Wednesday 2 February 2005 5.10pm
>The all-party Commons Environmental Audit Committee reported this week: “The environmental impacts of the proposed increase in house building deserve much greater consideration than they have yet received from Government . . . There is a serious risk that, as matters stand, the principal beneficiaries of housing growth will be property development companies, while the principal loser will be the environment.”
>Mr Prescott's plans, in line with an earlier report by the economist Kate Barker upon which they lean, relegate environmental considerations to the whim of the market. The Barker review, said the Environmental Audit Committee, represents a direct attack on the principles of a democratic planning system. The Environment Minister admitted to the MPs that Ms Barker “could perhaps have given a bit more attention to the environmental and sustainable aspects”.