MPs say countryside will be protected by NPPF

14th October 2011


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  • Local government ,
  • Public sector ,
  • Construction ,
  • Natural resources

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IEMA

Planning David Cameron and planning minister Greg Clark have been forced to give reassurances that the efforts to streamline planning legislation will not endanger greenfield sites as the consultation on the reforms closed.

Responding to widely publicised criticism of the draft national planning policy framework (NPPF) and its ability to protect the UK’s countryside from development, Clark conceded that the use of the phrase “land of least environmental value” rather than “brownfield site”, may have added to concerns.

“It certainly was not the government’s intention to depart from the obviously desirable situation in which derelict land should be brought back into use,” he said.

Meanwhile, the prime minister, in a letter to the National Trust, argued that the reforms would maintain protections for green-belt sites, national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

“Our aim is to secure a planning system that supports growth and prosperity and protects the interests both of today’s communities and of generations to come,” he said.

However, many remain critical of the proposals, which see between 1,300 and 3,000 pages of planning legislation and guidance replaced with a 52-page document that puts much of the responsibility for planning decisions on local authorities.

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management labelled the NPPF a builders’ charter. “A new planning framework is an opportunity to do things better. But, sadly, this government’s proposals are little more than a sop to the powerful construction lobby,” said CIWEM’s executive director Nick Reeves.

“To enable development that is sustainable, planning policy must effectively reconcile the aspirations of developers while operating within environmental limits,” said Martin Baxter, IEMA director of policy. “In its current form the NPPF fails to provide this.”

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