Gordon Brown has bought off MPs with “concessions” to push through changes to planning laws – paving the way for nuclear power stations, wind farms and eco towns across Britain. He carried on saying that the reforms agreed in the Commons vote are “absolutely essential” in helping beat our addiction to oil.
Dismissing the experiences and needs of the vulnerable has been many people’s outlook for as long as we can remember (letter, “Passing the buck”, June 12).The Government promises that 4,000 new wind turbines, with another 3,000 out at sea, are to be built by 2020 – that would be one erected every day until then. There are also proposals for 10 new atomic reactors to start operations around 2020, as existing installations are decommissioned.
The shake-up allows for an Infrastructure Planning Commission which can approve projects like nuclear power plants, wind farms, New eco towns and airports in months, compared to the years it takes now.
My concern is that we will put major planning decisions in the hands of an unelected, unaccountable quango – and that residents, local councils and even MPs would lose their right to block developments. I fear for Clay Country with its proposed eco town and for the Luxulyan Valley – earmarked as a suitable site for a nuclear power station because of its geology.
How will local people have their say? They are the real losers who will be silenced from having any say on what goes in their own area. I believe we must be true to the ethos of Cornwall and protect our environment by taking considered planned actions with the people of Cornwall fully involved and consulted along the way to combat our carbon footprint. We must look to protecting our unique countryside and coast – our greatest assets.
The CBI, the employers’ organisation, is reported as saying: ‘The current planning system is far too slow, expensive and unpredictable, and it desperately needs an overhaul if we are to meet our climate change targets, or even keep the lights on in the next decade.”
Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?
Cornwall County Councillor St Austell North Division
5 July 2008
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