The motoring giants Royal Automobile Club (RAC) and the Assocation of British Insurers (ABI) both waded into the planning reforms debate today, stating what the potential ramifications could be if the regulation went through in its current form. Whilst RAC pointed to the traffic chaos that would occur (and the economic costs of that), ABI emphasised the increased dangers of flooding from the concreting of Britain.
The building of thousands of new homes in green fields will create traffic chaos, transport pressure groups warned yesterday. They called for the Coalition to rewrite its proposed planning reforms so new houses and flats are constructed near railway stations or bus routes, or in places where public transport can rapidly be laid on. The warning came from the RAC Foundation and the Campaign for Better Transport, which pushes for improved public transport and cycling facilities.
The new planning laws could lead to tens of thousands of “uninhabitable and unsellable” homes being built on floodplains, insurance experts claim. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said the current “rigorous planning system” stopped builders from developing areas at risk of flooding. But the ABI was worried that the draft National Planning Policy Framework could lead to a “rise in inappropriate developments” in flood risk areas.
These concerns raise doubts over the alleged economic benefits to be had from the planning reforms. If they go through in their current form they will be more trouble than they are worth, costing both our economy, and the environment.
Simon Jenkins put forward an eloquent argument against the NPPF, stating that:
“An assortment of tycoons and chief executives claimed in The Times yesterday that England’s planning system is rotten, impedes new housing, “puts a brake on UK business” and harms growth. This is self-serving rubbish. The letter writers were unable to cite a single case of a “worthwhile project” whose refusal by planners has “driven investors away” or “taken years to deliver a decision”. They have been conned by a group of housing developers eager to grab some attractive greenfield sites for their portfolios… The National Trust rarely enters into public debate, but these changes are serious. They embrace the concern of millions of people who share the trust’s statutory mission to protectEngland’s open spaces and countryside. The present planning framework needs reform, not a car crash. If we can recognise that, we can get together and wrestle the wheel back on course.”