Nolan report calls for openness in council lobbying

Lord Nolan’s report on standards in local government, published on Tuesday, called for tighter rules and greater openness in the planning process for councils and those lobbying them.

Lord Nolan’s report on standards in local government, published on

Tuesday, called for tighter rules and greater openness in the planning

process for councils and those lobbying them.



’The one thing in planning we have to be sensitive of is backroom deals,’

said Charles St George, director of Political Planning Services which

specialises in helping companies to get planning permission from

councils.’Our experience is there is minimal corruption but often the

public perception, particularly when it comes to planning, is that there

is corruption.’



Nolan’s committee recommended that every council maintain a register of

councillors’ interests. It also said that councils should adopt rules of

openness to allow public discussion of planning agreements. Access to

documents should not be restricted except where justified by commercial

confidentiality, which should be interpreted narrowly.



The Department of Environment should ’consider tightening legislation to

prevent planning permissions being bought and sold’.



The report also recommended that the Government should be more ready to

use its powers to call in all major planning applications handled by an

authority where, over a period of time, there is substantial public

concern about decision-making procedures.



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