The Campaign to Protect Rural England has criticised Government plans to build 500,000 new homes on the grounds that "the environment simply cannot take the scale of growth that has been planned".
The mass building programme is planned over the next 30 years, in four growth areas identified in the Government's sustainable communities plan: the M11 corridor between London and Cambridge; Milton Keynes; the Thames Gateway; and Ashford in Kent.
"There will be an enormously expensive trade-off for the environment," said Tom Oliver, head of rural policy at the CPRE.
However, Shelter has said action must be taken to address the current housing shortage in the regions.
"Building doesn't have to mean concreting over the countryside," said director Adam Sampson. "But build we must - imaginatively, sensibly and sustainably."