Presumption in favour of development


Should there be a presumption in favour of development? Are we putting the stewardship of our natural heritage in the hands of big business ? Will we loose the seemingly ever decreasing patch work of really important habitats to yet more housing, factories, infrastructure or airports.

In his Autumn Statement, Mr Osborne said the Habitats Regulations placed “ridiculous costs on British business”. Implying that economic growth is being held back by preserving some of Britain’s most important nature sites – Or that big business is being asked to foot the bill for their upkeep -That by destroying our natural heritage we will be able to forge ahead of our competitors and return to profit. If the Chancellor has his way his announcement on Wednesday 21st of March, already named as “Black Wednesday” will signal a presumption in favour of development.

Back last year  a campaign  led by the National Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England was mounted in opposition to the proposals which has put a major question mark over Mr Cameron’s pledge that his administration would be “the greenest ever”.

Having listened to comment over the past few months it is likely that no major concessions will be granted although there is a probability that the keeping the Brownfield development first principle will stay.

Important in terms of development in the Greater Thames Estuary and also under review are the European Habitats and Birds Directives enshrined into European law in 1992 and 1979 respectively, which make Lord Foster’s and Boris Johnson’s ideas of a  major hub airport extremely difficult if not impossible.

Michael McCarthy reports in the Indépendant today of a new aviation strategy ”

“A third major government initiative that will affect the environment is also imminent: the publication of a new outline aviation strategy. This will involve two documents, a consultation on “A Draft Sustainable Framework for UK Aviation” and a call for evidence on how London’s role as an international aviation hub can be maintained.

This second exercise will allow the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, formally to put forward to the Government his ideas about a completely new London airport to be sited on an island in the Thames estuary. This will be strongly opposed by environ- mental campaigners. It is likely, however, that the documents will be published after the Budget.”

Don’t stand by and watch the destruction of our natural heritage  speak up now and tell George Osborne what you really think of his proposals click here to join the RSPB email campaign  “Wake up Georgie boy”        Email George Osbourne Campaign