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Chancellor announces planning system with “presumption for sustainable development”

Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to create a planning system with a “presumption in favour of sustainable development”, cut the planned rise in fuel duty and added an extra £2bn capitalisation for the Green Investment Bank in his 2011 Budget.

In his Budget statement, the Chancellor described the current planning system as “cumbersome” and announced plans to include a 12 month guarantee for the processing of all planning applications and appeals, as well as fast track planning process for major infrastructure applications.

This has been welcomed by Closed Loop Recycling managing director Chris Dow, who said: “Changes to simplify the planning system are exciting because the motivation behind it is to prioritise jobs and growth. For the waste industry, planning is very much one of the constant issues.”

The Chancellor also announced plans to cut fuel duty by 1p per litre from 23 March and defer the 2011-2012 increase until 1 Jan 2012, with the subsequent increase to be implemented on 1 August 2012.

He said: “The price of petrol is a huge burden on families and the rise has hit businesses hard.”

The Chancellor has also announced a total of £3bn capitalisation for the Green Investment Bank, which will begin operation in 2012-2013 although it will only receive powers to borrow money from 2015-2016 and will be subject to meeting the target for debt to be falling as a percentage of GDP.

However, the move has been criticised by Andrew Raingold, executive director of the Aldersgate Group – a coalition of environmental business leaders.

Raingold said: “We welcome the additional finance for the Green Investment Bank but it must have the power to borrow from day one. This would put the bank at the heart of Chancellor’s plan for growth and not wait until the UK is overtaken in key green industries by competitors.”

The Chancellor stated he wanted Britain “carried aloft by the march of manufacturing”.

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