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Well it does sound disgusting to start with, but I like that he obviously knows this and goes out of his was to explain that it's not some socialist scheme.

... jury still out on whether it is or not though.

If we are going to protect the environment it will cost us. I'm willing to pay.

Any chance of some actual conservative policy announcements please? Perhaps something that will get the Tory voters to turn out for us rather than yet more left wing rubbish designed only to appeal to the Guardian and the LibDems.

Even if there were genuine merit to this stupid idea, and there isn't, it is not conservative and comes at exactly the wrong time for an economy is meltdown.

Is there anyone at the top of our party still connected to the real world anymore???

The clue Mr Angry to the purpose of our party is in the title. Conservatives C-O-N-S-E-R-V-E. This idea will require that from developers. Three cheers from me.

Talk about kicking an industry when it's down. Housing starts at an all-time low, businesses going bust, can't afford to build homes...so what a great idea - whack £5,000 extra per unit on housebuilders' costs! Got to love the logic...

Rather they didn't build the houses on Green belt areas at all. But this is some compensation so three cheers from me too.

I think that this is an imaginative approach to the issues that we face and is light years ahead of anything coming from anywhere else. Of course we need to see the full details but it shows how massively broad the scope of Conservatism is and that much as some don't like it it is not only a narrow economic creed.

Excellent news.

I am sorry to whinge again (maybe I am not a tory after all).

But this is nonsense - you can't create bio-diversity. It just 'is' and if you want to keep it then you have to preserve it as-is.

The difference between a road-side verge that is left over from a centuries old pasture, and a verge laid as turf is 100%.

Its not about green areas with trees, it is about interlinked ecosystems. If you don't care about it thats fine, but this nonsense that just pretends to care really is too much.

This is a perfect Conservative solution to a pretty big problem (if you look at this Government's record on protecting species it's pretty poor). This is creating a sensible market in something in order to truly value it. Once you've got a market - like in so many other areas where tories have encouraged market approaches - you then encourage innovation and investment.

There are plenty of home builders at the moment who, even in the current climate, want to make sure that they are acting in an ethical manner, there's just not really any proper scheme to use, so as long as this is thought through carefully which I think David Cameron has made it pretty clear that it will be, and they are alive to the potential problems, which he seems to be, then it could be a really important scheme.

I think it's a pretty exciting way to apply conservative values to an important area that a lot of people still care about.

So, um, what is the definition of damaging the environment? And how will compensated environmental development somewhere else solve the problem?

pp - I don't think your'e whingeing at all - what you say I find very interesting.Would not David Camerons' proposals though encourage the development of eco systems ove time . He's not talking simply about laying grass but woodland etc etc. Just a question thats all !

It is Labour's record of top-down targets and building on the green belt that needs to be improved on. When the economy and house prices recover, we do need to make sure that we've got some way of protecting the environment.

Development is going to happen anyway, and we need new homes of all types. The question is how do we ensure new development happens in way that doesn't ruin what's left of the countryside.

This way, we would have a market approach that enables real conservation efforts. Developers won't suffer because there is a difference between offsets against land values, and a levy on developer profits.

Conservation credits would just be another factor that responsible parties would need to consider when proposing new development. I even reckon that some firms would love to have this as part of their plan - it would help them win over local opposition and "green" their pitch.

If landowners make slightly less of a profit when they flog a few hundred acres to a homebuilder, then this is just the price they need to pay to properly account biodiversity loss.

Conservatives should be on the side of local people who want to see their environment protected and where possible enhanced - not greedy landowners who can make a fortune under the current planning system without any thought to the wildlife and habitats they're destroying.

The more I've read about this, the more I think its genuinely exciting - proof that our green policies go beyond tax and subsidies.

I don't understand the opposition to this.

Obviously common sense tells you that you have to ensure that the costs of buying the credits aren't so prohibitive as to stifle sensible and sustainable building developments.

But the idea that's it not Conservative (big or small c) is just wrong - what's not to like? It's incentive-based (as you could have a graduated system - the more damage to biodiversity, the more you have to offset), it conserves the environment, it creates a market where previously there was none (in the US, trade in wetland credits is apprently in the hundreds of millions of pounds), and it's locally focused - for instance you could have a community 'bank' that manages the credits and decides where they are directed to.

What's the alternative? More stifling regulation? A tax on builders which goes into a central pot for a new unaccountable quango in Whitehall to divvy up?

Glad to see Herbert (and Cameron) thinking outside of the box. More please

"If we are going to protect the environment it will cost us. I'm willing to pay."

Good for you, you will support making this scheme voluntary then?

This is sounds simply like an extension of the current Section 106 agreements that accompany planning permissions into paying for more environmental protection.

Three cheers from me too. Giving a stuff about the world we live in might not be popular with the right wing "what did the banks do wrong?" section of the party: those non-scientist politicians who've spotted an easy target with which to tickle their natural constituency. I remain boringly tory: make the pollluter pay.

Just like Labour policies

"The Tory scheme was first reported by The Guardian in February. "

So DC has slipped seamlessly into the old Blair trick of re-announcing policies even before he's got elected into power? Tony must be proud of his heir.

@Statistics Man

Not quite sir! The Guardian got a sniff of an unannounced and still draft Tory policy.

This is not a conservative or Conservative policy and it does not conserve anything at all, especially not biodiversity or existing ecology, since it still allows building or whatever to occur, it just taxes it more highly. There is nothing Tory about that at all it is simply another sop to the ecomentalists and another attack upon us being a party of low taxation.

This would be entirely consistent with the current Section 106/planning gain requirement to adress any negative impact of development. Traditionally, that has been to enhance drainage or improve roads, why shouldn't it extend to redressing damage done to environmental elements as well?

What is particularly interesting is the idea of pooling contributions from developers to allow projects of scale and significance to be carried out rather than piecemeal measures.

That said, given our immigration policies would reduce household formation by 100-150,000 a year and the collapse of the economy due to Brown's bust, will anybody be building any housing anywhere any time soon?

It is, as others say, just an extension of section 106. The pooling idea is welcome though and takes it a bit further. My worry is its a bit limited as I'm sorry but many developments are in towns with problems and people don't really want some green park somewhere, in fact irnoically they probably want more development in that town to help the community and jobs that they can't otherwise get. I'm sort of in two minds about this announcement, I can't say I'm against it but I can't get that excited either and finally I worry its a bit more bureaucracy.

This craven capitualtion to Environ-mentalism with its false claims of global warming and pseudo scientific underpinnings is one more example of the Tories lurch to the Left and its growing Socialistic metamorphosis.

Good policy if it can be made to work and be resonable in its scope.

We are already overburdened with too many laws (most emanating from the ghasly EU) and it is idiotic to start talking about new ones.

If the Conservatives hope to form the next government they should be thinking about scrapping the mass of unnecessary laws, not dreaming up more.

Although there's probably a lot to be fleshed out still, the overall premise of this is a great one. Admirable in fact. Whilst it could impact or damage small business because of the green issue, it brings it to the forefront of decent, credible policy which is vital.

Why shouldn't biodiversity schemes, etc., be encouraged? And why shouldn't abuses of some potentially very damaging development be punished?

It is about being responsible surely, responsible to the environment which is not always separate from civic, and economic responsibility which many Tories on here like to suggest.

Well done for these primary thoughts. I hope they go further.

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