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Green light for Planning Bill

Moves to speed up planning for major projects such as power stations and airports moved a step closer last night after ministers voted to approve the government’s Planning Bill.

Among the key changes that will be delivered by the Bill will be the creation of an infrastructure planning commission that would be responsible for examining applications for development consent for such major projects, taking this final decision making power from ministers.

But the commission’s creation has proved controversial, and the Government had to see off a last minute bid by rebel MPs to include a clause in the Bill keeping this final say in the hands of ministers. The bid was defeated by 303 votes to 260.

The Bill also includes the introduction of a new Community Infrastructure Levy on developments to finance infrastructure.

It would raise money from developers to pay for facilities needed as a consequence of new developments, such as schools, hospitals and sewage plants.