Householders could lose their legal right to complain about noise, pollution or disruption caused by the construction of major infrastructure projects under proposals set out in the Planning Bill.I bet MPs are exempt. Oh, what am I saying! They won’t be living anywhere near these areas…
Current proposals would see around 40 to 50 projects, including airports, rail links, trunk roads and power stations, given the go-ahead each year by the proposed new national planning commission.
The Government has sought to reassure councils that they will have an important role to play, with council-produced local impact assessments highlighting any potential negative impacts of development on local people.
However a clause in the Bill means councils will be unable to act on any complaints from local people regarding nuisance caused by noise, smell, light or pollution once work has started.
The clause states: "No proceedings, whether criminal or civil, in nuisance and no civil proceedings in respect of the escape of things from land other than proceedings for breach of statutory duty may be brought in relation to development, works or operations authorised by an order granting development consent."That’s not a bug. That’s a feature…
Currently all building sites must follow environmental guidelines. If the rules are broken, local authorities can force site workers to down tools and stop work as an ultimate sanction.
Last night, council leaders wrote to Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears expressing concerns that the controversial clause would silence local opposition to new building projects via the back door.
But it clearly shows not only their utter contempt for the rights of the citizens they rule with an increasing rod of iron, but for the ‘environmental’ causes they champion so often.
The government’s reaction?
However Whitehall sources said that councils will get three opportunities to have a say about major infrastructure projects instead of just one at present.Three more opportunities to be ignored, or to be bribed into acceptance. So generous….