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Conservationists in green planning plea

[Thursday 30 November 2006]
dales cottages
Putting the environment at the heat of
planning

WILDLIFE supporters in England have joined together to issue a nationwide plea that more reforms of the planning system should put environmental issues at the heart of any decisions on future development.

England's planning system has already undergone several changes since 1997 and yet another major overhaul is expected to be announced in the next few weeks. Wildlife experts are pleading that the Government does not rush into any new reforms without understanding that green planning is good for people and for business too.

Yesterday, Wildlife and Countryside Link, issued a statement asking that recent reforms are taken into account to place the environment at the heart of a robust planning system. The want the latest review to:

  • Recognise that strong planning creates high quality places in which both people and nature can prosper;

  • Value the landscapes and wildlife of the natural environment because both boost the well-being of people;

  • Acknowledge the economic benefits of a high quality environment in the countryside, on the coast and in urban areas;

  • Maintain or even strengthen the involvement of the public, interest groups and especially local communities in planning decisions.

Fiona Mahon, Chair of Link's Land-use Planning Working Group, said: "The planning system has already been considerably altered and some improvements have become apparent very quickly. But the full implications of changes to planning laws take much longer to take effect and we urge the government to allow time for this before deciding on further reforms.

"The planning system as it stands is already fit to ensure that the construction of new homes, roads and other, major, infrastructure projects leads to economic, social and environmental improvements together. This can benefit business and people and safeguard the environment at the same time, both now and in the future."

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