Tuesday, February 11, 2020

HS2, Brexit, the EU. A moan

I don't do politics on here, as I don't particularly appreciate being lectured by my fellow birders so I assume they won't want lecturing back, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. But ...

I cannot help noticing that some of my fellow birders think we should have stayed in the EU, and also think we shouldn't build HS2. And my view is you can believe either of these, but it is hard to believe both these at the same time.

The demographic consequences of staying in the EU were helpfully made clear in a projection by the European Commission made in 2018. It's here. And what it projects for the UK population is:

2018 66 million
2020 67 million
2030 71 million
2040 75 million
2050 78 million

so from 2018 to 2050 that's an increase of 12 million. The increase alone is a greater number of people than the current populations of medium sized European nation such as Belgium, Czechia, Greece, Portugal, Sweden. And, furthermore, a decade or two later we become the most populous nation in Europe.

The increase is largely due to immigration. Quite a lot of this will happen anyway, in the EU or out. Now, it isn't the purpose of this post to discuss whether that's a good thing or not, but it is the purpose to point out that having an increase in the population of, roughly, Sweden or Belgium, requires an increase in the infrastructure of the magnitude of roughly, Sweden or Belgium. Thats lots and lots of roads, airport, power stations, trains, hospitals, houses, towns, cities etc etc. That's lots and lots of green spaces, nature reserves, wildlife havens, all gone. It means digging up ancient woodland and buiilding HS2. It means that nice new A14 that goes through uninterrupted fields between Cambridge and Huntingdon is eventually going to go through new towns.

The 'good' news, is that this increase which is also replicated in Sweden and Belgium to some extent, is matched by population reductions in Eastern and Southern Europe. Also, in many countries, people are increasingly deserting rural areas and moving to cities. So there are big opportunities for widespread rewilding, big reserves, big increases in wildlife populations.

But not here in the UK. Here in the UK its building, building, building for the rest of most of our lives.

No comments: