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COUNCILS NOT TO BLAME FOR PLANNING DELAYS, SAYS LGA

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Delays to planning procedures are not the fault of local authorities, said David Sparks, chair of the Local Governm...
Delays to planning procedures are not the fault of local authorities, said David Sparks, chair of the Local Government Association's Environment Board.

Responding to the government's aim of speeding up the planning process for power plants, Mr Sparks said: 'There's definitely a case for changing the planning procedures because at the present moment they are becoming ridiculous.'

It is not councils that hold up the planning process, he told BBC Radio Four's Today programme this morning. 'Local authorities have strict timetables in processing planning applications. Where you get the problem is when the government takes over with its inquiries,' he said.

'The reason you've then got a problem is because you've got lots of fat cats paying fancy fees to fat lawyers and it takes a long time and local people get elbowed out.'

The planning system should give local people the chance to have their say about the impact of an energy plant on the area; it is not the place for debating the government's energy policy, he said.

'It's not in the interests of council taxpayers to continue with the system whereby huge amounts of money are spent exploring labyrinthine details which are nothing to do with the general issue. It's just vested interests trying to get their own way.'

LGA LOCAL PEOPLE COULD LOSE THEIR RIGHTS IN ENERGY REVIEW

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