Osbornes’ latest Crazed Anti Green Rant -NGOs are ‘Environmental Taliban’

Telegraph

George Osborne has begun describing the green lobby as the “environmental Taliban”, it has been reported.

 

The joking reference reflects the Chancellor’s position as the Treasury fights to water down renewable energy commitments in the Coalition’s Energy Bill, according to a newspaper.

 

 

It comes after the Government’s quad of top decision makers – Osborne, David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander – met yesterday to thrash out details of the legislation with Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey. The bill is expected to be published within weeks.

 

 

Mr Davey is said to be pushing for a legally binding commitment to the total amount of carbon that can be emitted by power stations by 2030, in order to “bind in” the Government to renewable energy.

 

 

The Liberal Democrat minister has also been arguing that the Treasury should guarantee loans that energy companies will need to invest in new renewable and nuclear power stations.

 

However, Mr Osborne and the Treasury have been opposing both measures, reflecting the Chancellor’s growing scepticism about the need to take immediate action to “de-carbonise” the economy during a recession, senior Conservative sources told The Independent.

One MP said: “It was fine to be talking about spending money on climate change in the good times but when energy bills are going up it doesn’t seem like good politics.”

Another source said: “George has started referring to the green lobby in Government and Tory party as the environmental Taliban. It’s meant as a joke but it shows where he’s coming from.”

The Chancellor is also said to be pushing for a new “levy control framework” which would effectively put a cap on the total subsidy from taxpayers and energy customers going towards green power.

It is a move that would allow Mr Osborne to claim that he was helping to keep energy bills down, although critics believe it would result in a “dash for gas” and, in the long term, less green energy.

Yesterday’s meeting was understood to be inconclusive, with a source close to Mr Davey telling the newspaper that discussions were still ongoing.

Liberal Democrats are keen to be seen as holding their ground on environmental policy after Greenpeace targeted their party conference warnign them “not to let Osborne kill green growth”.

Link to the Growth and Infrastructure Bill

Here

Interesting a lot in here which could have been in secondary legislation to bulk out the bill.

A new section 62A of the Planning Act is proposed to allow certain categories of applications in designated authorities to be made directly to the SoS.  Section 1(6) allows the SoS to direct certain matters to the LPA as if the application had been made to them, this includes I imagine consultation.  Interestingly UDAs as exempt from designation as being under ‘special measures’ of course under the national stats they are amongst the slowest of LPAs.

Section 4 is of great interest on information requirements.  It adds a new rider that information requirements made under section 62(3) of the act

a) must be reasonable having regard, in particular, to the nature
and scale of the proposed development; and
(b) may require particulars of, or evidence about, a matter only if it
is reasonable to think that the matter will be a material
consideration in the determination of the application.”

This is very reasonable.

Section 5 introduces a new type of application to vary affordable housing requirements.  their would be a legal requirement to determine such applications so that if the scheme were unviable it becomes viable.  So the issue then is what is the legal definition of viable?  This will soon be tested in the courts im sure, the definition in the NPPF is vague and we have two different guidance notes now out with two different definitions.  Is a scheme unviable simply because a developer paid too much for land and wont sell it on at a market clearing rate?

A rather striking clause 7(2) completely removes the ‘Dower test’ for national parks and AONB when dealing with applications under section 109 of the Communications Act 2003.  This power would cease to have effect in 2018!  Another monster extensions like proposal,  this time monster masts in National Parks and AONB.    There will be a hell of a row about that.

Their is a lengthy section implementing the previously consulted on changes to village green legislation.  Long overdue.

Section 19 would remove the stupid special parliamentary produce requirement under the 2008 act.  Procedures of course introduced by the Tory Led Government,

Section 21 is likley to be highly contentious.  It would bring business and commercial development within the 2008 act regime.  The SoS would have the power to direct such projects fall under the regime if they are deemed to be of national importance.  Dwellings are specifically excluded.

Such applications would be treated like any other 2008 act application, so that begs the question, will there now be a NPS for nationally significant business and commercial development?

A clause on Osborne’s pet project on employees signing away their rights for shares (the if the firm goes bust you get zilch notwithstanding European law clause) seems woefully out of place.

 

 

 

So what’s in the Growth and Infrastructure Bill?

Number 10 has issued a press release.  Bill not yet introduced to parliament but it should be later today.

It contains nothing on powers to introduce ‘special measures’ and direct applications to Planning Inspectorate, expect clauses at report stage.

The press release trumpets Land Securities now agreeing to start a major development in London however this is nothing to do with the bill but with secondary legislation introduced last week to undo a double charging technicality that a government cock up introduced.

Most of the press release is nothing to do with planning and the planning section of the press release refers to measures being introduced in the Energy Bill to do with Gas electricity etc.  Revealing again that the assault on planning is more to do with diversionary tactics ideology that reform or legislative reality.

It refer to

Cutting back the volume of paperwork which applicants have to submit with a planning application, which go over and above what is reasonably needed to inform planners about the proposed development.

But again this will be done by GPDO amendments.

Whilst

Stopping misuse of legislation to slow down agreed developments, whilst protecting its use to safeguard cherished community spaces.

Looks like the overdue reform of village green legislation.

It will implement the Penfold review, long overdue and in the one key measure affecting planning.

Speeding up the planning system for large scale business and commercial projects. Where developers choose the fast-track route, decisions will be taken in twelve months. Existing requirements to consult local communities are retained.

This is a backtrack from the reform measures announced last month which included large scale housing (though not in the DCLG version) as Nick Boles the Minister for Central Planning announced last week this is no longer on the cards, although how there will a national infrastructure statement for large scale commercial development no-one knows, unless they abolish the need for that in which case the IPC branch of the Planning inspectorate will simply become the department for rubber stamping.