HC Deb 23 March 1984 vol 56 cc601-2W
Mr. Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he can now issue his letter of guidance on the implications of the M25 for future development and land use policies in the south-east; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

Yes. I have today sent Lord Sandford, chairman of the standing conference on London and south-east regional planning, a final version of the letter I sent in draft form on 18 September last. I have placed a copy in the Library. The proposed guidance was generally welcomed by the standing conference and I am grateful for its comments, which were taken into account in preparing the final version.

The guidance I have produced makes it clear that the M25 will not affect the general presumption against development in the green belt and there should continue to be the strongest restraint on development there. However, pressures for development will be generated by the motorway and I want local authorities to respond positively to them. In particular, the opportunities created should be used to redress the balance of attraction between the east and west of the region. This will require active cooperation of all the agencies concerned in the eastern sector of the region to attract development to it.

In dealing with the development pressures generated by the M25, the emphasis should be on better use of existing urban land, redevelopment and the return to use of neglected sites, rather than the allocation of new land for development, although this will also be needed in suitable locations. Local authorities should give priority to providing for industry and commerce, including tourism, particularly in growth sectors serving regional, national or international markets.

The completion of the M25 can help to reinforce established land use planning policies for London and the south-east, and benefit the economy of London and the region as a whole. It is essential that this opportunity is fully realised.