“After years of failure, we welcome a fresh approach and are committed to working with the new government to make localism work. Offering incentives for new development and encouraging developers to involved locals will lead to better development, but we need to ensure that democracy is followed and that vital decision don’t get lost amid the kind of infighting and political bickering we often see at local level. As we know, the silent majority are often happy with things and it’s only those with the time on their hands to fill council meeting rooms who are heard.
“Bringing in a democratically accountable system for major infrastructure will be key to delivering large projects and it is absolutely essential that there are clear national guidelines for all areas of planning. We also need to be realistic about how much power we can devolve to councils. Many aspects of planning and regeneration are highly complex and will require resources which many councils will struggle with. Many planners are losing their jobs to help keep police and nurses in post, and there is a large amount of concern over how local authorities will be able to manage all these extra responsibilities with less staff.”
Liz Peace chief executive of the BPF, said:
“We’ve known for years that to cut carbon we would have to move away from coal to low carbon technologies. We need a clear, national policy for green energy that we have not had, despite longstanding targets and various promises around making new homes and commercial buildings zero carbon by 2016 and 2019. The planning system will have to facilitate the step-change in energy we will need to meet our targets as well as managing flood risk and dealing with all areas of sustainable development. To underpin this, plans need to be of suitable scale and so we will need strong regional leadership to manage this process in a coherent fashion.”
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