Examination of Witnesses (Questions 600-619)|
THOROTON, QC AND
TUESDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2002
600. So it might not have Government's approval?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) What I am saying is I
agree with the content of the consultation paper.
601. So what is there is all right. What is
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) I do not want to make
any suggestions as to what is missing. It seems to me to be very,
very sensible, but I keep coming back to the issue: in relation
to each individual tall building a case has got to be made out
in accordance with the principles that apply in relation to
602. Would it be helpful to publish the minutes
of the meetings that you have with them, so we can judge which
bits were left out?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) I have not had any meetings
about tall buildings.
603. When you take their advice, do you think
it would be a good idea if all of that advice was published?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) All the advice they gave
me about tall buildings?
604. Yes, all the advice that they gave you.
They are two advisory bodies for the price of one.
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) It would be sensible for
there to be published all of the advice that they think is sensible.
Mrs Dunwoody: No, no, no.
605. Earlier this morning, we got from English
Heritage, a view that they would like to have public meetings
or, certainly, to publish the minutes of their meetings.
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) With whom?
606. When they are making decisions to advise
government. They suggested to us that it was government who was
suggesting that it would be better if they continued to have their
proceedings in secret.
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) Are you talking about
individual cases or are you talking about general guidance?
607. English Heritage have their regular meetings
and at those meetings they look at both general guidance and at
individual cases. It seemed to the Committee that if those were
transparent events in which the public knew what was going on,
it would be helpful. We got the impression, I think, from Sir
Neil that he liked the idea of it being in public, but told us
that government ministers preferred to have it done in secret.
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) The note that has been
passed to me says "DCMS".
608. We have a seamless government, I understood.
Joined up government.
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) We do, we do. All that
Mr Ellis is saying to me is do not express your own view without
making it clear that I would obviously have to consult with DCMS.
In principle, we think it would be appropriate that guidance from
English Heritage or CABE about individual buildings or about the
generality should be published, as long as there is not too much
609. As long as it is not too plain?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) No, no, no, no.
610. As long as we do not understand what they
say, there is no problem.
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) As long as it does not
lead to a lack of clarity.
611. You, my Lord, may say whatever you like.
I am endeavouring to work out what you are saying.
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) I hope I am making it
clear what I say.
612. You will have some further discussions
with your colleagues?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) Indeed. In answer to your
question, in principle I can see real value in publishing the
advice given both by CABE and English Heritage, both in relation
to specific cases and in relation to the generality of it.
Mrs Dunwoody: That is very helpful, and Mr Ellis
will tell you off when you get outside.
613. We will look with interest to see how far
you can persuade your ministerial colleagues.
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) Could I write to you about
Chairman: By all means.
614. Do you feel that land use and transport
planning is sufficiently well-linked together? Do the planners
talk enough to the highway engineers?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) I am not sure that they
615. Last week or, maybe, the week before, we
were given evidence from London Underground, in particular, that
seemed to question the actual capacity to cope with a huge influx
of additional passengers arising from a new high-density tall
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) I am not sure that land
use planners and transport planners do talk enough to each other.
I think one of the goals of the green paper proposals is that,
particularly in relation to transport but in relation to other
aspects of policy as well, there should be a greater connection
between land use and other strategies. That particularly applies
616. When the department you are part of produced
the 10-year plan for transport, was there a detailed internal
discussion with those in the department involved in the planning
and forecasting of planning to assess the impact of things like
tall building developments on the likely future transport needs?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) You keep treating tall
buildings as a special sort of transport demand. On Christine's
point about can transport cope with the new activity coming from
a particular tall building, if there are, as it were, jobs and
activity that required the same number of peoplewhether
it not it is through a tall building or whether it is in some
other waythat will have transport implications.
617. Up to a point, except that if you put a
couple of very substantial buildings in the City of London, you
can add thousands of people to the daily flow in and out of the
City of London, in a relatively small geographical area. That
can have a massive impact on the transport infrastructure. The
point of my question is to understand, when you did the planning
work for the 10-year transport plan, did you as a department sit
down and look and say "Okay, what are the likely increases
in intense development in city centres as well as other trends"
before you established what the priorities for the 10-year transport
plan should be?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) In preparing the 10-year
plan, of course, the implications for it beyond transport were
considered. I cannot tell you the extent to which there was a
detailed consideration in each case of the planning implications,
because on much of the 10-year plan there are still sites and
detail to be worked out. It is at that stage that the planning
implications would be considered.
Chairman: Oona, since it is right on the edge
of your constituency, do you want to come in on this?
618. I just want to ask if you envisage any
high-density planning applications (which, obviously, could be
tall buildings) which might have to be turned down because there
is not adequate transport infrastructure to sustain those applications?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) Making it clear that I
am not talking about any individual case, if the transport infrastructure
was not adequate to meet whatever demand the tall buildings make,
that would be a perfectly sensible reason for turning down the
619. Is that not a bit of a problem? For example,
London Underground are telling us that in 15 years' time the Central
Line will still be overcrowded (it is over-crowded now and in
15 years' time it will just be very overcrowded). What are the
implications for all the buildings, when basically the transport
infrastructure is London Underground?
(Lord Falconer of Thoroton) What is the implication
for the growth of employment in various parts of London, in the
light of what you have said? It is not just a question restricted
to tall buildings. In relation to individual applications for
tall buildings, transport infrastructure is a vital consideration
to take into account. You know there is a public inquiry going
on in relation to the Heron building. They have obviously got
to consider those issues; the effect of the public inquiry is
that they will be aired in detail there. I am being careful not
to comment at all about it or to give any indication of what my
view in relation to that should be, because of my role in the