Friends of the Earth set to lobby over supermarkets

Friends of the Earth is planning a major lobbying push to persuade ministers to ign­ore last week’s preliminary report on supermarkets by the Competition Commission.

Local shops: claim report lacks teeth

The charity says the commission, which is charged with investigating the £123bn-a-year grocery industry, has failed to respond to ‘supermarket bullies’.

One of the report’s recommendations was to provide greater opportunities for dev­elopments on the edge of town centres, rather than out-of-town developments. But Friends of the Earth arg­ues that this will hurt local shops by drawing shoppers away from town centres. It claims the developments will also generate more traffic.

The charity is working closely with the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Association of Convenience Stores to persuade the Government to halt the growth of supermarkets.

The three organisations are keen to stop the Government from including the recommendations in the planning white paper, which goes out for consultation at the end of November.

The charity will now launch a national campaign to ask members of the public to write to their MPs.

Friends of the Earth spokeswoman Sandra Bell said: ‘Our campaign has a wider remit than just competition – the social and environmental impact of the planning law is just as important. We believe everyone should have a local shop within easy walking distance.’

Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth’s media and comms manager Nicola Jackson has left to become director of comms at Green Voice. Alick Whitfield, recently acting head of PR at Bupa, has been brought in temporarily.

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