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  6. Sustainable development definition ‘would be restrictive’

Sustainable development definition ‘would be restrictive’

The Government has resisted moves to include a definition of sustainable development on the face of the Localism Bill when it was debated in Parliament.

Baroness Hanham, the minister who leads for the Department for Communities and Local Government in the Lords, warned peers that such a move risked creating what she termed “a lawyer’s paradise”.

Her comments came as the Upper House began its detailed scrutiny of the legislation. She told Peers: “If there was ever going to be a definition, we would need to be very clear and sure that it would be legally unchallengeable, because definitions never define the whole process and all the opportunities; sometimes they are restricting rather than helpful”.

She explained that "the expectation and understanding is that local people will be best placed to understand what is right for sustainable development locally”.

The minister reminded Parliament that a presumption in favour of sustainable development would be at the heart of the reformed planning system.


Roger Milne

23 June 2011