Andrew Newby, the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Hendon, is urging the government to call in the 4.5 billion pounds Brent Cross Cricklewood redevelopment scheme so that a public enquiry can be held.
In a letter to John Denham MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Newby says: "You have no doubt received many other letters highlighting the major problems with the scheme but there are two overwhelming reasons why the project should go to a public inquiry.
"1/ Even supposing the developers fulfill their pledges of high standards for all aspects of their monstrous proposals, the size of the scheme is so enormous that it will have an impact on the national target of an 80 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.
"The BXC plans include only token sustainability measures, so the expanded shopping centre, the new homes and the other buildings are likely to churn out hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 in their many decades of existence. Residential buildings will only achieve level three (out of six) under the Code for Sustainable Homes although the government's target is for all buildings be carbon neutral by 2016.
"This scheme is an ideal opportunity to install energy conservation measures and sustainable power facilities right from the beginning. There is plenty of scope on the site for enough wind turbines, solar arrays and ground source heat pumps to make the whole area carbon positive, never mind carbon neutral. Yet the requirement for 20% renewable energy is proposed to be met entirely by burning domestic waste. Not a single solar panel or wind turbine is proposed.
"As well as benefitting the environment, carbon neutrality would save money for the people who live in the new town and for the businesses, as their energy bills would be much lower – they might even make money by feeding electricity back into the grid. Can it be that the developers are more interested in building cheaply than in saving on running costs for the future occupants of the homes and commercial buildings?
"It is vital that all nations reduce their CO2 emissions rapidly in order to prevent global temperatures rising to levels likely to trigger environmental disaster. But there is no chance of Britain achieving its crucial CO2 reduction target if other planning authorities adopt the Barnet planning committee's approach of ignore the wider environmental impact of schemes under consideration.
"2/ The scheme is not just about new housing and a so-called town centre, the whole thing is based on "an expanded and improved" shopping mall, with an "enhanced retail offer including new stores at Brent Cross Shopping Centre", to cite the developers' own documents. It would seem very probable that the expansion of Brent Cross would have further harmful affects on the several shopping areas within a few miles of the development.
"Shopping district likely to suffer from the expansion of Brent Cross include Golders Green, Hendon, Temple Fortune and Finchley Central. Many businesses in those areas are already struggling under the impact of the recession and Barnet Council should not have approved the BXC plans without studying their likely impact on local communities and implementing whatever measures are needed to support those communities.
"I also urge you to call in the scheme for these further reasons:
"*There are elements of the plan that have significant impacts outside the Borough of Barnet: in particular 29,000 extra cars per day on the road, and the impact on local shopping and communities. A North West London Light Railway would mitigate some of these effects.
"*The proposal's sustainability needs to be reviewed in terms of: density, the environment, pollution, carbon emissions, the incinerator, siting of waste processing plant, and the effect of high-level walkways on cyclists and pedestrians.
"* The huge dump and 140 metre waste incinerator will pollute the air we and our children breathe. Barnet Council (with six other boroughs) wants to build the domestic waste dump next to an infants school, possibly harming the most vulnerable."
If you want to ask the minister to call in the plans, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for submissions is March 12th