Environment minister Lord Ullswater said:
'In his announcement of 2 March, John Gummer set out his decision on the Local Government Commission's recommendations for Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Durham. In doing so, he indicated that he was accepting the commission's recommendations on land-use planning matters, in two of those instances with minor modification to take account of his decision on structure.
'In his decision for Bedfordshire, the secretary of state accepted the commission's recommendation for a unitary Luton but proposed the retention of a two-tier structure for the remainder of the county.
'In making these decisions, the secretary of state has also accepted the commission's recommendation that strategic planning should be maintained across the areas of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire respectively, as they exist at present.
'He therefore considers that the unitary authority for Luton should assume joint responsibility with Bedfordshire CC for structure planning for the whole of their combined areas, and that the unitary authority for Milton Keynes should assume joint responsibility with Buckinghamshire CC for structure planning for their combined areas.
'He has also accepted the recommendation that both unitary authorities should be authorised to include minerals and waste planning policies in their district-wide local plans.
'The secretary of state has already indicated in the announcement of his decision on Durham that he accepts the commission's recommendation that Darlington should establish joint structure planning arrangements with the proposed unitary authorities of Hartlepool, Middlesborough, Redcar and East Cleveland, and Stockton on Tees.
'He proposes that the unitary authority for Darlington, like the four Cleveland authorities, should be authorised to include minerals and waste planning policies in its district-wide local plan.
'The secretary of state expects the authorities concerned to make the necessary joint working arrangements to carry out the strategic planning functions over the areas indicated.'