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Railhub Archive
2001-12-17 DTR-001
Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions


Faster, fairer decisions on national projects - Falconer

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Parliamentary procedure

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Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions

Faster, fairer decisions on national projects - Falconer

17 Dec 2001 00:00
source Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions
type Press release

Quicker and more democratically accountable decision making on nationally important projects like airports, rail links and roads was announced today by Planning Minister Lord Falconer.

New Parliamentary procedures will potentially chop years off the lengthy and cumbersome planning process but, crucially, without damaging communities right to object, said Lord Falconer.

He said:

''There is no connection between the length of time it takes to reach a conclusion and the quality of that outcome. Faster decisions are not necessarily worse decisions.

''The current system with its adversarial, legalistic nature excludes people, is hard to understand and is expensive. It serves neither the interests of business nor the wider community.

''There is a clear business case for moving decisions on nationally important projects to the nation''s Parliament.

''But communities will also benefit by the enhanced consultation rights I have announced today. There will be few outside legal circles who will mourn the demise of the current system.''

Under new arrangements, Parliament will fully consider the merits of a scheme only after public consultation. The public inquiry system will remain in place to consider the detailed proposals. The Secretary of State will continue to make the final decision, as necessary.

People will be involved at three key stages in the process. Before the Parliamentary stage people would be involved in the development of Government policy, which would normally involve public consultation.

They will have a right to object to a proposed project and for Parliament to have copies of all objections and representations. People will also be able to express their views at a subsequent public inquiry on the detailed aspects of the proposal.

The proposals are part of the biggest shake up of the planning system in 50 years launched last week with the planning green paper and a consultation document on speeding up the compulsory purchase order system.

Lord Falconer added:

''Our proposals will save time by reducing the length of public inquiries. It surely cannot be right that decisions on projects of national importance can take up to eight years. What business needs is certainty and predictability from planners. Our proposals will deliver these.

''Parliament must now decide what procedures are appropriate for the scrutiny of major projects.''

Notes to Editors

1. These proposals relate to major infrastructure projects of national significance like major airports, major road and rail schemes, power stations and major dams. A full list is contained in annex C of the consultation document.

2. The proposals were announced to the House of Commons in a Parliamentary Answer by Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions on Monday, December 17.

3. The consultation document Major Infrastructure Projects: Delivering a Fundamental Change was published at the same time. The deadline for comment is on these proposals is 22 March 2002.

4. Introducing the new procedures will require primary legislation. This will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows.

E-mail: Public Enquiries: 020 7944 3000 DTLR website:

Railhub Archive ::: 2001-12-17 DTR-001


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