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PLANNING REFORMS MUST NOT COMPROMISE DEMOCRACY SAY FOE

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Reforms to the planning system proposed last week by planning minister, Richard Caborn, must not prevent members of...
Reforms to the planning system proposed last week by planning minister, Richard Caborn, must not prevent members of the public from putting their case at public inquiries said Friends of the Earth. That would only further undermine public confidence in government.

Roger Higman, senior planning campaigner at Friends of the Earth said:

'Most planning inquiries are over in a few weeks, if they are held at all. The few inquiries which last longer largely do so because the projects concerned are extremely unpopular. There is no excuse for the government to cut back on the public's right to argue against such controversial projects'.

Friends of the Earth pointed out that in the last fifteen years, there were 'perhaps 10 projects ... where the public inquiry lasted more than 3 months'.

However, FOE welcomed the government's promise to issue more explicit national planning policy guidance (and suggested that guidance on airports is urgently needed); its decision that the devolution of 'statutory planning at the regional levels will have to await a democratically-accountable statutory body to undertake it'; and its commitment to the use of planning conferences to prepare draft regional guidance.
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