Green building key for countryside

Green construction will be vital for the sustainable development of rural areas, according to a gathering looking at the environmental challenges facing England's South East.

The region faces more pressure from developers than any other in the UK and a conference, One Planet Village held in Lingfield, Surrey last Thursday looked at how rural areas would need to adapt in a carbon-counting world.

Sustainable construction was high on the agenda, with speakers considering the need to protect the greenbelt and identify brownfield sites to meet the growing demand for property while considering the growing pressure on the region’s water supply and wider the impact on wider climate change issues.

The need to deliver low carbon homes was discussed along with practical advice on how this might be achieved.

The event, hosted by the South East Regional Development Agency and South East Rural Affairs Forum, also looked at how climate change could affect the quality of life in the region and the role of rural communities in helping to minimise the negative impacts.

Chairman of the South East Rural Affairs Forum, Jeremy Leggett, said: “We want to work with rural communities to achieve sustainable development that benefits the South East’s economy and the environment and meet social needs.”

Cllr Keith Mitchell, chairman of the South East England Regional Assembly, added: “Rural communities contribute to the region’s economy and enjoy a high quality of life. To keep the communities vibrant we need to take on the climate change challenge and become greener.

“It is the rural environment of the South East that gives it a competitive edge and is why businesses want to locate here. In planning for necessary economic growth in the rural south east, we have to ensure we maximise environmental quality and social cohesion as well as high quality economic growth.”

Sam Bond

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