The Government’s Roads Investment Strategy is set to lay down 1,300 ‘lane miles’ of tarmac in the next few years - the equivalent of a new motorway that measures the combined length of the M25 and M11. But with the roads budget due to be tripled to £3billion a year by 2020, that will just be the start. Slicing through habitats, wrecking the fabric of communities and making it ever harder to find tranquillity, the impact of the new roads programme will scar the face of England.
Regulations requiring local authorities to develop and publish brownfield land registers will come into force on Easter Sunday (16 April), giving us the opportunity to develop an accurate picture of the amount and whereabouts of brownfield land. As is traditional at this time of year, they offer new hope – for an increasingly reliable picture of the country’s brownfield capacity and, in my case, less time spent trying to work out the data independently!
CPRE is very interested in land and how it is used. In many of our publications, we make the point that it should be considered more, be debated more and used more wisely.
It’s fair to say that we were relieved when the Housing White Paper was released with no sign of the Government explicitly weakening Green Belt protection. After weeks of rumours and ominous briefings by ‘Government sources’, it had seemed almost certain that the Government was going to abandon its manifesto pledge to ‘maintain protection of the Green Belt and other nationally designated landscapes.’ But our relief quickly turned to concern as it became clear that the Paper as a whole could serve to fundamentally weaken the status of Green Belt.