We are pleased that Government has listened to our recommendations and agreed in principle to rule out some of our most treasured natural and historic landscapes by promising to ban fracking in National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
Peter Nixon, National Trust Director for Land, Landscape and Nature, said: “Today’s announced plans by Government to ban fracking in sensitive areas represents a hugely important moment for the natural world and our wonderful landscapes.
“It would be a very dangerous gamble to expose these special places and wildlife that as a nation we love to a largely untested technology that only takes us further away from our climate change targets. We now need to continue to fight for strong regulation to protect our wider environment against the impacts of the shale gas industry.”
Read the Are we Fit to Frack? report, which we launched with Angling Trust, CPRE, RSPB, Salmon and Trout Association, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
and Wildlife Trusts, for more on our views.
The National Trust has joined forces with charities across the UK this week to call for the protection and celebration of Britain’s treasured landscapes.
With ongoing speculative development in and around sensitive areas, such as National Parks and AONBs, the group of 27 organisations believes that it is vital for future government policy and funding to reflect the extraordinary value of landscapes.
Common heather, Bell heather and Western gorse lining the coastal path on the Great Hangman with the Little Hangman, Devon. National Trust Images/David Noton
“The Committee’s findings are the latest in a growing body of evidence that the NPPF is allowing developers to ignore the local communities it said would be at the very heart of its new approach. New National Trust research shows that even where a council has a local plan in place, these are being challenged by developers.
“The Government’s planning rules need revising so that they put people and places first.”
The National Trust is a non-political, independent charity which exists to look after some of the country’s most treasured countryside for the benefit of the nation. It does not take a party political position on planning or any other issue.
Click here to read our latest views on the current planning system.
“We welcome that Sir Michael Lyons’ review does not propose a further shake up of national planning policies, and recognises that many of the problems with undersupply of housing lie with the market rather than failures of the planning system.
“We agree that the nation needs more homes, and will look carefully at proposals for housing growth areas and garden cities and suburbs. It is critical that we choose the right places to put new housing, and involve communities through the local planning process to get genuinely sustainable development.
“We hope that Labour focuses on Sir Michael’s proposals to support the plan-led system rather than policies to take planning powers away from local councils.”
In many places, the NPPF is not yet leading to plan-led development. Only 54% of Local Planning Authorities have a Local Plan, and the Local Plan adoption rate has slowed since the new Planning Framework was adopted.
Planning balances the interests of the nation as a community with those of individuals – and Local Plans should be at the heart of the planning system. Without a Local Plan, or with an out of date plan, it seems that communities are at risk from speculative development mainly due the five year land supply rules.
Ingrid Samuel, National Trust historic environment director, said:
“We have called for state investment to get difficult brownfield sites ready for development, and so we welcome moves in this direction from Government – and the clear recognition from the Chancellor of the need to protect valued countryside. There are many sites in urban areas, close to existing jobs and transport links which communities would like to develop ahead of countryside sites though their Local Plans, but developers currently deem them unviable due to additional costs.
“As with any development, care should be taken to ensure new homes on brownfield land respect local heritage and biodiversity, are well designed, with access to green space and good transport links, and that affordability needs are considered. The detail of any proposed changes will need to make sure that local communities, through the planning process, can ensure these needs are properly considered.”