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Green Spaces

Volume 521: debated on Monday 17 January 2011

The coalition Government have taken immediate action to help communities to protect green spaces. Three measures stand out: the decision to take gardens out of the definition of brownfield sites; the abolition of the density targets that prevented family homes with gardens from being built; and the measures in the Localism Bill, which will be debated this afternoon, that give communities the right to have neighbourhood plans that protect valuable green spaces.

In 2001, the then Secretary of State for Transport imposed planning restrictions that required councils to limit the number of parking spaces allowed in new residential developments, and set high parking charges that kept shoppers from the high street. What is the Secretary of State doing to end the war on motorists waged by Labour?

I think it was the same Secretary of State for Transport who set a target to reduce the number of journeys made by car, but, of course, the numbers went in the opposite direction. Everyone knows that if people are banned from having garages and driveways, as under those planning changes, it means not that people will not have a car, but that they will drive around looking for a precious parking space, annoying their neighbours and making people oppose development. We have therefore scrapped those maximum parking standards.

What impact will selling off the treasure of our national forests, which has been built up over generations, have on access to green spaces for children and families?

Of course, the policy to which the hon. Gentleman refers started under the previous Government. He knows that the intention is to increase and safeguard access to natural assets, such as our forests, for all generations.