As Prime Minister Boris Johnson reshuffles his cabinet to bring in a new minister for housing, communities and local government, we call on Michael Gove to look at the triple threat: housing, nature and climate.
As the government sees changes in the ministers leading key teams including in the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, we at CPRE, the countryside charity, are urging for focus on key rural issues.
These changes come at a crucial time, with some proposed reforms to the planning system close to being scrapped and the COP26 international climate conference looming in November 2021.
And so we welcome Michael Gove to his new role as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and urge him: ‘champion communities, nature and climate.’
‘Challenges like never before’
Mr Gove arrives at a crucial time. Unpopular proposed changes to the planning system that would empower big developers and disenfranchise local people are still on the table and the country continues to see a crisis in truly affordable housing, especially in rural areas.
Our chief executive, Crispin Truman, has this to say to the new housing minister: ‘With his past experience as environment secretary, we hope and expect him to champion local communities, nature and climate as his department drafts the new planning bill. We hope and expect him to champion local communities, nature and climate as his department drafts the new planning bill. That means securing the voice of local people in planning decisions, holding developers to affordable housing targets, an end to land banking and protecting our local green spaces and countryside by reusing previously developed land first.’
And we at CPRE are urging the whole cabinet to set their mind to the challenges of our age: the climate emergency, lack of housing and losses to nature and biodiversity. As Crispin puts it: ‘Our countryside faces challenges like never before. We simply don’t have time for disjointed policy where one department’s good work is undermined by damaging decisions in another. That’s why we need bold and decisive leadership from the government’s top team to truly face up to the triple threat of the housing, nature and climate crises, especially ahead of the COP26 climate summit.’