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Out-of-town shopping centres run a close second to new roads in the environmentalist's catalogue of pet hates. The substitution of a collection of sheds and acres of car park tarmac for a green field rouses widespread passions.So environment secretary John Gummer was assured of generous applause when he announced tighter planning rules on retail parks. Applause from conservatives (and Conservatives) nostalgic for a green and pleasant land, and applause from radical groups opposed to many forms of development.Not much applause, though, from the construction industry, which sees out-of-town retail developments as one of the few buoyant sectors of construction of recent years. The Building Employers Confederation warned this week that a £1 billion-a-year business was under threat.But look at what Mr Gummer actually said. Perhaps the industry should not take too much fright. 'I shall not allow the country to be despoiled by ill-sited and ill-designed retail parks,' he said.The important words are 'ill-sited' and 'ill-designed'. A lot of 'environmental' objections - to shopping schemes, roads, and many other developments - are to do with appropriateness of design, rather than the development itself. Road designers and contractors appear to be taking that lesson on board; all Mr Gummer may be saying is that he expects retail developers to do the same. And who could argue with that? CONSTRUCTION NEWS