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RSPB welcomes Cameron's intervention on planning

Last modified: 21 September 2011

Dusk, Lincolnshire

The RSPB has welcomed David Cameron’s intervention into the ongoing planning debate today and has called for the proposals to be redrawn.

The Prime Minister has written to environment groups giving his personal assurance that the proposed National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will balance social, economic and environmental needs.

RSPB chief executive Mike Clarke said the move opened the door for constructive discussion on the final wording of the policy – and raised new concerns over the protection of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the plans.

He said: 'The Prime Minister’s letter illustrates the Government’s willingness to look again at their proposals and come up with something which is acceptable to environmental groups and the many concerned members of the public who are unhappy at these plans.

'We must have a clear definition of what is meant by sustainable development'

'The Government must now sit down with environmental groups and hammer out a final set of plans which take into account the concerns that have been raised. We must have a clear definition of what is meant by sustainable development – and this must give equal weight to environment and the economy.

'One thing the final plans must state clearly is protection from development for some of the nation’s finest wildlife sites - those areas designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. We have received legal advice this week which suggests that the proposals as they stand will weaken protection for these areas.

'We also need to see the removal of the default ‘yes’ to planning proposals in areas where there is no local plan and a commitment to putting land of low environmental value at the top of the list when it comes to urban regeneration projects.

'There are now three weeks left for the public to respond to these plans. If the final framework takes on board the concerns raised and delivers a new, simpler planning system which supports genuinely sustainable development then the democratic process will have done its job.'

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