§ Mr. Bates
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration he has given to the recommendations of the construction deregulation task538W force in relation to the contracting-out of the processing or planning applications and the introduction of a twin-tracking approach to technical assessment.
§ Mr. Baldry
The way in which planning authorities manage planning applications is best left to their discretion in the light of local circumstances. Planning authorities are already free to put the preliminary functions out to tender if they wish. But they must satisfy themselves that this would not compromise their statutory responsibilities, undermine the need to reach decisions on the basis of objective evidence or lead to conflicts of interest.