David Cameron today took the unusual step of intervening in an ongoing Government consulation by promising to protect the countryside. In an open letter to us, via The Telegraph, he clarified that the planning system must balance social, environmental and economic needs. And he sought to assure conservation organisations that the environmental benefits of developments will be assessed before new projects are given permission. He went on to insist that he is committed to the “magnificent countryside” and said the “beautiful British landscape is a national treasure”.
The Prime Minister’s views on the Government’s controversial planning reforms are disclosed for the first time in a letter sent last night by Mr Cameron to the National Trust. A copy of Mr Cameron’s letter, seen by The Daily Telegraph, reads: “Let me say at the outset that I absolutely share and admire your commitment to the countryside, and wholeheartedly agree that policy-makers have an enormous responsibility to our environment…Both as Prime Minister, as a rural constituency MP, and as an individual, I have always believed that our beautiful British landscape is a national treasure.
On BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, there was coverage of our moves to resume discussions with the government after David Cameron intervened in a debate over changes to the planning system in England. We are mentioned at the following times: (06:03, 06:07, 06:31, 06:44, 07:03, 07:32, 08:05)
The Daily Mail also covered the news that David Cameron has written to us to offer reassurances over planning reforms. The shake-up will balance the environmental, social and economic dimensions of developments, the Prime Minister promised.
The letter to us from David Cameron can be accessed here.