Experts slam planning proposals

Greenbelt poorly protected, says Landscape Institute

By Jez Abbott Government protection of the greenbelt is “woefully inadequate”, say leading landscape architects, who have condemned the recent White Paper on planning. The Landscape Institute urged the Government to anchor planning around “a national green infrastructure”. It was “dismayed ministers had made only passing reference to protection of countryside, which is woefully inadequate”. The institute’s director general Marion Bowman said: “Creating green infrastructure would ensure the building of safeguards and deliver landscape character and distinctiveness, biodiversity, water and coastal considerations, recreation and other land-based assets.” Proposals to create a new planning commission to handle major projects such as energy, waste and water plants rang alarm bells, and Bowman said advice from chartered professionals was crucial for planning chiefs. “Without adequate reference to the skills of landscape architects, public policy on planning will not be successful,” she said, adding that designers understood public consultation, transport planning, ecology, social cohesion and physical sustainability. The institute also called for stronger design considerations at the earliest possible stage, and said it wanted more emphasis on reducing carbon -emissions. “The White Paper is reticent on this, instead concentrating on micro-generation by householders. This is an unrealised opportunity to build in greater energy efficiency and locally sourced renewable energy. “It needs innovation and long-term investment, but the -technology is established and the landscape benefits stand to be greater than individual householder micro-generation.”

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