Calderdale Friends of the Earth needs to concern itself with the overall sustainability of our district. In addition to national trends, this will be substantially determined into the future by what happens with two critical local strategies: the Local Plan prepared by the Council which sets the planning framework for Calderdale – ‘what should happen where’; and then our climate change strategy Calderdale’s Energy Future approved in 2012 after years of campaigning. For what has happened to the latter see here.

FOE has made comprehensive submissions into the Local Plan process in the same way that we did for its predecessor: the Unitary Development Plan. But all the while the Government since 2010 has been dismantling the protection that has been built up ever since the 1947 Planning Act (which established Green Belts), and deregulating land supply – that’s Calderdale’s greenfields to you and me – in the misguided belief that this was the answer to the collapse in house building after 2008. Five years later the build rate hasn’t really increased but under the incompetent hands of Secretary of State Eric Pickles the planning process has been brought to the edge of breakdown. There’s a great deal at stake.

The Threat: The draft Core Strategy in autumn 2012 proposed that land for around 6500 houses be taken out of Calderdale’s Green Belt for the period to 2028 (see table 6.12); in fact the GB boundaries will have to be pushed back even further because they have to allow for 30 years land supply. The GB land review may begin within the next 12 months and in it the developers will have the upper hand: they will say which greenfields they want rather than our democratically controlled council deciding where the houses should be.

What FOE and CPRE are doing: CPRE has been leading the fight nationally to protect our Green Belt and greenfields. Read what they have to say about Green Belt, Planning and Housing. Locally Calderdale FOE is campaigning for more houses to be built on brownfield land, in our town centres and to very high or zero carbon energy standards. When the final version of the Core Strategy begins consultation in 2014 we’ll tell you what it says and how you can get involved … protecting the precious green spaces that you value.

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