Previous SectionIndexHome Page


Mrs. Browning: Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Raynsford: No. The hon. Lady spoke in the debate and I dealt with her points earlier.

Getting development in the right location lies at the heart of planning policy for transport. In the next few months, we shall consult on a revised draft of PPG13. That will complement the objectives, set out in our White Paper on the future of transport, of reducing congestion and pollution and promoting an approach that locates development where it is accessible by a choice of means, including public transport, so reducing reliance on the private car.

There is a range of options for meeting development needs that cannot be met within existing urban areas. One of the most sustainable patterns of such new development may be in urban extensions, especially where theywould take advantage of the existing under-utilised infrastructure, especially transport and other vital services. That inevitably creates a tension. That tension was considered, but not resolved, by the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee. In its report,

29 Apr 1999 : Column 531

the Committee endorsed the preference for urban extensions, but, in a separate recommendation, sought to maintain inner green belt boundaries unchanged.

There is a real tension in that respect, as the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley) emphasised. We have tried to address that tension in PPG3 by making it clear that, in certain cases where it is desirable in terms of urban extension and sustainability, there may be a case for reconsidering green-belt boundaries. However, that must be the exception to the rule. It must not be undertaken for any other reason and the presumption must normally be against development in the green belt. The Government are trying to be responsible in facing up to the difficult issues thrown up by the development challenge, especially in areas such as Cambridge and Cambridgeshire where, for good economic reasons, there is great pressure to meet the needs of the burgeoning economy and to provide more accommodation for the people who work in the area.

Mr. Lansley: I do not invite the Minister to comment on the particular circumstances of Cambridge, but ask him to note that we are not talking exclusively about the sustainability of the area or the availability of a public transport corridor. The simple fact is that the Cambridge green belt is one of those green belts that are designed to protect the unique setting of an historic city. It would be wrong to disregard that important aspect of green belts.

Mr. Raynsford: I accept entirely the hon. Gentleman's point. I should point out that the alternative promoted by some, which is to leap-frog the green belt and develop new settlements beyond it, might have other disadvantages, such as generation of increased traffic. That is why I stress that the issue is a difficult one that does not lend itself to glib answers. It must be considered seriously and rigorously and we must be conscious of the whole range of issues, including the protection of the countryside and sustainability, when seeking solutions. The hon. Gentleman will understand why I cannot say more about the specific case that he raises.

Mr. Waterson: I agree that the issue is important, but does the Minister accept that, by making an exception of one difficult case, he sets a planning precedent that might be used in respect of other encroachments in the green belt?

Mr. Raynsford: I am highly conscious of the fact that any message to the effect that the Government are relaxing green belt policy would be disastrous, and we are sending no such message. We have no intention of encouraging inappropriate development in the green belt, and we certainly do not wish to emulate the previous Government's record. In their last year in office, the Conservative Government released for development more than 700 hectares of green belt; and released on appeal--on the Secretary of State's own decision--500 further hectares of green belt.

We have a responsibility both to those who are inadequately housed and to the next generation, many of whom have already been born, to provide the framework to enable an adequate supply of good-quality housing; but housing is not an isolated human need. The people who

29 Apr 1999 : Column 532

live in those houses need access to a range of employment opportunities, good-quality services and other facilities. We want new development to be well designed and to accord in its own right with sustainable development principles, such as accessibility by a choice of means of transport which allow less reliance on the motor car.

The hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Mr. Brake) made an entirely unfounded allegation that the Government were not serious about urban design. Nothing could be further from the truth: we have laid enormous emphasis on urban design, not only through the guidance that we have issued or the speeches that we have made, but through practical action. Measures such as the designation of new millennium villages, as my hon. Friend the Member for Elmet (Mr. Burgon) described, are part of our positive efforts to encourage and promote the highest quality design in new developments, so as to demonstrate what can be done. We also have a responsibility to preserve the countryside, and we are determined to maintain our efforts in that respect in the years ahead.

The hon. Member for West Chelmsford (Mr. Burns) seemed wholly confused about the figures, as did several other hon. Members. The Opposition motion reveals that confusion by referring to the Government's


The most recent figures available on development on green-field sites compared with brown-field sites relate to 1996. Anyone with the slightest political knowledge will know that that was not a year in which the Labour party was in office; therefore, the record is that of the previous Government. I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman made such an elementary mistake.

The hon. Member for Tiverton and Honiton (Mrs. Browning) referred to the Government bullying Devon. As I pointed out, it is some bullying when the Government allow the county council 7,200 fewer homes than the previous Government, of whom she was a member, wanted to impose on it.

Mrs. Browning: Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Raynsford: No, I will not give way to the hon. Lady.

The hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington asked why, if the projected figure was now 3.8 million rather than 4.4 million, the 60 per cent. target could not be increased to 70 per cent. That implies a rather mechanistic view, reminiscent of predict and provide. We do not go straight from projections to household figures--that would be predict and provide. Instead, we intend to interpret the figures carefully and allow the regional authorities to do so as well.

I repeat: we want to do the best that can be achieved, and the targets that we have set are demanding. The 60 per cent. target will be difficult to deliver: the previous Government did not get anywhere close to it--their record was abominable--but we intend to get as close as possible. We shall be prudent and set targets that we believe can be reached. We are determined to deliver on those targets, and we shall try to exceed them if possible.

My hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Dr. Whitehead) revealed why he is such a valued member of the Environment, Transport and Regional

29 Apr 1999 : Column 533

Affairs Committee when he identified exactly the kinds of principles that are important in achieving sustainable development objectives. The hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson), who has done much to protect the green belt--and many hon. Members on both sides of the House respect him for that--seemed, surprisingly, not to be keen on transport corridors. I understand his concerns, but I put it to him that there is simply no alternative if we are to ensure sustainable development without allowing sprawl into the countryside, which would be a serious mistake.

This debate has not done the official Opposition any credit. They are currently in apologise-and-move-on mode, but today they did not even reach the point of apologising. I put it to the Conservatives that, until they apologise for their appalling record in government, they will have no chance of being anything other than the Trotskyist sect of which my hon. Friend the Member for Test said they were reminiscent. What a contribution!

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:--

The House divided: Ayes 113, Noes 288.

Division No. 158
[4 pm


AYES


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Baldry, Tony
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Mrs Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)
Burns, Simon
Butterfill, John
Cash, William
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clark, Rt Hon Alan (Kensington)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rayleigh)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
(Rushcliffe)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Cran, James
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Donaldson, Jeffrey
Dorrell, Rt Hon Stephen
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, Iain
Emery, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Faber, David
Fallon, Michael
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Fox, Dr Liam
Fraser, Christopher
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gill, Christopher
Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Gray, James
Green, Damian
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie
Hammond, Philip
Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Horam, John
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Key, Robert
King, Rt Hon Tom (Bridgwater)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Lloyd, Rt Hon Sir Peter (Fareham)
Loughton, Tim
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Madel, Sir David
Major, Rt Hon John
Malins, Humfrey
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Moss, Malcolm
Nicholls, Patrick
Norman, Archie
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Prior, David
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Robathan, Andrew
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne)
Rowe, Andrew (Faversham)
Ruffley, David
St Aubyn, Nick
Shepherd, Richard
Simpson, Keith (Mid-Norfolk)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Soames, Nicholas
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spring, Richard
Steen, Anthony
Swayne, Desmond
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Trend, Michael
Walter, Robert
Wardle, Charles
Waterson, Nigel
Whitney, Sir Raymond
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wilkinson, John
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Woodward, Shaun
Yeo, Tim

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. Oliver Heald and
Mr. Tim Collins.


NOES


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE)
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Ashton, Joe
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Barnes, Harry
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Bell, Stuart (Middlesbrough)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony
Benton, Joe
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Borrow, David
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brake, Tom
Breed, Colin
Burgon, Colin
Butler, Mrs Christine
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Cable, Dr Vincent
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Cann, Jamie
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Yvette
Corbett, Robin
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Ms Jean
Cotter, Brian
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Darvill, Keith
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, John
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drown, Ms Julia
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Efford, Clive
Ennis, Jeff
Fearn, Ronnie
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Galloway, George
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Golding, Mrs Llin
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grocott, Bruce
Grogan, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Healey, John
Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hoey, Kate
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Ingram, Rt Hon Adam
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Mrs Fiona (Newark)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Rt Hon Ms Tessa
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Keetch, Paul
Kelly, Ms Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Kingham, Ms Tess
Kirkwood, Archy
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Lawrence, Ms Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Linton, Martin
Livingstone, Ken
Lock, David
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, Thomas
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
(Makerfield)
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Meale, Alan
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Ms Julie (Cardiff N)
Morris, Ms Estelle (B'ham Yardley)
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Eddie
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Mrs Diana
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Pendry, Tom
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Radice, Giles
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Rendel, David
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooker, Jeff
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Rowlands, Ted
Roy, Frank
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Ms Joan
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Shipley, Ms Debra
Short, Rt Hon Clare
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Spellar, John
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Stott, Roger
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
(Dewsbury)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Temple-Morris, Peter
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Tipping, Paddy
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr George (NW Norfolk)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul
Vaz, Keith
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Wills, Michael
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wise, Audrey
Wood, Mike
Worthington, Tony
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. Kevin Hughes and
Mr. Clive Betts.

Question accordingly negatived.

29 Apr 1999 : Column 536

Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments), and agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Speaker forthwith declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.

Resolved,



Next Section

IndexHome Page