South West Regional Assembly Foreword

Chanel StevensThe South West is a growing region with a wealth of attributes that continue to attract people into the area. The preservation of what makes the South West desirable must be at the forefront of future development in the region. This principle is at the heart of the South West's Integrated Regional Strategy Just Connect which sets out a number of key headline aims and objectives for the region which key regional organisations have endorsed as being critical to the region over the next 20 years.

Just Connect recognises the assets of the region – its diversity, its environments, its cultural opportunities, and the balance between its urban and rural parts – and considers them to be key to the South West identity and the attractiveness of the region. But it also acknowledges that many of the environmental assets of the South West are under threat. For this reason, a headline aim of the region is "to enhance our environments and the quality and diversity of our cultural life". The South West Regional Assembly is working with stakeholders from across the region to ensure that this aim, along with the other headline aims of Just Connect, are embedded in all future strategies in the region.

Ensuring successful development in the region in the future requires having a clear view of where the region wishes to be and, critically, knowing where we are now. The Regional Assembly welcomes the publication of the Ecological Footprint of the South West, Stepping Forward and considers it to provide some hard-hitting messages for the region about its current resource consumption. This report provides a useful 'back-drop' of information and analysis which is both in-depth and cross-cutting. In making the best use of the available data the report is an important aid in quantifying the likely environmental impacts on the region in the future if our consumption patterns continue at current rates. A welcome key outcome from the report is the identification of the areas that can be most readily addressed in terms of moving towards a more sustainable approach to living in the South West.

The Regional Assembly has been pleased to support the production of this report and will seek to raise its profile amongst the stakeholders of the South West region when undertaking its work and driving forwards the sustainability agenda.

Chanel Stevens

Chanel Stevens
South West Regional Assembly