Friday, 09 March 2007 18:13

Urban renaissance priority - Miliband

Written by  Ruralcity Media
ImageEnvironment Secretary David Miliband has spoken of his belief that urban renaissance is the best policy for protecting rural England from development.

In a speech to mark the 80th anniversary of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Mr Miliband called for a rethink of the way land is managed. Land use fundamentally affected the country’s economy, environment, and social cohesion, he said.

“Over the next 80 years, we will face new and competing pressures that will force changes in how land is used and managed, from demographic change to climate change. Preservation of the status quo is not an option.”

There would continue to be a need for development, said Mr Miliband. The question was where should it take place, and what sort should it be. “The lesson is clear: the best policy for protecting rural England is urban renaissance,” he said.

“The progress of town and country go together. Of course, there are cases when brownfield development is not best. Some land that falls into the brownfield category, although previously developed or used, may have particular environmental benefits.”

Mr Miliband’s commented a recent call by countryside campaigners for the government to increase its target for the proportion of new homes built on brownfield land from 60% to 85%.

Many local authorities are failing to identify brownfield sites that would benefit from redevelopment or failing to take action to encourage their development, according to a CPRE report.

Climate change, population growth, demand for housing and the acute pressure on farming arising from globalisation and trade reform all added up to an enormous agenda for change, said CPRE chief executive Shaun Spiers.

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