I’ve only had a very quick look at the government’s planning policy that was unveiled yesterday.  It’s not my area of expertise and I would have to be led by others as to its overall impact.

But I find it interesting to note that everyone seems to be claiming that they ‘won’ – which is a funny old result for any battle.

National Trust – welcomed the changes that have been made.

Wildlife Trusts – generally positive welcome.  Not a word of criticism.  Quite an interesting take on  things.

CPRE – a very good and balanced analysis – this is worth a read.

RSPB – it’s a victory for wildlife (and the RSPB) and the RSPB welcomed the new planning guidance.

Buglife – can’t find a comment but they’ll be a bit worried, I guess, about the undesignated but very good brownfield sites.

Butterfly Conservation – welcomed the commitment to sustainable development but worried about the detail.

Friends of the Earth – definition of sustainable development (at least having one!) is good but the devil is, again, in the detail.

RTPI – welcome the changes but think that the document is confusing and ambiguous. An interesting read.

CLA -a very positive welcome just as you’d expect.

NFU – couldn’t find anything yesterday evening.

CBI – glad the government held its nerve and reduced the drag on growth from the planning system.

Caroline Lucas MP – the Government’s continued obsession with growth still poses a serious danger to our natural heritage

Zac Goldsmith MP – on Twitter, the greenest Tory of them all congratulated the National Trust and CPRE on their campaigning and Greg Clark on having listened.  Zac made quite a difference himself.  Glad I haven’t any chance of living in Richmond or else I would have seriously to consider voting for him.  Phew!

So, everyone’s pleased apparently.  Some through relief that it isn’t as bad as it could be and some because it’s not as good as it could be.  But the game has changed and now Local Authorities need to get their plans in place.  Has your’s? I haven’t a clue whether mine has.


8 Replies to “NPPF”

  1. well a win-win-win etc all round generally sounds like a good result. It may mean no ones gets everything they wanted…. that isn’t necessarily a bad thing either…and it does perhaps suggest there is some common ground; that people see that balance is best and essential for real sustainability. Of course not everyone may welcome every balance struck.

    1. Roger – welcome and thank you. I think it sometimes takes a while for realisation of the impacts to sink in and the media wants instant reaction. I’d be interested in seeing an NGO response to the proposals in a month’s time when they have cogitated and thought hard about them.

  2. What it really looks like for conservation is a minor defeat when it could have been a major one. So some cause for rejoicing in the short term – but in the longer term there’ll be more of this if the only strategy is objecting to other people’s ideas – whilst conservation ideas like the Lawton review get lost in a cash-free cul-de-sac.

    In reality, the only thing radical about this is that its a change. We’ve all subscribed to a planning system that has its vrtues – its preserved the green belts – but also glaring problems – many of those green belts are ‘permitted development’ deserts of landfill, car breaking and mineral working. I was in Holland recently and the difference between the interesting new buildings and integral green space was glaring – I gather its because Holland has a positive planning system – making things happen in the a planned way rather than our attempts at holding back the tide.

    The only way out of all this is a real vision for the sort of country we want to live in – the sort of thing organisations like RSPB, the Woodland Trust and the Forestry Commission are already doing in damaged landscapes like the Thames Gateway and the north west – the only problem is getting the first two at least to recognise they’re engaged in something far bigger and more important than creating new nature reserves or woods – they are creating a ‘habitat for humans’ and therein lies the real win-win future.

  3. Here’s the NFU response Mark:–Our-response/

    I’d be interested to know what the concerns you expect to emerge in a month’s time are. This government is certainly determined to see more development, but that would be the case regardless of their reform of the planning system. There is a real and pressing need for housing in many parts of England, so it is right that this be addressed, so long as it does so without damaging our natural environment.

    In terms of providing protection for wildlife, the NPPF is as strong as the policies it replaces (PPS9) – even in the absence of an up to date plan. In terms of restoring wildlife, it goes further than PPS9 – bringing to life, in fact, recommendation1 of the Lawton review.

    It’s fair to say that it isn’t perfect – the policies on sustainable transport and renewable energy could be stronger – but given where we are politically and economically, to have achieved a genuine step forward for nature, whilst enabling the development the country needs, is nothing short of remarkable.

    1. Flutterby – thanks for that. My point about ‘after a month’ is that everyone is asked to comment on the day, in fact within minutes of a government announcement. I have been in that position myself and sometimes you just don’t know what to think as it’s too soon. But government and others are ‘helpfully’ telling you what you ought to think even so. I would really like to see a considered joint response by wildlife NGOs in a few days or even a few weeks time.

      1. Hi Mark – it’s a fair point, even 50 pages are hard to take in rapidly! I’m sure we’ll see a joint reaction from wildlife NGOs over the coming days and weeks.

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