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East of England Liberal Democrats

Assembly tells Government to 'reach for its cheque book' to support East of England Plan

December 19, 2006 4:00 PM

The East of England Regional Assembly is again demanding that the Government provides a significant package of funding for the region, following the publication of the Government's proposed changes to the draft East of England Plan today (19th December).

EERA Planning Panel Chair Cllr John Reynolds said: 'The region currently has the lowest level of public spending per head of population. The time has come for the Government to reach for its cheque book if new jobs and housing are to be delivered sustainably over the next 15 years.'

The Assembly has serious concerns regarding the Government's support for:

a second runway at Stansted Airport (the Assembly's draft Plan rejected this);

30,000 extra homes (over the 478,000 contained in the draft Plan) - click here for a table comparing housing allocations;

treating the housing figures as 'minimums' to be exceeded if more sites can be found in urban areas or densities further increased.

Cllr John Reynolds said: 'The Assembly rejects the need for a second runway at Stansted Airport which will have significant adverse environmental impacts, particularly in terms of carbon emissions and climate change.'

'The Government also needs to listen carefully to the concerns of those communities where new housing has been proposed beyond that contained in the draft East of England Plan.'

The Regional Assembly will be considering its detailed response to the Government's proposed changes to the draft East of England Plan at its next meeting on 2nd February 2007 in Norwich. Members of the public and media are welcome to attend.

In developing its response, the Assembly will be consulting with all of its 54 member local authorities and other stakeholders and closely examining the sustainability appraisal of the Government's proposed changes.

Cllr Reynolds said: 'The immediate message that the Regional Assembly will be sending back to Ministers is the need for clear guarantees about how new infrastructure and public investment will be provided. On transport, the Government has listed large parts of the region facing significant transport pressures, without setting out how these will be tackled.'

The Government's proposed changes are now subject to a public consultation period ending on 9 March 2007.

For more information on attending the Assembly meeting in February 2007, please contact Kerry Allen, 01284 729427 or see www.eera.gov.uk .

Notes to Editors

For further information or an interview with an EERA spokesperson please contact Christina Lundberg or Susie Lockwood at Band and Brown Communications on 01603 417722 or email susie.lockwood@bbpr.com

For more information on the Government's proposed changes and the public consultation, please see www.goeast.gov.uk or contact Government News Network East - Christine Bryant 01223 372782 or Kelly Logan 01223 372784.