An Environmental History of Twentieth-Century Britain by John Sheail

By John Sheail

Environmental historical past has grown apace considering the fact that 1970. The ebook breaks new floor in illustrating how essentially the most urgent matters got here to be well-known, and a reaction made. Policymaking is reviewed in the wider context of a transforming into knowledge at the a part of executive and enterprise of the function of environmental matters in wealth production and social wellness.

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The sweeping powers conferred by the Act provided invaluable experience for ministers and officials in drafting the Town and Country Planning Bill of 1947, that was intended comprehensively to set the scene for postwar planning. In his ‘official’ Peacetime History of reconstruction and land-use planning between 1939 and 1947, Cullingworth (1975, pp. xi–xv) illustrated the value of looking not only at the minister’s speeches, and the parliamentary debates over individual pieces of legislation, but at the discussions in Cabinet Committees and, perhaps more particularly, to the memoranda and minutes of meetings held at both a departmental and inter-departmental level.

Not only were owners keen to rebuild, but local planning authorities already had the powers to impose conditions as to density, layout, size and design. As the legal counsel for the County Council pointed out, these were essentially negative powers. The planning authority could not compel owners to develop according to any desired plan. Refused consent for their choice of development, they might simply leave the land in its present ‘abominable and derelict state’. A ‘gappy’ or ‘pepper-pot’ type of development would evolve, with ‘certain types of building on larger, better plots’ intermingled with smaller plots, ‘left unoccupied to go to wrack and ruin’.

The Local Government Board indicated, in its annual report for 1901–2, that, whilst artificial processes must still be regarded as experimental, it would be possible to sanction in certain cases the treatment of sewage by ‘artificial’ processes alone (PP 1902a). Although the smaller sanitary authorities were likely to continue with land treatment, there was every reason for the larger authorities to invest in the new 48 An Environmental History of Britain methods. Whilst Leeds might otherwise have had to convey its entire sewage output some 17 miles downriver, to the nearest site large enough for conventional land-treatment, it was possible to accommodate the much smaller demands of biological filtration within the immediate vicinity of the borough.

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