Paterson to call for 'practical environmentalism'

Reports that environment secretary Owen Paterson is to say that Britain can have 'long-term economic growth and improve our environment' feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Telegraph reports that Paterson is to deliver a speech today to the Policy Exchange think-tank in which he will paint himself as a "practical environmentalist" and insist that economic growth goes hand-in-hand with improving the countryside. He will say that "some of Britain’s most famous landscapes have been managed for centuries, and that people are wrong to suggest that rural landscapes must be left untouched", the newspaper says.

The Labour Party "signalled its strong support for Britain's first high speed rail line north of London when Lord Adonis, the father of the scheme, overwhelmingly endorsed the project in the Lords", the Guardian reports. The newspaper says the shadow infrastructure minister "spoke formally on behalf of Labour in a debate on the high speed rail (preparation) bill even though he is not a member of the shadow transport team".

The Guardian also reports that 17 months after setting out from Royal Oak, one of the tunnelling machines for London’s Crossrail's transport project has reached its destination at Farringdon, "completing the first stretch of tunnel of the £14.8 billion cross-capital project". According to the newspaper, the completion of the 4.2-mile tunnel, "excavated by a machine nicknamed Phyllis, means that more than half of the 26-mile tunnel length has now been dug, Crossrail said on Tuesday".

An article in the Independent asks whether the house price gap between the North and the South East of England "is about to turn into a permanent and economically damaging chasm". The article quotes the head of residential agency at property firm Cluttons, James Hyman, who warns that spiralling London house prices could see talented people leave the capital, damaging its economy. "We could see increasing numbers of highly skilled people leaving London because they can no longer afford to live here and this will surely have an impact, particularly in the public sector," he told the newspaper.

Low to middle-income families are unlikely to be able to use the government's flagship Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme "across two-thirds of Britain, since the monthly mortgage repayment costs would be too expensive", the Guardian reports. According to the newspaper, research by the Resolution Foundation think-tank found that even with low interest rates, the leap from renting to home ownership will be "too great a stretch for low and modest-income groups," in an analysis examining the prospects for the scheme designed to help aspirant home owners find the deposit to buy a property.

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