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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 February 2006, 17:26 GMT
Urban gardens 'must be protected'
MP Greg Clark
Mr Clark says gardens are urban 'havens'
Gardens must receive better protection from developers if they are to remain the "precious green lungs" of towns and cities, an MP has warned.

Tory Greg Clark said the government had to close a loophole which classed private gardens as "brownfield" sites, making them easier to build on.

A "domino effect" of selling to developers was ruining whole areas.

Mr Clark's Protection of Private Gardens Bill is unlikely to become law without government support.

'Very simple'

The Tunbridge Wells MP said the government had announced that a record 72% of home building was on previously developed land known as brownfield sites.

But ministers had conceded they had no information about how much of that was actually on gardens.

Mr Clark said: "My bill is simple in its intent - very simple. It's to remove front and back gardens from the government's definition of brownfield sites of previously developed land."

He added: "If brownfield sites mean anything, it's about improving the condition of our towns and villages.

"It's about contributing to environmental progress, not changing and destroying the characters of these areas forever."

Gardens were "havens for wildlife, for insect life and bird life", cooled the air and helped fight pollution, Mr Clark said.

The local authority had little power to prevent development, while there was a "domino effect", as neighbours sold their properties to developers to prevent themselves being hemmed in by apartment blocks, he added.

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