New arrangements to ensure a smooth and stable transition to a democratic system for major infrastructure planning decisions have been announced by Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark today.
The Government is setting out the next steps to return democratic accountability to major infrastructure applications, while maintaining the essential expertise, stability and speed of the existing system.
This will ensure it is ‘business as usual’ during the transition to the new Major Infrastructure Planning Unit, which will sit within the future integrated Planning Inspectorate, and will mean developers can rest assured the transfer will not delay applications.
Sir Michael Pitt, currently Chair of the Infrastructure Planning Commission will become Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate when Katrine Sporle, the Inspectorate’s Chief Executive, retires at the end of March. Katrine has made a significant contribution to the Inspectorate and helped build both its reputation and track record during her tenure.
The current team of commissioners examining applications at the Infrastructure Planning Commission will be retained to ensure a high quality professional system continues with no unnecessary delays in the examination of applications. This work will move to the Major Infrastructure Planning Unit once the Localism Bill receives Royal Assent.
Sir Michael will divide his time equally between both organisations and will become the full time Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate following closure of the Infrastructure Planning Commission, on a fixed term basis through to April 2014. He has a wealth of relevant experience and brings the energy and commitment required to make the transition a success.
Mr Clark said:
It is vital we have a planning system that is swift and efficient, and that captures the confidence of business and communities alike.
The Major Infrastructure Planning Unit, within the Planning Inspectorate, will be at the forefront of helping deliver growth and investment in this country and key to ensuring we have an infrastructure planning system fit for the 21st century.
The new leadership arrangements being brought in with Sir Michael Pitt at the helm and the retention of the Commissioners will ensure a smooth transition to restoring democratic accountability to major infrastructure planning decisions, while maintaining the expertise, stability and speed of the current system.
Developers can rest assured it will be business as usual during the transition with no unnecessary delays.
Notes to editors
- Sir Michael Pitt was formerly Chief Executive of Cheshire and Kent County Councils. He has been Chair of the Infrastructure Planning Commission since 1 May 2009.
- He will take on his additional role within the Planning Inspectorate on 1 April 2011 on a fixed term contract until 30 April 2014, in line with his original five year contract at the Infrastructure Planning Commission. His role at the Inspectorate will become full-time once the Commission closes.
- Katrine Sporle was awarded a CBE for outstanding public service in the 2011 New Year’s Honours.
- Commissioners currently working at the Infrastructure Planning Commission will be retained within the Planning Inspectorate until September 2014.
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