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House of Commons Hansard
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Planning Reforms: Environmental Standards
20 July 2020
Volume 678
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What assessment he has made of the effect on environmental standards of the Government’s proposed planning reforms. [904963]

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What assessment he has made of the effect on environmental standards of the Government’s proposed planning reforms. [904971]

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As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State mentioned in response to the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr Sheerman), the Government are committed to building not just better and faster but greener. As we consider reforms to our planning system, we are committed to ensuring that they create better outcomes for the environment and that decision making is properly informed by the science. My right hon. Friend the Environment Secretary set out this morning our intention to develop a reform framework for environmental assessment and mitigation.

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In 1958, planning permission was granted for Droppingwell tip to open in my constituency. The local community managed to get the tip closed in the 1990s because of their serious environmental concerns. Now, with no consultation and the vagaries of the planning system, it has been given the go-ahead again. It is likely to reopen in the very near future and is an environmental timebomb. For the last four years, I have been raising this repeatedly with the Environment Agency and the Government but to no avail. Will the Minister please meet me to look into this disastrous plan and step in to stop this unwanted and environmentally damaging development?

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I have every sympathy for the hon. Lady and her concerns in championing her constituents. I would point out that in my quasi-judicial role I cannot discuss individual planning matters, but I will refer her concern to my right hon. Friend the Environment Secretary, and of course if she wants to talk to me about a broader range of issues, I would be very happy to do that.

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Hounslow Council’s new council housing will no longer have gas boilers installed, only the newest low-energy systems available. Both the leader of Hounslow, Councillor Steve Curran, and community organisation Brentford Voice have said they would like national planning policies to require all new developments to incorporate low-emission energy systems. Will the Housing Secretary’s reforms require all new homes to be zero-carbon and affordable to run, yet still to be warm in winter and cool in summer?

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We were the first Government in the world to legislate to be zero-carbon by 2050, and we intend to meet that pledge, which is why we have introduced the future homes standard to reduce carbon emissions from homes built after 2025 by between 75% and 80%. I am prepared to listen to and consider all proposals to make us greener and better, and I look forward to hearing those proposals from the hon. Lady.