East of England development plans attacked

The environmental effects of house-building plans for the East of England have not been assessed thoroughly enough, a countryside campaign group has said.

A sustainability appraisal produced by the Government last December fails to consider the effects of sewage, traffic, and the issue of water availability, the Campaign to Protect Rural England said in a report on Thursday.

The Government appraisal also accepts the planned expansion of Stansted airport "without comment," despite the project's impact on carbon emissions that is likely to outweigh any emission cuts that the regional spatial strategy will bring, CPRE said.

The CPRE report, commissioned from independent experts Land Use Consultants and Levett-Thrivel, criticises the sustainability assessment ahead of a East of England Regional Assembly due on Friday. Levett-Thivel, who had worked on the sustainability appraisal of the East of England Plan in 2004, had found "severe environmental risks" arose from the plan.

The environmental consequences of East of England developments in close proximity to London should be considered more fully, the report said.

CPRE's Lawrence Wragg said: "Never in the field of environmental planning have so few attempted to hoodwink so many.

"Clearly the original 2004 sustainability appraisal of the Regional Assembly's draft Plan was an embarrassment to the Government and thwarted their plans to over-develop our region."

Goska Romanowicz



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