One OF Europe’s leading planners said yesterday that she was “astonished” by the sprawl of housing in rural Ireland. She said it represented a “spoiling of the territory” that should be protected in the public interest. Virna Bussadori, president of the European Council of Spatial Planners, told The Irish Times that “green land shouldn’t be used for building houses everywhere” and the Government should be doing more to protect these areas. Ms Bussadori, who is Italian, said she feared that Ireland was following the example of the Veneto region of her own country, which had been despoiled by the random construction of factories all over its previously unspoiled countryside. She said she knew that her concerns about what was happening in Ireland was shared by most Irish planners. “What people should understand is that land is not an infinite resource,” she added.