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PROTECT ENVIRONMENT BUT DON'T IGNORE HOUSING NEED: NHF

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The nation can be housed adequately without destroying the environment. But neglecting housing need would only lead...
The nation can be housed adequately without destroying the environment. But neglecting housing need would only lead to increased

social problems. This is the message from the National Housing

Federation, as it submits evidence to the back bench inquiry on housing, meeting for the first time this week.

Jim Coulter, chief executive of the National Housing Federation said:

'It's not a matter of choosing between the environment and people. The

environment does need protecting, but we cannot ignore the growing

number of people without access to a decent home.

'The green belt has doubled in size since 1979 and the demand for new

housing needs less than two per cent of our stock of green land. Those

who say that the countryside is facing extinction are simply

scaremongering.

'If we fail to house the nation well, social problems will mushroom. The number of children living in bed and breakfast and the number of people sleeping rough are far too high for a civilised society.'

The federation*s submission to the select committee inquiry on housing says:

- there's already a housing backlog of 600,000 homes, and a need for

95,000 new social homes every year

- the need for new housing is a result of unavoidable social change, and will not be mitigated by restricting housing supply

- planning policies must change so that existing land is not wasted,

encouraging higher density housing, and in some areas, car-free

housing

- subsidy systems should support the higher costs of re-using

brownfield land

- within our cities, existing housing should be rejuvenated, empty homes should be brought back into use, and some empty offices converted to flats

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