An MP has asked the environmental groups to speak out about the impact of immigration on Wales.
Monmouth MP David Davies produced figures which suggest Monmouthshire will have to continue building houses for an extra 350 people per annum for many years to come just to keep up with demand caused by net migration alone. In addition, increased life expectancy, population growth and family break-ups will fuel demand further.
“There is a real danger that immigration is becoming an issue which only extremists will raise,” said Mr. Davies. “It goes without saying that the millions of law abiding people who have come here, learnt English, got jobs and integrated into society are to be made welcome and those who try to whip up prejudice based on ethnicity or where people were born should be completely condemned.”
While calling for more action to ensure the UK visa system enables genuine tourists to come to the country, Mr. Davies said “we cannot escape the fact that continued large scale immigration is fuelling the demand for housebuilding, including in areas like Monmouthshire, even though the number of recent UK arrivals living here is small.”
He said: “The reason is due to the ‘ripple’ effect. Most new arrivals go to London and other major cities. This creates demand which pushes longer standing residents into outer areas, which in turn displaces others over a period of time.
“In simple terms, housing becomes scarce in London so some move out to Reading for example. This in turn displaces Reading residents to Swindon and so on with demand for housing increasing along major transport routes as people move further away to get access to cheaper housing.”
Mr. Davies said Greenpeace and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales have avoided talking about the issue, “while Friends of the Earth is in complete denial. It is too often seen as a subject which shouldn’t be raised in polite society.”
He urged the environmental groups “to come off the fence and join a broad coalition of moderate centre left and right politicians who completely abhor xenophobia and racism, but wish to voice their concerns about the effect of population growth on the environment.”
Mr. Davies has written to a number of environmental groups to seek their support, on environmental grounds, for government measures to reduce immigration into the UK.