Ramblers join group urging the UK Government to rethink damaging planning reforms

The Ramblers have joined a coalition of organisations that are calling on the government to rethink its damaging planning reforms.

The broad coalition of 18 housing, planning, transport, environmental, heritage and public health organisations are urging ministers to consider changes to the planning system that put people, climate and nature at its heart. The coalition has produced an alternative ‘Vision for planning’ in response to the government’s Planning White Paper, which was published in August last year.

The organisations launched the joint Vision for planning’ today (Thursday, January 14) at a virtual debate chaired by London City Hall’s Night Czar Amy Lamé with speakers that included the Housing Minister, the Rt Hon Chris Pincher MP. The vision makes a number of suggestions to improve proposals put forward in the government’s white paper, including recommendations that any future planning system:

  • Protects and enhances local green spaces for the benefit of people and nature;
  • Encourages green, sustainable forms of transport.
  • Is democratic and gives communities a legally guaranteed say on specific planning projects;
  • Has sustainable development at its heart;
  • Delivers enough quality affordable and social homes for rent to meet local needs;
  • Tackles the biodiversity crisis by identifying new Highly Protected Areas and Nature Recovery Areas and strategically planning ‘nature recovery areas’;
  • And helps tackles the climate emergency by ensuring all new homes are built to zero carbon standards by 2030 at the latest.

Organisations backing the joint ‘Vision for planning’ include the Ramblers, CPRE The Countryside Charity, RSPB, the Open Spaces Society, Friends of The Earth, the Town and Country Planning Association and the Woodland Trust.

Tom Platt, director of advocacy and engagement at the Ramblers, said:

"During the pandemic, we’ve seen just how important planning is. Those fortunate enough to have easy access to a local park or green space, have benefitted physically and mentally. We have a chance now to learn from past mistakes and set a new course for greener, healthier, and more sustainable communities. The decisions we make today will impact the lives of millions for generations to come and the alternative Vision for Planning gives a solid foundation for this."

The government is expected to make a further announcement about how it will take forward its White Paper proposals in March.