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Government’s Green Promise Binned

October 30, 2011

Latest news release from the Open Spaces Society. Why not lobby your MP (House of Commons, London SW1).





 The Open Spaces Society(1) has roundly criticised the government’s apparent contempt for green spaces.

 In the society’s magazine Open Space, general secretary Kate Ashbrook writes (Opinion, page 1): ‘We wish that the government’s consultation on the registration of new town and village greens(2) had been among the documents which Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin threw in the park bins.’

Kate declares that the consultation, together with the government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), ‘poses a vicious threat to our green spaces’.

The society fears that government will introduce legislation to curtail new greens, restricting them to uncontroversial, pretty land in town and village centres, requiring an application fee, and outlawing applications where sites have been designated for development or have planning permission.

The society also lambasts the proposed new ‘local green space’ designation in the NPPF (page 5) as being ‘so shackled by restrictions as to render it useless’.

Kate concludes: ‘Evidently the coalition’s promise to be “the greenest government ever” has been park-binned already”.


Notes for editors

1.         The Open Spaces Society (formally the Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society) was founded in 1865 and is Britain’s oldest national conservation body.  It campaigns to protect common land, village greens, open spaces and public paths, and people’s right to enjoy them, throughout England and Wales.

2.         Land can be registered as a town or village green if it has been used by local people for ‘lawful sports and pastimes’ (ie informal recreation) for 20 years, freely and openly.  Once registered, the land is protected from encroachment and development by section 12 of the Inclosure Act 1857 and section 29 of the Commons Act 1876.  Local people have a right to enjoy the land for recreation.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has consulted on changing the law for registering land as new greens, under pressure from business which alleges (with little evidence) that greens registration is being used to thwart development.



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