More development may be on the way for many of England’s national parks, with Tory Planning Minister Nick Boles claiming that villages are in danger of becoming extinct due to encroaching wilderness; he has said national parks should be more than just wilderness. The idea is that development would be permissible on green spaces that nobody would miss, and that these areas should be used for more than just wilderness. This move towards wilderness development signals an ongoing theme of developing protected areas in national parks around England.
Of course, this action has been met with ire from environmentalists who believe that there is not more happiness to be derived from housing than there is from protected wilderness. There is also concern that developing protected areas would justify more development under the guise of sustainable construction. England has over 5,000 square miles of national parks whose protection is funded, of course, by taxpayers, but managed by State functionaries who can dish the land out to the biggest, fattest, most well connected of the political class. If this is truly for the people, then it would seem that the people should decide, not the political class.
Many libertarians might argue that Boles is exactly right, though, and that homes for people are more important than green space in national parks. Another consideration, however, is the issue of property as manifested in the context of State control. In other words, much of the problem above has nothing to do with housing, per se, but rather with monopoly land ownership and the predictable distortions that ripple out from such “ownership.”
Libertarians can sometimes be a bit soft on ecological concerns, but this does not have to be the case. Grant Mincy’s Libertarianism: An Ecological Consideration lays out ways in which libertarians can, and should, engage with sound ecology.