Social policies

11. Housing 

Service ducts

Much energy is wasted in digging up streets time after time. New housing estates should be equipped with service ducts enabling cables and piping to be installed and maintained without energy consuming excavation and restoration work.


Although some heating oil is used, domestic heating is predominantly provided by natural gas combustion in individual boilers, some of which are of a condensing type to improve efficiency. As North Sea gas production falls, the network will be supplied via pipelines from Norway and Russia with some augmentation by re-gasified imported liquid natural gas. The re-introduction of a blend of coal and water gas would create problems as the different composition would require the exchanging of burner nozzles. Although natural gas is potentially more explosive, it does not contain the carbon monoxide in the water gas which was mixed with coal gas during the first half of the last century. 

Because both natural gas and heating oil are subject to depletion after peak production is passed, the use of the former and the need for distribution by road transport of the latter (together with its shortage) means that both forms of domestic heating are likely to be too expensive for general use. Coal gas distribution and district heating by pipes will be perhaps the only viable alternatives.

More appropriately, district heating schemes including back-pressure electricity generation, perhaps linked to domestic rubbish incineration could be introduced. A district heating station could handle a variety of fuels, such as wood, straw and coal. The introduction of housing service ducts as above would facilitate the introduction of district heating pipework. 

Global warming due to climate change might assist in relieving the amount of heating required and in enhancing solar heating. New houses should be orientated to make the best use of solar energy; however, the main thrust should be in insulation to avoid heat losses. 


An urgent initiative is needed to insulate houses and public buildings, because the chemical foams needed to manufacture insulation slabs are oil-based. Some progress has been made in improving insulation standards in new housing, but there is a huge backlog in insulating existing houses to be made up. Once oil prices soar, the cost of insulation will mean an opportunity for fuel conservation will be lost.

Alternative insulation materials are available, such as straw and re-cycled newsprint.

Houses on flood plains

Apparently around 2 million houses have been built in recent times on land subject to flooding. Many more are planned, even though many homeowners will now be unable to obtain insurance cover for flood damage and will be suffering from "negative equity" in respect to their mortgages. Since the local authority gave planning permission to developers, the cost of remedial work should be met jointly by them. Home owners would mostly likely win a "class action" claim against them due to the fact that Department of Environment advice not to build had been ignored. Loss adjusters for insurers might also have a role to play in compensation claims.

Two remedial measures present themselves for consideration. For existing houses, the lower storeys of two storey houses could be converted to garage and workshop accommodation. Kitchens and living rooms would be moved up to the first floor, while the roof spaces would be converted with dormer windows to bedrooms. Services would be terminated on the first floor, well above water intrusion.

New houses would be built on raised platforms supported by pile-driven foundations with 3 or 4 metres of pile exposed above ground level. It is also possible to lift existing houses on piles using electronically controlled lifting devices.

The space under the platform would be used for car parking and would have a permeable floor, such as "concrete grass", so that rain water could be absorbed in the soil below, rather than run off and lead to flooding. The service ducts referred to above would be located on gantries or incorporated in walkways erected above possible flood levels.

Although the above measures could be incorporated in new developments, the use of flood plains should not be permitted as the construction of roads and other areas of hard-standing will inevitably lead to water run-off. Piling techniques would enable greater use of uneven ground to be made and would allow the building of houses on steep hill sides well away from flood waters. 


It is unlikely that the building and civil construction industry will have the capacity to install the measures needed to alleviate the effects of the demise of the oil industry. An increasing participation by self-builders will help. Although the market for DIY supplies grows, there is a lack of skills and many domestic projects are poorly executed or are associated with unsafe practices.

Secondary education may need to incorporate DIY training into the curriculum, although home and garden improvement television programmes are proving very popular and instructive.

Many of the remedial measures needed for flood protection and energy conservation will need to be self built and domestic projects need to be checked for quality and viability. Building control departments need to be strengthened to cope with self-build projects, i.e., not merely self-contracted, but actually fully or partly built by the house owners themselves.

Urban renewal

Current investment in urban renewal is inadequate. Apart from making use of old industrial buildings the renovation of decaying districts would bring boarded-up houses back into use, relieving the load on rural areas and flood plains. Urban renewal would also relieve transport problems as renovated areas could be served by the new tramways envisaged. In contrast, the urbanisation of the countryside contributes to a growth in road traffic.

The deprived sector of society remains a major problem not sufficiently addressed. As fuel costs begin to bite, the ability to fund the massive renewal requirements will decline. An inventory of renewal requirements and an adequate allocation of funds is needed. In ten years time the resources will not be available and if insufficiently applied the deprived will continue to present a major national problem.

12. Health

Controlling inputs 

Just as it was argued when considering the future for transport, that the need for movement should be curtailed, the aim should be to reduce the load on health services by preventative medicine. Life styles have a huge effect on the burden laid on the National Health Service.

Violence to the person, often alcohol or drug related, provides part of this load. The emergency wards at weekends are populated by otherwise healthy people requiring surgery for wounds. More effective policing and the increasing use of closed-circuit television monitoring may reduce street crime. Some means whereby the perpetrators of the violence are required to cover the cost of treatment for themselves and their victims needs to be devised. In addition to a custodial sentence, fines could reflect the cost to the NHS of treatment of the victims. Other life threatening conditions requiring treatment are self-inflicted by smoking, drinking, obesity and drug abuse.

Domestic, industrial and road accidents add to the burden. A reduction in domestic accidents can be achieved by education, training of tradesmen in good practice and by improvements in the design of domestic equipment.

The scarcity and consequent rise in the cost of oil will reduce heavy industrial activity and with it the number of associated accidents, but restrictions in raising capital may lead to a lack of safety equipment. The move towards more home-based employment will relieve the stress involved in commuting and the unhealthiness of the "business lunch".

The move away from road transport and speed restrictions for fuel saving should together alleviate the carnage on the roads and reduce hospital load. The UK Department of Transport estimated that in 2000 the human costs of road accident injuries (fatal, serious and slight) amounted to £12 billion.  Killed and serious injuries (KSI's) are said to cost £245,000, which at 35,000 cases per annum totals £8.6 billion. 

There is now a means of recovering the costs of hospital treatment of road casualties from vehicle insurers. Premiums are expected to rise adding to the disincentives to drive. Insurers are not yet liable to cover for all the costs associated with road accidents, comprising those of the rescue services, hospitalisation, convalescence and counselling for the insured and third parties, but this recent measure is an encouraging initiative. Moves to increase the contribution to a more realistic level were blocked by the House of Lords.

Specialist centres

New initiatives are needed to deal with inputs related to poor life-styles associated with manufactured products. Smoking is now recognised as a major source of heart and lung disease. Binge-drinking is leading to street violence. The numbers of obese children, reflecting trends in the USA, are now reaching alarming proportions and the government has initiated discussions with the food and drink industries about product content.  

Manufacturers of tobacco products, alcoholic and sugar-containing drinks and breakfast cereals should establish funds to provide for the treatment of the casualties of their businesses. Patients suffering from tobacco, alcohol and sugar related diseases could be directed to private clinics and hospitals funded by the industries profiting from the sales. Fast food chains should also contribute to a similar fund which would support medical services dealing with obesity, so that some of the true costs of their businesses are reflected in the product pricing. 

This would create centres of excellence specialising in the diseases of those referred to them, but would also relieve the pressure on the stretched NHS. Those addicted to tobacco, alcohol and sugar would be registered as NHS patients, but re-directed to the specialist centre provided by the industry.

The establishment of a clear distinction between the consequences of illness caused by a poor life-style and illness arising for no causative reasons is problematic, as disease is often linked to genes and environment. However, the state cannot afford to pay for the treatment of illnesses arising from circumstances able to be avoided by the regulation of the tobacco, drinks and food industries.

An example of this is the increase in Type 2 adult diabetes, which can lead to blindness, loss of limbs or death. Adult diabetes is considered to follow the consumption of too much sugar in soft drinks, breakfast cereals and confectionery. The manufacture of soft drinks begins by mixing sugar and water to make a "syrup" to which flavours are added. Breakfast cereals contain a considerable amount of sugar, which is usually augmented by sprinkling more on with the milk. 

An addiction to sugar is created in infancy. Children’s cereals containing sugar are often coated with even more sugar; a typical variety pack contains cereals with from 20% to 40% sugar content. Confectionery is obtainable from coin-operated dispensers in schools, often sited in response to offers of equipment from industry sponsors. 

Caramels and fondant creams in confectionery are made from sugar. Rather than attempt to treat the related diseases it would be more cost-effective to penalise manufacturers developing a taste for sugar to sell their products. If tobacco, beverage and food manufacturers had to support medical units specifically dealing with the effect of their products on their customers, it would have a salutary influence on their marketing policies. 

Personal responsibility

It is unfortunate that the least well-off in society smoke and indulge in life-threatening habits the most. Before 1948 the friendly societies met their need by encouraging small weekly contributions to the societies' health funds. This simple scheme was largely superseded by the introduction of the health service, which is now overloaded by the excesses of those now emancipated by economic growth. Although people are influenced by advertising and peer pressure in their habits, there has to be a role for personal responsibility.

 As waiting lists for treatment will continue to be a problem, a priority points list could be devised. Points would be allocated in proportion to the severity of the condition and added to by the elapse of time. Penalty points would be subtracted by failure to terminate life-threatening habits, such as smoking and would also be levied for crimes of violence against a person or for driving offences such as speeding, which endanger the life of the driver and third parties. 

The allocation of priority points suggested above would lead to confrontation between doctors and patients, albeit potentially of benefit to both parties. 

Health vouchers

As an indirect alternative to direct sanctions on behaviour, while providing additional funds for the NHS or the specialist centres suggested above, a levy on sales of tobacco, confectionery and fast foods could be collected by the issuing of vouchers or stamps with the items, very like the old cards in cigarette packs and plastic toys included in cereal packaging as a marketing tool. Health warnings could be printed on the vouchers and on the albums to which the stamps would be attached (rather like the old "Green Shield" system). Sales by credit card or via the Internet would enable the cash sum equivalent to the vouchers to be added electronically to special funds, a kind of "air-miles" scheme. The accumulation of categorised points would provide a record of the patient's indulgence and possibly lead to early diagnosis.

Points gained would be periodically "banked" in "savings accounts" to be used when needed at a specialist centre respective to the product or converted to cash to contribute to NHS costs if no appropriate specialist centre was applicable or available. The advantage of this is that it links the treatment needed by the patient directly to the cause of the disease and the accumulation of points would act as a register of the level of addiction. The development of a medical database is now seen as a key factor in health improvement and the augmenting of records with consumption data would be a valuable addition.

Government funding 

In 2002 the government allocated more funds to healthcare provision based on an analysis of the demands on the National Health Service over the subsequent 20 years. Two reports 10 were sponsored by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the first was used to assess the funding requirement of the service, but failed to address how the burden could be ameliorated, while the second has stressed the importance of preventative medicine. Detractors argue that additional financial provision will be wasted without organisational reform, but unless the inputs to the service are reduced an ever-expanding load of care will soak up the extra funding.    


As people live longer, the key question is the quality of life the ageing enjoy. Many of the problems of later life are the result of an unhealthy lifestyle in earlier years.

Old people are demeaned by the provision of mediocre activities such as bingo. Computer literacy and artistic abilities would be more beneficial. Retirement can be made more productive and satisfying than the current emphasis on "putting one's feet up".

The old-age dependency ratio, i.e., the percentage of the population aged over 65 and above to the population aged 15 to 64 is projected to rise from about 25% in 2000 to about 36% in 2025. The burden  carried by the latter in supporting the former could be relieved by extending the retirement age to say 70. This assumes that the lower age group leads a healthier life-style than that presently led, so that they can better support themselves by remaining in good health and by retaining their vigour into old-age and retirement are able to make less demands on the health service and contribute more to wealth creation.

The omens are poor - the lower age group is accident prone, has on average an unhealthy life-style and will be unable to support the costs of its own ill health, let alone the consequent problems it will experience when it becomes the old age group.

National health centres

A report issued in 2001 by the National Audit Office on the growing problem of obesity called for dietary improvements and encouragement of physical pursuits. 

Nationwide health centres could accommodate several health and exercise facilities and offer a partial solution, especially if merged with existing and planned leisure centres and which could include:-

· Running and cycle tracks

· Athletics facilities

· Indoor tennis, table tennis, badminton, basketball

· Aerobics, step exercise

· Gymnasia

· Dance facilities

· Dry ski slopes, mechanical snow-board training machines, climbing walls

· "Soft" children’s’ adventure play areas

· Health consultancies

· Physiotherapy practices

· Anti-smoking, drug and alcohol abuse clinics

· Health food shops and restaurants

The desperately needed preventative medicine to off-load the pressure on the NHS could be provided by such centres. If managed by the NHS, it could ensure that the activities were of a suitable nature to achieve a reduction of the load on the service. If closely monitored, the centres could provide a feedback of the benefits, adding to the validity of preventative medicine, both from health benefits and financial viewpoints. 

We need a National "Health" Service rather than a National "Sickness" Service. This theme, introduced when the Busby Report was first published in June 2002, features in the second Wanless report 10  and shows a welcome change of emphasis.

13. Education

With the introduction of PC’s and the Internet in schools the government has already taken the first step. As science and technology advances the demands of training and re-training on educators will be considerable. More use of interactive electronic learning systems will need to be made to reduce the load on teachers.

Transport costs and heating bills for schools will lead to greater use of home learning systems and devolved forms of administration will predominate with shorter hours spent in the actual school building. Unfortunately this trend will not help "drop-outs" from the educational system and thought needs to be given to retaining opening hours in deprived areas.

Education also needs to take cognisance of the consequences of resource depletion and train its pupils accordingly so that they are better equipped for a world under economic stress.

See Section 6. Road transport under Pupils. 

14. Agriculture

Modern agriculture has become increasingly dependent on oil for motive energy. The last century began with horse power, then briefly saw the use of steam traction engines for ploughing and harvesting, ending with the ubiquitous diesel-engined tractor. Self-powered machinery like combine harvesters and sprayers also feature at the turn of the century.

The availability of cheap energy has had two con; and the importation of cheap food by increasing use of transport has made local small-scale farming unable to survive without subsidies. Rising fuel prices will correct this trend and lead to a return to the land as manual labour becomes more necessary and local produce is able to compete with expensively imported alternatives.

Farmers enjoy the tax-free "red" diesel for agricultural machinery, so rises in oil prices reflect directly on their operating costs. Rather than return to horse power an alternative fuel is needed. As productivity has been high, some land has been "set aside" to restrict over-production. This land could be used to grow crops for vegetable oil and for fermentation to alcohol to produce bio-diesel for tractor fuel supplementation. This would provide an additional source of revenue for agriculture, supplying sugar refineries and breweries augmented for industrial alcohol production. Oil seed crops can provide vegetable oil for conversion to bio- diesel. One process method for producing bio-diesel uses methyl or ethyl alcohol and raw rape seed oil with a catalyst.

The increasing number of anaerobic digestion plants making use of fuel crops, mainly maize and energy beet, has raised the issue of competition for land use. If the waste heat from electricity generation is used for heating associated greenhouses and with internal atmospheres augmented with recovered CO2 the production from a smaller space can be increased.

Agricultural chemicals like fertilisers and herbicides are also oil-based. Animal feeds like soya-bean meal are moved globally. Recovered protein from animal remains will not continue to be used since the BSE crisis and feed enrichment with soya will be unpopular with consumers anxious to avoid genetically-modified crops. A movement to organic farming methods would reduce dependency on chemicals and reduce the international movement of feeds.

Outbreaks of foot and mouth disease and swine fever are enormously expensive in controls, animal destruction and in compensation. The inability to recycle animal protein adds to feed and waste disposal costs. The costs of animal husbandry, including those associated with veterinary control of animal health and transport will give incentive to a move to vegetarianism.

In our pre-history, animals converted non-digestible vegetation to meat and milk able to support humans. Now that we can grow edible fruit, nuts, cereals and vegetables the less efficient animal protein production will not prevail in the coming economic collapse.

15. Industry


The need for sustainable methods of production will create a market for new industries, which will find capital investment while it is still available. The effect of dwindling resources results in a reduction in the efficiency of capital. For example, new oil resources are in inhospitable places like Northern Canada or continental shelves in exposed locations. Once oil bubbled out of the ground, but now needs a drilling platform out at sea for extraction.

The same is true for other mineral resources. Initiatives are required to be taken now while investment capital for the equipment needed for survival is available. If we wait until the efficiency of world capital has fallen off, we will lose the ability to survive.

For example, gravel and sand occurs under flood plain fields needed for agriculture. The concrete industry is substituting for gravel by grinding up mountains in the Hebrides and in Norway, so that additional fuel energy is required for excavation, crushing and transporting the stone chips produced.

Most manufacturing industry will have to find alternative sources of raw materials and energy. Particularly badly hit will be the plastics and man-made textile industries. For example, at one time nylon came from benzene derived from steel industry coke ovens which was converted to cyclohexane. This was replaced by cyclohexane derived from oil refineries. The steelworks will have gone and for nylon manufacture to survive new sources of benzene or cyclohexane will be required.

The industrial revolution has passed from us to others, resulting in imports of goods traditionally made here. For example, specialist machinery for packaging food has been imported mainly from Germany and Sweden and woodworking machinery comes from Germany and Italy. Much sophisticated machinery is made elsewhere and the UK, once the source of machine tools, has lost this ability.

Fortunately, skills in communication and software have developed in the UK and find a ready export market. The loss of heavy engineering is an advantage as it is energy consuming and polluting, but needs to be replaced with an increase in activity in a more specialised engineering sector. Alternative energy equipment would provide a potential market for UK contractors, based on a developing ability in self-sufficiency.

Service industry

Employment opportunities in non-manufacturing services have been created, balancing losses in manufacturing industry, so that for the moment unemployment is low. This could change rapidly as oil becomes more expensive, reducing personal spending power.

Government involvement in industry

State interference in industry is currently not acceptable, but the government has a role in forecasting global trends and providing the background for decision-making.

Unless the forthcoming global economic collapse is recognised and discussed and measures taken, the UK will be the victim of circumstances, rather than the master of its fate. The necessary investment in measures to combat the coming problems unlikely to be made without some form of government incentive. Fiscal disincentives and incentives if applied appropriately would provide a suitable framework for industrial investment.

16. Leisure

Many modern leisure pursuits involve the use of oil-based energy.

Of these Formula 1 racing must be the worse from an environmental point of view. Not only does it use vast quantities of fuel, but it conveys the idea that motoring is a sport, rather than a means of transport. Moreover, it attracts thousands of spectators, most of whom arrive by car. It inspires the design of sports cars, which can only be a temptation to those who buy them to go fast.

Why build a car capable of speeds in excess of 200 kph (125 mph) if it is only going to be driven at speeds of up to 113 kph (70 mph)? It may be necessary to limit engine size in cars or to disallow the registration of cars able to exceed say 140 kph.

The best way of tackling road racing is to ensure that speed limits on national roads are rigorously enforced. If no-one has the ability to drive more than 113 kph (70 mph), then interest in motor sport will fall off accordingly. Rising fuel prices will also have a marked effect on the costs of participation.

In the same category can be rated speed boat racing, including all the now diverse forms of powered water sport.

Even though the leisure activity itself may be as passive as visiting a National Trust heritage site, access to it will require motor vehicle transport. The survival of even the most energy-light activities will rely on the development of alternative fuels or better public transport.

Organisers of exhibitions and fairs will need to consider a more distributed form of promotion.

The international nature of games, such as football, leads to mass movements of fans. The price of fuel will in itself moderate crowd assemblies and fans will be more likely to subscribe to television channels rather than travel.

Economic forces will therefore restrict energy-heavy leisure pursuits, but the government could assist by promoting sports such as horse-riding, sailing and rowing.

17. Climate

Global warming is still not entirely established as a cause of recent unstable weather conditions, though it now rates higher as a factor in most agencies. In recent years we have had droughts as well as floods. In the light of recent floods it does seem sensible to invest more in flood defences, but also to consider the security of water supplies the shortage of which have just as potentially serious consequences.

Flood defences

Global warming is likely to lead to a rise in sea levels. Apart from coastal erosion and breaches of sea defences leading to flooding of the hinterland, there is an effect on river flooding as rising sea levels prevent the escape of estuarial waters into the sea at high tides.

The effect of a Severn tidal barrage for power generation may now be seen as a high flood risk project, but on the other hand may act in the same way as the Thames barrier in terms of flood control. As the Severn towns have suffered so much a great deal of thought is required on this subject.

The whole topic of flood control needs a thorough study, which would take into account farming practices, especially drainage, as well as excessive housing and factory developments. Riverside flood barriers serve to protect one area at the expense of another further downstream. Selected areas needed to be deliberately flooded to avoid excessive flows leading to flooding of riverside towns further downstream. Farmers on such designated land need to be compensated for loss of crops when it is needed for flood relief. The effect of the occasional flooding could be ameliorated by creating small "islands" with protective dikes around individual houses and farm buildings or by lifting houses on piling stilts.

The effect of housing development on flood initiation needs a special study and the current housing plans need an urgent review.


The other scenario resulting from global warming is high temperatures and drought especially in the South of England. In recent years farmers have been prevented from using rivers and streams as a source of irrigation due to the drying up of watercourses. High temperatures with irrigation would provide productive agriculture and a national water grid would provide a useful resource. As an incidental advantage, rapid growth of irrigated plants in a hot climate would fix more atmospheric carbon. Pipelines and pumping stations are needed and much use could be made of the canals as water channels. Licences for water abstraction should be revoked as this has an adverse effect on water tables and river levels in times of water shortage.

Water demand

In East Anglia schemes for desalination of sea water were at one time under consideration. This seems bizarre in the light of recent downpours, but clearly we cannot rule out future water shortages. Water mill enthusiasts report that the once prolific number of water mills in East Anglia could not now be run due to lack of water resulting from abstraction.

Given that increasing promotion of bathrooms and power showers, together with powered clothes and dish washers in new housing is creating new demands for water, the concept of a national water grid gains credence. Reservoirs in North East England were built for large supplies to heavy industries that are no longer there and could be used to supply the grid.

In cases of flooding the pumping facility of the national water grid could be used to move excess water from rivers. The national water grid should therefore be planned as a dual-purpose network of pipes, channels and pumping stations. Rather than simply pumping excess water into the sea it might be possible to pump flood waters into reservoirs for subsequent electricity generation, thus recovering some of the energy expended. As the flood waters would be contaminated, special reservoirs for generation and irrigation purposes would be required. 

Once a major river has been fed from its tributaries, the amount of water would be too great to be pumped away, so pumping stations need to be sited at locations just before a tributary meets the river. Advance warning of extreme precipitation would allow the prior pumping out of the tributary before the excessive flow reaches the pumping station.   

Carbon dioxide

The main and possibly the only contribution to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions will be the exhaustion of fossil fuels. There will be no relief from "greenhouse gases" until the last drop of oil, whiff of gas and lump of coal has been consumed. If anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are related to climate change, the progressive reduction in fossil fuels availability will reduce emissions regardless of any intervention such as carbon trading. 

From the plots of oil, gas and coal production over the century shown in the chart associated with Table 3 in Section 5 Energy sources, an estimate of the total amount of carbon dioxide likely to be released by the combustion of fossil fuels can be made. This summates to around  5 Eg (exagrams) or 5,000 billion tonnes. It may be possible for an earth scientist to calculate the likely effect on climate the release of this amount, the maximum rate of release occurring between 2030 and 2050.

18. Waste management

There are now several waste management policies in place. These have arisen largely because of the cost and lack of ground-fill sites and the cost of waste disposal, rather than an altruistic attempt to reduce waste.

The economics of re-cycling will improve as energy costs rise. Sorting refuse is labour intensive but as this cheapens in comparison with energy costs and as oil chemical sources for plastics and textiles dwindle, re-cycling will be more viable.

However as most packaging is made from petrochemicals, the amount of waste able to be recycled will progressively reduce.

19. Security


The failure of fuel supplies will add to social and economic imbalance. Manual workers are engaged in energy-related pursuits, such as car-making, which will decline. Road transport workers will be particularly hit as fuel prices soar. Work patterns increasingly centred on home activities will mean a reduction in housebreaking that will escalate into violent burglary and extortion.

Domestic security systems will therefore become crucial to those equipped to withstand the economic catastrophe. Much depends on how effectively central government has organised for the depletion of resources. If the measures described in this manual have been instituted a more universally enjoyed and preserved standard of living will ease social inequalities.


The police will be involved in monitoring infringements of energy policies. Speeding will become a serious crime, endangering expensively healed life and consuming excessive energy.

Violent crime will be judged not just for the effect on the victims, but also for its absorption of scarce medical resources. However, the detection of crime will improve with the increased use of security systems and better forensic methods.

Much crime is vehicle based and the monitoring of vehicle movements by the electronic reading of number plates or identification marks on commercial vehicles, such as bar codes, would indicate the presence of vehicles in an area at the time of a crime, such as an abduction or a factory break-in. Surveillance of movements and recording of movements in a database is not likely to be popular with libertarians, but some form of control is inevitable as competition for dwindling fuel supplies escalates.

Recognition marks on the top of all vehicles would enable movements to be tracked by satellite or helicopter. This would be of great significance in the fight against smuggling of dutiable goods and drug trafficking. The progressive reduction in the number of vehicle movements will ease surveillance and associated crime.


Assuming Britain takes appropriate measures to counter the effect of dwindling oil resources it will become highly attractive to economic immigrants from countries which failed to take cognisance of the coming catastrophe or were unable to alleviate the consequences of world economic collapse. The defence forces will be engaged in defending Britain’s borders from unwanted immigration.


A lot depends on whether Europe adopts similar precautionary methods. It could be that Euroland, persuaded by survival policies in Britain, would unite with us in mollifying the effects of resource exhaustion.

Although the entry of countries of the former Eastern block into the European Union is to be welcomed in avoiding conflict, the bigger Europe is, the greater is the problem of defending territorial integrity. If Europe has followed a British initiative and has worked as an economic entity for survival, then a European defence force would be needed to secure a longer border.


Since by 2050 the undeveloped world population is starving into a massive decline, desperation will be the engine of terrorism and aggression. World security has not been achieved by the United Nations and will be even more problematic as tensions rise. First world nations will have too many of their own problems to be able to be involved in salving a totally deteriorating situation. Between 2050 and 2100 half of the world’s population will die of starvation.

In the 30 years since "The Limits of Growth" was first published, very few corrective measures have been introduced. Will the United Kingdom be able to secure its own future by taking an initiative in the next 5-10 years? In so doing will it provide a model for the world so that this disaster is avoided? If we do nothing, then what chance our own survival in such a holocaust?