Following the launch of our industrial strategy, the Government are in the early stages of designing a devolution framework for England. Areas such as Derbyshire and the east midlands should seek widely supported, ground-up proposals in line with the framework.
After the failure of the earlier devolution proposals, can the Minister confirm that the Government are still interested in further proposals coming from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, perhaps along the lines of the Derby and Nottingham metro proposal published a couple of weeks ago? Can he also confirm that there is now no requirement for an elected mayor?
We are of course aware of Derby and Nottingham City Councils’ metro proposals, although we have not received a formal submission to the Government. I can confirm that the door remains open for devolution in this area and that, in line with our manifesto, there is no requirement for rural areas to have a mayor.
In the North East Derbyshire constituency and my own, the INEOS shale gas fracking company has applied for its planning application to be determined by the national Planning Inspectorate, not the local authority. Does the Minister condemn that?