Skip to main content

Planning Reform

Volume 534: debated on Monday 31 October 2011

7. What recent assessment he has made of the level of protection afforded to high-value agricultural land in his proposed planning reforms. (77100)

The draft national planning policy framework contains strong protections to safeguard high-value agricultural land and recognises the importance of food production. We are now carefully considering the responses to the consultation.

Food and farming are vital to tourism and exports in Norfolk, and its produce is very high quality, as the Secretary of State found out when he visited the Norfolk food festival in Parliament earlier this month. Does the Minister agree that the planning framework should take into account the long-term value of agriculture, as once farmland is lost it is very hard to get back?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right—and when I was talking to the Secretary of State earlier, he extolled the virtues of the pies available at the Norfolk food festival. We must take into account the long-term value of food security as well as the short and medium-term economic benefits of food production.