Environmental bodies unite over proposed planning reforms

Six environmental bodies have joined forces to issue a letter to planning minister Greg Clarke, conveying their concern over the government's current planning reform proposals.

In the letter, the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, Royal Meteorological Society, Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, Institution of Environmental Sciences, Arboricultural Association and Institute of Fisheries Management, challenge the government's draft national planning policy framework (NPPF), warning that "the proposals, as they presently stand, are draconian in the extreme".

The groups continue to question the government's planning guidance, which they say removes many safeguards established over generations, arguing this will leave the planning system ill-equipped to consider a range of strategic-level threats facing society, including climate change.

Meanwhile, the group also warn that the NPPF proposals will result in the development of a builders' charter, which they believe will be at the cost of wider local and environmental interests.

The letter finishes by urging the government to exercise caution in rushing out the reforms, and to re-examine its use of the term 'Sustainable Development', which they consider to be a "gross mis-representation" of the principle", adding that a more "reasoned and more inclusive review of the planning regime" needs to be taken.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Carys Matthews


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