Localism (Infrastructure Projects)

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 29 June 2015.

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Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire 2:30, 29 June 2015

What steps his Department is taking to ensure that localism is prioritised in the decision-making process for nationally significant infrastructure projects.

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Communities and Local Government)

The nationally significant infrastructure planning system strikes a fair and effective balance between two important needs: the national need for infrastructure to underpin growth and sustainability, and the need to address community concerns and maximise local benefits from investment.

Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

I thank the Minister for that non-answer. I would like him to explain to the residents of West Lancashire why, despite the Government’s claim to support localism in the planning process, permission was granted to dump hazardous waste for 20 more years at Whitemoss landfill, for which there was no demonstrable need, either local or regional, and which was opposed by thousands of local residents, the borough council, the county council and me as the local MP. Surely this means—

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Communities and Local Government)

Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I thank the hon. Lady for her gracious comments. As she probably realises, that planning application is still within the six-week period during which a decision can be challenged. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on a specific scheme, owing to the quasi-judicial nature of planning.

Photo of Andrew Bridgen Andrew Bridgen Conservative, North West Leicestershire

Many of my constituents feel that localism is failing them when they oppose large-scale wind farms and solar farms. Will the Minister consider a minimum buffer zone between such projects and settlements, which would give my constituents some comfort?

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Communities and Local Government)

I thank my hon. Friend for that question. I am sure he will appreciate that local communities absolutely have their say under the new wind turbine regime.