NPPF Wednesday


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NPPF Wednesday

  1. 1. Marketing & Communications,Birmingham City University, Perry Barr, Birmingham B42 /JT March 16, 2012 A new ‘Battle for Britain’ looms between town and country planners, warns expert The furore between policy-makers and campaigners over reforms to the nation’s planning system is becoming bogged down in a damaging ‘town versus countryside’ debate, say national expert. “Not only is this sterile but it’s damaging to both our rural and urban economies,” says Alister Scott, Professor of Spatial Planning and Governance at Birmingham City University. “Crucially countryside and town should not be separated within different planning approaches but would be better integrated, based on proper assessment of needs, assets and sustainability.” Professor Scott made his comments in the run-up to a controversial planning review announcement. Coinciding with Budget Day (Wednesday, March 21) Chancellor George Osborne is expected to liberalise environmental protection to help boost economic growth – and green campaigners fear the decision will be a ‘Black Wednesday’ for the countryside. “At present the planning system is heading towards a disintegration of planning policies with Defra producing their own policy suite under the Natural Environment White Paper while the Communities and Local Government department under their pending National Planning Policy Framework,” said Professor Scott. “This separation of policy is disintegrating opportunities for joined up planning which is key to future economic prosperity.” Professor Scott, from Birmingham School of the Built Environment at Birmingham City University, also challenges any simplistic, one-dimensional view of planning policy. On the one hand the idea advanced by some that the countryside should be protected for its own sake is misplaced. “We need a multifunctional countryside with a diversified economy moving beyond 1940s ideas that the countryside economy should be built on agriculture and forestry with development confined to our towns. “There can be no one size fits all solutions - rather policies should be tailored to local situations. On the other hand the idea that environmental protection and planning policy should be relaxed in the name of economic growth is equally damaging. “The Treasury view that planning and the environment are the enemy of growth is fundamentally wrong. Indeed many of our protected environments secure important
  2. 2. outcomes for our countryside in terms of climate change mitigation, good water qualityand health.“Many planners work on the principle of attracting good quality development into placesdespite politicians changing the planning system at every turn. The enemy of growth isuncertainty and the disintegration of planning policy.“The loss of strategic planning is a bitter blow to joined-up planning which the LocalEnterprise Partnerships are ill suited to address given their one dimensional remit.”Professor Scott will share his views as keynote speaker at the Institute of Ecology andEnvironmental Management’s annual conference, to be held in Birmingham onWednesday, March 21.• Alister Scott BA PhD MRTPI, is Professor of Spatial Planning and Governance at the Birmingham School of the Built Environment, Birmingham City University.ENDSNotes to Editor• Professor Scott and colleagues have been supported by a grant under the UK Research Councils’ Rural Economy and Land Use Programme (Relu) as part of the environmental change agenda addressing the need for improved management of the rural-urban fringe. Professor Scott was awarded £145,000 to lead interdisciplinary research to inform future policy and practice within the rural-urban fringe. The work was based in the University’s Centre for Environment and Society Research.Issued by Birmingham City University, Media Relations OfficeFor further information please contact Media Relations Manager, James Tallentire:T: 0121 331 6735M: 07968 723063E: