§ Mr. Luff
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what procedures should be adopted when new Government guidance is issued following the close of a local planning inquiry but before the adoption of that plan; how the public and participants in the inquiry are to be kept informed and involved; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Sir Paul Beresford
If new Government guidance is issued following the close of a local plan inquiry, but before the planning inspector issues his report, that new guidance will be taken into account by the inspector in making his recommendations. In considering the inspector's recommendations, the local planning authority will decide what formal modifications need to be made to the plan. If new guidance is issued after the inspector's report has been received by the local authority, then the authority will need to decide how it intends to take on board the new guidance through formal modifications to the plan. The processes involved in making modifications to the plan, and in keeping the public and participants in the inquiry informed, are detailed in the Town and Country Planning (Development Plan) Regulations 1991, and in the code of practice on development plans, issued by my Department as a booklet, "Development Plans: What you need to know". However, planning policy guidance note 12, paragraph 4.19 makes it clear that where new information becomes available at a late stage in the plan adoption process, and modification would only delay implementation of proposals not affected by the new information, it may be preferable to adopt the plan and start an early review.