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The environmental campaigning charity has expressed concerns over Government’s plans to increase new housing numbers from 28,900 to 32,000 to be built in the South East every year for the next 20 years.

The group challenged a Whitehall report saying that additional new housing is necessary in the overcrowded South East, and that green belt land may have to be built on to accommodate the plans.

CPRE South East Director Edward Dawson said:

“There will be huge pressures on resources and infrastructure, such as water and transport, and large areas of valued countryside, including the internationally important Thames Basin Heaths, are under serious threat.”

The pressure group claims that under these new housing schemes, the integrity of the region’s greenbelt could be at risk, and that government should strongly consider raising its 60% target for building on brownfield sites to 75%.

In a pledge earlier this year, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that three million new homes would be built by 2020 in the UK, predominantly on previously developed brownfield sites.

CPRE South East says that it welcomes the “importance attached…to the sustainable development of the South East,” but they stress the pressure for new housing in the South East is more intense than in any other region of the country and could pose a “serious challenge to…the region’s countryside.”

A review of the new housing plans in the region is due to take place over the coming weeks, with a final plan to be published by next summer.

“It is a huge challenge to provide 640,000 new homes in a region where the capacity of the environment is being stretched to the limit,” said CPRE South East Director Edward Dawson.

Dana Gornitzki

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