They inflicted two more defeats as the Planning & Compulsory Purchase Bill returned to the Lords, and the stage is set for a new bout of parliamentary ping-pong.
The Conservatives said the counties must retain powers in areas with no elected regional assemblies, rather than having an advisory role.
Baroness Hanham, Conservative local government spokesman, said: 'We believe it is vital to ensure decisions are not taken at a regional level without the detailed knowledge and expertise from those closer to local developments.'
Planning minister Lord Rooker denied the government was 'squeezing democracy out of the system' and said the public would gain greater involvement in the planning system as a result of the legislation.
He warned there was a limit to the amount of parliamentary time that could be devoted to the