National Planning Council rejects move to increase developed areas
The National Planning and Building Council rejected a plan, proposed by the Interior Ministry, to expand areas approved for new housing construction around Israel's cities. The council decision protects Israel's open spaces around urban centers while also adding to designated protected areas within the cities.
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, together with other green organizations and Israel's mayors, celebrated the decision which will protect up to 8% of Israel's open spaces from potential construction.
The council decision will preserve critical habitats and vast biodiversity. It will also give all of Israel's citizens more green areas for recreation, in and around the cities. The move will also keep the focus of the National Master Plan on developing existing urban centers, especially in Israel's periphery, which will improve quality of life for people across Israel.