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and rethink ways to approach sustainability

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Well done to Austin Williams on his wish to have an open conversation on sustainability. It is interesting to note how strong are the emotions he arouses - the moral high ground has so long been occupied by the environmentalists. Green is the new religion.

I am not qualified to participate in a technical debate, but I am always concerned by oversimplification. Things are not always as they seem. No selfrespecting architect doesn't take the trouble to recycle the reams of paper flowing through his office - but Professor Roland Clift of Surrey University has said that recycling paper does nothing to save trees because all paper in Britain comes from tree plantations. He said: 'Recycling paper to save trees is like not eating bread to save wheat.'

Economic growth seems to me to be the most damaging trend for the environment, and not one which many people are prepared to forego. Our government's encouragement of cheap electricity, cheap air travel and new airport capacity is an example of its confused thinking.

Our job is surely to understand how to make our communities sustainable in the widest sense. This is not a matter of triple glazing, but of building places where people are not going to be unhappy - places which are mostly dense, mixed use, mixed tenure, and not promoted by large organisations like central government but by jagged local initiatives.

Places that work in this way will be sustainable in a way that thermal chimneys and massive U-values cannot imagine.

Crispin Kelly, via email

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