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Eco-Towns: Consultants

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consultancy advice (a) the Town and Country Planning Association, (b) Mr. Jim Duggan and (c) Mr. David Locke are providing to her Department on eco-towns; and at what cost in each case. (255250)

As set out in the written ministerial statement given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) on 7 March 2007, Official Report, column 128WS, we asked the Town & Country Planning Association (TCPA) with Professor David Lock, then Chair of the TCPA, to provide further advice on the practical application of the key sustainability and development criteria for eco-towns. More recently the TCPA has continued to advise my Department through developing best practice guidance on the laying out and planning of eco-towns and similar development, and co-ordinating the input of experts to this. This is generic guidance which is publicly available and at no time have TCPA been involved in advising us or assessing any individual eco-town projects.

To manage any potential conflicts of interest with Professor Lock’s role as a planning consultant and Chair of the TCPA at that time, a protocol of roles and responsibilities was drawn up and is publicly available on the TCPA’s website. Professor Lock’s involvement in advising this Department on eco-towns has only been through the TCPA and their work on the practical application of the key criteria for eco-towns. Professor Lock stood down as Chair of the TCPA last year, having served two terms in that role. In terms of the funding that we provide to the TCPA for this work I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) on 14 January 2009, Official Report, column 771W.

Mr. Jim Duggan has not been employed by this Department to provide advice on eco-towns.