Developers are to be discouraged from making people ever more reliant on their cars. New homes, shops and workplaces must be planned and sited in ways which encourage people to reach them by public transport, bicycle or on foot.
This is the thrust of the guidance which local councils must take into account in deciding whether to grant or refuse planning permission to new developments.
If councils and the Government - which has the final say in planning decisions - follow the guidance rigidly it will mean the halting of future out-of-town shopping developments, which mushroomed throughout the 1980s.
The imperative behind the new guidance is to protect people, the countryside and the climate from the growing burden of air pollution caused by traffic.
The Government also released an independent study yesterday which found that pollution and fuel consumption by vehicles could be cut by up to 15 per cent over the next two decades if planning policies were pursued which reduced the need for people to travel.
Sir George Young, Minister for Housing and Planning, said that no new towns or villages should be planned unless they were well served by public transport. New offices, shops and leisure facilities should be sited where public transport routes converged and connected.
'We should always do all we can to improve local facilities and the ease of getting to them on foot or by bicycle,' said Sir George, a keen cyclist.Reuse content