§ Mr. Pickles
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proposals he has to improve the built environment in London. 
§ Mr. McNulty
The Government is committed to improve the quality of the built environment and we are working with a wide range of partners to deliver this through a number of policy initiatives and actions. The Government's recently launched Sustainable Communities action programme is central to achieving this. Through Sustainable Communities and as part of the wider agenda to raise the quality of life in our622W communities, we are providing a total of £41 million over the next three years to support, among a range of initiatives, the work of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment to improve the design standards of buildings and spaces and the skills needed to deliver this. We are also promoting the establishment of "design champions" at both regional and local level and are working with the construction industry to develop the Design Quality Indicator (DQI) system that was launched in July 2002. Government planning policies have for some time made it clear that when submitting planning proposals applicants should be able to demonstrate how they have taken account of the need for good design. PPG1 "General Policy and Principles", for example, underlines that "good design should be the aim of all those involved in the development process and should be encouraged everywhere". The policy is supported by good practice guidance, "By Design". The Government will restate its commitment to good design when it updates PPG1.
In London, we are continuing to promote good quality higher density development through our planning powers, local authority development plans and we are working with the mayor, CABE, English Heritage and others to promote better design through good practice and pilot projects. We are also committed to establishing regional centres of excellence to promote best practice in the design and management of public spaces.