CHANGES to the planning system in England, which are expected to make it easier to gain consent for large-scale projects, are coming into force later today (Tuesday).
Ministers have suggested creating a “presumption in favour of sustainable development” to ensure more homes, offices and factories are built reports the BBC.
But opponents say the scheme will weaken environmental protections and increase people’s reliance on vehicles.
David Cameron has promised to create places “where people want to live”.
The revised national planning policy framework will be published at 12:30 BST, following months of consultations with builders, environmental groups and other organisations.
It comes into force immediately, with Planning Minister Greg Clark outlining the scheme to MPs.
A draft version of the framework, released last summer, said sustainable development should be allowed to go ahead.
This version cut the planning guidelines for England down from 1,300 pages to 52 pages. This revised document will be 50 pages long.
Opponents of the changes, including the National Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England, argue they will weaken protection for the green belt and increase people’s reliance on cars.
The CPRE raised concerns that the definition of “sustainable development” was too vague to govern planning policy in the draft proposals and local plans, which set out what development councils want in their area, could give way to a “free for all”.
It also said it feared the planning reforms would not deliver enough affordable homes – one of the key benefits supporters of the changes say it will provide.
But the final framework is expected to make more explicit a requirement that development should take place on “brownfield” sites, ahead of “greenfield”.
It has been reported that a new clause is likely to be inserted into the paper creating new rules against “garden-grabbing” – the selling of garden land for extra development.
The Countryside Alliance said local people in the countryside wanted affordable housing and for rural businesses to be able to expand – and that they were the best placed to decide what development was appropriate and what should be opposed.