More than 100 controversial developments – from airport extensions to nuclear waste dumps – could be forced through by the Government despite public opposition, it has been claimed.
A proposed shake-up of planning laws will strip residents of the right to challenge wind farms, major roads or massive waste incinerators being built on their doorsteps, according to countryside campaigners.
The list of projects that could be pushed through over the next few years is highlighted today on a new interactive map of Britain.
Available online, it pinpoints:
• Giant waste incinerators earmarked for Cheshire and Peterborough.
• Up to ten nuclear power stations, including new reactors at Sizewell, Suffolk and Calderhall, Cumbria.
• Airport expansions at Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Heathrow and Stansted.
• Around 50 major road schemes, including the widening of the M6 and a new bridge over the Mersey.
• A major new reservoir flooding five square miles of Oxfordshire.
• Sixteen offshore and onshore wind farms.
The map – which can be viewed at www.planningdisaster.co.uk – has been created by Planning Disaster, an umbrella group including the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Friends of the Earth, the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts, the Woodland Trust, The Ramblers’ Association and The National Trust.
Owen Espley, a spokesman for the campaigners, said the proposed changes to planning laws – outlined earlier this year in the Planning White Paper – are a ‘disaster’ for local democracy.
The reforms would remove the public’s right to challenge controversial projects at a public inquiry. The coalition says decisions would also be taken out of the hands of politicians and given to ‘an unelected, and unaccountable’ new body called the Infrastructure Planning Commission.
“These are the developments that the Government is likely to push through if it makes its reforms,” said Mr Espley. “None have got planning permission yet, but are all being proposed.
“The map allows people to find out for themselves what could be coming to their neighbourhood – and why it is so important to object now to these changes.”
Current planning laws have been criticised by businesses for making it too easy for local residents to delay major new developments.
The Planning White Paper is out now for consultation and is expected to become a Bill in the autumn.
By David Derbyshire
3 August 2007