The Government’s Planning White Paper proposes to allow all large-scale developments to be assessed by a hand-picked ‘Infrastructure Commission’. This would put an end to local planning controls over the most important and most controversial projects. Kent Green Party has prepared a detailed submission to the consultation on this White Paper (1).
Steve Dawe spells out what this may mean for Kent: “Loss of local control over planning will lead to more large-scale projects in Kent.
Examples could easily include:
· Building of Junction 10A of the M20 at Ashford a major land grab to allow access to greenfield sites for house building
· Closing the gap between Canterbury and the motorway to the south of the City: already the scene of major confrontations between local organizations and Canterbury City Council
· Permitting the Eastern Docks expansion at Dover, without proper assessment of the serious traffic or air pollution implications
· Allowing the massive housing expansion sought by Maidstone Borough Council to go ahead
· Allowing airport expansion at Lydd and Manston
· Extending the Kent Thameside housing proposals to remove greenfield gaps in Dartford and Gravesham and between Gravesend and Medway
· Ending greenbelt protection to allow housing expansion of Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells
“These proposals, coupled with the general failure of the Government to operate effective environmental policies(2), mean that the country’s biggest environmental problem is the Government itself.”
1. available on request and to appear on the Kent Green Party website shortly.
2. See: Carter and Ockwell New Labour, New Environment (Friends of the Earth, July 2007). See also a variety of critiques offered by the Sustainable Development Commission and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution’s March 2007 Urban Environment report. (all items website accessible)