National Trust responds to the speech given by DEFRA Secretary of State George Eustice at Green Alliance

Press release
The National Trust wants Government to retain planning protections for nature and heritage
Published : 20 Jul 2020

National Trust responds to the speech given by DEFRA Secretary of State George Eustice at Green Alliance

Rosie Hails, Director of Science & Nature at the National Trust said: 
"The Environment Secretary’s reiteration that the Government will deliver a green recovery is very welcome.  But as we continue to face a biodiversity and climate crisis, the Government will be judged on its actions. If the Government wants to turn around the decline in nature in a generation, then weakening planning protections for nature and heritage, and delaying the Environment Bill would not be a good way to get started. 

"We have yet to see the evidence of why change to the Environmental Assessment process is needed. The Government’s own assessments have repeatedly shown that concerns that ‘newt-counting’ causes delays are unfounded. We are happy to work with the Government on considering change, but this must be grounded in evidence. The planning system is a key tool for preserving the UK’s countryside, caring for our cultural heritage and restoring nature, not simply an obstacle to be overcome for developers.

"George Eustice’s social prescribing commitment was a pleasing first step to recognise how important access to nature is for people. Lockdown has shown us how important the green spaces on our doorsteps are, but also highlighted the inequality in accessing them, which is why we want to see the Government invest much more in urban green infrastructure."