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Leaked Government planning document ‘a manifesto for sprawl and congestion’

1 July 2011
Commenting on the leaked copy of the Government’s new National Planning Policy Framework, Campaign for Better Transport’s Stephen Joseph said:

“From what we have seen, the new planning rules are a manifesto for sprawl and congestion. They would result in a lot more car-based developments with housing and offices in places without public transport and with links that will make it difficult, or actively dangerous, to walk and cycle around. This will add to congestion on local roads and even on motorways.

“The way that the document is written means that pretty much any development will get approved. Communities opposed to damaging developments will have to prove that it would breach the whole document, which is itself written in such a way as to make that a near impossible task. This means that even really terrible developments could be nodded through and communities will have no say in them.”

The National Planning Policy Framework will replace all current government planning guidance and includes the presumption in favour of allowing all new developments unless they are shown to be highly damaging.

Campaign for Better Transport, which has seen the leaked document in full, is particularly concerned that the overall lack of detail, with 1000 pages having been reduced to just 58, will further weaken local authorities’ ability to stop unwanted out of town developments. By weakening local authorities’ ability to engage with and negotiate with developers, the charity warns it will be much harder to deliver outcomes that are positive for local communities, achieve national objectives around climate change or tackle congestion.

Under the new proposals protection for old rail corridors, freight terminals and transport interchanges would also be more difficult and, if approved, national parking standards on retail and office developments would be abolished.

For Campaign for Better Transport’s reaction to the document in full, please contact the press office.

Notes to Editors

1. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).