New Clause 10 — Local Development Plan

Part of Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill — [2nd Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 2:45 pm on 9th December 2003.

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Photo of John Gummer John Gummer Conservative, Suffolk Coastal 2:45 pm, 9th December 2003

I am entirely in favour of what the Government have done on major infrastructure projects. That is crucial. I would have wanted them to go further, and I supported the previous proposals. That is something that the general body politic needs if Britain is to be able to make difficult major decisions. However, as my hon. Friend says, the principle should be extended to these issues. In terms of a locality, these decisions are just as important. They may not be important to the nation, but in my constituency a decision relating to whether a new park-and-ride service should be at one place rather than another, is, to the people who live nearby, just as crucial as a decision relating to terminal 5. Therefore, the system must not be hijacked by a small number of campaigners. I say that about wind farms. I would not like to embarrass the Minister, but I oppose a particular scheme in my constituency. For the people round about, such issues really matter, and he should have the powers to ensure that inspectors can do their jobs without being hijacked by small groups.

For that reason, I hope that he will be careful in his reply, offer to take some of these points on board, and use the other House for the excellent purpose for which it exists, which is to revise. There is no shame about second thoughts; I have had them myself, and I certainly will not crow if the Minister is kind enough to take some of those points on board.