Milton Keynes expansion plan 'dropped from Budget following Tory MPs' intervention'

Reports that plans for 'a major expansion' to Milton Keynes were dropped from the Budget at the eleventh hour 'after heated objections from a government whip and a defence minister' feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that "Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster, the Tory MPs for Milton Keynes, opposed proposals for some 100,000 new homes on the outskirts of the town, over fears that an influx of residents could clog up its roads and overburden the local hospital". The paper says that "interventions by both MPs led to the plan being pulled from the Budget a week before it was delivered by Philip Hammond last Monday, after months of discussion with the Labour-led local council". Ministers "had hoped to announce a deal to expand the town as part of the government's plans to build up to one million homes in the ‘corridor’ between Cambridge and Oxford", the paper adds.

The Times (subscription) reports that the Civil Aviation Authority has said that Heathrow Airport has to address "major doubts" over its proposed third runway "decisively and urgently" to get the project on track. The paper says that the regulator "also revealed that the project had been hit by a further delay, with a public consultation on detailed plans for the new runway now scheduled for June rather than in the first three months of next year".

The Guardian reports that the government "is facing a fresh legal challenge to its proposals to fast-track new fracking sites by loosening planning regulations". Today the High Court "will decide whether to allow a legal challenge, brought by the mayor of a town in north Yorkshire against two government departments, on the grounds they should have undertaken an assessment required by EU law", the paper says, before business secretary Greg Clark "used a written ministerial statement to tell local authorities they should abide by a definition of fracking that campaigners say is looser than the current one".

An article in The Financial Times (subscription) calls for more modern cities to have promenades, allowing "citizens to move through the urban landscape for purely pleasurable purposes". Matthew Wilson, a landscape and garden designer and horticultural consultant writes that "urban planners might do well to look to the promenade and how much value it can add to our lives".

The Guardian reports that "early exposure to air pollution from vehicles increases the risk of children becoming obese, new research has found". The paper says that "high levels of nitrogen dioxide, which is emitted by diesel engines, in the first year of life led to significantly faster weight gain later, the scientists found. Other pollutants produced by road traffic have also been linked to obesity in children by recent studies."

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