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Housing shortage and unfriendly farming solved together


Writing on the ASI blog, Tim Worstall has revisited our 2007 publication, Land Economy by Mischa Balen.  At the heart of it is an intriguing idea.  The aim is to solve the housing shortage in Britain, together with the blight that monoculture farming has visited on the UK countryside.  The proposed solution calls for converting 3 percent of farmland in England and Wales to development in such a way that 90 percent of it is turned into woodland with lakes and small streams, and only 10 percent to houses and infrastructure.

This would create nearly 130,000 hectares of new woodland, together with 950,000 new homes.  Crucially, none of the new homes need by overlooked by existing countryside properties.  It would see the vast prairie-style fields of wheat and rapeseed replaced by natural woods serving as a habitat for small mammals and birds.  Amongst and between that woodland would be the new housing and supporting infrastructure.  The proposal was to do this over a ten-year period, redressing both a housing shortage and an environmental problem at the same time.  And as Tim reminds us, it could be done without public money, and we could start now.  Since this would provide private sector building employment and reduce public spending on housing benefit, 2013 might be a good year in which to push this proposal for all it is worth.


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