South East Essex is threatened with a large number of housing schemes that will destroy rich wildlife habitat. There are some extremely important areas of habitat in Benfleet, Rayleigh, Rochford and elsewhere, that are home to some of the wildlife species that are in decline.
Scientists warn us that a quarter of UK mammals are now facing extinction. In addition, the World Health Organisation and other scientists warn that our destructive relationship with nature is making the outbreak of new pandemics, like COVID-19, ever more likely. To stop novel viruses jumping between wildlife and humans it is absolutely essential that we stop the destruction of habitat both abroad and here in the UK.
However, as the UK population continues to grow, we also need to provide enough homes to meet our needs. Instead of building homes in areas that can only be accessed by cars, we provide here the solutions, that not only save precious countryside, but put the homes needed on brownfield sites that make it easier for people to live free of the expense of car ownership.
By building around the public transport hubs and along the public transport corridors we can make it easy for people to get around on bikes, buses and rail, greatly reducing fuel use and helping to tackle the climate crisis. And by building up, typically 5 or 6 floors above a ground floor shop, on a public transport corridor, we can revitalise traditional independent shops and build more inclusive communities.
We can solve the housing crisis, we can save the greenbelt and wildlife habitat, and we can tackle the climate and ecological emergency. We just need to stop doing all the wrong things and make the simple changes that are needed. At the next local elections ever more people will be looking for politicians who will rise to the challenge and stop the destruction of the natural world.