Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary Notes to Questions by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions


  In addition to the correction marked on the text, we wish to submit a footnote to clarify Question 25, as follows:

        "a billion pounds over the next three years" appears to be a reference to page 6 of the Rural White Paper (Ten ways we will make a difference), which refers to rural programmes (other than agriculture and England Rural Development Programme) and not just roads. Taking all the rural programmes referred to in the White Paper, including agriculture and ERDP there will be an increased allocation of over £1 billion over the next three years.

  To avoid misunderstanding of the position, we would also like to provide supplementary information on the powers of local authorities in relation local sourcing of products by supermarkes (Questions 68-70), as follows:

        Central Government and local authorities need to ensure that they act in compliance with Article 28 of the European Treaty on the free movement of goods.

        The planning system is about the development and use of land and the sourcing of supermarkets is not normally a material planning consideration. However, there may be circumstances in which sourcing could be a material planning consideration, such as where it could be demonstrated that the impact of a new supermarket would result in a significant reduction in local purchasing, which in turn would result in material harm to the local economy. (For example, in a market town where local food shops currently source their stock locally, a significant reduction in local purchasing as a result of a new supermarket opening and local food stores reducing their purchasing or going out of business, could have an adverse effect on the local economy.) In such circumstances this might be a material consideration and,if so, would be taken into account in making the decision.

        It is also open to local authorities to adopt planning policies which seek to mitigate the consequences of a new supermarket for the local economy and environment. They could, for example, adopt a policy to negotiate to require the supermarket to provide space for a local farmers market.

  Finally, if would be helpful to add a footnote to the reply to question 64 to make clear that "we" in the first line means "I and the Minister of Agriculture".

22 December 2000

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