HC Deb 15 January 1998 vol 304 c258W
Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will announce his policy for the future of town and country planning in England; and if he will make a statement. [23787]

Mr. Caborn

I have today placed copies of my Policy Statement in the Library of the House. This Statement confirms that we shall retain the principles of the town and country planning system established by the post-war Labour Government. For 50 years, these have demonstrated their flexibility and served us well. There are, however, a number of missing dimensions that this Government will put in place to cope with the challenges they now face.

These are: the European context for planning in this country; clearer statements of national policy for the small number of projects where decentralisation of decision-making is not possible; effective arrangements for regional planning so that more issues can be resolved at this level; a continuous search for improvements in local efficiency; and a willingness to consider economic instruments and other modern tools to help meet the objectives of positive planning.

My Policy Statement on Modernising Planning describes how we will fill these gaps. As part of this package, I am also today placing in the Library and publishing a consultation paper on the future of Regional Planning Guidance in England.