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East of England Regional Strategy (Revocation)

Volume 555: debated on Tuesday 11 December 2012

The coalition Government have today laid in Parliament an order to revoke the regional strategy for the East of England. All directions preserving policies contained in structure plans in the area to which the East of England regional strategy relates are also revoked.

Following the passage of the Localism Act, the abolition of the regional strategy for the East of England is a major milestone for localism.

This Government have been clear from the outset that planning works best when the people it affects are placed at the heart of the system. The abolition of regional planning across this region will give local councils and local people right across the former East of England government region more control of shaping the places in which they live. It reinforces our policy to enshrine the local plan, produced with the involvement of local people, as the keystone of the planning system.

The regional strategy imposed development upon communities. Such a top-down process just built resentment. Its removal means the issues that matter to local communities in the region can take centre stage. Only local people understand the unique priorities, aspirations and heritage of an area. Local empowerment brings development by consensus; development that is more sensitive to local characteristics, including to habitats and the environment, and development that is good for growth. Matched with the duty to co-operate, a statutory requirement upon local councils to work together to plan for cross-boundary development, we believe that a locally-led planning system can better deliver the homes, jobs and infrastructure the country needs.

As outlined in the written ministerial statement of 25 July 2012, Official Report, House of Lords, column WS66-68, the decision to revoke the East of England regional strategy has been made after a strategic environmental assessment and comprehensive consultation on the environmental impacts of abolition. The reasons for the decision to revoke the regional strategy rather than retain all or part of the strategy are set out in a post-adoption statement, which has been placed in the Library of the House and is available online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/strategic-environmental-assessment-of-revoking-the-east-of-england-regional-strategy.

The order is laid under the negative resolution procedure and will take effect on 3 January.