chapter  4
14 Pages

Categorising EU spatial planning measures

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This chapter categorises the range of European measures and initiatives that potentially comprise or impact upon spatial planning, and the planning system of Britain in particular. As we discussed in Chapter 3, a broad perspective of what planning is has been adopted for the purpose of assessing the range of EU measures. This requires an approach that extends beyond the narrow statutory basis of town and country planning in Britain. Europe does have an influence on planning law and on planning policy and development control. The European Commission also promotes policies and initiatives that comprise social, environmental, regional and territorial objectives that impact on the way in which decisions are made and domestic policies formulated in relation to spatial planning. These contextual issues in the British sense are equally valid for planning as a focus on land use planning and development alone. Planning is nothing without appreciating the social, environmental and economic objectives and problems within which the process resides (Tewdwr-Jones 1999b). British planning, along with the systems of most other European member states, has changed markedly over time, and greater attention has now started to focus on the wider objectives planning is designed to address. In many ways, this broader canvas is nothing new; it is merely a return to the wider socio-economic values that were so apparent in the creation of the modern planning system in Britain a hundred years ago (Hall 1992). The desire for social cohesion parallels concern about poor public health in urban areas in Victorian times and the existence of social exclusion. A concern for more balanced development equates with the need to distribute the location of economic growth across regions. A regard for sustainable development relates to the aspiration of ensuring environmental objectives are paramount in urban growth and containment and in the protection of the best landscapes. The labels may have changed, but the broad objectives that planning is there to address have not.