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25 Jun 2008 : Column 449

58 In section 160(6) (tree preservation orders: exemptions) after paragraph (b) insert—

“(ba) it is authorised by an order granting development consent,”

59 (1) Section 172 (preservation of trees in conservation areas) is amended as follows.

(2) After subsection (1) insert—

“(1A) Subsection (1) does not apply so far as the act in question is authorised by an order granting development consent.”

(3) After subsection (5) insert—

“(5A) Subsection (5) does not apply so far as the act in question is authorised by an order granting development consent.”

60 In section 277(1) (interpretation) at the appropriate place insert—

““development consent” means development consent under the Planning Act 2008;”

Planning (Hazardous Substances) (Scotland) Act 1997 (c. 10)

61 The Planning (Hazardous Substances) (Scotland) Act 1997 is amended as follows.

62 In section 7(2)(c) (determination of applications for hazardous substances consent: material considerations) after “planning permission” insert “or development consent”.

63 In section 8(1) (conditions on grant of hazardous substances consent) after “planning permission” insert “or development consent”.

64 (1) Section 10 (deemed hazardous substances consent: government authorisation) is amended as follows.

(2) After subsection (2A) insert—

“(2B) On making an order granting development consent in respect of development that would involve the presence of a hazardous substance in circumstances requiring hazardous substances consent, the person making the order may direct that hazardous substances consent shall be deemed to be granted, subject to such conditions (if any) as may be specified in the direction.”

(3) For subsection (3) substitute—

“(3) Before giving a direction under any of subsections (1) to (2B), the person having power to give the direction must consult the Health and Safety Commission.”

(4) In subsection (6)—

(a) for the words from “government” to “Ministers” substitute “person”, and

(b) after “directions” insert “given by the person”.

65 In section 12(2)(b) (power to revoke or modify hazardous substances consent)—

(a) after “planning permission” insert “or development consent”, and

(b) after “the permission” insert “or development consent”.

66 In section 38(1) (interpretation) at the appropriate place insert—

““development consent” means development consent under the Planning Act 2008,”.’.

No. 279, page 136, line 38, at end insert—

‘Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 (c.)

In section 13(6) of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 (power of Secretary of State to make designation orders) in the definition of “permitted purposes” at the end insert “, and

(d) Part 8 of the Planning Act 2008,”. —[Mr. Watts.]
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Schedule 3


Tree preservation orders: further amendments

Amendments made: No. 280, page 137, line 2, at end insert—

‘Forestry Act 1967 (c. 10)

A1 The Forestry Act 1967 is amended as follows.

A2 (1) Section 15 (trees subject to preservation orders under Planning Acts) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1) for “consent under the order” substitute “relevant consent”.

(3) After subsection (1) insert—

“(1A) In subsection (1) “relevant consent” means—

(a) in the case of trees in England and Wales, consent under tree preservation regulations;

(b) in the case of trees in Scotland, consent under the tree preservation order.”

(4) In subsection (5) for the words from “application” to “thereunder” substitute “relevant application shall be entertained”.

(5) After subsection (5) insert—

“(5A) In subsection (5) “relevant application” means—

(a) in the case of trees in England and Wales, an application under tree preservation regulations for consent under the regulations;

(b) in the case of trees in Scotland, an application under a tree preservation order for consent under the order.”

A3 In section 18 (felling directions), in subsection (5) for the words from “shall” to the end substitute “shall be sufficient authority for the felling, notwithstanding anything in—

(a) tree preservation regulations, in the case of trees in England or Wales;

(b) the tree preservation order, in the case of trees in Scotland.

A4 In section 21 (courses open to person adversely affected by felling direction), in subsection (7), after “a tree preservation order” insert “, or under tree preservation regulations,”.

A5 In section 35 (interpretation of Part 2) at the appropriate place insert—

““tree preservation regulations” means regulations made under section 202A(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990;”.

A6 (1) Schedule 3 (proceedings under Town and Country Planning Acts in relation to tree preservation orders) is amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph 2—

(a) for “under the said Acts” substitute “under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997”,

(b) omit the words from “section 77” to “(for Scotland)”,

(c) for “provisions of the said Acts” substitute “provisions of that Act”, and

(d) omit “the said section 77 or (for Scotland)”.

(3) After paragraph 2 insert—

“2A (1) Where under section 15(2)(a) an application, on being referred to the appropriate national authority, falls to be dealt with under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the appropriate national authority must decide the application as if it were an application for consent for the felling of trees made under tree preservation regulations.

(2) In this paragraph, “the appropriate national authority” means—

(a) the Secretary of State in relation to England;

(b) the Welsh Ministers in relation to Wales.”.

(4) In paragraph 3—


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(a) for “the Town and Country Planning Acts” substitute “the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997”, and

(b) for “the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 or (for Scotland) the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997” substitute “that Act”.

(5) After paragraph 3 insert—

“3A Where under section 15(3)(a) an application, on being referred to an authority who have made a tree preservation order, falls to be dealt with under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the authority must decide the application as if it were an application for consent for the felling of trees made under tree preservation regulations.”.’.

No. 281, page 137, line 21, leave out from ‘7’ to end of line 24 and insert—

‘(1) Section 210 (penalties for non-compliance with tree preservation order) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1)—

(a) for “a tree preservation order” substitute “tree preservation regulations”,

(b) in paragraph (a) omit the “or” at the end, and

(c) after paragraph (b) insert—“or

(c) causes or permits the carrying out of any of the activities in paragraph (a) or (b),”.

(3) In subsection (4), for “a tree preservation order” substitute “tree preservation regulations”.

(4) In the side-note, for “order” substitute “regulations”.’.

No. 282, page 137, line 31, at end insert—

‘8A In section 212 (power to disapply section 211) omit subsection (4).’.

No. 283, page 138, line 6, at end insert—

‘Planning and Compensation Act 1991 (c. 34)

14 (1) Part 1 of Schedule 18 to the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 (compensation provisions that do not provide for interest) is amended as follows.

(2) After the entry for section 186 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 insert—

    “Section 202E of that Act

    Date— (a) any consent required by tree preservation regulations is refused, (b) any such consent is granted subject to conditions, or (c) any approval required under such a condition is refused.”


(3) Omit the entries for sections 203 and 204 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.’. —[Mr. Watts.]

Schedule 7


Repeals

Amendments made: No. 284, page 148, line 27, at end insert—

    ‘Forestry Act 1967 (c. 10)

    In paragraph 2 of Schedule 3— (a) the words from “section 77” to “(for Scotland)”, and (b) “the said section 77 or (for Scotland)”.’.


No. 285, page 148, line 33, at end insert—

    ‘Section 212(4).’.


No. 286, page 148, line 33, at end insert—

    ‘In section 284(3)(a), “for planning permission”.


No. 287, page 149, line 5, column 2, at end insert—

    ‘Sections 46 to 48.’.


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No. 288, page 149, line 6, at end insert—

    ‘Section 122(5)(a).

    In section 122(6), “(a),”.

    In Schedule 6, paragraph 5.’.


No. 289, page 149, line 6, at end insert—

    ‘Greater London Authority Act 2007 (c. 24)

    Section 36.’.


—[ Mr. Watts. ]

Order for Third Reading read.—[Queen’s Consent, on behalf of the Crown, and Prince of Wales’s consent, on behalf of the Duchy of Cornwall, signified.]

7.30 pm

The Minister for Local Government (John Healey): I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

As we begin Third Reading, we have come to a wide agreement that this is an important Bill that makes important far-reaching reforms to our planning system. The challenges facing the country demand difficult decisions in order to make such improvements. We must replace a third of our electricity generation capacity in the next 20 years. We must increase the power we generate from renewable resources and we aim to see that at a level of 20 per cent. by 2020. We must secure water supplies for a growing population with an increasingly changing climate, and we must improve the major transport systems to support jobs and economic growth in this country for the future.

We know that to get major investment for such major developments we need clearer national policies on big energy, water and transport developments. We know that we need a better way to make decisions on big project applications and that we need more opportunities for local people to have a say and an influence, particularly those from the local council areas and communities that are most affected by big project applications. That is precisely what the Bill provides us with.

Lembit Öpik: Will the Minister give way?

John Healey: I will not give way—not to the hon. Gentleman at this point.

The House, and members of the Public Bill Committee in particular, have given the Bill strong scrutiny. We have had four Committee evidence sessions, 14 Committee scrutiny sessions and two days on Report. At every stage, the Government have been ready to listen carefully to the arguments and concerns raised by Members from all parties and from groups with an interest in the Bill.

When there has been a good case for changes that can also strengthen the Bill, we have been ready to make such changes. We have done that in relation to the accountability of the IPC to the House through Select Committees, a stronger duty for Ministers to take the environment into account, and the role of local councils in reporting to the IPC on the consultation conducted by promoters before an application and on the impact of an application in their area. We have made such changes on the right to be heard at inquiries conducted by the IPC and on a range of other matters, from enforcement loopholes to excluding tramways and other guided transport systems from the Bill.


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I pay tribute to the Chairs of the four main departmental Select Committees who have worked with me and with the Leader of the House. As a result of what the Chair of the Select Committee on Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has described as “extremely constructive dialogue”, we have developed and legislated for a special system to allow Parliament to scrutinise the new national policy statements, which was agreed by the House during our first day on Report.

There is also wide agreement that the planning system requires a radical overhaul. As we pass the Bill to the other place, we have reached the point where there is wide, if not universal, acceptance of our plans to reform the existing eight separate consent regimes—often arcane and antiquated—into one. Also accepted are our new national policy statements that will cover the big questions on the balance between environmental, economic and social objectives. Those policy statements will also consider the national need for development, including where nuclear power stations and airport extensions should be sited. Our plans for a new independent commission, drawn from a wide range of relevant expertise and tasked with assessing and deciding on applications, have also been accepted.

Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): If someone wanted to begin a planning application for a new power station today, how long would it take to get an answer under the new system?

John Healey: An application today for a new power station would be handled under the existing regime. The new system means that the commission will handle such matters only when the new national policy statements are in place, and under their terms.

The Government have also gained approval for new legal obligations for project developers to consult locally before submitting an application. If they do not do so, the commission will not even look at an application. We have also gained approval for our plans for a new inquiry process that guarantees the right to be heard, in writing and in person, and which makes cross-examination available. The commission will lead the questions, so that lawyers do not dominate and cause local voices to be shut out.

Finally, we have gained approval for our plans to improve the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, and for a new power allowing councils to introduce a community infrastructure levy for their areas.

Lembit Öpik: I am grateful to the Minister for giving way to me, and I shall be brief. He mentioned the public’s right to be heard, but many people are worried about how areas subject to flooding and standing water are handled. Is he confident that the new planning process will give local residents the opportunity to have their opinions heard before the Environment Agency turns an area into a standing water flood plain?

John Healey: I rather regret giving way to the hon. Gentleman now, as he has a habit of coming in halfway through a debate and going off half-cocked. The Bill does not cover those matters, nor does it touch that part of the planning system.

Some of the proposals in the Bill involve tough decisions, but they will help meet this country’s vital
25 Jun 2008 : Column 454
long-term needs for more homes, nuclear power and airport extensions. Faced with those difficult planning decisions, the Tories have ducked and dived—worse, though, they have at times played the Bill for short-term political gain. In Committee they voted against the IPC, preferring that the planning inspectorate should do the job of hearing applications. At the start of the Report stage today, a Tory amendment accepted the IPC, but only to make recommendations. By the end of Report stage, they voted to allow the IPC to make decisions, but only if they were confirmed by the Secretary of State after six months.

Not only do the Opposition duck the difficult questions, their policy moves with the political wind. There is no consistency or credibility, so no wonder they are still not taken seriously by serious opinion. Today’s edition of the Financial Times devoted a leading article to the Planning Bill. It said that the Tories

Another heavyweight view was expressed in a letter last week to the Leader of the Opposition. It stated:


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