UK: CLA leader highlights need for action on flooding
FLOOD prevention and the health of Britain’s woodland will be among the Country Land & Business Association’s lobbying priorities for 2013, says its president, Harry Cotterell, as it seeks to build on a number of l successes during 2012,
“The priority for the CLA is to enable members to develop and protect their land, property and business assets, and, in 2012, we saw some notable successes,” said Mr Cotterell.
“We have successfully influenced the Government to ensure it sticks to its commitment for a presumption in favour of sustainable development to improve the planning system.
“A whole host of other changes to the National Planning Policy Framework was achieved by the CLA, including the wording of Paragraph 28 on planning for a prosperous rural economy, and our lobbying for cross-subsidy on rural exception sites was accepted by the Government.
“The CLA also achieved deregulatory heritage legislation – the first in 22 years – although we will continue to fight as the legislation is still not enough to protect our heritage.”
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Mr Cotterell continued: “Our Scrap the Cash campaign persuaded the Government to ban cash payments made by scrap metal dealers so a paper trail can easily trace any piece of metal back to its original owner.
“As a result of our report on a commonsense approach to access in the countryside, Natural England has made proposals to help reduce the red tape that surrounds this issue.
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“The appointment of a CLA housing adviser enables us to prove to the Government the enormous contribution CLA members can and do make to housing supply, through renting out existing housing stock and the willingness to build and run new accommodation.”
Looking ahead, Mr Cotterell said: “We will continue to press the Government to develop more effective plant import control measures and strategies to improve the health of our trees and woodlands.
“We will work hard to ensure the results delivered on older rental properties through Energy Performance Certificates are improved well in advance of enforcement regulations so our members are not forced to make changes to their buildings that make no financial sense, cause physical damage or have damaging long-term carbon impacts.”
On the issue of flooding, the CLA president said: “Some parts of England and Wales experienced exceptional weather conditions in 2012 leading to significant losses for rural businesses from poor harvests and cropping, and the reduction of the Environment Agency’s maintenance budget has compounded the flooding of land and damage to crops.
“We will lobby the Government to make it clear that the impact of flooding on land must be addressed urgently. Land managers must be allowed a fair allocation of water as part of abstraction reform and the long-term food and environmental security needs of the UK must be considered.”