15 & 16 October 2011: William leads royal fight to safeguard green spaces – Media round-up

Over the weekend a number of developments occured in the planning reforms debate. With only a fews days before the end of the consultation period, both the Football Association and Prince William aired their concerns for the future of green spaces. Planning experts have also warned that the proposed changes to the planning system risk harming the country’s ability to grow its own food by failing to safeguard the best agricultural land.

 Planning reforms will threaten Britain’s ability to grow food

The Duke of Cambridge has taken to YouTube to broadcast a message warning that many of Britain’s green spaces are under threat and could be lost to developers. In a video filmed at Clarence House, the 29-year-old urges families to preserve fields and parkland as part of a campaign to safeguard these areas for future generations. The recorded message, broadcast on the Royal Channel, sees William urge viewers to vote to save their “favourite space”.

The video can be viewed here.

 Football pitches at risk

The talented footballers of the future will be lost, the Football Association has warned, if planning reforms fail to protect playing fields where young people can practise. Football’s governing body point out that 84 per cent of football in England is played on publicly-owned pitches. And as Britain prepares for the 2012 Olympics, Sport England also warned that weakening protection of sports facilities could limit the Olympic legacy by failing to safeguard facilities for future athletes – and make the obesity problem worse.

 Planning reforms will threaten Britain’s ability to grow food

Planning experts have warned that the proposed changes to the planning system, which opponents say will result in more development in the countryside, risk harming the country’s ability to grow its own food by failing to safeguard the best agricultural land. The Town and Country Planning Association say the new rules do not require local authorities to replace prime agricultural land that could be lost to building developments and future sea level rises. Other campaigners also fear the draft National Planning Policy Framework, which introduces a “presumption in favour of sustainable development” could even see some of the most productive farmland being at greatest risk of being turned over to make way for housing.

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