Campaigners trying to protect England's countrysides fear that it is either 'green' or 'growth,' and that new slimline guidelines on building new homes will offer less protection for rural England.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said that the reform of planning laws will protect Green Belt and, for the first time, back gardens and playing fields.
He told BBC News that the aim of the reforms is to take planning "out of the hands of lawyers" and into the hands of communities, and to speed up the decision-making process.
The Government's new "streamlined" planning document, the National Planning Policy Framework, stands at 72 pages. It is not quite the 50 pages that was promised, but an improvement on the 1,000 pages that it claims to replace.
Charities opposed to the relaxation of planning laws have cautiously welcomed the National Planning Policy Framework:
Initial quick reading of #NPPF suggests Ministers have listened to the critics of last year's draft. We now need to study the details
Greenpeace has reacted to the Government's reform of planning laws with this warning:
– ruth davis, greenpeace
There is a flawed assumption behind thisassault on the planning system by George Osborne – he thinks that we can boostthe economy by uprooting decades of protection for the natural habitat and thecountryside. This is misguided, dangerous and wrong, and appears to bebased on little more than some private, cosy chats he has had with bigdevelopers.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has said that future generations will be thankful for today's reform of the planning system in the UK:
– John Cridland, Director General, CBI
Having a presumption in favour of sustainable development gets the balanceright between supporting jobs and growth, and serving the interests of the environment and society. The new framework hands the responsibility back to local communities to decide where new homes, businesses and infrastructure to support them should be built...Let’s be clear, this is not an invitation to concrete over Britain, as some would have us believe. For too long, our planning regime acted as a drag on growth,and this framework lets people decide the future for themselves.
The Minister for Communities and Local Government Greg Clarke has said that the National Planning Policy Framework strengthens council policies encouraging brownfield sites to be brought back into use.
Minister for Communities and Local Government Greg Clarke is announcing his proposed changes to the planning system in the House of Commons. He said that communities have come to see planning as "something done to them rather than by them".
Sandleford Park, the setting of Watership Down, is perhaps the quintessential cautionary tale about the risks of development.
The 1972 book follows a group of rabbits who are forced to abandon their warren when developers move in.
Now it seems as though the tale may be coming true, as the setting for the rabbit's warren is under threat from developers who want to build 2,000 homes here.
The book's author Richard Adams is opposed to the development.