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Friday, November 04, 2011

National Planning Policy Framework ( NPPF )

The Kingfisher Project introduces primary school children to wild life out on the fields of a local farm.

Here they were examining owl pellets to identify their food and then being shown a beehive.

There is a great deal of work going on in many ways to educate our children in environmental matters.

But I've just written to my MP! I am commenting on the consultation process which has been held recently about proposed changes to planning law. This is a personal view not necessarily the views of our local group.

David Heath CBE MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

Dear David Heath MP,

Thank you for your letter dated 13th October on the subject of the NPPF.
I did also send my comments via the web site for comments.

I made the point that I have had some contact with planning laws over many years, first in my work in the construction industry and more recently as a member of a local village society in Buckinghamshire and very recently as a volunteer with the Somerset Wildlife Trust.

The words “presumption in favour of development” jumped off the page in the draft document and I can’t believe they are meaningless or should be read to mean nothing has changed. The whole exercise is designed to change what had gone before.
To say that nothing has changed since the 1940’s is, I’m afraid, a sad reflection on our failure to respond to the huge advance in Climate Change science which will be no doubt reviewed again in South Africa shortly.  Biodiversity loss is yet another related major issue.

The opening words in the document should have said that there is a presumption to ensure environmental sustainability before any development is approved.  The future of our one and only planet is quite important.

I notice that even our military leaders recognise that running an aircraft carrier is unsustainable. That is new!

I notice you refer to protection afforded to national parks, AONB’s and SSSI’s. I am involved in the conservation of a Local Wildlife Site and they are important too.

Your enthusiasm for The Localism Bill is worrying. To remove carefully worked out national directives which have the benefit of scientific guidance will leave local councillors very much in the dark in trying to decide which developments are sustainable. There have been plenty of local examples of pressure being applied to get council approval for suspect schemes, some within your own constituency.
It is a concern that the South Somerset District Council has only one Ecologist employed and then only part time.

I can only hope that you and your colleagues will exercise your own due diligence in making sure you don’t preside over a damaging new law.
Yours sincerely,

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