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Planning reform 'will speed up major projects'

NEWS

THE construction of roads, shopping centres and power stations will be made easier if the Government adopts proposals outlined by economist Kate Barker to change planning laws in the UK.

The review, which was published on Tuesday, called for an independent commission to make decisions on major planning issues as well as a fast track service for domestic and commercial extensions.

The review also suggested that prospective developers should no longer have to demonstrate the need for development and that the appeals system should be speeded up through a new Planning Mediation Service.

Andrew Crudgington, policy manager at the Institution of Civil Engineers, said: 'We have consistently highlighted in our State of the Nation report that the current planning system has been a barrier to upgrading vital national infrastructure networks.

'We would like to see a simpler, more predictable and efficient system, which will approve plans at the appropriate level, be that national, regional or local.'

Applications relating to projects of national importance such as building new nuclear power stations, railways or road networks would be handled by a centralised planning system that is expected to be less sympathetic to pressure groups calling for enquiries.