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Baroness Thornton: My Lords, because the administrations are devolved, particularly in Scotland, they operate on a different basis. However, I am assured that discussions are taking place at the same time so that they are fully informed and involved in the review. They will then have to decide how they react to it.

EU: Security Strategy

3 pm

Lord Wallace of Saltaire asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The European security strategy was adopted in 2003, and its implementation is currently being reviewed. A number of debates have taken place across Europe in relation to the review, with the participation of Javier Solana’s team as well as member states. The main vehicle for promoting UK debate on the EU is our own Global Europe agenda, which sets out our aspiration for the EU to deliver on the issues that matter most to citizens in Europe—from competitiveness and jobs to the environment and security.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that good defensive Answer. He may recall that, when the European security strategy was launched in 2003, the British Government—as, to be fair, did several other Governments—did their best to avoid having a public debate on the issue. It seems that the same is happening again. The Government’s Global Europe agenda does not really address issues of a common strategy towards Russia or a common approach to the complex problems of the Middle East. Given that even the leader and the foreign affairs spokesman of the Conservative Party have suggested that Europe needs a common policy towards Russia, is it not time for the Government to promote public debate in Britain and in other countries about what sort of security strategy we need in common?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, the noble Lord makes a very interesting point. It would be a great advance if the Opposition were indeed to call for a debate on a common European security policy. Although the original 2003 document is no doubt very good, I must point out that it had only one line on relations with Russia.

Lord Anderson of Swansea: My Lords, is not one highly relevant means of promoting debate—

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My Lords, we should hear from the Cross Benches first.

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Lord Hannay of Chiswick: My Lords, does the Minister recognise that one of the great merits of the 2003 strategy was that it identified enlargement of the European Union as an absolutely key part of its future security? That was, of course, before the countries in central, eastern and southern Europe joined. Does he agree that it is now very important that the review that is under way emphasises that further enlargement continues to be an integral part of Europe’s security and needs to be given full prominence in the reviewed policy?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, the noble Lord makes a very important point. This document is peppered with wisdom on a number of issues and has held up well in the light of subsequent years. Certainly, this Government’s commitment to enlargement remains known.

Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, do Her Majesty’s Government have a view on the impact on the European security strategy of Russia’s new-found interest in Iceland and its apparent readiness to bail it out of its financial difficulties, no doubt in exchange for certain favours in the future that might change the whole security aspect in this region?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, I think the noble Lord would agree that we need to wait and see exactly what has happened. I certainly saw a press report at the weekend that the negotiations had broken down. As noble Lords know, the UK has also sought to support Iceland banks and to meet the accounts of individual account holders here.

Lord Anderson of Swansea: My Lords, does my noble friend agree that a very relevant way of promoting debate is the inquiry, which is now under way, by the European Union Sub-Committee C, which is chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Roper, a colleague of the noble Lord, Lord Wallace? That report, which will be published well before the next Council session, should be quite a contribution to public debate.

Lord Malloch-Brown: I agree, my Lords.

Lord Dykes: My Lords, will the Minister confirm that the EU security and defence planning teams are now working positively with their NATO counterparts and vice versa?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, the noble Lord is correct to draw attention to that. It is one of the great outcomes of a European security policy that, whether in Georgia, Chad or a dozen or so other places over the years, we are seeing increasingly effective European niche security operations that combine police, military and civilian elements to deal with problems that are outside NATO’s direct responsibility and for which a European force is politically and often technically best suited.

Lord Hamilton of Epsom: My Lords, does the Minister admit that the existing European security strategy document is succinct and straightforward? The problem is getting European countries to commit their armed

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forces to fighting against world threats, which we see demonstrated in Afghanistan where, on the whole, the contribution of our European allies is pitiful.

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, the noble Lord may have seen that today, tragically, two German soldiers have lost their lives. Europe is making a significant contribution through NATO, rather than through a pure European formulation. We have to work to win that war and to make sure that we are united in that purpose.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, does the Foreign Secretary or the Prime Minister have plans to make public speeches either in Britain or elsewhere in the European Union on the European security strategy or on the need for closer co-operation in foreign and security policy?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, we talk to the second all the time. The Georgia situation means that we are permanently discussing closer co-operation. As to the broader generic, the noble Lord has put me on the spot. I will have pleasure in writing to inform him of the answer.

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My Lords, what is the precise practical process under which the debate is taking place?

Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, Mr Solana is leading a review which will report back to the European Foreign Ministers Council in December. During the year, Mr Solana and his team have had consultations with public groups and member states.


3.06 pm

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, with the leave of the House, my noble friend Lady Royall of Blaisdon will repeat the Statement on the European Council at a convenient point after 3.30 pm.

Energy Bill

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That the amendments for the Report stage be marshalled and considered in the following order:

Clauses 1 to 36

Schedule 1Clauses 37 to 41Schedule 2Clauses 42 to 74Schedule 3

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Clauses 75 to 96Schedule 4Clause 97Schedule 5Clauses 98 to 102.—(Lord Hunt of Kings Heath.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Planning Bill

3.07 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD SPEAKER in the Chair.]

Clause 111 [Development for which development consent may be granted]:

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 337:

337: Clause 111, page 57, line 1, leave out from “required” to end of line 7

The noble Baroness said: Noble Lords are probably quite right to be leaving the Chamber; we will be discussing technicalities, and this is not the most riveting group of amendments—although the Minister is looking as if she feels that every group is riveting. I shall also be speaking to Amendment No. 338 in this group, but not to Amendments Nos. 339 and 341, as we have adequately covered those issues at this stage. The Minister’s amendments in this group are completely unrelated to mine, whereas the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, will be arguing that Clause 114 should not stand part of the Bill.

My amendments apply to Clause 111, which deals with development for which development consent—planning permission, in common parlance—may be granted by the Infrastructure Planning Commission. Amendment No. 337 would delete the definition of “associated development” which was added during Committee stage in the Commons. I suppose that one will not get brownie points with the other place if one seems to be arguing that something that they put into a Bill should come out, but the definition was added with the explanation that it was to clarify the definition of “England” and some matters regarding Wales and I am concerned about its scope.

I realise now that the words “the development” in subsection (5) refer to the associated development. I had been puzzled by the wording, and therefore by the subsection. As I say, however, subsections (2)(a) and (6) are drawn very widely—or are capable of being interpreted as such—in allowing the IPC to give permission for associated development which is more or less development associated with the main subject of the application. I am concerned that the scope is inappropriately wide.

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I have a question for the Minister. In view of the wording of Clause 110, the IPC cannot give consent to an application while excluding a part of it; the consent is either for the whole application or for nothing. Will it deal with associated development at the same time? Will guidance limit the associated development to what is necessary—which is perhaps the amendment that I should have tabled in the first place—or will it limit the consent to what is within the site of the application? As the provisions are now, it looks as if one could get development consent for, say, a power station and, as something associated with it, an office in a nearby town acting as an inquiry centre for local people. The term is extremely wide and I look forward to the Minister’s justification for it. I beg to move.

Lord Jenkin of Roding: Grouped with these amendments is the Question whether Clause 114 should stand part of the Bill, tabled in my name. I should say straightaway that I have tabled this in order to give the Minister an opportunity to clarify and explain the purpose of the new procedure for a legal challenge against a decision made by the IPC. I referred in earlier debates to the process for judicial review, which has become such a notable feature of our constitutional arrangements, in marked contradistinction to what was happening as recently as 20 years ago, and I am puzzled why this process is thought more appropriate than the customary statutory challenge made under Section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. That has seemed to be a reasonable and effective method of challenge and I cannot believe that resorting to judicial review will necessarily expedite such actions.

The clause prescribes as the deadline for bringing a judicial review a short period of only six weeks from the day on which the order or statement of reasons for making the order is published. That compares with the period of three months allowed under the statutory challenge, which of course is based on normal civil procedure rules. I suggest to the Minister that the shorter period will encourage more people than is the case at present to pursue judicial review against decisions taken by the commissioners in order to get through the gate before it closes. I cannot believe that that is what the Minister wants. This is a new area of uncertainty which has been introduced into the system and I am puzzled why the Government have done it. I hope the Minister will be able to explain the position.

3.15 pm

Baroness Andrews: This is a fascinating group of amendments and I am pleased that we are kicking off with it in our debates today. I shall respond first to Amendments Nos. 337 and 338, tabled by the noble Baroness. They would remove the provision in Clause 111 for an order granting development consent to be able to cover associated development as well. In effect, that would mean that an order could grant development consent only for development that is or forms part of a nationally significant infrastructure project, as described in Clauses 14, 30 and 31.

The noble Baroness made it clear that she is concerned about the scope of this provision. She feels that it is inappropriately wide and seeks reassurance that it will

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not be misused or used inappropriately. We are seeking to ensure that the new regime has clear boundaries and does not allow unrelated development to sneak through the back door. That is the burden of it. I understand the noble Baroness’s concerns, but before I address her specific questions I shall say a little about the scope of the clause.

Removing the provisions, as the amendments propose, would have serious consequences. Essentially, it would mean that development that was not part of a nationally significant infrastructure project but needed to facilitate it—for example, highways works and works in mitigation—could not be granted development consent by order. Any associated works would therefore need planning permission through the TCP system as it stands.

As has been described in previous debates in Committee, the whole point of the Planning Bill is to make a single process out of what is now a disparate, contradictory and awkward one. The amendment would take us away from the spirit of the Bill by introducing another fragmentation. It would be inefficient and completely contrary because the Bill seeks to rationalise the various different regimes that currently exist and introduce a new single consent regime so that developers could make a single application. Granting consent for associated works is therefore completely consistent and a logical element in that overall process.

We want to ensure that a promoter can combine the “core element” of a nationally significant infrastructure project together with associated works in a single application. Such associated works might include ensuring that the new infrastructure is connected to other national networks, for example, or other development which is needed to allow the infrastructure to operate as intended. I stress that associated works do not include the construction or extension of housing.

I can reassure the noble Baroness that, to ensure that this provision is not misused, the Secretary of State will set out guidance on what should or should not be considered an associated work which could form part of an order granting development consent. Where doubt remains, the IPC—which we know is independent and impartial—will decide the issue based on the guidance set out by the Secretary of State. If the IPC does not believe that the proposed works count as associated development, they will not be included in an order granting development consent.

I hope that I can answer categorically the two questions raised by the noble Baroness, of which she was kind enough to give me forewarning. She asked whether consent can be all or nothing. She is right up to a point. The IPC can grant consent on a different basis from that put forward by the developer—for example, in mitigation. If the IPC decides that the alignment of a runway needs to be corrected, to take an exaggerated example, it will have the flexibility to do that. That flexibility is extremely important. The IPC will be able to take a middle way, shall we say, between all or nothing. It will also deal with associated development at the same time as part of the attempt to streamline the process.

On the question of whether the guidance will be limited to necessary or associated development, the answer is that it must be necessary, because the guidance

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itself must be relevant. It is unlikely that it will have too broad a scope and take itself into fields that are not necessary. It will have to cover that point in the kind of criteria that it works through. As the noble Baroness will know, guidance is found in Clause 111, in Part 6. I hope that that takes care of both those details.

Baroness Hamwee: Before the Minister moves on, the part that puzzles me is her reference to something like “highway required for the project to be able to function”. I understand that a road extension or whatever may be needed for the project to function, but should that not be part of the original application? One reason why I am concerned about this is the danger, if it is not included in the original application, of consultation on it not being adequate because people will not have their minds directed to it.

Baroness Andrews: The noble Baroness is right in that respect. The purpose of a single consent regime is to present an application that is coherent and sustainable and takes into account all the implications, unlike some of the applications we have had where you find yourself further down the line looking at highway requirements that are significant but were not addressed in the original application.

Lord Dixon-Smith: I hesitate to interrupt, but would the Minister mind answering a question about a different subject? It is related to associated development, and I have raised it with her before. I am talking about carbon dioxide pipelines, and the reason for raising the subject once again is that over the weekend there were reports that some generating companies were considering putting in applications for further coal-fired electricity generation across the country. That is fine. All these generating stations are to be carbon-sequestration compatible, whatever that may mean; we do not know if carbon sequestration will either work or be economical if it does work. We know it is technically possible, but that is the limit of our knowledge at the moment.

Those pipelines, if they are part of the original application, will undoubtedly, under the Minister’s explanation, be associated development and will cause no problem. Associated development they may well be, though. But because no one knows whether this will work, and may not know for a decade, would that be considered part of the original application when it eventually arose, or would it have to be a completely separate application? For the sake of those who might be thinking these things through, it is essential to have that defined so they know what ground they are standing on before they start on this particular type of enterprise.

Baroness Andrews: The noble Lord has partially answered the question. As he says, we do not know at the moment what technologies are going to be needed to carry this form of whatever one calls it. So long as that is the case, it is difficult to be categorical. However, I feel sure that the principle would apply that, if we have the technology and we can do this, which would be very useful, then in due course that would count as “associated development” because it would be part of making the infrastructure itself function. I would rather

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take advice on this from my colleagues in BERR and write to the noble Lord, to see if we can give him a more specific answer.

Lord Dixon-Smith: If I may clarify the question, it is not so much whether the pipelines would be associated development but whether, if it was some years later, they would require a completely separate application.

Baroness Andrews: I do not know the answer to that; it would depend a bit on the scope of the original application. I should like to think about that because there are some significant implications there.

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