Friday, 6 November 2009

Over-used words

One way and another, I get to read a lot of documents (sad life, I know) produced by various government bodies at different levels. Some I have the pleasure of translating; others I read as background or for research purposes.

One thing that jumps out at me is the way that some words are used with increasing frequency; and sometimes in ways which seem designed to press the right buttons, but don't necessarily mean a great deal.

'Partnership' is one of my current favourites, and no official document is complete without the word being liberally scattered through it, often accompanied by 'working'.

Another is 'sustainable'. This is a particularly good word, which can be used in several different ways in many different contexts.

This week, I have been reading Carmarthenshire's Pre-deposit Preferred Strategy which they've published as part of the process of preparing the Local Development Plan. In the course of so doing, I have learned that Carmarthen is in a sustainable location, and reading a little further, I discovered that Llanelli is also in a sustainable location. Now I'm sure that this will be good news for the residents of both towns; I'd certainly hate to think of the implications if the council were to conclude that either town was in an 'unsustainable' location. But what on earth does it actually mean?

The document also informs me that I live in Sustainable Community 19 (a nomenclature of which the old Soviet Union would surely have been proud), which consists of Alltwalis, Llanpumsaint, Rhydargaeau, Pontarsais, and Nebo. Apparently, this means that there is a degree of interdependence between these settlements, so that they can be treated as a (sustainable, of course) whole. I suspect that would be news to the inhabitants of Alltwalis and Nebo – the whole thing looks more like arbitrary lines on a map to me. And don't even start me on the area covered by Sustainable Community 18, which manages to lump Cwmdwyfran into the same Sustainable Community as Llangain!

At least every settlement in the county seems to have been allocated to a numbered Sustainable Community as far as I can see. I can't find any communities or settlements which have been identified as being unsustainable, although it's not always easy to spot what has not been included in a list. But does it mean anything?

(PS - I've also learned that a number of strategic (or even 'strategical') sites are strategically located and contribute to the implementation of the strategy – but I'll save my feelings about the over-use of that family of words for another day.)

1 comment:

julius senn said...

that's a quite funny post! I wonder whether it is 'sustainable' to keep on labelling every location as sustainable, I think you have proved 'No'!