Green Fury At Refusal For Eco-Village Planning Permission

Wednesday, 09 September 2009
Friends of the Earth has condemned the decision to refuse planning permission for an eco-development at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey.
The proposed mixed-use development would have included 2,600 low-carbon affordable homes, with businesses and services in walking distance, local energy generation and low-carbon public transport. The proposed site is an airfield currently most famous as the setting for BBC2’s Top Gear.

After Waverly Borough Council refused planning permission In September 2008 the developer Dunsfold Park appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.  The Appeal was called in to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, John Denham.  The Planning Inspector said the scheme would be a “truly outstanding example of the type of development needed to meet the challenge of climate change” and that the scheme would not cause material harm to the character or appearance of the countryside.  Even so, the Inspector recommended refusal and the recommendation was accepted by the Secretary of State who refused permission on 24 September 2008.

Friends of the Earth has criticised Waverly Borough Council for failing to recognise the excellent green merits of the proposed scheme. In June, the campaign group launched a nation-wide campaign calling on councils to get serious about CO2 and commit to cutting emissions in their area by at least 40 per cent by 2020.  

Friends of the Earth’s Planning Advisor Hugh Ellis said:

 “Waverly Borough Council has made a big mistake in blocking this zero-carbon development at Dunsfold Park – people in the area will now miss out on low-cost homes, jobs and business opportunities.

All councils across the country need to get serious about CO2 if the UK is to meet its targets to reduce carbon emissions. Dunsfold Park should be given enthusiastic backing – not the red light.”

Tackling climate change should be the top priority of the Planning Inspectorate – so it is outrageous that it upheld the Council’s refusal to grant planning permission.”

Friends of the Earth’s Transport Campaigner David Powell said:

“The transport proposals for Dunsfold were inspired – with proper thought for how to reduce the need for travel, while providing first class transport links to neighbouring towns and villages. 

This is exactly kind of visionary thinking on transport that all councils need to make the necessary dents in their local carbon emissions.

Reducing the climate impact of cars requires a completely joined-up approach to sustainable transport – all local councils should be looking to the Dunsfold proposal for inspiration as they put together their new local transport plans.”


Notes to Editors
1. Friends of the Earth believes the environment is for everyone. We want a healthy planet and a good quality of life for all those who live on it. We inspire people to act together for a thriving environment. For further information visit
2. Friends of the Earth's campaign - Get Serious About CO2 - is calling on
councils to commit to cutting carbon dioxide in the local area by at least 40 per cent by 2020 - and produce an action plan detailing how it's going to happen. The campaign is also calling for more money and less hassle for councils to do things like improve public transport, insulate more homes and install green energy, and for a new duty on councils that fail to act on climate change.