The Royal Town Planning Institute has outlined an eight-point plan designed to make the Government’s expected proposals for a new planning regime for major infrastructure schemes both workable and acceptable.
The RTPI produced its check list in advance of the publication of the Government’s Planning White Paper, due shortly.
That policy document is expected to contain plans for an independent planning commission which would determine major infrastructure projects such as new airports, power stations, motorways and reservoirs.
Rynd Smith, head of policy and practice at the RTPI, said: “The institute is supportive of an independent commission; however it must be firmly rooted within a democratic and consultative process and a framework of clear national policy.”
He added: “By establishing clear national policies, Government will reduce delays and make the system much more representative than it currently is.”
The RTPI has stressed that the commission must be independent from Government but set within a clear national policy framework established through Parliament by the Government.
The creation of a national spatial infrastructure plan – after full public consultation – will be crucial, argued the institute.
Other key issues highlighted by the RTPI included the need to consult the relevant local authority or authorities where it is clear any decision will have a local impact.
The planners have also suggested there should be several “core” commissioners and a wide range of associate commissioners to ensure the new organisation’s workload can be handled efficiently and quickly.
In addition the RTPI has proposed that the commission should be held accountable with regular audits by the Government and through an annual report to Parliament which would also assess the adequacy of the policy framework within which the commission was working.The Planning Portal News 22.5.07