Government planning reform must lead to green, safe and prosperous future

A greener and fairer planning system must be at the heart of reforms reported to be published next week says Friends of the Earth.

Planning reform is expected to form a prominent part of the Government's Decentralisation and Localism Bill. Friends of the Earth says it must play its part in shaping a safe, wildlife-rich and low-carbon future for the UK.

The environmental campaigning charity has set out three tests for the planning shake up:

  • Responsible development: all developments must actively contribute to reducing carbon emissions and restoring nature in England;
  • Economic recovery: development must support a clean, green route out of recession by creating a new low-carbon economy and business opportunities;
  • People power: people must have a meaningful say in decisions both about their local area and about developments which shape England's entire future.

Friends of the Earth's Rights and Justice senior campaigner Anna Watson said:

"This latest planning shake-up must set out a blueprint for a greener future by championing low-carbon development - this will create thousands of new jobs, cut fuel bills and help the UK meet its target for tackling climate change.

"Public participation in the planning system must also be restored - local people's opinion on decisions that affect their neighbourhood mustn't be ignored.

"The Government has promised to be the greenest ever - the planning system is key to delivering this."

The Decentralisation and Localism bill is expected to include further reforms of the land use planning system. Ministers have stated that the reforms will 'unblock' and 're-boot' the planning system by: restoring democratic control over planning decisions including public involvement in and transparency of decisions; enabling the right kind of 'sustainable development' to gain approval; reinvigorating the economy by upgrading infrastructure and reducing costs of going through the planning process.

Source: Friends of the Earth

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