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Budget 2014 - CPRE response

19 March 2014

Responding to today's Budget, CPRE identifies some environmental winners and losers:

Housing

• A Garden City at Ebbsfleet presents an opportunity to create a new settlement which can be an exemplar for 21st century development

• We welcome the higher stamp duty rate of 15% for property worth over half a million pounds acquired through a “corporate envelope” - many of these homes lie empty

• The Barking Reach initiative suggests a renewed focus on the Thames Gateway as a growth area which CPRE has long supported

• We look forward to seeing the details of the new Garden City Prospectus – this should promote “smart growth”, not urban sprawl

• Steps to support small builders and custom build should help diversify housing supply

Transport

• Subsidies announced for new regional flight routes while at the same time vital rural bus routes are being cut

• A £200m fund for potholes will be made available but this is a fraction of what is needed

• Abolishing the top rate of long-haul Air Passenger Duty will contribute to increased greenhouse gases

• Fuel duty is frozen while rail and bus fares increase at the rate of inflation

CPRE Director of Policy and Campaigns Neil Sinden summarised: ‘We welcome measures to secure the housing we need in the right places. We need to see a step change in the quality of new development at Ebbsfleet. This means design and master-planning of the highest quality, combining higher density housing with plenty of green space; a serious attempt to tackle car dependency and reduce energy usage; and a connection with the surrounding countryside. Will the Government meet this challenge, or does it just want to build lots of houses as quickly as possible?’

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