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CONSERVATIONISTS have welcomed a recommendation from MPs that could safeguard Hampshire’s wildlife amid sweeping changes to planning.

The Localism Act was given royal assent last month and involved proposed reforms to the planning system.

It caused widespread concern with its ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ recommendations – without providing a clear definition of the term sustainable development.

However, the Communities and Local Government Select Committee has released a report on the draft National Planning Policy Framework.

Recommendations included the need for a clear definition of what is sustainable development.

Steve Gilbert, RSPB conservation programme manager for Hampshire, said: ‘This report delivers a healthy dose of common sense when it comes to planning reform.

‘It is clear to anyone who cares about our natural environment that the government’s plans are too biased in favour of development.’