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Being an election candidate is a wonderful privilege, but at times it’s frustrating.  Whether on the doorstep, or at a hustings or in a leaflet, it’s difficult to get the full message across.  I’ve found that in relation to planning reform, so I thought I’d elaborate here. There is no doubt that the failure of the planning system is the number one issue coming up on the doorstep. I agree that the… Read More

After a four-and-a-half-year comedy turn as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles is thought to be beyond parody.  But today, full of the rosy-cheeked seasonal mirth of his girth-alike Father Christmas he came bearing a sackful of rejections of another three applications for wind farms (two against the planning inspector’s recommendation).  To those that think our planning system is run by local politicians or planning experts, Pickles has once again delivered his standard response:… Read More

The conclusion of the government’s consultation on planning guidance for onshore wind farms in England has thrown up some significant changes.  Here are my initial thoughts: – the idea of discounts on energy bills for communities living near wind farms is logical, simple, and personal.  It is a shame that it has taken so long for developers to offer this incentive.  But it will set an interesting precedent in planning  – should… Read More

I’m finding talk of 2030 a little unnerving.  In 17 years I will be nearing 50 and my 3 month old daughter will be learning to drive. I’ll be into corderoys, Christmas-jumpers and Classic FM, she’ll have swapped her baby gro for a onesie, her dummie for a tongue piercing and her BCG jab for a tattoo. Yet, there is hope that some things will be brighter in 2030.  And (to a… Read More

Another week, another big call for energy policy.  Following last week’s Energy Bill, it is time for Ed Davey to point the way on the use of unconventional gas supplies.  He will give fracking the green light following the George Osborne’s Autumn Statement which is widely expected to include tax breaks for the companies experimenting with the process. Fracking is another of the unjust energy solutions that realises possible long term benefits… Read More

There is a depressing lack of imagination to Nick Boles’ proposed solution to our housing problems.  Essentially it boils down to ‘build more‘.  The only nuance in the argument as far as I can tell is that we need to make houses prettier.  This reminds me of the RAC’s argument for building more roads – it’ll be fine, as long as they are well routed. Both arguments fail to address the fundamental causes… Read More