Changes to the way Special Development Orders are granted could pave the way for a mass sell-off of land for real estate development at the Fairmont Southampton, an environmental group fears.

Yesterday the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) called on government to withdraw amendments to the Planning Act tabled in Parliament last week.

In a statement, BEST said: “Under these Amendments, the Government will have the ability to approve future Special Development Orders (SDOs) and Emergency Development Orders by negative resolution.

“It is understood that this will allow the Minister and Government a possible way to avoid having SDOs tabled and debated in the House before coming into effect.

“It should be noted that this part of the Planning Act was amended in 2011 by the Government to require a positive resolution. An Act brought forward by positive resolution must be tabled, debated and passed before coming into law, whereas a negative resolution does not.

“BEST strongly urges the Government to withdraw this bill.”

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