OVER 100 engineers, environmentalists and members of the public last week declared development plans for the east of England unsustainable.
They predicted that by 2021 the advent of 500,000 new homes would transform the area into a concrete jungle because of inadequate planning.
The views were aired at ICE East of England's debate Concrete jungle or nature reserve: does sustainable development have a home in the east of England in the next 16 years?
Two thirds of attendees voted against the motion. They included representatives from consultants Atkins and Whitby bird and contractors Costain and Alfred McAlpine, plus Friends of the Earth and the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA).
'The Western world is not living sustainably. The speed of development proposed is too fast and the scale of development will create a long list of problems. We must build right for the centuries ahead, ' said Friends of the Earth regional campaigns co-ordinator Mary Edwards.
Environment Agency regional director Paul Woodcock said that new housing could contribute to sustainable communities if 'the right houses [were built] in the right places', adding that building away from fl od plains would be a step in the right direction.
The debate was chaired by EERA deputy chairman Michael Allen.
EERA has already rejected the East of England Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS), citing as the reason insufficient funds to implement it.
Allen said that the large number of responses to the RSS - 26,500 - spoke volumes for the common dissatisfaction over the future of the region.
ICE East of England hopes to discuss the RSS further with the regional assembly highlighting the importance of adequate planning and warning against the current move towards an unsustainable future.