HC Deb 03 December 2003 vol 415 cc97-8W
Simon Hughes:

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what the Government's policy is on (a) calling in planning applications and (b) reviewing local authority planning decisions where they affect (i) greenfield sites and (ii) semi-natural green belt sites; and if he will make a statement; [140965]

(2) what the Government's policy is on reviewing local authority planning decisions where they affect greenfield sites and green belt sites where no Environmental Impact Assessment has been made; and if he will make a statement. [140966]

Keith Hill:

My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister's general approach is not to interfere with the jurisdiction of local planning authorities unless it is necessary to do so. Standard policy is to be very selective about calling in planning applications. In general, this step is only taken if planning issues of more than local importance are involved and if those issues need to he decided by my right hon. Friend rather than at a local level. Such cases may include those which: may conflict with national policies on important matters; could have significant effects beyond their immediate locality; give rise to substantial regional or national controversy; raise significant architectural and urban design issues; or may involve the interests of national security of foreign Governments. Each case is, however, considered on its own merits

The Government's general policy and practice is not to review decisions taken by local authorities on individual planning applications. When a planning application comes before my right hon. Friend, on appeal for example, he will determine it in accordance with the development plan for the area and relevant national planning policies, including Planning Policy Guidance notes (PPG). PPG2 (Green Belts), PPG3 (Housing) and PPG7 (The Countryside) would be particularly relevant in relation to greenfield sites. Where relevant, regard will also be had to the requirements of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment)(England and Wales) Regualtions.