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The Optimum Population Trust shares the disbelief of your correspondent G S Cotton (Letters, 21 August) at the NS view that we should be uneasy about the Home Secretary's desire to discuss immigration.

A balanced migration policy (ie, where no more come in than go out) is neither racist nor incompatible with a humane asylum policy.

The OPT campaigns for a limit to immigration on environmental grounds. All countries, including the UK, should have a population policy, in the interests of ecological sustainability. How can numbers of immigrants not be part of any such policy? What is illiberal about acknowledging that many people would like to come to our country, and about seeing that maintaining current lifestyles in an already overpopulated small island means plundering the resources of others?

If we are to get away from the notion that anybody who wants to talk about immigration is somehow racist, then the debate must include limits imposed on population by finite resources (land, water and energy). To use another analogy, why go out of our way to sink the lifeboat?

Sue Birley
Optimum Population Trust