The Select Committee on the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 will continue taking evidence for its inquiry on Tuesday 7 November. The Committee will question the Town and Country Planning Association and local authorities from Cumbria and Hampshire.

This evidence session will consider whether the structures created by the NERC Act 2006 are able to ensure that government policies work as well in rural areas as in urban areas—especially since some of those structures have been scaled back or abolished. The session will have a particular focus on housing and planning.

Topics likely to be covered include:

• To what extent does Government policy take proper account of the needs of rural areas?
• Is there sufficient co-ordination of rural policy across Whitehall departments, and vertically between central and local government?
• How widely understood is the biodiversity duty, both by local authorities and within other public bodies?
• What contribution does Natural England make to the town planning process, both at the level of individual applications and more broadly?
• Is there anything in the NERC Act 2006, or in Natural England’s role, that needs to change in light of the abolition of many national and regional planning structures in the period since 2006?

At 11:05 am the Committee will hear evidence from:

• Dr Hugh Ellis, Director of Policy, Town and Country Planning Association
• Trevor Cherrett, Policy Council Member, Town and Country Planning Association, specialising in rural affairs

At 12:05 pm the Committee will hear evidence from:

• Cllr Ian Stewart, Deputy Leader, Cumbria County Council and Spokesman on Environment and Communities for the County Councils Network
• Mr Daryl Phillips, Joint Chief Executive, Hart District Council and Chief Executive Planning Lead for the District Councils Network

The evidence sessions will begin at 11:05 am, Tuesday 7 November in Committee Room 1 of the House of Lords.

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