Of course it is to be welcomed when local authorities co-operate sensibly to deliver what their communities need, but the key question is this. What happens if they refuse to co-operate with one another? What happens if the duty to co-operate simply stops at sending a letter and being told to take a running jump? Where do we go then? Hon. Members will have to address that in the course of this debate.
The new system that we are putting in place must deliver on the issues that require strategic planning. Those issues include housing needs, climate change mitigation and adaptation—in particular, flood risk—economic development including retail needs, energy needs and capacity, biodiversity, natural resource use including waste management, and transport. I stress again that the overwhelming body of evidence that came before the Committee in relation to all those issues—everyone was saying the same thing—was that without effective sub-regional planning, they would be immensely difficult to deliver.