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The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Alistair Darling): Subject to Parliamentary approval of any necessary supplementary estimate, the Department for Transport DEL for 200304 will be increased by £185,735,000 from £10,642,808,000 to £10,828,543,000 and the administration costs limits will be increased by £12,166,000 from £379,261,000 to £391,427,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are as set out in the following table:
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As a result of the above changes to the resource element of the DEL there has been a net increase of £12,166,000 in the gross administration costs limit, from £379,261,000 to £391,427,000 and an increase of £226,000 in the Vehicle Certification Agency net administration limit from -£41,000 to £185,000.
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The increase of £29,698,000 in the voted capital element of the DEL arises from: (i) take up of £20,926,000 (non cash) reserve claim for the Highways Agency in respect of provisions for lands and major schemes claims; (ii) a net transfer of £4,244,000 from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for various dual and shared Strategic IT and e-business projects; and (iii) £4,528,000 machinery of government transfer from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in respect of the European Regional Development Fund.
The Minister for Housing and Planning (Keith Hill): I am today publishing for consultation a draft of planning policy statement 1 (PPS1)"Creating Sustainable Communities" the core statement of the Government's key planning policies.
Clause 39 (clause 38the sustainable development clauseas was) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill requires regional and local plans to be drawn up with a view to contributing to the achievement of sustainable development. The clause requires that in doing so, planning authorities must have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State. PPS1 will be a key document underpinning this requirement.
Our legislation will make contributing to the achievement of sustainable development the key purpose of the planning system. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister should expect planning policies to pursue proactively the four aims of sustainable developmenteconomic development; social inclusion; environmental protection; and prudent use of natural resourcesin an integrated way, in line with the Government's overall strategy for sustainable development.
The new regional and local plans provided for in the Bill are based on the philosophy of spatial planning. Spatial planning goes beyond traditional land use planning to bring together and integrate policies for the development and use of land with other policies and programmes which influence the nature of places and how they function.
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PPS1 sets out the spatial planning approach that will be adopted in the new planning system. These planning tools will reflect real geographies and real community issues, and are thus a flexible approach to planning and sustainable development.
Effective community involvement is a vital element in delivering sustainable communities. Our aim should be to develop effective community involvement processes which enable a better understanding of the sometimes difficult choices which have to be made in considering development and more ownership of the accompanying decisions.
We need of course to strike a balance between promoting effective community involvement without allowing the system to be bogged down by endless consultation exercises. I want the reformed system to emphasise community involvement as a way of helping resolve problems early in the process and secure ownership, so that when plans and proposals are put forward, there are fewer objections.
The paper makes clear that community involvement should be based on a real understanding of the community's needs, should be fit for purpose, and should be "front loaded" ie involvement early in the process.
PPS1 can only set out the key policy principles for community involvement in planning. To put these in context, the community involvement paper sets out our general philosophy on community involvement in planning, and puts this in the broader context of policy.
Copies of the two documents will be available in the Libraries of the House. They will also be available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website at (www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm_planning/documents/sectionhomepage/odpm_planning_page.hcsp)
The Minister for Local and Regional Government (Mr. Nick Raynsford): The Government have today published a consultation paper setting out its proposals for draft Regulations under section 66 of the Local Government Act 2000. These proposals will make provision for local government monitoring officers in England, in cases where ethical standards officers of the Standards Board for England deem it appropriate, to investigate allegations that local authority members have breached their code of conduct. The Government are consulting on this issue over the next three months, and at the same time the Standards Board for England is consulting on draft guidance for monitoring officers on how they can best undertake their duties under the proposed Regulations.
We need to ensure the highest possible ethical standards in local government. But we need a system, which is efficient and workable. This approach is a sensible, effective and proportionate way of handling allegations of misconduct at a local level.
Copies of the consultation paper are being sent to local authorities and will be available in the Libraries of both Houses, as well as being made available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website at www.odpm.gov.uk.
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