A new director has taken over the fight for the countryside with the Dorset Campaign to Protect Rural England.
Former BBC journalist Trevor Bevins, 55, will be based at the charity’s office at Little Keep on Bridport Road in Dorchester.
Mr Bevins said: “I arrive at the CPRE at a time when government policy changes seem likely to bring about the biggest shift in planning law for more than half a century.
“For the first time the government is suggesting the ‘default position’ for local authorities to planning applications is to say: ‘Yes’ – and presume in favour of developments if they’re considered sustainable.
“Many believe this will lead to further unnecessary building on greenfield sites instead of favouring brownfield locations.
“The presumption in favour of development, especially where economic development is involved, will almost certainly curtail the power of local councillors to object to applications.”
Mr Bevins used to run the BBC Dorset station until it was closed five years ago.
He presented the morning and lunchtime news and managed the news team. Mr Bevins welcomed a recent announcement that the government may be prepared to make changes to its planning law proposals.
“We are still worried, but welcome the news that the government is now indicating that it may be prepared to carry out further consultations.
“There is at least now some hope that it will see the dangers a policy which presumes in favour of development represents.”
He said that Dorset is also undergoing a review of its renewable energy strategy which has, amongst its options, identified the potential for up to 180 wind turbines in the county in an attempt to ensure that, by 2020, the county is producing approximately 15 per cent of its energy by renewable power.
Mr Bevins added: “So far, all applications for wind turbines in Dorset have been turned down after local objections.
“But CPRE is worried that if this is the level of wind turbines ultimately being suggested, coupled with government changes to planning law, it will make it more difficult for local councillors to reject turbine applications from developers.
“We’re currently in discussion with the county council over the proposals.
“It’s likely that this issue will dominate local planning for some time to come.”
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