Friends of the Earth

Press Release

OUTRAGE OVER GOVERNMENT PROPOSALS TO FAST-TRACK PLANNING SYSTEM

17 Dec 2001

FOE Lawyers Study Details

Friends of the Earth is appalled at Government plans to fast-track the planning system for major infrastructure projects, published today, which undermines local democracy and environmental protection. The list of projects to be 'approved by Parliament' and not open to question at a public inquiry includes chemical plants, quarries, open-cast coal mines and dual-carriageways over 30km, as well as nuclear facilities, runways and ports. Friends of the Earth lawyers will now closely study the proposals to ensure they comply with human rights and environmental protection legislation.

Under Government proposals, Parliament will make the decision on a project and any local inquiry will take “as read the principle of, need for and location.” Friends of the Earth says this will be disastrous for the environment and citizens' rights.

Hugh Ellis, Planning Campaigner at Friends of the Earth said:

“We are stunned by the scope of this announcement. The Government has completely caved-in to industry. Under these disastrous proposals local peoples rights to object to chemical plants, quarries and open-cast coal mines has been severely undermined. Our lawyers will examine these details very closely.

“These plans are a nightmare for local democracy and the environment. Parliament will decide whether a community gets an airport, port or road in their neighbourhood. Local people will only have a say on smaller issues - such as what colour to paint the gates at their new nuclear power station.”

The Government proposals can be found at www.planning.dtlr.gov.uk/consult/majinfra/index.htm

Contact details:

Friends of the Earth, 26-28 Underwood St., LONDON N1  7JQ

Tel: 020 7490 1555 | Fax: 020 7490 0881 | Email: info@foe.co.uk | Website: http://www.foe.co.uk/

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