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CPRE attacks Tory tax plans

[Monday 20 August 2007]
John Redwood
John Redwood: CPRE attacks
tax plans

THE much-heralded tax cutting plans launched by former Tory cabinet minister John Redwood last week have been savaged by rural campaigners who describe them as "confused and contradictory."

The Campaign to Protect Rural England, regularly at loggerheads with the Government, has been monitoring the environmentally friendly policies of opposition leader David Cameron with close interest.

But they say that Redwood's proposals, aimed at cutting red tape which costs business billions of pounds, will "test Cameron's green credentials."

Ben Stafford, Head of Campaigns at CPRE, issued a strongly worded riposte at the weekend claiming that "a number of its core recommendations would have damaging environmental consequences, including for England's precious and threatened countryside."

While the report nods towards environmental concerns, and makes some constructive proposals, all too often it argues for policies that would cause serious environmental damage, says Stafford. But he also alleges the report:

  • Says that planning must be speeded up to provide greater certainty, potentially a recipe for the pursuit of economic development at the expense of wider sustainability considerations;

  • While making supportive statements about brownfield development, it also suggests that the 'over-restrictive' planning system is preventing development unnecessarily in many areas, and calls for new communities in sparsely populated areas. This could be read as a green light for greenfield development;

  • It bemoans the lack of motorway capacity in the UK, and argues for expansion of the road network, which would have damaging implications for both landscape and climate change, and fail to provide a long-term solution to congestion;

  • The report supports damaging Government plans for new airport developments, although it is positive on the need for additional rail infrastructure, and public transport systems that are integrated with development.

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