Changes to the Government?s new slimmed-down planning guidelines, designed to speed up the process of approving new housing developments, have been welcomed by many countryside campaigners.

Some groups had claimed that the original National Planning Policy Framework removed vital protection for rural areas, including the ?brownfield first? clause.

However, the revised document includes an explicit acknowledgement that use of brownfield land is a core planning objective, and also informally extends protection to ?ordinary? countryside, such as Local Wildlife Sites.

Countryside Alliance?s executive chairman Barney White-Spunner said of the new guidelines: ?The revised framework is a much improved document. It is clear that the Government has listened to the concerns of rural people and countryside groups.?

The rest of this article appears in the 4th April issue of Shooting Times.

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