What is the training? What material benefit has come from the training?

One idea I have is to question each Councillor on sustainabilty issues. This can be done by filling in a questionaire, but initially it should be done by interview in the presence of Council Officials by electors that have some knowledge of the underlying arguments and some experience of applying them.
I can supply a sample of questions, but they should not be made available to any of those to be queried as the purpose is to find out what they actually know and do now, not after training. Six months after any training a 'test' could be carried out again.

  Point 1 | Point 2 | Point 3 | Point 4 | Point 5 | Point 6 | Point 7 | Point 8


Point Four. Getting the sustainability message across:

Much work has been done by Caradon over the last two years to publicise and promote sustainability.

This includes: launching the Sustainability newsletter, the Sustainable Saturday event, numerous press articles, producing a Local Agenda 21 Strategy, visits to schools and local groups, the Cornwall Sustainable Building Trust feasibility study, a sustainability section on our own website, the East Cornwall Green Action Guide to name but a few.

Do you have any innovative ideas on how we can develop other projects which publicise and promote sustainability?

  • Distribute a questionnaire asking about personal views and ideas on sustainability and a check list to see what people do and how much difference they think they make.
  • The problem is that the Council are not paid to listen but to enforce national dogma on how the environment should be lived in and worked. The only time the Coucil are likely to listen is when big money is at stake, as has always been the case. Big ideas, commitment and a big heart are not the oil that keeps the council machinery running. Sustainble ideas i.e. those that put a higher value on envoronmental issue, by their nature, would require little cash flow as the investment is in bio-harmony not bank balances.
  • There are a number of major projects that would help "publicise and promote sustainability"
    • Develop working examples zero emision, autonomous smallholdings, homes, factories and warehouses. You can aid enthusiasts by way of supporting thier applications for grants and permitting 'planning development attached to rigorous 106 Environmental conditions' in rural areas for smallholdings. Land is not as expensive as planning permisison.
    • The creation of a Center for Environmental Development that combines all the above structures but where a prime objective is to have substantial public access or visiting
    • On smaller issues more can be made of the recycling and waste disposal issue. Residents should be rewarded for certain environmentally friendly acts, such as;
      • The use of substantial quantities of organic and locally grown foods. Reisdents will be sent boxes of organic chocolates as a thank you. etc.
      • Reduction of waste materials via home composting and recycling. Residents will be provided work hours from council to help gardening or house improvements
      • Reduced use of road vehicles. Families without cars should be given public transport vouchers.

      Although small issues in terms of environmental affect by giving the issues such a large profile, it will be talked about a lot, more and more people will be happy to talk about sustainable issues and develop them as they will see an immediate recognition for their efforts. Once issues become common place presumably the gifts and grants can be removed and C.Tax savings can be passed directly to the residents.

    • Taxes on the amount of waste collection may not work as fly tipping may become more prevalent and the idea of a fine is not the sort of thing people will want to talk about, hence no positive publicy and likey little publicity at that.

  Point 1 | Point 2 | Point 3 | Point 4 | Point 5 | Point 6 | Point 7 | Point 8


Point Five. Caradon's Council's own impact upon the environment:

Environmental protection is a key factor of a sustainable sosciety.

Caradon Council over the last few years has developed corporate policies with the intention to reduce its own impact on the environment.

These policies include:

Coporate Waste Minimisation, Water Conservation, Sustainable Transport and Energy Efficiency.

For the first time we are about to produce our own Corporate Environental Strategy which will set out how we intend to reduce our resource consumption year on year.

Should we go even further and sign up to an Enviromental Acceditation System which will be more vigorous in tackling our own environmental impact?

Should we be considering purchasing more of our resouces locally? .. Depends on what they are.

  • I would like to see the draft copy of your Corporate Environmental Strategy and the Environmental Acceditation System to help understand what you really intend doing and thence make specific comments on the details.
  • What resources are you considering?
  • The council is unsustainable, it produces no corporeal goods itself, it does not run organic farms for instance. The only product it creates of any substance is waste paper and then the Council charges the electorate for its disposal!

  Point 1 | Point 2 | Point 3 | Point 4 | Point 5 | Point 6 | Point 7 | Point 8


Point Six. Local Quality of Life Indicators:

With partners we have developed a list of indicators which help us understand whether we are moving towards or away from a sustainable society on a number of key issues. This list is enclosed with this proforma.

Is this list of indicators suitable?

They do touch on many issues butn they could be used as a distraction from the real issue of creating sustainable dwellings and workplaces that are closley linked to avoid transport and the development of organic farming.

Have we missed anything? Are you a local organstaion which collects data that could be fed into this list?

The major indicators are

  • What sort of jobs and lifestyles are young people looking for.
  • Number of people employed in their local environment.
  • Quantity of farming produced grown organically.
  • Number of new building being built to 'sustainable' standards
  • Degree of conversion of Council properties.

How could we publicise the trends shown by these indicators? Give prizes as descibed in Point Four

  Point 1 | Point 2 | Point 3 | Point 4 | Point 5 | Point 6 | Point 7 | Point 8


Point Seven. Key issues coming out of this review:

Our consultation has suggested that we need to work with partners to improve

  • public transport and
  • energy efficiency in homes

Are you able to make any suggestions on ways of tackling these issues? Any ideas or experiences you may have of relevant projects dealing with these issues would be welcomed.

The term partners is disquieting as the alledge role of the Council is to serve.
Working Together in South East Cornwall, maybe a more accurate description of how the Council should be viewed, not Working for South East Cornwall. South East Cornwall is not a body of people, but a division of land that the National Authority wants admistrating. Authorities do not serve the people they have authority over, rather they benefit, in proportion, the level of authority of the officers. In fact there's doubt presently as to the abilty to work with the electorate in any material susatainable way. Maybe a more honest descrption for the Council is just
Working in South East Cornwall

First it needs to accertain as to whom the council considers to be it's partners. If the council is run from the top down in terms of national legislation then partnerships will not be locally responsible except to the Council Officers who by definition see the national Government as their paymasters. Even if local taxes are used to pay their wages these could not be enforced on the local electorate without the threat of National Force via the courts or otherwise. RE: Poll Tax

If the partners envisaged are corporations in the private sector as in transport of housing, the though is how can such profit making ventures find a way to improve their product without encumbering their customers with a greater need to work away form home to apy for the improvements. All to ofetn, in anycase, the improvements are far too minor to be environmentally or socialy enduring as fiscal profit is still the prefered coin of security rather than an enhanced and enjoyable bio-diverse environment.

If the partners are the individuals who's lives can change then serious support must be given to bio-diverse development such as organic farming and suitably managed woodland. The adoption of more simple or benign technology for communications and transport is depended upon the value and security inherent in a persons home and work. The happier home the less need to work away and the less need for transportation and communication systems.

My experience of 'improvements' to the coumcil housing stock is unenviable. The job innhad was to insulate the houses. Appart from being almost completely innefective, I have witnessed shody work as the norm, exceedingly poor quality fitted units that were falling apart after some months and electrical fiitings loose and dangerous. Complaints to the workers were uneventful and reslted in only lip service and non-action - and I don't even live in a council house. My friends that do, have no faith in the council's integrity, to have to endure lengthy arguments when they have a house to run and children to feed and clothe.

 Point 1 | Point 2 | Point 3 | Point 4 | Point 5 | Point 6 | Point 7 | Point 8


Point Eight. Preparing a Community Strategy for South East Cornwall:

This Council has the responsibility for preparing a Community Startegy with a host of partner organisations. This strategy aims to promote the social, economic and environmental well-being of South East Cornwall.

In your opinion what themes or issues should this strategy be tackling?

Would you be interested in getting involved with Community Strategy to tackel any themes or issues?

Do you think a set of guidelines should be adopted which ensures any actions taken in the strategy are sustainable?

Answers in reverse order

  • The last question need not be asked, as you are already committed to "Putting sustainability at the centre of everything the Council does" as per Point Two.
  • Yes, if I could see the details of 'The Stategy', including all ongoing and proposed partners with clear definitions as to how sustainabilty will become the guiding theme for involvement for each participant..
  • People need more satisfying and sustainable home environments so that more work can be manged at home. The increasing unrest of young people require that parents earn to keep up with the neigbours, an ongoing consumerism that no amount of recycling can thwart.
    This problem cannot be managed locally or nationaly whilst there is an underlying personal, corporarte and national competitivness with no concern for the exploited people let alone the rest of the bio-environment.
    The ability to create a sustainable lifestyle is a basic requirement for people to ease back on the money grabbing mentality. Planning regulations presently require that certain areas are not to be used for certain purposes and that even organic agriculture must make a big profit without subsides, even though chemical based farming requires and obtains massive subsides to endure. With little or no sustainable basic foods produced locally and poor ihome environments it is hardly surprising that the majority elect to travel somewhere to make money to improve their comforts with flamboyant entertainment to buffer their feelings and distract their thoughts from the devasation caused by thier own disquite and demands. With young people growing up with nothing more than an ever-gowing cometitivemness, 'sustainabilty' can seem at worst to be just a big hype and at best inneffective.

    If people are persuaded to follow a more egalitarian lifestyle, comparisons will be made amongst them which will lead to discord, dogma and disedence.

    Support for those that have the will to endure is the only way to kickstart the possibilty of a healthy, enjoyable and sustainable environment; things in which the council cannot lead or dictate, only follow as they serve.

Point 1 | Point 2 | Point 3 | Point 4 | Point 5 | Point 6 | Point 7 | Point 8


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