There has been media coverage today of a call by the Wildlife Trusts for a new ‘wildbelt’ planning designation and their claims that our proposed planning reforms will damage nature.
We disagree entirely with these claims - the government is placing community engagement, environmental protection and sustainability at the heart of our reforms.
Proposals in our White Paper, Planning for the Future, will require councils to draw up new Local Plans for development. This will give local communities new opportunities to set the path for development in their area – and the plans will have to pass a new ‘sustainable development’ test to ensure they’re consistent with our sustainability goals.
It will also put an end to unnecessary building on green spaces by prioritising brownfield development.
Local areas will be able to designate land for protection. As these designations are decided on by local people through genuine community engagement, it is simply wrong to suggest we're both damaging the environment and taking away local decision-making. In fact we’re improving both.
Our determination to protect our green spaces goes far beyond the measures set out in the White Paper.
The government remains committed to meeting its target of net zero emissions by 2050, and energy efficient buildings have an important part to play in this.
From 2025, under our Future Homes Standard, new homes will be expected to produce 75-80 per cent lower CO2 emissions compared to current levels.
And that’s just a first step. Our ambition is that these homes will be ‘zero carbon ready’, with the ability to become fully zero carbon homes over time.
Meanwhile our Environment Bill will legislate for mandatory net gains for biodiversity as a condition of most new development.
This way we’ll ensure that the new houses we build are delivered in a way that protects and enhances nature, helping to deliver thriving natural spaces for local communities.