ABSTRACT

The provisions made for nature conservation in 1949 had one major and vital flaw. There were no planning powers against the development of agriculture and forestry. Planning was chan­ nelled into a focus on the specifically urban threats to the countryside of urban sprawl, ribbon development and uncon­ trolled industrial development. The protection of the countryside from the spreading town had been an important element in town planning from the 1930s onwards. Patrick Abercrombie was a member of the Barlow Committee on the Location of Industry and Industrial Population. In a dissenting minority report he said ‘in Victorian times, the introduction of factors inimical to well­ being was largely confined to the towns. We however, with our improved means of communication, have despoiled the country­ side and largely diminishd the areas in which health-giving elements of the countryside continue to flourish, and this is just at the moment when they have become most consciously valued’. He argued that ‘a substantial stretch of the countryside may have its rural characteristics largely destroyed without the emergence of anything which could be described as a town, with town advantages’.