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Volume 202: debated on Thursday 23 January 1992

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To ask the Prime Minister whether he has any specific plans to reduce the protection to farmland currently in operation through the planning system; and if he will make a statement.

New planning policy guidance was set out on 22 January at columns 203–4 in a reply from my hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Planning to my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter). This affirms the Government's commitment to protecting the best and most versatile agricultural land. Planning authorities should also weigh environmental considerations, including any special designation of the area, and economic factors, including the need for diversification to provide wider employment opportunities in rural areas, in preparing development plans and deciding planning applications.