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Change everything - call

PUBLISHED: 20:57 15 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:01 22 October 2010

Changing planning policies as well as our way of life is going to be essential to halt climate change, one of the country's top environmentalists says.

Changing planning policies as well as our way of life is going to be essential to halt climate change, one of the country's top environmentalists said yesterday.

And continuing sales of rented council houses were eroding the campaign for more affordable housing in Norfolk, a planning conference heard.

Professor Tim O'Riordan, of the UEA, said that local people needed to be involved in creating sustainable communities.

He explained: "These are communities which begin to recognise that they can live within the bounds of the planet, that they are caring for each other and by so doing they are helping each other to have a better life.

"They can enrich their local communities by economic activity - building houses, creating new jobs in as much as possible localised activity, rather than having it all dependent on long-distance transport."

Prof O'Riordan told the Norfolk Planning Conference 2006 at Swaffham: "Above all, we must work as a group and think through what we want to create for our communities, our landscapes, counties and regions.

"It is through people that we are going to achieve this, not through mechanisms called planning which are not properly working with the day-to-day lives and the thinking of the next generation of people."

He said there was a huge opportunity in the newly-established planning framework for town and parish councils to have a major influence in making the system work for them.

"This is what we are trying to say today and there is a golden opportunity to make this happen right across Norfolk and the rest of the region."

Subtitled Planning and Housing in Norfolk - Getting it Right, the event in Swaffham's Assembly Rooms, jointly organised by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Norfolk County Association of Parish and Town Councils, also covered the need for affordable housing.

Richard Ward, director of CPRE Suffolk, said: "Most people don't understand that under right-to-buy legislation we are still selling more rented council houses - affordable housing - than we actually build."


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