On their return to Parliament on Monday 5 September following the summer recess, MPs took the first opportunity available to them to challenge the government on its planning reforms. The coalition was questioned repeatedly by MPs whether it could actually be trusted with the protection of our countryside.
The National Planning Policy Framework has come under fire from environmental protection groups, MPs, the press and concerned members of the public. Many fear that environmental protection and the concerns of local people will be neglected in the face of reckless development if these proposals go through.
Nick Raynsford, the Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, revealed that the Government’s current tampering with the system had resulted in a drop of 23% in the number of planning consents granted for residential development this quarter compared with the same period last year. This is the second lowest level ever recorded, and less than half the level necessary to provide for housing needs. He also raised concerns that the government had little care for anything other than indiscriminate growth.
Tristram Hunt, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, took the debate further challenging whether the government was mature enough to be trusted with the countryside following its accusations that we are running a ‘left-wing smear campaign’. He enquired as to whether the government was consulting sufficiently with those organisations that have such a huge amount of experience in these areas.
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