NPPF: Bad news for countryside!

28th Mar 2012

We are still afraid for the countryside following yesterday’s publication of the Government’s highly controversial National Planning Policy Framework.

Although some important improvements have been made to the NPPF, it could still be bad news for our countryside. Landscapes that local people love, from the Humberhead Levels to the South Pennine hills, and South Yorkshire’s rolling countryside and lovely valleys, are now more at risk from development.

Crucially the new NPPF replaces the former commitment to 'protect' the intrinsic beauty, character and beauty of the countryside, with a commitment to simply 'recognize' it instead.

Sites at risk

We’ve looked at sites that are now at risk in South Yorkshire. Thanks to the NPPF, developers could now steam ahead with more wind farms in sensitive landscapes in western Barnsley; giant distribution warehouses at Bradholme Farm in Doncaster; The Visions of China theme park at Rother Valley Country Park; and even housing estates on the edge of Stocksbridge or in Sheffield’s much loved Loxley Valley.

We certainly don't want to stop all development. Clearly South Yorkshire needs new housing and some of this is likely to be on greenfield sites. But now that there’s a default in favour of development and virgin greenfield land is more at risk, we’re scared that things are going to be worse than the development chaos of the 1980s. 

Fighting for the future

We’ve been fighting for a strong and effective planning system to protect our countryside since the 1920s, and we will carry on fighting! We will be pulling together with local communities to save South Yorkshire’s countryside from the worst excesses of these appalling changes.

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