New campaign highlights planning madness

10th July 2007
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When do Friends of the Earth and the Campaign to Protect Rural England want to build an incinerator? When they’re part of a new protest coalition called ‘Planning Disaster’ which yesterday filed a planning application to build an incinerator on the site of St Paul’s Cathedral in central London.

The application is designed to highlight how the public’s right to object to new developments such as incinerators is due to be swept away if the regulations in Government’s new Planning White Paper are made law.

Under the current system, an organised group of citizens still has the power to sway the decisions of a local authority when granting planning permission. But under the new proposals, the final say on big developments will be made by a body called the ‘Infrastructure Planning Commission’, which Friends of the Earth describes as ‘unelected’ and ‘unaccountable’.

Owen Espley, the Coordinator of Planning Disaster, called on the public for their support:
‘Today, the public can still have the right to object to barmy planning applications which could damage our environment or our communities – such as the application we made to build an incinerator on the site of St Paul’s Cathedral. If the Planning White Paper goes ahead in its current form, the public will effectively lose their right to a say. The Governnment needs to rethink and introduce a planning system which allows people an effective say in how their area is developed.’

Readers can pledge their support for the campaign by logging on to

This article first appeared in the Ecologist July 2007

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