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The danger of urban sprawl.

The blight of "urban sprawl" is threatening Europe's environmental, social and economic balance, a new report warned yesterday.

The continuous and rapid advance of the urban landscape is an ignored danger which now requires a European Union-wide policy to cordinate and control planning, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA).

"Urban sprawl" occurs when the rate of land-use conversion exceeds the rate of population growth.

And more than a quarter of the EU's territory is now directly affected by urban land use.

The report, Urban Sprawl In Europe - The Ignored Challenge, stresses that sprawl is not a localised problem, but one that affects almost all cities in Europe. And it is more to do with lifestyles than population growth.

Europeans are living longer and more are living alone, putting greater demands on living space.

Between 1990 and 2000 an area three times the size of Luxembourg.

If this trend continues, warns the report, the size of the EU's urban landscape will double in just over a century. The EEA says sprawling cities need more energy supply systems, more road networks and a lot of land. The result is more damage to the natural environment and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 25, 2006
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