Concern for beauty spots after Localism laws pave way for new planning system

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CONSERVATIONISTS have spoken of their concern for local wildlife sites after new laws were passed.

The RSPB and other green groups are worried about the impact of n legislation on wildlife oases such as Langstone Harbour.

They were hoping that a definition of ‘sustainable development’ would be written into the law books.

But the Localism Act was given Royal Assent without a definition in place despite attempts by Lib Dem and Labour peers and MPs.

It will pave the way for a planning system which has caused widespread concern, particularly the controversial ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ in the National Planning Policy Framework.

Steve Gilbert, RSPB programme director in the south east, said: ‘Without this legal definition in place, we are facing the prospect of a system which gives the economy a trump card and fails to protect the green spaces that enrich our lives and allow nature to thrive.

‘In their present form, the government’s proposed planning reforms undermine our ability to protect nature and will put wildlife sites at risk.

‘While some sites are protected by European laws, others such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest rely on the current national planning system for protection.’