If you fly over the United Kingdom you get a completely different view of the place compared to when you travel by road. You see that our country is mainly farmland, a legacy of the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act. Created by socialists with an idyllic pastoral view of the countryside this has done massive damage to the quality of life of every Briton. We should repeal this act and introduce hugely more liberal planning and here’s why:
- Our housing stock is incredibly energy inefficient, by replacing it with new greenfield housing we can introduce zero carbon construction standards with the many benefits that this would provide.
- The building sector of our economy is massively under employed. This would provide the stimulus to get it working again and drag great swathes of our economy along with it. This would jump start sustainable growth. An additional benefit is that the building sector relies less on imports than many other sectors.
- Our current housing stock, because of the planning laws, is of abysmal quality. Our urban population density is massive and our dwellings have very small floor areas. When it comes to housing we are, by a big margin, the poor man of Europe.
- Maintaining our countryside as industrial farming is massively inefficient. We all pay for this is subsidies to farmers and higher food prices. Yet we block the developing world from supplying us with food, thus hindering their development. This system is economically and morally wrong. We would be better buying our food from the developing world than sending them financial aid.
- A lot of our current economic problems are caused by house price inflation. One of the main drivers of this is that demand exceeds supply. Opening up the countryside for development would solve this problem and give us long term house price stability. Young people would be able to afford first homes. People in mid career would be able to afford comfortable, sizeable homes for their families.
- The current planning system, where a signature on a piece of paper adds several zeros to the value of a piece of land, is corrupt and benefits a small number of people disproportionately. By opening up planning permission to all everyone will benefit.
- Village and small town life is supposed to be of high quality and is much sought after, yet current planning laws prevent small villages from developing into big villages and big villages from developing into small towns. This stops our country from providing the living environment that so many long for.
- Modern industrial farming is very far from a pastoral idyll. It is a chemical intensive, polluting monoculture growing often alien crops such as rape.
So here we have a simple policy that will stimulate our economy out of recession, increase our quality of life, make the country greener, reduce taxes, give us cheaper food and will stifle inflation. What is not to like about that?
If you travel round Europe, where they have far more relaxed planning, you can see that this does not ruin the countryside. Quite the opposite. As you leave a town you come across neat houses in large cultivated pastures, where people have bought part of a field and built their home in it. And the whole population get all the benefits I have listed above. It is little wonder that so many Brits have upped sticks and moved to France and Spain, they escape the poor quality of life that our silly planning laws force upon us.
We Brits live one on top of another in titchy houses that are massively expensive and which waste energy due to a very silly and misguided law. It needs repealing.