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Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I must put the noble Baroness's mind at rest: I understood that. Those proposing both amendments wanted to establish some idea of the regularity of the revision process.

Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, I wanted to understand not so much the regularity but the move towards the new activity. I hear what the Minister says, and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 23 to 27 not moved.]

Baroness Maddock moved Amendment No. 28:



"( ) transport strategy or proposed transport strategy for the region;
( ) housing strategy or proposed housing strategy for the region;
( ) economic strategy or proposed economic strategy for the region;
( ) all other regional strategies;"

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the amendment would ensure that, in any revision of the regional spatial strategy, all relevant strategies drawn up by local authorities in the region were taken into account. I do not like the phrase—the noble Lord, Lord Judd, used it this afternoon—but it is about "joined-up government". It is about recognising the importance of the bottom-up approach; many of us have criticised the Bill because we think that it is too top-down.

There are four areas of strategy listed here—transport, housing, economic and other regional strategies—but many of the three areas of transport, housing and economic strategy are key to sustainability in this process. We have had long debates about sustainability and there will undoubtedly be more debates at this stage. However, if we are serious about sustainability—and we are discussing defining it in the Bill and how difficult it is—it is important to expand in the Bill where we can, to ensure that we are looking at it carefully.

Shortly before I came down to the Chamber, I opened a letter from the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, which enclosed the consultation paper on planning policy statement 1. In that letter he emphasises the importance of sustainable development. In the document he also emphasises the need in planning policies to pursue proactively the four aims of sustainable development; namely, economic development, social inclusion, environmental protection and a prudent use of natural resources in an integrated way. The various strategies we have listed here will certainly assist in making sure that that happens. I beg to move.

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Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I want to make it absolutely clear that there is no difference between us on the need for the regional planning body to have regard to these strategies when preparing a revision of the regional spatial strategy. That is subject to two qualifications. The first is that there is no intention to have separate regional transport strategies. These are an integral part of regional planning guidance at present. Draft planning policy statement 11 makes it clear that, in the future, the regional transport strategy should be an integral part of the regional spatial strategy.

The second qualification is to the proposed obligation to have regard to all other regional strategies. In fact, listening to the noble Baroness, Lady Maddock, I have just rewritten her own amendment. If the first three paragraphs, together with the word "other" in the final paragraph, were to be deleted and it read, "all regional strategies", it would mean exactly the same thing as listing the three and then saying, "all other regional strategies".

There is a test of relevance when one includes all the regional strategies. I am not an expert on this, but apparently there are regional strategies concerned with emergency planning, contingent on natural disaster or act of war. They are not really relevant to the area we are dealing with at the moment, so that would not work.

The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, said in Committee that draft planning policy statement 11 makes it clear that the regional spatial strategy should be consistent and supportive of the other relevant regional strategies, including in particular the regional economic, housing, and cultural strategies. Draft planning policy statement 11 explains that the reason why the draft regulations refer only to the regional economic strategy, rather than the cultural or housing strategies, is because the economic strategy is the only one of these strategies to have a statutory basis.

I make it absolutely clear that we agree that regard should be had to these other types of regional strategies where they are relevant. The policy is quite clear on this, as set out in planning policy statement 11. However, we see no need to refer to these strategies in the Bill, and we could not do so anyway because of the non-statutory basis of many of them. I therefore hope that the noble Baroness will not pursue the amendment.

7.15 p.m.

Baroness Maddock: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his answer. I beg to differ with him on natural disasters. Having had discussions, particularly with the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Chesterton, on what we mean by sustainability, I know that he is of the view, as are others, that sustainable communities are also communities where people are protected from natural disaster and are safe communities. Safety is also about protection from natural disasters such as flooding. I do not therefore totally agree with him on that point.

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He said that the strategies we were talking about, apart from the economic strategy, were not statutory. I thought that the drawing up of strategy by the regional housing board was a statutory function. Maybe I am wrong about that.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I cannot answer this off the top of my head, but the way in which we have put the funds for the housing corporation and the housing investment programmes for local authorities into the regional pot has not involved legislation through this place. To the best of my knowledge, there has been no statutory instrument. It has been set up, but it is not statutory in the normal sense of that word.

While I am on my feet, I want to say something about natural disasters. By definition, natural disasters occur and one has to try to avoid them. My point was that there is, however, a regional strategy concerned with emergency planning.

Baroness Maddock: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for that explanation. He clearly does not agree with our line. I am concerned that we try, wherever possible in the Bill, to include matters which make very clear what we mean by sustainability. That was part of the purpose of this amendment. However, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 29:


    Page 3, line 29, at end insert—


"( ) The draft revision shall include the purposes of the RSS as revised."

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving this amendment, I will speak also to Amendment No. 30.

Amendment No. 29 provides for the draft revision to include the purposes of the regional spatial strategy. We had some debate in Committee on the scope of the RSS. In that context, I picked up the reference in Clause 4(3)(b). That provision states that the regional planning body must consider whether the implementation of the regional spatial strategy is achieving the purposes of the regional spatial strategy.

I may be told, of course, that it is not necessary to say this because the regional spatial strategy will set out its objectives, but it does not actually say so in Clause 6. It needs to say so, in order that the regional planning body can monitor what it is doing, and so that others can monitor what it is doing and hold it to account.

Amendment No. 30 proposes that policies should be included in the regional spatial strategy in respect of the format as set out in the amendment. There has been a good deal of resistance to being explicit about these matters, but we are losing the current structure plans and unitary development plans, which have requirements attached to them, imposed through Schedule 4 of the Planning and Compensation Act 1991. The schedule contains explicit requirements for structure, unitary, and indeed local plans, to include policies in respect of the conservation of the natural beauty and amenity of the

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land, the improvement of the physical environment and the management of traffic. I am concerned to ensure that this is not lost.

In Committee, the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, made a point about not having room for more on the face of the Bill. He said that everything else would remain as it is in the principal Act; that is, the 1990 Act. That Act was amended by the 1991 Act. I hope I have shown that we would lose something that is in the 1990 Act unless it is specifically retained.

I have added a paragraph in Amendment No. 30 regarding,


    "the conservation of natural resources"

because it seemed the logical thing to do. Thinking has moved on since what became the 1990 Act was going through the process of creation. Many would say that conserving natural resources is now something that one would, if your Lordships will forgive the pun, quite naturally include with the other matters in the schedule to the 1991 Act. I beg to move.

Lord Hanningfield: My Lords, I should like to add our support for those amendments.


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