Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Division No. 1

CONTENTS

Addington, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Blaker, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Bridges, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brookeborough, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chadlington, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Craig of Radley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Crathorne, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elton, L.
Ezra, L.
Falkland, V.
Fearn, L.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Fowler, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Greaves, L.
Hamwee, B. [Teller]
Hanham, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kingsland, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Liverpool, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McAlpine of West Green, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mancroft, L.
Mar, C.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Michie of Gallanach, B.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Newby, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Northover, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Patten, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plumb, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Prior, L.
Quinton, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rennard, L.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogan, L.
Roper, L. [Teller]
Rotherwick, L.
Russell, E.
Russell-Johnston, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Sainsbury of Preston Candover, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandberg, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Sharman, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Sheppard of Didgemere, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Taverne, L.
Tebbit, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Ullswater, V.
Waddington, L.
Wakeham, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warnock, B.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Windlesham, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Amos, B. (Lord President)
Ampthill, L.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Blackstone, B.
Boothroyd, B.
Borrie, L.
Brennan, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cobbold, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gilbert, L.
Golding, B.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gregson, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hardie, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskins, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jones, L.
Jordan, L.
Judd, L.
Kilclooney, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Laming, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Listowel, E.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Marsh, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Radice, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Rooker, L.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Sandwich, E.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Slim, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Stallard, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strange, B.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Tenby, V.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Triesman, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Varley, L.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Winston, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

20 Jan 2004 : Column 939

5.10 p.m.

Clause 1 [Regional Spatial Strategy]:

Lord Hanningfield moved Amendment No. 2:


    Page 1, line 6, at end insert—


"( ) The RSS shall include a statement of community involvement."

The noble Lord said: After the excitement of the previous debate one may have to change some of one's speaking notes regarding other amendments. I shall be interested to hear the Minister's response.

This is the first amendment that I shall move on this legislation. I look forward to working with the Minister and the Committee to try to improve the Bill. At Second Reading two weeks ago the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, pointed out that the Bill received a drumming. It has also received a drumming as a result of the first amendment on which we have just divided.

It is important to keep stressing the message that this legislation could ruin our planning system. As some noble Lords mentioned at Second Reading, this legislation will break up a planning system of which we should be proud. We agree with speeding up the planning process but not with throwing out the baby at the same time as the bath water.

During the past few weeks I have had many meetings with many professional organisations. There is widespread consensus that, if we are not careful, in three years or so a new Bill will be presented that is designed to sort out the problems caused by the one that we are discussing. It is important that the Government listen to the arguments now. It is all too easy to upset the balance between democracy and efficiency. It is all too easy to call the planning system old and deny its many strengths in order to put something new in its place simply for the sake of newness. However, it will be much harder to undo any damage to the planning system once it has been done.

On Second Reading I said that it would be much better to reform the current system—I believe that the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, also mentioned that—than to throw the whole thing up in the air. However, as we are where we are in the legislative process regarding this Bill, it is incumbent upon us all, regardless of our political hue, to do what we can to prevent the emasculation of the democratic element within the planning system.

20 Jan 2004 : Column 940

We must be aware of paying lip service to democracy and community participation while casting these out with the county structure plans. We debated that matter just now. People must have a voice in planning decisions and those decisions must be made at as local a level as possible. The regional planning bodies must not simply be branch offices of Whitehall doing the Secretary of State's bidding.

Amendment No. 2 would require the Government to put on the face of the Bill a measure to ensure that regional spatial strategies include statements of community involvement. The purpose of having such a statement of community involvement in each regional spatial strategy is threefold but each element is fundamentally aimed at addressing the democratic deficit that lies at the heart of this Bill. First, a statement of community involvement would ensure that the regional planning body must engage with the community that it serves. Planning authorities must make decisions that serve the people of an area; that is, decisions that are representative of those people. If regional spatial strategies do not include statements of community involvement, we shall have no mechanism by which to relate plans to the people they serve.

Statements of community involvement must establish minimum standards that regional planning bodies will have to meet in order to have any democratic legitimacy whatever through the regional spatial strategies. Without those minimum standards many potential problems threaten to emerge. People may feel that regional spatial strategies are irrelevant to them as they have no input or stake in their preparation. They may feel quite legitimately that their democratic right to express their concerns about development has been taken away. Local people will inevitably feel frustrated if they perceive that unwelcome planning decisions have been foisted on them by the Secretary of State or a regional planning body located miles away.

The second purpose of including statements of community involvement in regional spatial strategies, and following on from the first, is that they will allow a more general scrutiny and accountability of regional planning bodies. Through the statement of community involvement it will become apparent if a regional planning body is able to involve the community in the decision-making process in a meaningful way, let alone whether it is doing it well. People have the right to know how the RPG can affect public decisions that affect their lives.

The third purpose of the amendment is that it will make a new planning system fairer and more consistent. Clause 17 requires local planning authorities to prepare statements of community involvement. How can the Minister justify the current logic of the Bill whereby local authorities must work out how they will engage their communities, while regional planning bodies are under no such obligation?

The Minister will be aware of the research conducted by the Local Government Association in September/October 2002. It asked planning authorities if it would be easy for regional spatial bodies to secure meaningful community involvement in regional planning—95 per

20 Jan 2004 : Column 941

cent of planning authorities said it would not be easy. Lest there should be any suspicion of counties wishing to do down regions, counties constituted less than 10 per cent of respondents to the survey. My speech could be changed following the debate on Amendment No. 1, but we are still possibly going to have regional spatial strategies in those elected regions and we have a long way to go on the Bill, so I wish to pursue my arguments. Among the experts and those currently involved in delivering planning locally, there is real concern about how community involvement will be achieved.

Those three reasons that I have outlined in some detail on this important part of the Bill are crucial to securing greater community participation and democratic accountability in the planning process. I beg to move.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page