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PR - 34 Government must take this opportunity to prove commitment to empowering the community

07 November 2007

The Queen's speech has provided the impetus for Government to deliver on its commitments to community engagement and empowerment. The delivery of major infrastructure projects and three million new homes are top of the government's agenda. The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has today called on Government to prove its commitment to community engagement and empowerment by establishing effective and real consultation processes. Planning Aid, an RTPI run charity, is powerfully placed to help Government deliver on its promises.

Robert Upton, Secretary General of the Royal Town Planning Institute said: \"The government says a good deal about empowering local communities. We need to see the proof of that in the upcoming planning reforms. If we are to have an independent commission to handle major infrastructure projects, then there must be the assurance of real community engagement and consultation in both the drafting of national policy statements and each individual project application. Realistically this can only be done through Planning Aid, so we look forward to talks with Communities and Local Government and other departments on the necessary procedures and resources.

Upton continued: \"The RTPI also supports the shelving of the Planning Gain Supplement in favour of a plan-based tariff. This should prove to be a very practical form of local empowerment. It is an approach which we have been advocating to government since 2000.\"
For further information please contact:

Andrew Kliman, RTPI Communications Manager, 0207 929 9479,

Notes to Editors

1. The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)
The RTPI is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. We understand that just as people develop places, so places develop people. We are committed to the enhancement of our natural and human environment, using spatial planning to manage competing pressures on our built environments and the very real effects on our space. Through our 20,000 members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work.

For further general information, visit the RTPI website at:
41 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL, charity no. 262865

2. Planning Aid
Planning Aid provides free, independent and professional planning advice to communities and individuals who cannot afford to pay consultant fees. It complements the work of local planning authorities, but is wholly independent of them.