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The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): We are today publishing for consultation draft regulations and policy statements on regional and local planning arrangements, and on development control processes. The regulations and guidance underpin the provisions of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill, currently being debated in another place. They are issued for consultation, subject of course to changes during its passage.
The draft regulations set out detailed procedural matters in relation to regional and local planning matters and development control. We are also publishing draft revised rules for procedures for major infrastructure projects.
Planning Policy Statement 11 (PPS11), which will supersede PPG11 when the Planning Bill comes into effect, sets out how the regional spatial strategies (RSS) should be prepared and revised under the new statutory framework. In particular it places a new emphasis on community involvement and partnership working, integration with other strategies, making the RSS more regionally specific and on the delivery of policies.
Planning Policy Statement 12 (PPS12) sets out the Government's policy on the preparation of the local development documents that will comprise the local development framework for a local planning authority or for a minerals and waste planning authority. It explains the actions that need to be taken in preparing the local development documents which will deliver the spatial strategy for the area and the new, streamlined arrangements for dealing with the formal stages of the process. It emphasises the need for community involvement and explains how local planning authorities should prepare sound development plan documents which will be independently tested before adoption by the authority.
The Government will be publishing consultation drafts of other planning policy statements in due course, in particular Planning Policy Statement 1, setting out the principles underlying the planning system in England.
The public consultation on the draft guidance and regulations will run until 16 January. The secondary legislation will be laid before Parliament as soon as possible after the Planning Bill receives Royal Assent. We are planning for both the guidance and secondary legislation to come into effect at commencement of the Act.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): I have today set the following key performance indicators and targets for the Public Guardianship Office for 200304:
Lord Filkin: The Government have considered the reversal by the House of Lords of the Court of Appeal's 2001 judgment in Wallbank. My honourable friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, David Lammy, has made a Statement today in another place that a transitional provisions order relating to the status of chancel repair liability was made under the Land Registration Act 2002 on 14 September 2003. The order provides that, for a period of 10 years from the coming into force of the Act on 13 October 2003, chancel repair liability will remain an interest that binds successive owners of land even though it is not protected by an entry in a register kept by the Land Registry. As no land registration fee is payable for applications to protect similar ancient property rights, such as payments in lieu of tithe, Crown rents and manorial rights, the Land Registry intends to waive the fee for applications to protect chancel repair liability for the 10-year period.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has worked closely with the Office of Government Commerce to ensure that the UK Government's position on integrating sustainable development objectives with procurement practice has been made known to the European Commission by the UK delegation. The UK Government's position is to
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Registrar General, who has been asked to reply.
There is a joint project between HM Treasury and the Office of the Registrar General for England & Wales to examine the feasibility of holding up-to-date contact details (name, address, date of birth and a unique personal number) of everyone in a population register. The intention would be to simplify citizens' life, for example when they move address, and also improve delivery of some public services. This project is called the "citizen information project" (the CIP). An information note about the CIP has been available on the Treasury website and the General Register Office website (http://www.statistics.gov.uk/registration/cip.asp) since February 2003 and was updated in August. The project is also mentioned in the latest ONS Annual Report to Parliament (the Registrar General's activities are reported alongside those of the National Statistician) and in a recent review of population estimates. The Annual Report will be examined by the Treasury Select Committee on 15 October.
The feasibility study was presented to Ministers in June 2003 and I will publish it after Ministers have considered it. The report recommends further investigative work, which it is anticipated will last between 15 and 18 months before any final decision is taken. During this period, there would be full public consultation and the preparation of legislation, which would be necessary to create such a register.
Moreover, any proposals that emerge will be fully consistent with data protection and privacy law. Any personal information collected by me, as Registrar General, is subject to confidentiality obligations defined by law. I will publish a study on whether or not
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