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GOVERNMENT MAY SNATCH AWAY LOCAL LANDSCAPE PROTECTION

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Countryside campaigners are appealing to the government to retain the right for local communities to safeguard thei...
Countryside campaigners are appealing to the government to retain the right for local communities to safeguard their most valued landscapes by giving them protected status in local planning policies.

With a decision on new planning policies for the countryside expected soon{1}, CPRE has written to planning minister Keith Hill asking for a change of heart and is publishing its case today{2}.

In the draft of these policies, local landscape designations - used by councils to give their best landscapes stronger protection from development - would be scrapped{3}.

CPRE fears valued rural vistas from Shropshire to Surrey could come under threat. See the listof local landscape designations (52K PDF)supported by CPRE local groups.

CPRE's head of rural policy Tom Oliver said:

'The government claims that local landscape designations are preventing 'necessary' development.

'But they have offered no evidence of this. Which begs the question: 'Who should be deciding local planning issues - the locally elected council which knows its patch, or the ODPM in Whitehall?''

Mr Oliver concluded:

'We urge the government at this late hour to see the good sense of allowing local people to afford a modest level of protection to the landscapes they love most. Otherwise, the government's commitment to 'New Localism' will seem hollow indeed.'

Our survey shows the countryside features you are concerned about losing - regional news releases.

NOTES

1. Consultation on Draft Planning Policy Statement 7, Sustainable Development in Rural Areas, closed in December last year. The final document, which sets out the Government's planning policies for rural areas to developers and local authority planners, is expected in the near future.

2. The arguments put to the minister are set out in the attachment - The case for retaining local landscape designations.

3. Only national landscape designations - national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty - would survive under this approach.

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