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Countryside campaigners fume over sustainable communities

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has slammed the government's sustainable communities plan, claiming 'the reality is a long way from the rhetoric'.

Two years on from the plan's first publication in 2003, the action group has highlighted a number of serious concerns which, it believes, shows this 'reality gap' is bigger than ever.

Low housing-density targets, poor environmental assessments and 'car-crazy' development are just some of the fears raised by the CPRE following this week's Delivering Sustainable Communities Summit in Manchester.

Neil Sinden, the CPRE's policy director, said: 'Without an urgent change of course by all those involved in its implementation, the countryside, urban regeneration and quality of life of countless communities are set to suffer lasting damage in the coming months and years.'

'This government has done much to promote and encourage better planning and urban regeneration, and the CPRE has strongly supported that. Yet now, with the irresponsible drive for growth at almost any cost, they're in danger of throwing it all away.

'In the long run we all lose if we all allow unsustainable development. We call on ministers to make real their commitment to urban renaissance and countryside protection,' he added.

by Richard Waite

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