MP calls for protection of green spaces

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09 Oct 2020

Margaret Greenwood MP has drawn attention to concerns that reforms to the planning system could weaken protection for green spaces.   

The Wirral West MP was taking part in a debate in Parliament on sweeping reforms that the government is proposing for the planning system in England.   

The proposals have been published in the government’s ‘Planning for the future’ white paper which is currently the subject of a public consultation running until 29 October 2020.    

The government has said that its reforms will ensure that ‘valued green spaces and Green Belt will continue to be protected for future generations'.  

However, the Campaign the for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), has warned that the government’s proposals ‘would weaken protection of green space designated for growth or renewal, and offer no additional safeguards for those earmarked for protection.’ According to the CPRE, the government’s proposals give ‘no consideration to the importance of undesignated green spaces near to where people live.’   

The proposals would also do away with people’s legal right to oppose specific developments when individual detailed planning applications are submitted, with The Wildlife Trusts pointing out that ‘public engagement in planning tends to be when individual detailed development applications are submitted and the impact that these will have on local people, infrastructure and nature becomes clearer. Under the new system, public engagement at this point would not be possible.’   

Speaking after the debate in Parliament, Margaret Greenwood MP said:   

“I know from the emails and letters I receive that people care passionately about the green belt and green spaces that make Wirral West such a beautiful place.    

“They care, too, about nurturing wildlife habitats and addressing the urgent issue of climate change.    

“There are numerous local campaigns to protect green belt and green spaces, including campaigns against proposals to build a golf resort in Hoylake, against building on ancient glebe land in Rectory Road in West Kirby and against development on green belt right across Wirral West. I fully support my constituents in these campaigns.  

“The warnings from CPRE are very stark and people will be concerned.   

“Not only that, the government’s proposals take away the voice of local people in the planning process.   

“I oppose this attempt to prevent local people from formally objecting to inappropriate developments in their neighbourhood. People should be given more say on the development of their neighbourhoods, not less.   

“I would urge anyone who cares about the environment and how planning decisions are made to have a look at the government’s proposals and have their say as part of the consultation.”   

Margaret Greenwood’s speech from the debate can be read in full via this link:   

You can also watch her speech here:   

The government’s ‘Planning for the future' consultation can be accessed here: