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Housing, Communities and Local Government

Volume 716: debated on Monday 13 June 2022

Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill

The following is an extract from the Second Reading of the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill on 8 June 2022.

I wonder if there is a page missing in my copy of the Bill, because I was looking for the net zero test, which I am sure the Secretary of State would agree ought to be applied to all planning decisions, policies and procedures, yet it is conspicuous by its absence. Does he agree that if we are serious about using this Bill to really level up, then we need to have that net zero test? Can he commit to that now?

I will say three things as briefly as I can. First, the national planning policy framework that will be published in July will say significantly more about how we can drive improved environmental outcomes. Secondly, there is in the Bill a new streamlined approach to ensuring that all development is in accordance with the highest environmental standards. Thirdly, as the hon. Lady knows, under the 25-year environment plan and with the creation of the Office for Environmental Protection, the non-regression principle is embedded in everything that we do. The leadership that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has shown, not least at COP26, in driving not just this country but the world towards net zero should reassure her on that front.

[Official Report, 8 June 2022, Vol. 715, c. 822.]

Letter of correction from the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations, the right hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove).

An error has been identified in my response to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas).

The correct response should have been:

I will say three things as briefly as I can. First, a document setting out how we intend to change national planning policy that will be published in July will say significantly more about how we can drive improved environmental outcomes. Secondly, there is in the Bill a new streamlined approach to ensuring that all development is in accordance with the highest environmental standards. Thirdly, as the hon. Lady knows, under the 25-year environment plan and with the creation of the Office for Environmental Protection, the non-regression principle is embedded in everything that we do. The leadership that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has shown, not least at COP26, in driving not just this country but the world towards net zero should reassure her on that front.