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Countryside Planning – where next? Professor John Handley Pennine Prospects, Annual Conference, Burnley, 2010 What can the South Pennines do for us?

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Presentation on theme: "Countryside Planning – where next? Professor John Handley Pennine Prospects, Annual Conference, Burnley, 2010 What can the South Pennines do for us?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Countryside Planning – where next? Professor John Handley Pennine Prospects, Annual Conference, Burnley, 2010 What can the South Pennines do for us?

2 Countryside Planning – where next? Outline The nature of countryside planning Historic divergence between productivist and amenity interests The shock of foot-and-mouth disease and moves towards integration Contemporary drivers of land-use change Implications for the South Pennines Political change in the policy and regulatory environment – the Coalition Government Agreement Where next for Pennine Prospects?

3 Countryside Planning “The creation of conditions under which rural activities can flourish and resources be sustained” Gerald Wibberley (1982) Countryside Planning – a personal evaluation Pennine Prospects website

4 Learning from History “The best way to understand the present is to explain the route by which we arrived… we are prisoners of our past, but every day we are released into the future and the need to make our own history as we see fit.” Andrew Gilg (1996) Countryside Planning

5 Divergent Policy Strands in Countryside Planning Scott Report (1942) Land Utilisation in Rural Areas, led to Agriculture Act, 1947 Barlow Report (1940) Distribution of the Industrial Population, led to Town and Country Planning Act, 1947

6 The Need for Policy Reform “The 1947 legislation is now effectively redundant since not only have the 1947 Agriculture and Town and Country Planning Acts achieved their objectives in their own terms, but changes in the countryside of the 1990’s are now rendering them counterproductive.” Nigel Curry (1993) Countryside Planning: Look Back in Anguish

7 Central Issues for Countryside Planning Policies at the Turn of the Century Newby (1991)Dennison (1942) Agricultural Adjustment Human Capital and Enterprise Environmental Sustainability Balanced Communities Planning Policy The Maintenance of Agriculture The Location of Industry The Preservation of Amenities The Well-being of Rural Communities The Control of Land Use (After Curry, 1993)

8 The Shock of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in 2001 “The disease devastated the livestock industry across much of the west and north of the country, but also cut a swathe through the rural economy. A crisis such as FMD challenges fundamental assumptions by revealing underlying realities. Because FMD largely took hold in sheep, the heavily affected areas were those with extensive grazing systems and picturesque landscapes. What must be readily apparent now is that the public benefits of pastoral farming in such areas far overshadow the market value of its tradable benefits.” Philip Lowe (2002) After foot-and- mouth: farming and the new rural economy

9 The Institutional Response – Ministry of Agricultural Fisheries and Food morphs into Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Environmental protection Rural development Countryside Wildlife Agriculture Food industry Fisheries DCLGDEFRA Natural England Commission for Rural Communities Environment AgencyForestry Commission Local Authorities LDFs DETRMAFF

10 Integrated thinking begins to inform policy making within DEFRA e.g. ecosystem services Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005)

11 Land Use Futures: Making the Most of Land in the 21 st Century “Together with our human capital, land is possibly the UK’s greatest asset. It provides the basic services that we need to prosper and flourish, the environment in which we all work and live our lives, and it forms the historical and cultural bedrock of the country.” Foresight Land Use Futures Project (2010)

12 Drivers of Land-use Change to 2060 Demographic change Economic growth and changing global economic conditions Climate change New technologies Societal preference and attitudes Policy and regulatory environment Foresight Land Use Futures Project (2010)

13 Drivers of Change Impact at the Landscape Scale EEA (1999)

14 The Risks of Inaction: Illustrative Examples Increasing demand for water as a result of expected population growth and urbanisation, occurring alongside reduced water availability Detrimental impacts on the state of the natural environment Potential vulnerability of farming communities in upland areas and abandonment of land, where viability is more dependent on income support Difficulties in achieving EU 2020 targets for renewable energy at reasonable cost, if there are delays in the development of on-shore wind farms and other forms of renewable energy production. House prices resuming their rise ahead of general inflation with implications for affordability and smaller homes The difference between the price of land with planning permission for development and other land will remain excessive in areas of high demand. Foresight Land Use Futures Project (2010)

15 Political Change in the Policy and Regulatory Environment “Over the last century, Britain has become one of the most centralised countries in the developed world. But, without Government noticing, we are moving into a ‘post- bureaucratic’ age. Technological advances have put information and capability within reach of every citizen. Governance has failed to adapt to this new world of power and opportunity for people and communities. Nowhere is this truer than in local government, which, despite its rich history, is today a creature of central authority, to be twisted and controlled according to the latest directives from Whitehall.” Conservative Party (2009) Policy Green Paper No. 9 Control Shift: Returning Power to Local Communities

16 The Coalition Programme for Government “We share a conviction that the days of big government are over; that centralisation and top- down control have proved a failure. We believe that the time has come to disperse power more visibly in Britain today; to recognise that we will only make progress if we help people come together to make life better.” HM Government (May, 2010)

17 Communities and Local Government Promote political devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government and community groups Abolish Regional Spatial Strategies Radically reform the planning system to (empower) neighbourhoods Abolish the Infrastructure Planning Commission (Produce) a simple and consolidated national planning framework Maintain Green Belt, SSSI’s and other environmental protections and create a new designation for community green areas. Consider abolishing Government Offices (for the regions) Promote ‘Home on the Farm’ schemes Introduce new powers to help communities save local facilities and services threatened with closure Provide incentives for local authorities to deliver sustainable development, including for new homes and businesses. Coalition Programme for Government, HMG (2010)

18 Energy and Climate Change Increase the target for energy from renewable sources. Encourage community-owned renewable energy schemes. Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Protect wildlife and promote green spaces and wildlife corridors to halt habitat loss and restore biodiversity Reduce the regulatory burden on farmers and develop a system of extra support for hill farmers Investigate ways to share with livestock keepers responsibility for preparing for and dealing with disease outbreaks Create a presumption in favour of sustainable development in the planning system Coalition Programme for Government, HMG (2010)

19 Business Support creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships to replace Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) Improve competitiveness of UK tourism Consumer Protection Introduce honesty in food labelling (to show) where food comes from and its environmental impact Culture Reform National Lottery so that more money goes into sport, the arts and heritage Introduce measures to ensure rapid roll-out of superfast broadband and seek to introduce it (contemporaneously) in remote areas Social Action Support the creation and expansion of mutuals, co-operatives, charities and social services (to assist) in the running of public services Transport Support sustainable transport initiatives, including promotion of cycling and walking, and encourage joint working between bus operators and local authorities. Coalition Programme for Government, HMG (2010)

20 Deficit Reduction “The deficit reduction programme takes precedence over any other measure in this agreement, and the speed of implementation of any measures that have a cost to the public finances will depend on decisions to be made in the Comprehensive Spending Review.” Coalition Programme for Government, HMG (2010) Deficit reduction measures include reducing the number and cost of quangos, e.g. Audit Commission Commission for Rural Communities Infrastructure Planning Commission Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution Sustainable Development Commission

21 Countryside Planning – where next? Conclusions Drivers of change will impact significantly on the South Pennines Impacts will be registered at the landscape scale where coalitions such as Pennine Prospects are well placed to respond Key challenges will include, amongst others: –Renewable energy provision –Securing water supply –Climate proofing the countryside –Sustaining the farm economy –Meeting housing demand equitably –Deficit reduction measures and radical change in the policy and regulatory environment Pennine prospects has already demonstrated a capacity to respond to such issues and the localism agenda of the Coalition Government may work to its advantage

22 Acknowledgements I am most grateful to Dr Philip Bell and Dr Mark Baker for informative discussions during the formulation of this presentation. Helen Leah and Dr Anna Gilchrist gave invaluable practical assistance. Extracts from the Coalition Government’s ‘Programme for Government’ are reproduced with permission but remain Crown Copyright.

23 References Conservative Party (2009) Control Shift: Returning Power to Local Communities. Policy Green Paper No 9. (www.conservatives.com)www.conservatives.com Curry, N. (1993) Countryside Planning: Look Back in Anguish. Inaugurated Lecture, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education, Gloucester. European Environment Agency (1999) Environmental Indicators, Typology and Overview. European Environment Agency, Copenhagen. Foresight Land Use Futures Project (2010) Land Use Futures: Making the Most of Land in the 21 st Century - Final Project Report. The Government Office for Science, London. Gilg, A.W. (1996) Countryside Planning. (2 nd Ed) Routledge, London and New York. HM Government (2010) The Coalition: Our Programme for Government. Cabinet Office, London. Lowe, P. (2009) After Foot-and-Mouth: Farming and the New Rural Economy. In: Jenkins, J. (Ed) Remaking the Landscape: The Changing Face of Britain. Profile Books, London Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis. Island Press, Washington DC. Newby, H. (1991) The Future of Rural Society: Strategic Planning or Muddling Through? The Dartington Lectures, cited in: The Planner, 77, No. 36. Wibberley, G. (1982) Countryside Planning: A Personal Evaluation. Occasional Paper No. 7, Rural Economics, Wye College, Ashford.


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