Letter: Nimby challenge

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The Independent Culture
Sir: To take forward David Aaronovitch's "growing threat to our green and pleasant land" (20 October), if we try to accommodate, by 2016, 550,000 new homes in the South-east on greenfield sites around Milton Keynes, Ashford, Stansted and Crawley, then that means extra use of the already overloaded junctions linking the M25 to the M1, M20, M11, and M23. Do we then want the delayed, expensive and fiercely objected-to schemes for more lanes, flyovers, and relief roads?

If we are serious about reducing global warming, then our development plans should concentrate on ways of recycling our brownfield and other suitable sites to reduce energy use in the South-east. The first priority is to agree on where we can use these sites to create a new zone of change across the South-east for new homes, offices and factories, through which a high-capacity rail system would link it to the Channel Tunnel, ports and airports, and to the rest of the UK. This, like Manchester's trams, would take traffic off the existing roads and allow for their more efficient use.

The question is, are we prepared to face down the Nimby objections that prevented something like it being started as part of the Channel Tunnel project?