October 23, 2008
The planning bill is now at the ‘report stage’ in the House of Lords. A series of amendments are being tabled and all concerned people are being encouraged to support the Lords and MPs and the amendments.
See summary of amendments most relevant to AEF (Word doc, 2 pages).
There are deep-seated concerns about this planning bill. See Planning disaster (July 07) and follow-up article (Sep 07). AEF submitted a response to the consultation which is linked from the latter article.
Here is summary from a coalition called ‘Planning Disaster’, now renamed as ‘Better Planning Coalition’:
• Fast-track major projects: Like nuclear power stations, airports, major roads and large incinerators
• Decide the need for projects in Westminster: Your voice will be hard to hear in a national debate on policy
• Take decisions away from politicians: An unelected Infrastructure Planning Commission will have the final say
• Stop you from having a say: By removing your right to challenge projects at a public inquiry
These proposals are bad for the environment. There is no requirement for all national policy statements to be properly assessed for their environmental impacts: nor is there a requirement on the Commission to consider climate change in particular.
Communities throughout England and Wales will be faced with new power stations and other major energy projects that they will have little or no say over. Plans for airports, major roads, ports, reservoirs and large waste incinerators will affect England only.
“Sustainable development is needed more than ever before, but is threatened by the Bill. These proposals are bad for people, bad for democracy and bad for the environment.”
The planning system offers key checks and balances which are now under threat.