Essay on Cornwall Planning for Sustainability

Published: 2021/11/08
Number of words: 3157


Sustainability is achievable when the current development strategies meet the needs of the current generation without jeopardizing the capability of the future generation to meet theirs (Larson, 2007, p.236). The concept of sustainable development has played a significant role in the formulation of national and local policies in the UK. Presently, the legislation in place on seeks to achieve sustainable deployment though living with the resource and biodiversity limits of the environment, ensuring that the society is strong, healthy, and fair regarding fulfilling the needs of the current generations. It also emphasizes a robust and stable economy that facilitates prosperity and opportunities for everyone and policy development and implementation based on scientific evidence and uncertainties as effective and participative governance systems to harness and engage the creativity, energy, and diversity of the people for societal development. The concept originates from the Bundtland report of1987.The New Labour government of the UK championed sustainable development in a series of Planning and Policy Statements (PPSs) before 2010 in the UK (Sinnet et al., 2015, p. 112). It emphasized that the government should lead to the formulation and implementation of sustainable development strategies. Cornwall County is a peninsula in the South West Tip of British Isles. The area has an exclusive cultural identity and language, sandy beaches, unique pastries, ice-cream ad pixies old tin mines, wild moorlands, and picturesque fishing villages make Cornwall one of the tourist attraction sites in the area (Knight & Hudson, 2013). The primary sustainability issues in Cornwall is harmonizing the needs of china clay mining, minimizing pollution and habitat destruction in St. Austell’s. The other challenge is the creation of sustainable communities in the former industrial areas and fostering sustainable agriculture in West Penwith to protect the historical and the archaeological regions that make Cornwall a tourist destination.

The Mid-Cornwall China Clay Mining District

The clay deposits that lie in the southwest of England have been a mainstay of Cornwall’s economy for a while, owing to its world-class quality and size (Murray, 2006, p.98). The primary employer in the industry is IMERYS Minerals Limited, a French multinational. Since the beginning of production in the 18th century, they have yielded more than 165 million tons of marketable clay. Production has ceased in the Bodmin Moor and Land’s end, which were the primary areas of production in the past, and today, much of the production occurs in the western and central parts of Hensbarrow (Mount, 2012). The environment Act of 1995 requires periodic reviews of the planning permissions, and the current agreements are set to expire in 2042. While china clay mining is vital to the region, the people who are employed by the sector have fallen significantly over the last 15 years.

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China Clay or Kaolin is used in polymers, pointers, and fillers. Other applications include pharmaceuticals, ceramics, and coating in the paper industry, according to Fergusson (2012, p. 103). A larger proportion of the mineral (80%) is exported and contributes significantly to the region’s economy. Imerys employs a large number of the county’s population, directly and indirectly, through the multiplier effect of the employee expenditures and contracts with local suppliers. Though the number of jobs created has been declining recently as a result of automation and a shift of focus to the china clay mines in Brazil.

Cornwall County Council emphasizes strategic restoration initiatives in St. Austell’s area. The authorities propose an increasingly comprehensive fashion of restoring the old tips of china clay works. Its plans prioritize on consideration of landscape and land use, protection, and enhancement of the habitats of wildlife, maintenance of historic features, and the environmental quality of life in Cornwall villas’. The strategy also focuses on safeguarding and sustaining the china clay reserve development. Nevertheless, Cornwall local authorities are seeking to reconcile support for the future development of the mining industry, in the set up where the demand for tipping space is increasing and a desire to reduce the adverse impacts on the amenities of the communities. One of the policies seeking to achieve sustainable development in Cornwall is the St. Austell China clay Tipping and Restoration Strategy of 2000 (Buckingham Theobald, 2003, p. 56). The primary targets of the policy were the protection of the quality of lives of the people at proximity to set the Austell china clay area, which helps achieve a balance between the industry’s developments and addressing environmental concerns. The document sought to fill the gaps that the current restoration process faces, including the failure to consider the benefits of extensive land use. Through the plan, issues such as the impacts of a lack of backfilling, including extensive surface tipping, were noted. It also created awareness on the un-sustainability of road transport for large quantities of china clay.

The attitude of the china clay industry has undergone positive changes. Traditionally, the local communities put up with the adverse environmental consequences of the clay mines because of the employment that the industry generated within the locality. Today, the people that live in local pit villages no longer have connections with the industry, hence, that are partakers in the campaigns for increased planning controls. Besides, the mining company. IMERYS expresses an increasing willingness to take the agenda of sustainable development on board (Kogels et al., 2014). The company views the attitude as critical in the company’s public relations with the local communities, not only in Cornwall but also across the world where it operates. Today, the company drafts a report about its measures to achieving sustainable development annually.

The company’s efforts to achieve sustainable development are through the reduction of inputs and recycling of wastes. Today, IMERYS recycles 70 % of the 50million gallons it consumes per annum (Indoine et al., 2012). The company uses the reserves that are collected in old pits and recycled. Concerning the 1: 9 ratio of product to waste, most of the materials such as granite rock, mica, and quartz residues have found a way to commercial uses, especially the constriction and road building industry. Levy on primary aggregate production enhanced demand for secondary aggregate, including those of the china clay industry. IMERYS is now devising ways of moving waste materials to more widespread geographical locations to improve its marketability. By channelling the waste materials to other primary uses such as road construction, china clay is facilitating sustainability by reducing the rate of extraction of natural resources elsewhere. It also returns the post-mining landscapes to functional utilization by minimizing the need to tip waste products on the terrain. The approach to managing waste complies with sustainable development principles of the promotion of socially responsible corporate behaviour and environmental responsibility.

The landscapes of china clay production, which attract a significant amount of flora and fauna, are destroyed in the mining process. The industry is responding to habitat devastation by restoring the woodland areas. As an illustration, Box & Hill (1999) assert that the Tomorrow Heathland project has recreated large tracts of heathlands lying in the former china clay waste tips. The partnership of IMERYS Mineral Limited and English Nature, referred to as the China Clay Woodland project seeks to transform mid-Cornwall by planting a large amount of native broadleaved trees in a large proportion of the clay tips. Besides, large amounts of land in china clay are being returned to public use. The public can access some production sites for walking and other leisure activities as the area covers an extensive cycle network. One of the most famous chain clay mine reuse in the UK is the Eden Project. The project comprises large greenhouses referred to as biomes, whose primary aim is to illustrate the level of dependence between humans and plants and raise awareness of sustainability (Jones, 2012). The dramatic illustration of leisure-based use of the China Clay landscape is one of the popular tourist destinations in the UK.

In my opinion the partnership between Cornwall’s Council and IMERYs is successful. The Mining Planning authority of the local government is using its constitutional mandate manage and control the mining industry. Site reclamation, noise minimization, and waste management are signs that sustainable development strategies are coming to fruition in the region. On the other hand, IMERYS willingness to engage in sustainable practices such as economic reuse of water and minimization of waste as well as private and public partnership to improve the lives of the residents is a sign of success in the sustainability plan.

Sustainability in Communities in the St. Austell and Newquay Area

 The Labour Government announced a program to build numerous eco-towns across the UK to address the challenges of climate change, facilitate increasingly sustainable living, and reduce housing shortage by enhancing affordable housing for families (Morris, 2011). IMERYS is committed to the regeneration of the chain clay area to create a sustainable community for future prosperity. The company has teamed up with Orascom development to form a joint venture referred to as Eco-Bos. The primary goal of the partnership is to deliver the vision of eco-town. Eco-Bos seeks to transform approximately 750 acres of the former industrial land that to bring new homes, leisure facilities, and jobs to the Cornwall County. Through, such strategies of bettering the regions affected by mining will enhance long-term benefits, not only to the locals but also to the visitors of the locality. The china clay mining areas such as West Carclaze Garden Village in St. Austell are considered to be a sustainable immunity Notably, Eco-Bos is not a home builder but a developer of integrated town with a long-time interest in developing new cities and communities. The project illuminates the partners’ emphasis on sustainability in their day-to-day operations. In the process of creating sustainable communities, everyone will have a say in the shaping of society. Then again, while the desire to create sustainable communities is a sign of boldness and innovation, it entails respect for the existing heritage. More importantly, the Eco-Bos project will have a significant positive contribution to employment among the communities in the mining areas.

Cornwall council entered into a memorandum of understanding with Eco-Bos to develop the Eco communities (Georgiadou, 2012). Through the directive, the partners could work jointly to facilitate an integrated and coordinated approach to deliver a locally distinctive and exemplar form of development to local people, leading to the formation of the Eco-communities partnership board. The five groups on the former china clay land are targeted West Corclaze, Goonbarrow, Par, Nanpean and Drinnick, and Blackpool. The program will begin with Par, Carclaze, and ball. In the program, 1500 homes, with a least 450 affordable ones, will be built. The priority of purchasing will be given to locals. The project will also offer an opportunity for local builders to purchase land. The program will also incorporate the development of a 420- pupil primary school community centre and healthcare facilities and create at least 1000 job opportunities. It is projected to generate 1 billion pounds to the local economy over the next twenty years. Concerning infrastructure, the program has already delivered A391 with a prospect of extending it to A30 in the area. A sustainable region wide energy solution and sewerage and water infrastructure plans are in place. Concerning the management of water, a 60,900 cubic meter rainwater storage on the site has s ben proposed. The storage site will harness at least 60% of the current runoff.

Though, the proposals of creating Eco- communities have not gone down well with everyone. The program has encountered significant upheavals, including the announcement to put its recommendations on hold in 2012. Today, more than 1000 objections against eco-community at St. Austell has been registered with the Cornwall council. The opponents argue that the eco-community will cause strain on the infrastructure of the area, cause traffic congestion, and ruin the landscape.

In my opinion, the Nonsladen Village extension and West Carclaze will enhance flourishing of the local economy and create jobs that generate wealth in the locality. It will also enhance availability of homes, buildings, and other structures to meet the needs of people individually and collectively. It will also promote health, education, training, and leisure facilities for the locals.

Sustainability in Integrated Rural Development for WestPenwith

On average, Cornwall is burdened with retirement population, unemployment and housing stress issues. The county has an average wage rate, and incomes of the regions are part of the lowest in the UK. Besides, the county is laden with the highest unemployment. The traditional economies which were primarily fishing, mining, and farming, are declining at an alarming rate, Industrial estates exist in Cornwall. Still, the number and distribution of manufacturing industries in Cornwall are lower than the UK average. The region is mostly dependent on the service sector, especially tourism, but most of the jobs offered are part-time, seasonal, and precarious (McCann, 2016, p. 20). Despite the economic hardships, Cornwall’s population is increasing. The locals move out of the country to search for opportunities. Still, the migration is compensated by an influx of people from the outside who are attracted to Cornwall’s natural environment. The immigration incorporates both working and retired population. Consequently, housing needs and employment are a significant problem in Cornwall, which tasks the region’s county council, which became a unitary authority in 2009 with the creation of new opportunities while protecting the character of the area’s natural environment.

West Penwith has been farmed for more than five thousand years. It is a historical site owing to the availability of the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Ages’ artefacts. Due to this, West Penwith has been a target of ecologically-sustainable farming policies such as Environmental Stewardship and Environmental Sensitive Area. Then again, as stated earlier, the lucrativeness of agriculture is declining, which spells a decline in employment opportunities and housing affordability issues in the UK. The current agricultural activities include small scale dairy, beef and sheep keeping, and cereal farming. The stakeholders are aware of the necessity of devise new schemes of employment through funding. The European Union recognized the economic hardships of Cornwall. It began distributing money from the EU structural funds kitty in the 2000s to end the looming poverty and support the social and economic development of Cornwall (Jones & Evans, 2013,p.79). Besides the archaeological and historical sites, West Penwith is famous for rare birds and plant habitats, walking, and rock climbing, which adds pressure to the surroundings and the landscape. The situation creates a need to conserve the environment. The archaeological features have been eroded and destroyed, leading to alteration of the picturesque of the ancient farming landscape, fields, natural environment and archaeology for the future generation.

As a result, conservation strategies, such as ESA have been critical in the prevention of erosion of Penwith’s character through the devastation of its unique landscape. Another organization Penwith Landscape Partnership, which was established in 2014 seeks to promote sustainable agriculture, restoration of habitat connectivity and enhance archaeological heritage. The organization is financed by the National Lottery heritage fund, financing that is set to end in 2022. The objective of the organizations is to restore the historical integrity of the region. The organization’s activities include improvement of the archaeological knowledge of the area, improvement of the access to the landscapes through bridleways, footpaths, and cycle routes as well as links to public transport. Others include enhancing the wildlife environment through sustainable farming, repairs and rebuilding of hedges and reinstatement of gates. The organization also encourages exploring of the West Penwith landscape using arts, enabling farmers to use redundant farm buildings and manage them economically and setting up discussion groups and monitor farms to support the growth of efficient and resilient family farm businesses.

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In my opinion, the policies that encourage training of people about the impacts of unsustainable agricultural activities and the need to protect the agricultural land such as ESA are the most critical in ensuring integration and sustainability of the lantern Vision of West Penwith.


Cornwall’s strategies to sustainability are fruitful owing to the current achievements. The local government and the private sector understand the need to conserve the environment and create opportunities for the communities. The decision of IMERYS invest in a water recycling program is an indicator of the private sector goodwill in sustainability programs. Besides, the local organizations are willing to protect the regions historical and cultural heritage by safeguarding the historical farmlands in West Petwith. One of the lessons that geographers and planners can learn from Cornwall is the significance of creating public awareness about sustainability investments. As an illustration, the number of people that oppose eco communities in Cornwall is significantly high. The situation implies that despite the significance of the program in bettering the lives of locals, opposition can arise as a result of reduced awareness.


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