Natural England, English Heritage in danger

For years I could enjoy the treasures of the beautiful English country, by way of using a National Trust Membership Card and visiting the protected sites.

English: Octavia Hill by John Singer Sargent (...

Octavia Hill by John Singer Sargent (1856–1925)

To celebrate the life and legacy of the Trust’s founder, who led campaigns to save green spaces such as Parliament Hill Fields and Hampstead Heath in London in Victorian Britain, the Octavia Hill awards have been launched.

But Britain, who previously was so proud of its heritage is falling for the big business and money. Once more we can see another concession to developers in the review of the Habitats Regulations that protect huge swathes of precious landscape. It threatens wildlife in areas like the Thames Estuary, Lindisfarne and Salisbury Plains, Dartmoor, the New Forest, Richmond Park, Morecombe Bay and the Norfolk Fens.

Rural areas will need more roads because on new planning rules, says a former government scientist

Rural areas will need more roads because on new planning rules, says a former government scientist - Photo: ALAMY

It is unbelievable in a country were there is so much space that developers could be allowed to build on some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside under the latest Government plans to water down strict EU protections. Under those new plans government agencies which are meant to protect the countryside are to be forced to encourage more building in rural areas.

The Government said that in future “only those parts of a building that contribute to its special interest are protected by regulation, removing the requirement to apply for a consent for works that impact other parts of the building”.

Sources close to the Department for the Environment believe the review will bring the regulations in line with the controversial National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and propose a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ over rules strict regulations.

Mary Creagh, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, added: “ The Autumn Statement shows the Tory-led Government is out of touch with everyone who cares about our countryside.” “This latest plan to take a wrecking ball to environmental protection shows how out of touch the Tory-led Government is with everyone who cares about our countryside.

Natural England and the Environment Agency were established to protect our environment, yet now the Chancellor is exposing them to costly legal appeals from developers.

Beardown Man, Dartmoor.

Beardown Man, prehistoric menhir on Dartmoor - Image via Wikipedia

“The Government has already tried to sell off our forests, and is now unpicking the laws that protect Britain’s habitats, wildlife, air and water quality. Good environmental regulations have created thousands of green jobs over the last ten years.”

The head of the National Trust says that ministers should learn from the experiences of other countries. “Can it really be a coincidence that the nations currently in the deepest economic trouble – Greece, Italy, Ireland – all share a reputation for lax planning regimes?” she writes.

“Planning is an essential tool for making the right choices about places, and for preventing disastrous mistakes that will lock us into inefficient, ugly and expensive development patterns for ever. Irreversibly short term free-for-alls will be regretted at our long-term leisure.”

Planning needs to balance the many competing demands for one of this crowded country’s scarcest resources. Of course, growth will be harmed if the process is too onerous and burdensome; but, as Dame Fiona points out, the oft-quoted claim that planning restrictions are holding back the economy is hard to sustain.


Read more:

  1. CAMPAIGN: HANDS OFF OUR LANDThe Telegraph is campaigning against radical Government reforms to planning laws which opponents say pose the greatest threat to the countryside since the Second World War. Read about the controversy in detail and join in the debate here.
  2. Hands Off Our Land: by numbersKey facts and figures from The Telegraph’s campaign against the Government’s proposals to reform planning laws in favour of sustainable development
  3. Hands Off Our Land: your view
  4. The battle to save London’s green spaces
  5. Hands Off Our Land: stop this planning free-for-all, National Trust warns
    David Cameron must not use the “smokescreen” of a planning “free-for-all” as a substitute for a proper strategy to boost the economy, the director-general of the National Trust has warned.
  6. Hands Off Our Land: A time to listen
  7. Hands Off Our Land: Natural England, English Heritage to be forced to promote more building
  8. Countryside at risk under latest plans to downgrade planning laws
  9. National Trust awards recognise green space campaigners


About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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1 Response to Natural England, English Heritage in danger

  1. Great post! Thank you for the link.


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