18 Apr 1998
A mass walk and rally is taking place outside Stevenage today to protest
against Government plans to allow massive housing schemes to be built
in Britain's countryside.The walk passes through the Langley Valley,
an area of greenbelt threatened by plans to build 10,000 new homes -
the largest and most controversial greenfield development contemplated
anywhere in the country.
The rally takes place at a time when the Government's policy on housebuilding is dogged by controversy, since Mr Prescott abandoned the 'predict and provide' approach.
A number of significant County Councils are challenging their housing targets:
Regional authorities have also lined up to confront Mr Prescott.
And in a further development, last month the High Court quashed a decision by Mr Prescott to give the go-ahead for a controversial development of over 100 houses on a greenfield site at Peacehaven in East Sussex. The case was brought by Lewes District Council.
Dr Simon Festing, Housing Campaigner for Friends of the Earth said:
"Local authorities are set to rebel against Government policies to force huge numbers of houses to be built in the countryside. These plans are also unpopular with the public who do not want to see their precious countryside destroyed. Mr Prescott must look again at the housebuilding targets, and keep the Green Belt green."
Today's march and rally has been organised by Friends of the Earth, the Campaign Against Stevenage Expansion (CASE), and the Council for the Protection of Rural England.
Details of the rally and a briefing paper are available from the Press
Friends of the Earth
26-28 Underwood St.
Tel: 020 7490 1555
Fax: 020 7490 0881