Planning reform and protection of the green belt

East Surrey is 94% green belt. It contains Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, such as the wonderful North Down Hills and the extensive woodland that runs throughout Tandridge. I believe we should fight to keep our countryside that way. Many constituents have contacted me to voice their concerns about the preservation of the green belt and the East Surrey countryside. They believe, as I do, that there must be a better way of achieving economic growth without putting the green belt at risk. Whilst I welcome the Government’s move to simplify the planning legislation and for there to be a far greater impetus and involvement from the local community in planning decisions, we must ensure that our natural heritage will be safe for future generations to enjoy. This is why I have contacted the Planning Minister, The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, and persuaded him to meet with residents’ groups and representatives from Tandridge District Council, to discuss a range of issues arising from the Government’s planning policy proposals. The Government is currently holding a consultation on the proposed reforms and the deadline for written submissions to the consultation is Monday 17 October. I would encourage as many people as possible to contribute so that the Planning Minister can understand what people really want from a National Planning Policy Framework. Details on how to respond to the consultation can be found here: http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/draftframeworkconsultation