Pulling Together


Failing purposes

Closed louvres: What’s the point?

I thought I’d found an answer to my overheating immersion heater controller. The problem is it’s in the same cupboard as the tank and the central heating pump. The cupboard gets warm and the controller gets too hot to operate. Sometimes the central heating pipes will overheat it even before the sun rises when it isn’t even operating at all.

The problem can be eased by leaving the cupboard door open so the heat can escape, but that’s unsightly as the cupboard is also used for storing various items and doesn’t look tidy, so I decided what I need is a door which limits the view but provides a good airflow. Louvres seemed the obvious way to do that; louvres sloping downwards at the bottom of the door and upwards at the top, to allow an upward convection current to change the air and carry the heat away.

A popular DIY shop seemed to have some louvred panels which I could insert into cut-outs in the door to provide the necessary ventilation. I could order them online or collect them from the shop and I elected to do the latter because sometimes that shop does not sell the best quality stuff and it’s always a good idea to inspect the merchandise first. Today it was essential. When I found these panels I discovered they were described on the packets as “Closed Louvre Doors.” What that meant, as it turned out, is that they weren’t really louvred at all. They would be better described as ship-lapped. Yes, they had horizontal slats, but the slats were not at the requisite 45° angle, providing no ventilation at all. I looked at them with astonishment. Why would anyone wanting louvred doors or panels buy something that defeated the whole point of louvres – to provide ventilation without visibility? I suppose the answer is someone who only wants a decorative effect and cares nothing for function, but why would something failing to be what it mimics be considered decorative? Surely, if one wants decoration, there are plenty of more pleasant looks than horizontal slats! It seems silly, somehow.

Needless to say, I did not buy these panels. I walked out of the shop feeling my time had been wasted, consoling myself with the point that at least I’d seen they were unsuitable before I wasted any money, but really, why would a retailer sell a product which failed to fulfil its basic purpose?

I really can’t tell.

The disappearing Green Belt

Which brings me to another similar absurdity. The local council planning department wants to change the boundary of the Green Belt so the land can be used for housing. Now, of course, we need housing since the government has increased the population by a full 20% through immigration over the last 20 years or so without realising that would mean a 20% increase in demand for housing, sewage services, schools, roads, shopping facilities, and just about everything else people need to conduct their accustomed lifestyle. However, there is plenty of non-Green-Belt land already set aside by developers and held in their land banks to be dribbled out at no greater rate than is necessary to keep house prices and therefore developers’ profits high. We really don’t need to touch the Green Belt. In fact, the whole point of the Green Belt is that it can’t be touched. A Green Belt which can be modified to allow development is no Green Belt at all, just an administrative work generation scheme.

If a precedent is set that the Green Belt need not be a barrier to urban sprawl it ceases to be that barrier, but then it ceases to have any purpose at all, for that is its sole purpose. Once it goes, it goes, and the countryside loses its protection, and with it any hope of biodiversity retention or self-sufficiency in food production. That would make the country vulnerable to pressure from outside and reduce our opportunities to remain independent.

We need more houses to make housing possible for the next generation, but we also need the Green Belt to stay green. They are not mutually exclusive, and I’d rather live in England than a new Singapore or Hong Kong, which is what we will become if our towns expand and our countryside is lost.

About the Author

K J Petrie has a Full Technological Certificate in Radio, TV and Electronics, an HNC in Digital Electronics and a BA(Hons) in Theological Studies.

His interests include Christian and societal unity, Diverse Diversity, and freedoms from want, from fear, of speech, and of association. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party.

The views expressed here are entirely personal and unconnected with any body to which he belongs.

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