A week ago a poll emerged which showed that the countryside is top of the list for what makes us proud to be British.
Tomorrow the government will unveil its conclusions on the future of the planning system in England and it seems that the presumption in favour of ‘sustainable’ development will remain. This pleases the CLA and the open letter from their President Harry Cotterell is worth a read.
It won’t mean the end of the green belt or less protection for European designated sites – but it will mean that the death from a thousand cuts for wildlife in the countryside will be accelerated by more and deeper assaults. And, remember, according to the legal advice of the RSPB it will mean weaker protection for SSSIs.
What will the NGOs say on the day and how will they react if their lobbying has been ignored, as seems likely? Will they put a brave face on it? Will they lay into the government? Will they plan to exact any retribution on the ungreenest government ever?
I mean this seriously – what will be the response? What political pain will the NGOs try to impose on the government? Because if the answer is ‘none’ or ‘not much’ then that lets the government get away with it. I look forward to seeing what the National Trust, CPRE, RSPB and others will say or do in response to tomorrow’s announcement.