Antrim Councillor Alan Lawther said: “The SDLP has displayed total hypocrisy over rural planning, given their supposedly positive environmental policies.
“They say on one hand that they want to protect our local environment, but at the same time believe that people should be able to build bungalows on every hillside around the country.
“Our countryside is the jewel in the crown of local tourism. Once houses are built, this loss of countryside cannot be reversed. A robust planning policy is needed to prevent over-development.
“Obviously more flexibility was needed than PPS 14 offered to address family circumstances. That flexibility has now been provided in PPS 21, and I find the SDLP’s current stance very difficult to understand. Their environmental credentials have undoubtedly been damaged by the negative position they have taken on rural planning. Anyone who is serious about sustainability and conservation will feel alienated by their stance.”