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Brown retreat of planning quango  

Gordon Brown has struck a last-minute deal to avoid an embarrassing Commons defeat over Government planning reforms. The Prime Minister caved in to pressure from more than 60 Labour MPs who feared the creation of a powerful, unelected quango would force through power stations, motorways and wind farms in the face of local opposition.

The move came ahead of a crunch vote in the Commons today on the powers of the proposed Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC).

The Department for Communities and Local Government confirmed it would accept amendments from Labour MP Clive Betts, who led the rebellion, which would give local people a greater say.

The IPC will be legally required to take into account a report of local community views produced by the local councils.

And where a developer applies for a compulsory purchase order to buy land, the IPC will have to hold a public hearing into that order if someone affected wants it, and they will have the right to be heard at that hearing.

However, Dr Mark Avery, spokesman for conservation charity the RSPB, accused Labour backbenchers of being “bought off too cheaply”.

Shadow local government secretary Eric Pickles said: “If this bill gets the go-ahead Labour will have the green light to bulldoze our green and pleasant land.”

25 June 2008


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