§ Mr. Walden
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what appraisal has been undertaken of the environmental impact of his proposals to base regional planning guidance in the south-east on a requirement for 855,000 houses to be built between 1991 and 2006; if he will publish it; and what alternative levels of development have been considered.
§ Mr. Baldry
The proposals referred to are those contained in my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State's letter of 9 July 1992 to the chairman of the London and South East Regional Planning Conference—SERPLAN—inviting SERPLAN to put forward proposals for the distribution of new housing provision in the south-east. The letter which was sent to my hon. Friend at the time asked SERPLAN to have regard to various criteria including environmental constraints in different parts of the region, the protection of green belts, the avoidance of development pressure on areas of outstanding natural beauty and the need to optimise the use of urban land. The suggested provision of 855,000 net additional dwellings over the period 1991 to 2006 was arrived at after considering a wide range of views put to my Department, including suggestions for higher and lower provision.
SERPLAN's views on the housing distribution, together with those of others will be taken into account in deciding the content of new draft regional planning guidance for the south-east which will be published shortly for consultation.