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Planning policies for the countryside attempt to balance the goals of preserving the natural features of the landscape, providing for public access and enjoyment and supporting the economic activities that occur in rural areas. The former two goals, in the view of the Sandford Committee, are not in fundamental conflict, as they both seek the conservation of the countryside although short-term and specific tradeoffs may be necessary. More recent government planning policy guidance has recognised that situations of conflict may be more common than previously assumed. Certainly in the case of certain economic activities, principally agriculture and minerals extraction, the threat to nature and landscape conservation and public access can be severe. This chapter considers countryside planning under four headings: general policies and specific designations for countryside protection together with the provision for public access; measures aimed at nature conservation; planning for rural economies, particularly agricultural activities, forestry and rural housing; and minerals planning.
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