30 July 1997
Concrete flood threatens countryside

A PLEA to leave rural areas in peace and quiet instead of seeing them “flooded by concrete” through new developments was made by a Tory MP today.

Nigel Evans called on ministers to refute a Sunday Times report that Labour will relax restrictions and allow two million new homes to be built in country areas.

The Ribble Valley MP told the Commons: “As far as I am concerned, for me this would be a complete nightmare.

“Already we have heard from the Council for the Protection of Rural England that there are a quarter of a million acres of countryside which are flooded by concrete every year.

“That is already a dramatic figure. To see that increase would be quite appalling. Once again the Labour Party have shown they dont understand the countryside and they hate the rural way of life.

Mr Evans said instead of tackling rural areas, the Government should be renovating urban housing stock.

“The last thing we want is to turn the countryside into one vast building site,” he said.

The Sunday Times

report claims that Labour wont adhere to past promises made by the Tory government that 75% of new homes would be built on reclaimed land in urban areas. The Labour government believes that such a measure would lead to gross overcrowding in some towns and cities, the article says.

The article also states that 4.4 million new homes are needed by 2016 to cope with the UKs growing population. The amount of land needed for development is equivalent to 10 cities the size of Bristol.

Replying to the debate, Commons Leader Ann Taylor told Mr Evans: “I dont think I disagree with some of the concerns that you expressed.

“We have all got concerns about how we balance the need to build more houses with protecting our countryside, but I do think you do not have to include political jibes when basically the last Government was faced with exactly the same kind of problems and what this Government has done is restate the targets which were adopted by the previous Government.”

Finlay Marshall, PA News