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CPRE response to habitats review

22 March 2012

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has broadly welcomed proposals for a new Major Infrastructure and Environment Unit, having long argued for stronger links between planning and environmental protection.

Following today’s publication of the review of the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman announced that a new cross-Government unit is to be set up to help developers deliver large infrastructure projects while protecting our most valued habitats and species.

Ben Stafford, Head of Campaigns at CPRE, says: “Planning is the strongest tool we have for protecting our landscape and the habitats and wildlife it supports. But with responsibilities for planning and the natural environment split between government departments, it has not been easy to make the links between the two.

“The Government’s aspirations for this new unit are laudable. Properly designed and resourced, it could make real improvements to how planning, wildlife and habitat regulations are implemented to deliver necessary sustainable development. Vigilence is needed to ensure that the new body is not used as a mechanism to side-step, water down or undermine environmental protection in order to fast-track damaging development.

“Both the environment and developers stand to gain if this is done well and CPRE intends to monitor the unit’s progress closely.”

End

Notes to Editors
[1] DEFRA press release: http://bit.ly/GGUrjI

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