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Home / News and Insights / Blogs / Planning Act 2008 / 756: What the manifestos say about infrastructure planning

Today’s entry looks at the parties’ manifestos for what they say about infrastructure planning. I had to wait until the UKIP launch yesterday, obviously.

Here are links to the manifestos:

Conservative: Forward, Together
Labour: For the Many not the Few
Liberal Democrat:Change Britain’s Future
Green: A Confident and Caring Britain
UKIP: Britain Together

And here is an analysis by topic.

National Infrastructure Commission

The Conservatives don’t mention the NIC, so presumably will continue it. The Lib Dems assume it will continue, and say they will require it to take environmental implications into account. So do Labour, who will instruct it ‘on day one’ to report on how to roll out ultrafast broadband, and to upgrade the National Cycle Network (not necessarily on day one).

Planning

The Lib Dems would (as usual) create a community right of appeal for developments that do not comply with the local plan. The Conservatives would give councils powers to intervene where developers do not act on their planning permissions, and will ‘digitise the planning process’ (and much else). Labour will properly resource planning authorities and update compulsory purchase powers to make them more effective. They will introduce an ‘agent of change’ principle in planning law. I think that means if developments are planned near an existing potential nuisance (eg a music venue) then the developments have to pay for mitigation, not the existing venue. UKIP would enhance the status of ancient woodlands and establish a Housing Development Corporation that can gives itself planning permission for housing.

Housing

The three largest parties all parties pledge to build at least a million more houses. Even the Greens will build 100,000 a year, as will UKIP, although they will be ‘factory-built modular’ homes.

Fracking

The Conservatives support shale gas exploration, and I think are saying they will bring it into the Planning Act 2008 regime (‘when necessary, major shale planning decisions will be made the responsibility of the National Planning Regime’), while at the same time making non-fracking drilling (ie exploratory drilling, presumably) permitted development.

Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens oppose fracking but UKIP supports it.

Green belt

The Conservatives and Greens will maintain protection of the green belt; Labour say it is under threat and the Lib Dems and UKIP don’t mention it.

Particular projects

Heathrow – the Conservatives want a new runway at Heathrow; Labour want a new runway in the South East of England but don’t say where. The Lib Dems oppose new runways in the South East, as do the Greens. UKIP don’t want Heathrow and boast of their efforts to reopen Manston (which as someone with particular knowledge of that area, is particularly hollow).

Railways

The Lib Dems want HS2, Crossrail 2, East West Rail (the link between Oxford and Cambridge) and HS3 (the link between Liverpool and Hull). The Conservatives want HS2 and ‘Northern Powerhouse Rail’, which is presumably HS3 or a section of it but no mention of Crossrail 2. Labour wants HS2, Crossrail 2 and ‘Crossrail for the North’ – the parties really need to agree on what the northern city connecting railway will be called. The Greens don’t want HS2 and don’t mention HS3 or Crossrail 2. UKIP don’t want HS2, and don’t mention other projects, although would also move the Lower Thames Crossing highway project further east.

Other

The Conservatives will establish a national infrastructure police force, which sounds cool except turns out to be a merger of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Ministry of Defence Police and British Transport Police.

The Conservatives mention ‘infrastructure’ 26 times, the Lib Dems 24 times, Labour 16 times, UKIP eight times and the Greens zero times (nor ‘planning’, for that matter).

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