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Autumn statement 2011: Cabinet committee on infrastructure set up

Prime minister David Cameron has asked chief secretary to the Treasury to chair a new Cabinet committee on infrastructure.

Announced as part of chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn statement, the committee is intended to “show decisive leadership” in tackling planning and regulatory delays and addressing key commercial and policy issues, to support the delivery of the 40 infrastructure projects and programmes most critical to growth.

The government has also committed to a number of moves to speed up planning.

This includes introducing a 13-week maximum timescale for the majority of non-planning consents, to speed up the consenting process and give certainty to developers. This will take immediate effect for Government agencies.

The government will ensure that there is a more effective mechanism for planning applicants to obtain an award of costs, if there is an appeal against refusal of planning permission where a statutory consultee has acted unreasonably, through measures to be implemented in summer 2012.

The government will also improve the performance of the key statutory consultees in responding swiftly to applications. This will include key statutory bodies bringing forward an improvement by spring 2012.

The government has also committed to ensuring that compliance with the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives does not lead to unnecessary costs and delays to development, while continuing to support the Directives’ objectives.

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