Controversial proposals for reform of the planning system via the National Planning Policy Framework are a threat to the countryside and should be dropped, says the Green Party in England and Wales.
Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party and MP for Brighton Pavilion, who will respond to the Government consultation to oppose the plans before the 17 October 2001 deadline, declared: "The new planning proposals offered up in the draft National Planning Policy Framework expose this Government's shocking bias towards big business - and its determination tear up protection laws for our precious countryside."
She continued: "Ministers are intent on scrapping the policy of building on Brownfield sites before Greenfield sites and the duty to ensure that new developments minimise road traffic."
"The Greens recognise the urgent need to build more homes in order to address the housing crisis in this country, but the main obstacle isn't the planning system, it's the lack of money - thanks in no small part to the Government's decision to cut the affordable housing budget by 60 per cent," said Ms Lucas.
She concluded: "This new planning policy is likely to prove about as popular as the Government's ill-conceived plans to sell off the forests - and we need Cameron do a similar U-turn as fast as possible."
The Green Party's autumn conference in Sheffield this past weekend passed an emergency motion, condemning the state of planning in Britain today.