Sir Michael Pitt has been confirmed as the chair of the Infrastructure Planning Commission, following approval by MPs last week.
Housing and Planning Minister Margaret Beckett confirmed Sir Michael’s appointment following his endorsement from the Communities and Local Government Select Committee last week.
Sir Michael will begin his role on May 1 with the IPC expected to begin to exercise some of its functions from 1st October 2009.
Sir Michael will initially be participating in the recruitment of the Chief Executive and the other commissioners for the IPC. He will also be working to ensure the necessary preparations for the new body are made, including producing guidance for applicants to enable the IPC to function effectively from the date it begins operation.
Once the Commission is up and running the Chair is likely to be overseeing around 45 major cases a year and a larger number of less complex cases.
A consultation on the rules for developers submitting major applications to the IPC was also announced today.
The Government is committed to giving communities and councils more say in the planning system last year and the Planning Act included the first ever statutory duty on developers to consult local communities.
Potential applicants to the IPC will have to comply with statutory requirements to engage in pre-application consultation with local communities, local authorities, and those who would be directly affected by the proposals. This will give people a better opportunity to influence outcomes at an early stage.
Developers also get the opportunity to amend their plans before they reach the application stage with the aim of reducing delays later on.