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PR 17 - National planning institute fears Government has "wimped out" on opportunity to reform greenbelt

21 May 2007

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) fears Government has rejected the opportunity to review greenbelt policy in today's Planning White Paper, in favour of short term political gain. The threat of climate change means the country must have an open, evidence based, debate on this issue now, an issue which is already clouded by misinformation and political posturing.

Kelvin MacDonald, Director of Policy and Research at the RTP said: \"It would be shameful to see the Government wimp-out on Kate Barker's recommendation to review Greenbelt policy. We all know greenbelt is an emotive issue, but the Government is passing on a unique opportunity to debate how our towns and cities should be shaped to meet the challenge of climate change.\"

\"The RTPI does not believe the myopic adherence to protecting a belt of land of up to thirty miles wide around cities is now sustainable. We need to look at how to minimise CO2 emissions from travel – not encourage it, we need to link jobs, housing and retail – not separate them, and we need more green space in our cities – not at the very edge of them.\"

The RTPI points to evidence of long distance commuting in the UK collated in their research report, 'Uniting Britain: The Evidence Base' highlighting the spatial effects of greenbelt policy around London on commuting.

END

For further information please contact:

Andrew Kliman, RTPI Communications Manager, 0207 929 9479, mob. 07870 672 020

Kelvin MacDonaId, RTPI Director of Policy and Research, 0207 929 9474

Notes to Editors
1. 'Uniting Britain: The Evidence Base – spatial structure and key drivers' can be found at http://www.rtpi.org.uk/download/748/Uniting-Britain.pdf page 25

2. The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)
The RTPI is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. We understand that just as people develop places, so places develop people. We are committed to the enhancement of our natural and human environment, using spatial planning to manage competing pressures on our built environments and the very real effects on our space. Through our members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work.

As well as promoting spatial planning, RTPI develops and shapes policy affecting the built environment, works to raise professional standards and supports members through continuous education, training and development. The RTPI is the largest professional institute for planners
worldwide, with over 20,000 members.

For further general information, visit the RTPI website at: www.rtpi.org.uk
41 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL, charity no. 262865