Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

New Clause 8 — Parliamentary requirements

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 9:00 pm on 2nd June 2008.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Labour, Hayes and Harlington 9:00 pm, 2nd June 2008

That intervention is incredibly helpful; I do not know how the hon. Gentleman will fit that into tomorrow night's concert, but I look forward to hearing the lyrics. [Interruption.] I thought that I would get another plug in for him. The essential point that I am trying to make is that this legislation, which I fully and wholeheartedly support with regard to national policy statements, sets a rigorous standard of process for engagement with the wider general public, the various other statutory bodies and the interest groups. A definitive statement on policy will then be arrived at, and the IPC can use it to guide its decisions.

Any process by which we tried to pre-empt that and bounce in an existing statement without due process would undermine the whole system and be open to challenge. We cannot use existing White Papers as a stopgap or to justify major infrastructure decisions because they are so out of date. It would be better to await the development of proper NPSs before any major infrastructure decisions are made. In that way, we would arrive at legitimate decisions that may achieve popular support.

I obviously have concerns about the development of Heathrow, but that is not the only issue. There are genuine concerns across the piece about the development of NPSs from existing statements without due process. I shall list the organisations that have expressed concern about the clause in question, which I have tabled an amendment to delete. Those organisations include the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the Civic Trust, Friends of the Earth, the National Trust, the Ramblers Association, the Woodland Trust, the Campaign for Better Transport, the Wildlife Trust, the Council for National Parks, Plantlife International, the Geoconservation Association, the Enough is Enough organisation, AirportWatch and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. I do not know of a greater and wider coalition that has come together on an environmental issue. Those organisations represent millions of our constituents who are anxious about this process. They want to see due process take place and to be involved in the development of NPSs, which would give them credibility.

There is potential for a new planning process based on real engagement, which could build up once again the credibility of planning. It could also meet the Government's criteria for expeditious decision making. On the basis of the assurances that we have been given and the Minister's tacit consent to the statements I have just made about my beliefs about the Government's position, I shall not press my amendment to a vote tonight.

Embed this video

Copy and paste this code on your website