PM’s ‘new deal’ makes a mockery of government’s green ambitions

2nd July 2020

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s ‘New Deal’, Tom Fyans, campaigns and policy director at CPRE, the countryside charity, said:

‘With road building at its heart, the PM’s ‘new deal’ makes a mockery of the government’s so-called green recovery. At this historic moment, the government must show real ambition and build back better, not worse, and in doing so balance our health and wellbeing, nature and countryside and the economic recovery. The government cannot continue to ignore the surge in appreciation for green spaces and the public appetite to reduce our carbon emissions.

We must not even begin down this path with plans for £27 billion spending on roads. That money could be much better spent connecting towns and villages with low carbon public transport, shoring up rural economies and businesses hard hit by the coronavirus and investing in genuinely affordable and well-designed housing.

Furthermore, the PM has pledged to ‘build at the pace that this moment requires’, which strikes fear in the hearts of those who understand the benefits of a plan-led system. Rushing through potentially poor-quality development is the very antithesis of building back better. We already know, from painful experience, a rush for development trades off quality homes and infrastructure for quick and easy economic growth. This trade off isn’t necessary. It’s already far too easy to build poor quality homes and therefore any plans to deregulate our democratic, locally accountable planning system will take decision making powers from communities and local councils and hand it to short-sighted developers.

The government can only seriously claim to be pursuing the levelling up agenda after scrapping planned spend on roads and refocusing planning reforms to deliver for people rather than developers.

Until then, it’s the same old deal.’