Survey finds caravans 'taking over' British coast

Reports that a National Trust survey has found that thousands of hectares of UK coastline have been developed feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Times (subscription required) reports on a National Trust survey that found "more than 100,000 caravans have been installed along the coastline in 50 years". The newspaper says "the charity has repeated a major mapping project it ran in 1965 at the start of a campaign to protect the most beautiful stretches of coast from development". The newspaper adds that "the expansion of container ports such as Southampton and Felixstowe and other industrial uses has blighted a further 5,700 hectares", though "4,000 hectares of Ministry of Defence Land have been declassified, with much now accessible to the public". According to the Guardian, "despite the scale of urban development, more than three-quarters of the same coast remains open countryside" and "conservationists have saved almost all seaside landscapes identified as ‘pristine’ 50 years ago".

The Times (subscription required) reports that "the government has delayed a vote on extending Sunday trading hours amid fears that the proposals could be rejected". According to the newspaper, "more than 20 Conservative MPs were prepared to rally against the measure" proposed in July by chancellor George Osborne, even though it "was not in the Tory election manifesto".

The Guardian reports that "the Olympic Park’s Orbit tower is losing money and costing Londoners £10,000 a week, according to a senior member of the London Assembly". The newspaper says "Len Duvall claimed that the tower had lost £520,000 based on its 2014/15 report, despite having forecast a profit of almost £1.2 million in its business plan". The newspaper adds that "annual forecasts for the sculpture, designed by Sir Anish Kapoor, have been cut from 350,000 to 150,000 visitors".

The Independent reports that ministers "are looking at the feasibility of moving the security services MI5 and MI6 out of their Thames-side headquarters and into other government buildings in Whitehall". The newspaper adds that "the cost of keeping civil servants in Whitehall is typically £35,000 per person per year, and the Cabinet Office has a plan to move more civil service functions to outer London where rents are cheaper, leaving acres of vacated Whitehall office space".

Commenting in the Guardian, George Monbiot claims that the "major cause" of the UK’s housing crisis "is a spectacular failure to tax those who own property". He proposes "a variable council tax" that "would help families to obtain family-sized homes, and encourage the division of very large houses". He concludes that "even if the government were to achieve its aim of building 200,000 homes a year, which some housebuilding experts consider impossible, it would add under one per cent a year to the total stock", so "if we really want to solve it the greatest contribution must come from the redistribution of existing stock".

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