HC Deb 19 July 1974 vol 877 cc941-2

(1) A county or district planning authority or a joint or special planning board for a national park may require an applicant for planning permission under the Town and County Planning Act 1971 to furnish information concerning the emission of pollutants and other substances into the air from any premises in respect of which the application is made.

(2) This section shall not apply to premises in so far as they consist of a private dwelling.—[Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

The clause is based on the speech made by Lord Molson on Report stage of the Bill in the House of Lords. It turns upon one single issue: whether a local authority should have powers, before planning permission is granted, to know the likely strength of an emission from a plant that is to be put up, or to leave the situation as it is. By that I mean that only after the plant has been built can the emission be judged by the local authority, since the Alkali Inspectorate is at present the authority which decides whether or not an emission is acceptable.

I do not propose to take up the time of the House on this matter because the noble Lord Molson put the argument extremely well. I should be grateful for the Minister's views on the subject.

Mr. Denis Howell

I am sorry to continue to disappoint the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. McNair-Wilson), especially as he has put his argument so persuasively and reasonably.

I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments behind the clause. It is important that possible emissions into the atmosphere should be taken into account by local planning authorities when considering planning applications. However, local authorities already have full powers to obtain this information. Therefore, in our judgment the clause is not necessary.

The existing power is contained in Article 5(1) of the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1973, under which a local planning authority may require such information as it may specify to enable it to determine a planning application. The Government's view is that local authorities should be encouraged to do this and that no planning application should be granted until the local authority has taken full account of the effect of the pollution that is likely to be caused as a result of the granting of an application. If we thought that there was any doubt about it, we would move in this direction.

I hope I have assured the hon. Gentleman that his fears and the fears of the noble Lord are not well founded.

Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

I am grateful for the Minister's answer, and I beg to ask leave to withdraw the new clause.

Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.

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