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People With Disabilities

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 8 May 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether his proposed planning legislation will require new developments to incorporate access rights for people with disabilities. [111254]

Clause 38 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill requires those responsible for preparing regional and spatial strategies and local development documents to exercise those functions with a view to contributing to the achievement of sustainable development. Sustainable development will be defined in guidance, but is already clearly set out in the Government's statement on sustainable development 'A Better Quality of Life—A Strategy for sustainable development for the UK—May 1999'. This will mean that planning policy makers, developers, and decision makers at national and local levels must take full account of the social, economic and environmental impacts of proposed developments—including the needs of people with disabilities.

Another measure to help bring about accessible environments is for local planning authorities to engage in better quality and wider consultation with local communities, including disabled people, at the start of the planning process. The new planning legislation will require local authorities to prepare Statements of Community Involvement which will set out how they will consult with local communities on preparing their local development plans.