§ Mr. Simon Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to call in any application by a local authority to itself for permission for any development which would destroy ancient woodland; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Yeo
No. My right hon. Friend's policy is to exercise his power to call in planning applications very selectively, and generally only when planning issues of more than local importance are involved. However, my right hon. Friend will pay close attention to any request by the Nature Conservancy Council that a planning application which affects ancient woodland which has been classed as a site of special scientific interest should be called in for his decision.
My hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Mr. Spicer), then the Minister for Housing and Planning, announced on 25 July 1990, Official Report, column 372, that my right hon. Friend intends to amend the Town and Country Planning (Development Plans) (England) Direction 1981 so as to require local authorities to report to him any development proposal by them or on their land which would conflict with the development plan, to enable him to consider calling in such proposals for his own decision.