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Matthew Green: The hon. Gentleman made many sensible contributions in both Committees. He will recall that in Committee in January the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) made several hundred references to Heathrow airport and terminal 5—every clause seemed to have an issue to do with Heathrow and terminal 5. Some account should be taken of the fact that time may have been wasted during some sittings of the Committee.

Sir Sydney Chapman: I cannot speak for my hon. Friend the Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire); I can only say that if my constituency included Heathrow or was adjacent to it, I would raise the issue of terminal 5 as many times as I could. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would agree that we are here to defend our constituents' interests at all times within what we believe to be the national priority.

Instead of rushing the Bill through now, and given what the Minister has said about the planning contribution proposals, it would have been far better to have delayed the Bill until perhaps next year, when the consultation period will have finished and the Minister will have had time to reflect on the public view on many of the issues that we have been discussing.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: The Government claim that their timetable has not rushed the Bill and that all the major parts of it have been discussed. Clause 44, to which my hon. Friend has referred, deals with major infrastructure projects. It is a highly complex clause covering five and a bit pages. It was never discussed in either Committee. Does my hon. Friend agree that that is a disgrace?

Sir Sydney Chapman: I do indeed, and I entirely accept the point that my hon. Friend makes. I have been trying to make the point, perhaps with a little resistance from Liberal Democrat and Labour Members, that far too little time has been devoted to those important issues.

Whatever the time constraints, which may not be the Minister's fault, I want to try to finish on a bipartisan note and congratulate him, the Under-Secretary of

9 Dec 2003 : Column 977

State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the hon. Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper), my hon. Friend the Member for Cotswold and, indeed, the hon. Member for Ludlow on dealing valiantly with some big issues in a relatively short time. Finally, may I make a plea to the Minister for Housing and Planning about a matter that applies more to this Bill than perhaps to any other with which I have been involved in the Commons? It is essential that there is sufficient time to deal with these matters in the other place. Planning is not a party political issue, and it is a priority to get the best possible legislation on to the statute book. I hope that the Minister and the Government will think for a long time about, and consider sympathetically, any amendments that may be made in the other place.

4.15 pm

Mr. Redwood : I share the worries of my hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Sir Sydney Chapman) about the lack of time for debate. My objections to the Bill are fundamental, which is why I wish to make them on Third Reading. I was given guidance earlier that time was limited on Report and that the Government kept rewriting the Bill in Committee, so it was a good idea to wait and see what the final outcome was. However, now that I have seen that outcome, I am afraid that the Bill is little better than it was originally and the big problems that were apparent when it was introduced remain. I have declared my interests in the Register.

The first objection that my constituents and I have to the Bill concerns the phenomenal powers that it gives the Secretary of State. Secretaries of State have traditionally had substantial powers, which are often vexatious for constituencies and councils, including those in my area, because they are usually used to encourage more development than is desirable for the local community or can be easily accommodated, given the inadequacies of investment in transport, health and education. The Bill will make that problem far worse, as it gives the Secretary of State phenomenal powers to drive through major infrastructure projects and his own housing targets as part of the regional spatial strategy. It will cause endless disagreements and difficulties with elected councils and communities, which will be angry when the Secretary of State flexes his muscles and uses those powers.

I am suspicious about the delay that will be caused by throwing the existing planning system into the air and having to build a new one at considerable expense. Undoubtedly, the Secretary of State will then panic about the delay preventing the development that he would like. That, I fear, is likely to mean that the present Secretary of State or a future one will want to increase the targets even further, whatever the wishes of reluctant communities, as there will be another shortfall in housing provision, as assessed by him, caused by the uncertainties of the new planning system.

Good points have already been made in our short debate about the lack of democratic accountability of the new regional planning bodies. Like my hon. Friends, I do not welcome regional government of any kind in

9 Dec 2003 : Column 978

England, and certainly do not want it to affect my constituency—that is also the majority view of my constituents. Regional government is a waste of money, and it is offensive when it is designed, as it is in the Bill, deliberately to override the wishes of local communities as expressed through their elected unitary authorities or county or district councils. What is the point of all the costs and expenses of elections, planning officers and councillors in our areas if they will simply have to dance to the Secretary of State's tune on all the major issues that matter to those local communities?

I am sure that the Secretary of State has one good intention, and would like more development on brownfield sites. But we know that in practice the regional spatial strategy will be used to demand development across the piece, including development on the large number of green fields that remain in constituencies beyond the main metropolitan areas.

We also know that the Government's transport shambles continues apace, and that there are no plans now or on the horizon for increasing rail or road capacity to serve the large new housing areas that will undoubtedly emerge from the regional spatial strategies. Once again, the Government have produced a solution to the problem that will not work. Once again, that shows their inability to indulge in joined-up government. The Department for Transport is stumbling well behind the pace, with no ability to provide the links that are needed, and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, which is responsible for planning, is worried that it is not driving enough housing through in areas with green fields, so it has invented a new planning system that will allow it to do that, making the transport and other infrastructure problems far worse.

My constituents in Wokingham and I have a heavy heart about the legislation being driven through this afternoon. We hope that in another place wiser counsel will prevail. Regional government in England is unnatural and a waste of money. Regional government directed by a Secretary of State who is out of touch and sympathy with many of our constituents is an abomination to us democratically, and it leads us to wonder why we go to the expense and trouble of building and electing local authorities when they are to be treated in such a cavalier fashion. I hope that in the other place those wiser counsels will force Ministers to think again. If they mean what they say about devolving power to local communities and acting democratically, they should tear up a large chunk of the Bill.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—

The House divided: Ayes 301, Noes 178.

Division No. 7
[4:22 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, rh Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale & Darwen)
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Bell, Stuart
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blizzard, Bob
Boateng, rh Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brown, rh Nicholas (Newcastle E Wallsend)
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Byers, rh Stephen
Cairns, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge & Chryston)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann (Cynon V)
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cooper, Yvette
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, rh Dr. Jack (Copeland)
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, rh Alistair
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Davies, rh Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, rh John
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Dobson, rh Frank
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Drew, David (Stroud)
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Edwards, Huw
Ewing, Annabelle
Farrelly, Paul
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flynn, Paul (Newport W)
Follett, Barbara
Foster, rh Derek
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Foulkes, rh George
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike (Ilford S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, rh Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hepburn, Stephen
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hoey, Kate (Vauxhall)
Hope, Phil (Corby)
Howarth, rh Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hutton, rh John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Joyce, Eric (Falkirk W)
Keen, Alan (Feltham)
Keen, Ann (Brentford)
Kelly, Ruth (Bolton W)
Kemp, Fraser
Khabra, Piara S.
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green & Bow)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
Lyons, John (Strathkelvin)
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
MacDougall, John
McFall, John
McGrady, Eddie
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahmood, Khalid
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, rh Peter
Marris, Rob (Wolverh'ton SW)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Glasgow Shettleston)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, rh Michael
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Alan
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moonie, Dr. Lewis
Moran, Margaret
Morgan, Julie
Mudie, George
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Diana
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Perham, Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris (Gravesham)
Pope, Greg (Hyndburn)
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Dinefwr)
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quin, rh Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N)
Salmond, Alex
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Shipley, Ms Debra
Short, rh Clare
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, rh Chris (Islington S & Finsbury)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh John
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E & Lochaber)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Tami, Mark (Alyn)
Taylor, rh Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Robert N.
Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Watts, David
Weir, Michael
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Williams, Betty (Conwy)
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wishart, Pete
Wood, Mike (Batley)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, David (Telford)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:

Gillian Merron and
Paul Clark


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Arbuthnot, rh James
Bacon, Richard
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John (Billericay)
Barrett, John
Beggs, Roy (E Antrim)
Beith, rh A. J.
Bellingham, Henry
Beresford, Sir Paul
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Breed, Colin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L.
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Cameron, David
Campbell, rh Menzies (NE Fife)
Carmichael, Alistair
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clarke, rh Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Conway, Derek
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cotter, Brian
Cran, James (Beverley)
Curry, rh David
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham & Stamford)
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dodds, Nigel
Doughty, Sue
Duncan, Alan (Rutland)
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Forth, rh Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger (N Thanet)
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, rh John
Hague, rh William
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford W & Abingdon)
Hayes, John (S Holland)
Heald, Oliver
Heath, David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Hogg, rh Douglas
Holmes, Paul
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hunter, Andrew
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, rh Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness)
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Andrew
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, rh Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, rh Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Mackay, rh Andrew
Maclean, rh David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Mates, Michael
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Norman, Archie
Oaten, Mark (Winchester)
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paisley, Rev. Ian
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, rh Michael
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Randall, John
Redwood, rh John
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham & M-Kent)
Robinson, Mrs Iris (Strangford)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Sanders, Adrian
Selous, Andrew
Shephard, rh Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns & Kincardine)
Smyth, Rev. Martin (Belfast S)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Spring, Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thurso, John
Tonge, Dr. Jenny
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Tyrie, Andrew
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve (Northavon)
Whittingdale, John
Wiggin, Bill
Wilkinson, John
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Willis, Phil
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim (S Suffolk)
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Mark Field and
Mr. Peter Atkinson

Question accordingly agreed to.

9 Dec 2003 : Column 982

Bill read the Third time, and passed.

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