Did Crichel Down Rules led to Rutland Scrapping its Local Plan and Turning Away HIF Funding?


Officers advise Midlands council to withdraw local plan after it refused £29.4m infrastructure funding

IN march this year the Council refused to accept the HIF funding necessary to make the St Georges Barracks scheme viable and the local plan sound. After a meeting closed to press and the public. All that was said aftwrwards that it was too risky for RCC to be the accountable body

Why should it do such a seemingly dumb thing? An FOI request from St Georges the developer shows why.


Can you advise the legal advice on the applicability of the Crichel Down rules for disposal of Government Land obtained under Compulsory Purchase provided to the CEO of RCC regarding the proposed development of St Georges Barracks


Rutland County Council has not received any legal advice on the applicability of the Crichel Down rules for disposal of Government Land obtained under Compulsory Purchase regarding the proposed development of St Georges Barracks.
Please be advised that for information regarding Crichel Down rules, please contact the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

However the Crichel Down rules may apply. Whatever the reason the minnows of Rutland seemed unable to bear any risk on 29.4 million. Which shows the idea of tiny districts locally leading and being accountable for massive developments in a non starter. Developments have to be backed by Homes England or the government including the government setting up ‘accountable bodies’ where necessary.

Also as the DCHLG select committee has suggested the Crichel Down rules are archaic and are holding back massive sites on former military brownfield sites. Even so mystery remains, does not the risk on Crichel Down rest with the owner the DIO?

Gatwick Announces Plans for Second Runway


Gatwick bosses today unveiled £500 million plans for a second runway that would boost the airport’s capacity to 75 million passengers.

Chief executive Stewart Wingate said a 12-week public consultation on the proposal would begin on September 9.

The scheme would involve upgrading Gatwick’s Northern Runway and repositioning it by 12 metres in time for an opening in summer 2029.

It is only currently used as a taxiway and as a standby for the main runway during maintenance and emergencies.

The would be used for takeoff only by smaller European shorthaul aircraft with the main runway still being used for all landings.

The bill for the airstrip itself is estimated to be around £500 million with extra terminal capacity and other work pushing the total cost up to the high hundreds of millions.

Mr Wingate said that despite the current depressed level of international travel the expected passenger numbers to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2025 or 2026 with London’s capacity being exceeded by demand once again soon after that.

With Heathrow’s planned expansion increasing its capacity to 120 million passengers, the two schemes would increase London’s overall capacity to well over 250 million by the 2030s including Stansted, Luton and Southend.

Mr Wingate said the project would create 18,400 extra jobs for the area by 2038.

The plans would be considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project requiring the airport to apply for a Development Consent Order. It hopes to have planning consent by 2024.

Gatwick has operated as a single runway airport since it opened in 1958 and was banned from building a second runway by a council planning constraint that expired in 2019.

Mr Wingate said: “While we are currently experiencing low passenger and air traffic volumes due to the global pandemic, we are confident that Gatwick will not only fully recover to previous passenger levels, but has the potential to continue to grow back into one of Europe’s premier airports.

“Our plans to bring our existing Northern Runway into routine use will not only help to secure that growth but will also ensure many thousands of additional jobs and a vital boost to the economy for our local region.

But opposition group, Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions, condemned the plans, which they said were motivated by “greed”.

A spokesperson said: “This move can be for one reason only; shareholders seek to sell Gatwick with 2 runways.

“Whilst the children are off school and elected members holiday, Gatwick Airport choose a time when the skies are quiet to announce a public consultation that flies in the face of the climate emergency, we are all facing”

“It is despicable for a company to ignore the emissions that planes in and out of Gatwick produce that is causing grave danger for future generations that will have to pay the price for today’s greed of this leisure airport.”

Land Use as a System and Net Zero Planning

Land use planning needs to undergo a systemic revolution in its tools and methods to achieve net zero.

This needs to include but go well beyond plot by plot design.

Take for example a tree. As it grows it absorbs CO2. When it dies it rots and releases it, the carbon cyle.

If that tree is used as a building material it becomes ‘stock’ of carbon and release is delayed, so long as it is used, reused or recycled. If the wood or disused building materials is burned it releases it – it becomes a flow and increases atmospheric CO2. If you replant in forests trees more quickly they become a new carbon sink, at least temporarily. Though there is no enough land on the planet for this to be an effective geo-engineering strategy.

Take energy recovery. A few years ago this was seen as unproblematic renewal energy. Now it is a net carbon release problem. The two energy recovery plants approved in the last years in the UK each have conditions requiring best in class carbon capture technology to be used over their lifetimes, even if that technology hasn’t been invented yet. Yes I’m skeptical of that, I think we have to shift to anaerobic methods of energy recovery (even if the technology is still flaky) which produces biochar as ‘waste product’ which can be fed back to soils and is carbon negative. Yet this is an example of planning hesitantly and pragmatically creating solutions for net zero and understanding that solutions will evolve rapidly.

Recently I got into a twitter discussion about the possibility of zero carbon construction where I suggested using softwood. I was criticised because the person said cutting down trees released carbon and you could never replant trees fast enough. I suspect they had read an article on the carbon effects of deforestation effects for charcoal and confused it with commercial forestry. What this does illustrate though is the need to understand the lifecycle carbon costs of building materials and the opportunity costs of building (i.e. what alternatives the site could be put to). These issues are complex and require a systems level understanding of land use and land use economics, rate of change of inputs and rate of change of outputs – wasn’t it always thus.

A systems level understanding is essential because across a spatial plane it is quite possible to have intensification of agriculture on one part, urbanisation with improved biodiversity on another, more forestry on another part, and rewilding on what remains – and not starve and not die.

There is a cohort of those who, failing to take a systems view, looking at each site individually, believe there is no solution and so we must stop building all together. What this paleolithic brand of Nimbyism take out of the equation is people. If humanity died off the planet would be better off so no need to build houses or improve human welfare as development and ‘growth’ is bad. This kind of misanthropic Nimbysim cannot be bought off with better design and more participative planning, though other brands can be. This brand – the Advocado Nimbys (Pretending to be green but espousing brown policies identical to fascism once you scratch the surface) must be defeated not placated, because if they are not defeated people die because of a defeatist attitude to global warming and extinction to which the poorest and unhoused suffer first. Worst of all they have no plan to go carbon negative, and throw global warming into reverse, because they see it as a technological fix and some kind of evil conspiratorial plot by profit seekers.

Planning thinking has nowhere near enough understanding of the global systems of land use to be able to see, definitively, what zero carbon planning is. However we have to learn, and the best way to learn is to do. Its like broccoli – its time to stop pushing it around on the plate and start eating some.