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By-laws and Consent Regimes

Volume 713: debated on Tuesday 27 October 2009


My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (John Denham) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today announcing action to further the Government’s commitment to ensure decisions on local matters are made as close to the people affected by them as possible.

First, following consultation I am proposing to change the rules about how certain by-laws are made, so that councils and their communities will be able to address local issues through by-laws without needing permission from Whitehall. I intend to seek the approval of each House to the necessary regulations under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. I am also proposing that councils should be able to enforce certain by-laws through fixed penalty notices, and I intend to make and lay before the House the necessary regulation to provide for this.

A copy of the summary document and government response, Communities in Control: Real People, Real Power, has been placed in the Library of the House.

As part of the same concerted drive, I also intend that my department will publish a consultation on proposals to either repeal or dramatically streamline more than half of the consent regimes my department is responsible for—relating to, for example, housing and land use, which currently require councils to seek government approval before acting.

Following the 2006 report Consent RegimesReducing Unnecessary Bureaucracy, which sets out the Government's intention to reduce the red tape and improve the local authority consent regime system, Communities and Local Government has undertaken two reviews to ensure the consent regimes it is responsible for are kept to a necessary minimum. The most recent review identified over half which, subject to consultation, could be either repealed or streamlined. The Government will retain powers where they consider that it will benefit local government and citizens to retain national oversight.