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Queen's speech a welcome sea change say Britain's planners

03 December 2008

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) welcomed the announcement today of two new bills of critical significance for planning by Her Majesty the Queen. A Community Empowerment Bill which will include measures to re-structure regional planning in England and a Marine and Coastal Access Bill which will establish the world's first systematic spatial planning system for the UK's waters.

RTPI Policy Director Rynd Smith said; \"The Community Empowerment Bill will bring much needed certainty to the forward shape of England's regional planning system. The RTPI supports integrated regional planning, but calls on the government to recognise the urgent need to set out the shape of the new system, and build public and professional confidence in it.\"

The Queen's speech also included the Marine and Coastal Access Bill. Jed Griffiths, Chair of the RTPI Marine Spatial Planning Task Group said; \"This ground breaking measure demonstrates the government's commitment to use spatial planning to deliver better social, economic and environmental outcomes from increasingly complex and conflicting marine-based activities and development proposals. Planners must rise to the challenge posed by this legislation, bringing their skills to inform plan making and developing their knowledge of the marine environment.\"

Consultation on the draft legislative programme had also suggested that there would be a Heritage Protection Bill in 2008-09. The government's need to prioritise measures to respond to the current economic downturn has led to the loss of this bill from the programme. The RTPI understands the government's need to take this step, but continues to urge the value of the reform process outlined in draft legislation consulted upon in 2008.