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GOVERNMENT PLANS MUST NOT HARM ENVIRONMENT OR LOCAL DEMOCRACY, LGA DEMANDS

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A planned independent commission to oversee major infrastructure projects must not come at the expense of the envir...
A planned independent commission to oversee major infrastructure projects must not come at the expense of the environment and a strong voice for local people, the Local Government Association has warned.

A white paper out today is expected to set out proposals for an independent planning commission.

If it goes ahead, the body will decide on nationally important projects - like airports, motorways and power stations - guided by national policy statements drawn up by central government.

But the LGA warned there must be safeguards to protect local community interests and the environment.

It wants the decision-making body's remit to be limited to national issues only and for local councils to have a strong role.

LGA chairman Lord Sandy Bruce-Lockhart said: 'The white paper offers a real opportunity to bring in a planning system which promotes economic growth and protects healthy environments, rewards innovation and vision and gives democratically elected local councillors the ability to create places where people can thrive.

'For this to happen, the government must deliver on its rhetoric and devolve powers away from the national and regional level and closer to people and the places where they live and work.'

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