Kent Green Party believes the Government’s Habitats Review report and its poor response to the almost universal opposition to its planning policy changes are major disasters for Kent and Medway(1). Steve Dawe comments:
“Kent and Medway are under pressure from population growth, adverse planning decisions favouring warehousing and supermarket expansion and other damage to the environment harmful to agriculture, countryside and domestic tourism. The Government has just published a Habitats Review report and its response to the consultation on the almost universally opposed National Planning Policy Framework.
“We are now entering a new phase of unsustainable development. Every large-scale planning decision in Kent and Medway will be open to contest like never before because of the Government’s disregard for the views of the public. In particular, the Government’s changes will encourage thoughtless speculative proposals on undeveloped land with very limited powers for local councils or anyone else to oppose them. As has already been noted, the Government’s planning and habitat regulations changes invite legal challenges and can be tested against European legislation to which the UK Government has signed up.
“The Government has been economical with the truth throughout this process. Habitats protection has not, sadly, impeded development significantly according to its own review. Existing planning laws have not prevented developers from building up a ‘land bank’ of about 330,000 proposed homes with planning permission. And existing laws have not prevented the imposition of even more supermarkets upon local communities despite frequent and often total local opposition.”
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FURTHER INFORMATION: Steve Dawe, Press Officer, KENT GREEN PARTY, on 01732 355185 or 07747 036192. Contact address as above. Promoted by H.Dawe for Kent Green Party, both at 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF. KENT GREEN NEWS, free monthly ezine, is available to subscribers at www.kentgreenparty.org
Govt announcement of planning policy changes on 27/3: http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/2115421 and document: http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/2115939.pdf and Habitats review: http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/files/pb-13724-habitats-review-report.pdf Also relevant: Defra: Habitats and Wild Birds Directives Implementation Review (published 22 March 2012): http://www.defra.gov.uk/habitats-review/ and Estimating the Overall Economic Value of the Benefits provided by the Natura 2000 Network (19 September 2011): http://circa.europa.eu/Public/irc/env/financing_natura/library?l=/benefits_natura_2000/estimating_benefits/project_reports/2000_benefits_main/_EN_1.0_&a=d