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Announcing the publication of the Sustainable Development Commission's report (after an 18 month consultation) into...
Announcing the publication of the Sustainable Development Commission's report (after an 18 month consultation) into local and community regeneration, commission chair, Jonathon Porritt said: 'Nearly 60 years of economic growth and development since the Second World War have made life better for many people in ways that would have been unimaginable even a generation ago. We are a much wealthier nation with millions of individuals enjoying a far higher material standard of living.

'But conventional economic development of this kind has also brought increasing damage to the physical systems, natural environment and social fabric on which our collective well-being depends. There is no denying the need for further sustainable development in the UK - in terms of new houses and infrastructure, maintaining existing assets, urban regeneration and so on - but we need to deliver that development with far lower social and environmental costs.

'As government ministers have recognised, the need for a change of direction is urgent. What we need now is a different kind of development, one which meets people's needs today without compromising our future. For this to be sustainable, we must take full account of the social, economic and environmental impacts of our decisions, over the long term. Nowhere is this more important than in the ambitious schemes currently underway to regenerate our communities.

'Regeneration is big business in the UK. A large slice of our national wealth is spent on renewing inner city areas and peripheral estates, on restoring the infrastructure that binds us together and on creating vibrant communities. Deputy prime minister, John Prescott, has set out much of this thinking in his Sustainable Communities Plan for England, and we are commenting separately on that.

'In this report, we build on our 2002 work which we presented at the Urban Summit in November 2002. That offered a vision for sustainable regeneration, one which we found resonated with many peopl e. Since then, we have drawn on the experience of a wide range of policy makers, practitioners and community organisations across the UK.

'Like us, they believe we need to move beyond the conventional development model, where concern for communities, for social justice and for the physical environment are all too often addressed as an afterthought. We need to integrate social, economic and environmental goals in a new way - to aspire to and achieve genuinely sustainable regeneration. Many are already seeking to do this, but feel isolated and frustrated that it's taking so long to deliver something that is self-evidently so necessary and so sensible.

'This report, drawing on these findings but reaching our own conclusions, presents government with a major challenge. It is to move sustainable development from the margins of regeneration activity to the mainstream.

'I look forward to an opportunity to discuss this report with you, and working with you and your officials to help implement our recommendations.'

Read the full report here.

Click hereto read the supporting documents.

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