In response to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Spending Review for the Financial Year 2015/16 POS points out that whilst infrastructure is singled out as the most effective engine for growth this should not be achieved without due regard for environmental impact.
John Silvester, Spokesperson for the Society, said "investment in infrastructure is vital to securing economic growth, but we should not accept it at any environmental cost."
In response to the announcement that LAs would suffer a further ten per cent cut Mike Kiely, POS President, told Planning magazine "It's bad news. We are expected to be doing all we can to promote growth, and you need resources to do that." Kiely added that services like spatial planning and planning enforcement were more vulnerable than development control, where there was "less room for manoeuvre".
The key planning-related features of the Spending Review are:
- a further £50 billion of capital investment in Britain's infrastructure to build roads, railways and housing. Full details will follow on Thursday 27 June, with £110 billion of economic infrastructure plans to be announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP.
- The largest rise in budget is the £9.5 billion capital budget for transport, representing a £2 billion rise on 2014/15. This included a commitment to rail investment and progressing plans for the HS2 scheme.
- the Government will consider the Crossrail 2 project and announced £9 billion will be given to the Mayor of London's office for investment in London up to the end of the decade.
- In local government, there will be £3bn of capital investment in affordable housing and the troubled families programme will be extended to reach 400,000 more vulnerable families.
- The 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships will also be able to bid for a £2bn pot to drive growth and investment in the regions.
- The Chancellor is looking to attract over £100 billion of private money into energy infrastructure.
- With this investment, the Chancellor claimed that Britain will have the potential to be at the forefront of advancements in shale gas and of a transition to a low carbon future.
- Providing certainty on strike prices as a guarantee for a new generation of nuclear power stations, and tax and planning reform to unlock the potential for shale gas were among the measures mentioned in the Review.