Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima

Hitachi- from the country that brought the world Fukushima
We feel very sad for the people of Japan who want to end nuclear energy whilst a potential new government and big business are desperate for it

No Fukushima at Oldbury

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

No to Fukushima at Shepperdine!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Matthew Riddle Slams The IPC in Recent South Gloucs Council Meeting

Matthew realises how stupid this planning procedure is! 

What will happen if there is a change of Government


Here is the motion I recently proposed at  the meeting of South Gloucestershire Council. It was approved, except that a majority of councillors actual voted to remove the two bullet points coloured red.
Also attached is my speech I made in proposing the motion. I will also update you in due course of what I else I have been doing on this important issue.
Kind Regards
Cllr Matthew Riddle 
South Gloucestershire Councillor for the Severn Ward

Councillor Matthew Riddle Proposed and Councillor Brian Allinson Seconded that:
This Council:
  • • Notes the Government’s major overhaul of the planning system for major
infrastructure projects introduced through the Planning Act 2008;
  • • Expresses specific concern at the creation of the new independent Infrastructure
Planning Commission (IPC), which will hear evidence about, as well as take the final
decision on, major infrastructure projects;
  • • Believes that decisions of such importance should not be taken by an unelected and
unaccountable new quango, but by elected officials, only after affected local
communities that had their voices heard and listened to;
  • • Notes the implications for potential major infrastructure projects in South
Gloucestershire, including projects to harness the tidal energy of the River Severn,
as well as a new nuclear power station at Oldbury;
  • • Requests that the Leader of the Council write to the Prime Minister calling for the
undemocratic IPC to be scrapped and for the approval process for major
infrastructure projects to be fair, transparent and democratic.
  • • Is committed to ensuring as far as possible that the approval process for any major
infrastructure projects affecting South Glos. is fair, transparent and democratic and
therefore takes very seriously the special status of Local Authorities in the process;
  • • Requests Officers to prepare, as a matter of urgency, for Cabinet approval and
publication, a plan of action:
1) for involving residents in responding to the consultation on the recently
published Nation Planning Statements, giving priority to proposals for a new
nuclear power station at Oldbury;
2) for working closely with the applicants for the Oldbury power station to ensure
full community involvement before the application is submitted;
3) for the preparation of the Scoping Report for the Environmental Impact
Assessment and the Local Impact Report;
  • • Requests officers to regard this action plan as a pilot for approaching other National
Planning Statements and applications to the IPC.
  • • Notes the planning fee for the application will all be allocated to the IPC and
therefore requests the Leader of Council to write to the Prime Minister calling upon
him to allocate the necessary funding to enable S.G.C. to fulfil these new
responsibilities without detriment to its other services.

 Cllr Riddle's speech : 'Our underlying preference should always be for democratic accountability. That means that wherever possible, Ministers should execute their responsibilities through their departments, and for decisions to be taken at the lowest appropriate level.

However, recent changes to the planning regime for major infrastructure projects, including the creation of the IPC is another example of the growing quango state.

Clearly, we need speedier outcomes than the current planning process produces, but we must at the same time ensure proper democratic accountability.

Far from speeding up the planning process, the IPC – made up on unaccountable commissioners - will quickly become bogged down in legal challenges and so Ministers’ sacrificing of proper democratic checks and balances will have been done for nothing.

The Government’s own Impact Assessment found that the IPC procedure will cost ten times more than current arrangements. This is the sort of exorbitant cost that we now expect from Government quangos.

There would need to be a transition period as the IPC is abolished - the consideration of pending planning applications should be transferred to the Secretary of State, using the Planning Inspectorate to run the inquiries. This would avoid the need for applicants to re-apply and start the process from scratch as the IPC is abolished.

The concerns about the Government’s planning changes that I raise today are not just mine – but are also shared by many independent organisations that make up the Better Planning coalition, which includes CPRE, The National Trust, Friends of the Earth, RSPB and Civic Trust, which between them have the support of more than 5 million people.

At a time when public trust in politics is so fragile, plans to eradicate proper democratic involvement in major planning applications will just fuel further public cynicism and disillusionment.

I am appealing to all South Gloucestershire councillors to unite on the need for the Government to scrap this IPC quango and ensure local people are central to the approval process for any major new infrastructure project, in South Gloucestershire and across the country.'

1 comment:

  1. This is good news indeed well done to all concerned! At least south glos are at last realising the non democratic process this is being pushed through and that they have a very important role to play in making sure local people are listened to and that they need additional funds to do this.
    South Glos' contribution in the DECC consultation on the NPS is critical if we are to stand any chance of making sure that key problems with this proposal are re-dressed. As it stands the NPS ensures that the IPC need not consider health risks or nuclear waste management issues and they have to bear in mind the nations over-riding greater need for nuclear energy in considering whether for example the hideous visual impact of 200m high cooling towers or the disruption of 5000 largely male migrant workers can be acceptable! This means that we could be stuck with 200m high cooling towers and caravan parks all over the area no matter what we say.
    Local people are in desperate need of help with the DECC consultation the NPS documents they need to read are vast and way beyond the expertise of local people.
    Not sure how south glos are going to be able to help residents in responding to the consultation on the NPS as there is very little time left (less than a month) but its good to see they are going to try. I look forward to seeing this happening VERY soon.
    I assume also that south glos will be responding to the consultation themselves and this response will hopefully demand that the over-riding national need does not leave us with a hideous monster of a power station and a nuclear waste dump on our door step for future generations to wonder "why the hell did they let that happen....."


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