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Please, no more bureaucracy

I see that ICE president David Orr has been seduced by the proposal for an Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) (NCE 5 June).

An IPC is an expensive and unnecessary complication to the legal and bureaucratic problems which handicap infrastructure projects.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) sees three main benefits of the IPC. First, it would improve speed and efficiency by devolving decisions from ministers. Second, it would lead to better quality decisions. Third, there would be greater clarity and transparency because decision-making would
be separated from policy.

All of these benefits could be achieved by ministers transferring all decisions to the planning inspectors. That would cut out the delay caused by ministers and their staff second-guessing the expert inspector, or panel of inspectors, who has examined the evidence and heard the representations.

Presented with the legal and policy context that the Bill proposes, inspectors would be able to run efficient inquiries and reach decisions in a fraction of the time previously taken.

The Heathrow T5 inquiry would have been far shorter if the government had produced an up to date airports policy beforehand. How much time would subsequently have been saved if ministers had delegated the decision?

JOHN ACTON (M), The Jays, New Street, Charfield, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, GL12 8ES

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