Sunday, 27 May 2007

THE BROWNING OF KENT

‘New Planning White Paper offers a vision of destruction’

Kent Green Party has reacted with anger to new Government proposals to take even more planning powers away from local councils. Having decided to site more housing in the driest parts of England, including Kent, the Government now proposes to take more powers over housing and other major development away from local councils.

Steve Dawe(1) comments: “The Government’s new White Paper on Planning offers a vision of destruction by inappropriate development(2). Unaffordable, energy inefficient and water wasting housing are hallmarks of this Government. New homes in Kent have been built on floodplains with impunity and at lower standards than those to be found in many other European countries. Not content with the haste and environmental recklessness of this process since 1997, the Government now proposes to speed up the rate of its failures."

“We have urged the Government and local councils to ensure 50% social housing in all developments above 10 units. We recognize that housing is priced beyond reach of many people at present. The obvious neglect of northern regions with better water supplies and more brownfield sites was clearly a factor in the recent local election results: Labour’s fortunes slipped into reverse gear in Kent also. We have no hesitation, after this new missed opportunity, to label the current Government as grotesquely hypocritical on the environment. Its recent limitation on energy grants to £2500 per household (3) undermines the domestic solar and wind turbine industries, and contradicts its claims of concern about climate change. It also insists that the UK contribution to greenhouse gases is just 2% of the global total, when 12-14% is a more accurate figure(4)."

“Kent Green Party commends the recent attack upon the Government’s housing and climate policies by the Sustainable Development Commission (5) and calls upon local Labour Party members to leave their Party in view of its poor environmental record.”

Notes:
1. Steve Dawe is South East Green Party Speaker on Housing, Planning and Development, a post he holds jointly with Keith Bothwell.
2. Planning for a sustainable future Department of Communities and Local Government, 21st May 2007.
3. To come into force before the end of May 2007.
4. As discovered by Christian Aid in Coming Clean: revealing the UK’s true carbon footprint (London, February 2007).
5. Building houses of creating communities? Sustainable Development Commission (May 2007).

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