Skip to content

We welcome Labour’s net zero plans, but local democracy must be protected

9th October 2023

CPRE welcomes Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves’ proposals to place net zero at the heart of the planning system, set clear national guidance on community consultation for developers, and increase planning capacity across Local Authorities. 

We know that climate change is the greatest threat to the countryside and urgent changes to planning policy will be required to tackle it. However, Labour proposals to reduce consultation and fast-track onshore wind, large-scale solar and other major infrastructure projects have the potential to critically undermine local democracy.                 

Successive Conservative governments have tried to silence local communities and weaken local democracy by deregulating the planning system and failed. A developer free-for-all would be just as damaging under Labour.  

Commenting on the plans, CPRE’s Chief Executive Roger Mortlock said:

‘Enshrining net zero, mending our broken planning system and committing to a brownfield first approach are welcome commitments from Labour. 

‘We desperately need renewables in the right place, but the creation of new renewables infrastructure must be plan-led, have the consent of local communities and not result in the loss of valuable agricultural land. Power lines should be installed underground where practical, particularly in National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other protected landscapes. And we need to unleash the untapped potential of rooftop solar which could deliver more than half of our 2035 solar target. 

‘We also need an integrated land use strategy that incentivises greener land use decisions and delivers net zero and nature’s recovery, as well as tackling the housing crisis. 

‘Achieving net zero urgently requires the development of new infrastructure but it will only succeed if it’s delivered in the right place and local people have a meaningful say in where and how it’s done.’

Tractor with wind turbine in background
Luke Thornton / Unsplash


Dive deeper into the topics we care about with our handy explainer guides.