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New planning laws will destroy towns and countryside, green groups warn (Eco news)

New planning laws will destroy towns and countryside, green groups warn
The Guardian reported

Proposed planning laws risk destroying the character of many towns, and ushering in a level of countryside destruction and roadbuilding not seen since the 1930s, environment, transport and development groups warned on Tuesday.

Four powerful organisations, including the National Trust, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) and Friends of the Earth individually lambasted the proposals, saying that if they were not amended they could backfire on the government in the same way that proposals to sell off the forestry estate in England this year forced the government into an embarrassing U-turn.

Ominously for the government, many of the same groups that opposed the sale of the forests are at the forefront of the criticism of the draft national planning policy framework (NPPF), published on Monday by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Most of the groups objecting have strong representation in Tory-held constituencies.

"Planning is for people, not for profit,' Dame Fiona Reynolds, director of the 3 million-strong National Trust, wrote in a statement. "This finally sounds the death-knell to the principle established in the 1940s that the planning system should be used to protect what is most special in the landscape, creating a tool to promote economic growth in its stead ... Weakening protection now risks a return to the threat of sprawl and uncontrolled development that so dominated public debate in the 1930s."

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