|Employment land was discussed, including the need to
safeguard the existing stock, and the need for regionally distinctive
criteria for identifying employment land needs. Were the policies in the
draft plan adequate or too prescriptive a guide for local authorities
when preparing their Local Development Documents?
On retailing, there
was extensive debate about retail hierarchy, and whether the policies in
the plan worked against a town developing. Flexibility was needed in the
policies to accommodate the aspirations for regeneration at Stevenage
The discussion ended with consideration of whether a policy
indicating suitable locations for casinos should be included in the
plan, and where those locations might be. There were descriptions of the
advantages of Great Yarmouth and Southend from interested parties, but
acceptance that there may be other suitable locations.
Gateway South Essex
Job, Housing and Green Belt?
In general, the sub-regional policies were supported. Policy should be driven
by areas of depredation and the need to develop jobs alongside any prospective
The jobs targets were seen as challenging, but achievable with significant
interventions. Some authorities expressed a need for a cautious approach to
jobs. The issue of out-commuting was raised and whether this could in fact be
reduced, given the area's role in relationship to London.
Some developers pressed for Green Belt review to allow
firms to expand. However, the Government Office representative implied there was
ample land to achieve the jobs proposed - and, therefore, a strategic review of
the Green Belt was not needed to achieve the jobs target. Small-scale changes
could be handled through proposals in local development frameworks.
Town centre or out-of-town centre?
Alarm was expressed by Basildon at the call not to label Lakeside as an 'out
of town centre' but to instead call it a town centre. The alarm was due to fears
that this labelling would lead to major expansion, which could have an impact on
Debate ranged round discrepancies in the schemes in the
Regional Transport Strategy and in the Thames Gateway Business Plan, and also
around the issue of blight caused by including schemes. It was pointed out that
including reference to a Thames crossing pre-judged the outcome of studies.
English Nature pointed out the conflict between the transport objectives and
other regional objectives (an issue which was also raised in the Strategic
The issue of need for good quality design (including water efficiency) was
raised, but the East of England Consortium argued against having too high
expectations for good design throughout the area. It was pointed out that "Some
would say that it costs as much to design a bad building as a good one; it
depends on who is doing the designing".
The Countryside Agency pointed out the lack of reference to
countryside character and lack of sense of place. The agency wanted minor
changes made to Policy TGSE4 ('the environment and urban renaissance') as well
as a new point added that local authorities identify and implement proposals
that are "based on a sound understanding of the distinctive character of Thames
Gateway and the contribution that a sense of place can make to achieving a
higher quality of design". The Countryside Agency wanted to see a links made to
Greening the Gateway (part of the Government's Sustainable Communities Plan) and
to the Green Grid (a project to develop a network of open spaces and cycling and
walking links throughout Thames Gateway South Essex) in both policy TGSE4 and
its text, thus putting the "Natural landscape at the heart of the development
Ports and the economy
There was some debate about allowing ports to dominate the
economy of the area and the need for a broader range of employment
opportunities. The debate also looked at strategic employment site issues,
including the need to consider health issues and to reflect the role of the
health care sector as a generator of employment.
Town expansion and village coalescence concerns
Concerns were expressed about the proposed expansion of
both Felixstowe and Ipswich and the potential for coalescence of villages
located close to these towns. Concern was expressed, particularly by those local
authorities whose boundaries were close to proposed extensions, that the sites
for extensions should be determined by the Local Development Framework process.
Quest for more funding could push up housing numbers
Colchester Borough Council asked for an increase in housing
so that it could achieve 'growth point' status and apply for funding. However,
views were expressed over whether funding should be driving planning. Proposals
by developers for a new settlement at Marks Tey were not supported.
Should the Suffolk
Coasts and Heaths AONB be extended?
A great deal of discussion surrounded a widely supported
call for an extension of the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths AONB to the south side of
the Stour Estuary. As there is a due process for doing this, it was held not to
be a matter for the Regional Plan. Wording was sought to support the special
landscape of the area without giving tacit support for the extension of the AONB
in the plan. The Development Agency pointed out that tourism depended on the
environmental quality of the area.
New settlements in Green Belt?
Some developer called for two more new settlements of up to 25,000 houses
each, one to the north of Northstowe and one to the south. This practicality of
this idea was queried, in particular around the infrastructure requirements, the
argument being that it will be difficult to meet infrastructure requirements for
settlements already in the draft regional plan, let alone meet requirements if
additional settlements go ahead. It was also pointed out that a southern
settlement was more likely to be for Stansted rather than Cambridge.
As to be expected, there was some debate about the need for
a Green Belt review, for example to allow expansion of Northstowe. East
Cambridgeshire will review the outer boundary, designating additional land as
Market towns dormitories for Cambridge?
Debate covered the balance of houses and jobs and the
differing market towns and whether more housing should be accommodated. It was
suggested new settlements might be more sustainable than expanding market towns,
however this was countered with the view there was little evidence for this and
also market towns have existing public sites and services. It was pointed out
that the three market towns were constrained by floodplains.
Despite there being a spirited promotion of Alconbury as a
small regional airport, the case for the need for an airport was not
established. It was also made clear that although Alconbury was a rural
brownfield site, much of it was green and the road network wasn't adequate for
much development. As well, it appeared that there were real constraints on the
provision of a rail link. The debate appeared to support leaving the current
policy in the plan as it was.
The EIP considered the opposing views on development on
greenfields. Time was spent on defining where exactly Stevenage is, because some
people felt it was in the London Arc and others in the London-Peterborough
'growth area'. There was also disagreement on the precise borders, which many
assumed was the A1(M). There was some debate about balancing housing and jobs,
and fears that building many new houses without ensuring local jobs would lead
to commuting. However, it was pointed out that in fact Stevenage is a net
importer of labour - the 11% who commute out to London are outnumbered by those
from the north of the town coming in.
Horror was expressed at the suggestion that development
might take place not just to the west of the A1(M) and north into 'Forster
country' but also east and south of Stevenage. This also prompted comments about
deliverability and the principle that Stevenage should not encroach visually
into either of the neighbouring valleys. However, it was pointed out that the
draft East of England Plan does not contain any plans for expansion east and
The idea of rolling back the Green Belt, as would have to be done for
development to take place west of Stevenage, and then promoting similar-sized
bits of countryside as Green Belt miles away was described as 'bizarre' by the
regional assembly representative.
Representatives for smaller settlements called for mini Green Belts, even if
only a couple of fields, to help them to retain their identity and integrity
rather than feel swamped by Stevenage.
It was stated that the area between Luton and Stevenage
currently not protected by Green Belt status is to be so designated
Arguments were broadcast on web
Because so many people were interested in listening to the arguments
about the London-Peterborough 'growth area' - a full auditorium's worth
- the regional assembly broadcast a live audio web cast of the
proceedings. The archived web cast is available on the assembly's
North Weald: a new settlement or
barrier to regeneration?
The debate focused on whether development at North Weald would help
or hinder Harlow regeneration - and developers were split on the issue.
It was pointed out that development at North Weald wouldn't be being
considered if the land were arable land and not former airfield. Essex
County Council saw expansion at North Harlow and North Weald as the
least bad options.
The view that there was a wide measure of support for the regional
plan was denied (to applause) by the Harlow Civic Society.
Where will the jobs come from?
Talk ranged around whether houses were for commuters and whether jobs
should be generated in Harlow rather than relying on Stansted to deliver
Part of the discussions centered on Stansted and the relationship
with the sub-region and the weight being put on jobs being derived from
airport expansion. Discussion ensued as to skills levels of such jobs
and the fact that BAA is currently advertising jobs in Europe, which
suggests there's no guarantee that local people will derive employment.
CPRE pointed out that using Harlow, as a dormitory for Stansted
employees was not in reality a way to build sustainable communities.
The regional assembly suggested that if the second runway didn't go
ahead, then intervention to deliver the employment would required -
though by whom and what sort of intervention was not discussed.
Concerns were raised by the London bodies that developments in the
Lower Lee Valley and surrounding 'the Olympic Village' would mean there
were not enough jobs to meet aspirations of Harlow as well.
The Government Office for the East of England indicated it wasn't
possible to forecast for jobs more than 10 years into the future, as
this would be 'pretty dodgy planning', and emphasised housing numbers.
At that remark, the Chairman asked the Government Office if this meant
the regional plan was a housing-led strategy. The Government Office
hastily replied 'no'. Environmental concerns were expressed by the
National Trust, particularly over the damage to Hatfield Forest from the
proposed airport expansion.
Not enough water to go around and no
way to treat the sewage
The Environment Agency suggested that current water supplies couldn't
meet the projected need and there was a requirement for new sources. The
agency again emphasised the 25% water efficiency requirement and the
need to put the requirement in an Act and enforce it - but how? There
would also be need for de-salination, reservoirs and bulk transport,
which would need huge energy resources.
Sewage treatment capacity for the proposed Harlow development does
not exist, according to Thames Water, which indicated it doesn't have
money for water infrastructure studies, no locations for facilities, no
technological solutions and no funding until 2010.
Better recognition needed for
The importance of 'green
infrastructure' planning was discussed. There was concern expressed that
the Government had pre-judged the EIP process by the suggestion that 10%
of growth area funding should go into green infrastructure projects. The
Government Office responded that this was not so. A level of growth was
expected but decisions had not been made about scale and location of
growth. This last comment was met by laughter from participants.
It was suggested that reference to the concept of environmental
capacity should probably be a generic policy. The Countryside Agency
observed that the regional plan consistently failed to recognise the
wealth of environmental assets. Concern was raised over the very poor
quality of the sustainability statements prepared by developers. The
regional assembly admitted the shortcomings - a sentiment which was
endorsed by the Chairman.
The need for strategic review of the Green Belt was said to depend on
the outcome of the EiP, but the regional assembly considered it
Week 11 (21 - 23 February)
Western Part of London Arc in Herts.
Is London Arc a
sub-region, requiring a spatial strategy?
Herts County Council and
several local authorities questioned whether the London Arc was a
sub-region. It contained areas with many differing characteristics,
including both growth areas and restraint areas, and was divided by radial
routes. The sub-regional policy in the plan was not addressing any
strategic policy deficit nor specific issues
affecting the area. More work was needed.
Should Watford and
Hemel Hempstead have been identified as sub-regional centres?
Herts County Council did
not understand why these towns had been specifically identified; the area
was polycentric. EEDA argued that Watford needed support for regeneration as a regional transport interchange,
while Hemel Hempstead was recognised
as a retail centre, with an economy restructuring into higher value fields.
Some were disappointed
that there was no coordination with the policies in the London Plan relating
to the Boroughs in north-west London; others considered that the area was
fundamentally different from NW London and were concerned to ensure that the
metropolis did not absorb and destroy the south of Hertfordshire, as
Middlesex had been absorbed and destroyed.
Brownfield or Green Belt?
disagreed with EERA and the local authorities and sought more
opportunities, arguing that expansion was essential to add critical mass to
regeneration policies. Hemel Hempstead was identified by them as a
town that should expand in almost all directions, partly to restore
confidence after the Buncefield oil depot
explosion. Dacorum Borough preferred a
policy of restraint, and limitation of
development, in order to maintain the focus on regeneration of the town
centre and industrial area.
Jobs and houses
Local authorities saw
the jobs targets as very challenging and were unclear as to their basis.
They appeared to be out of line with the housing figures and some saw them
more as aspirations than as targets. The local authorities had less
concern with the housing figures which were largely in line with forecasts
based upon recent urban capacity studies. However, it was not clear
whether the housing figures were maxima or minima; EERA had said that they
Is there an
broadly agreed that, in this most congested part of Hertfordshire, with much
of traffic passing through on radial road and rail routes, the improvements
in the plan (M1 and M25 widening) will be outweighed by the RSS growth
proposals. Thameslink 2000 will not be
implemented until 2014. Transport grant funds are insufficient to
improve public transport (bus) services. EERA reiterated that if
infrastructure is not provided, growth cannot proceed.
8L Eastern Part
Arc - Essex
Chelmsford for a sub-area?
Initial debate covered
boundary issues whether Chelmsford and Maldon were in the LA which covered
the area Metropolitan Green Belt or should be a separate sub-area requiring
a more explicit vision. The two areas are very different Maldon being very
rural and with a number of environmental assets, where
development restraint was needed.
beneficial or not to this area?
Some debate as to
whether crossrail would help this areas
congestion problems or whether it would only increase services to Stansted
Airport and extend journey times due to it being a stopping serve. EERA had
petitioned against the Hybrid Bill.
Employment and housing?
Discussion focussed on
the realism of jobs targets and the forecasting reliability, some Local
authorities suggested that figures were not challenging and that housing was
becoming misaligned due to big increases in
housing over the years. CPRE called for a
strong resistance to new employment sites in the MGB and supported the ECC
and BBC in asking for a lower target. Various developers were asking for
development in their favoured direction. It was made clear that Chelmsford
was not seeking Growth Point Status. Local villages represented by Essex Ass
of LC were concerned that more development would destroy their communities
whilst Maldon was concerned that restricting development could result in an
aging population as there was a need to bring in younger people.
Infrastructure: rail, water and modal shift?
The Environment Agency
reinforced its point on water supply and outlined the
Abberton Scheme bringing water from Denver Sluice, indicating that
there should be a closer link between development and water supply.
Chelmsford Borough Council pointed out that: Chelmsford has the busiest
station but no link to Stansted, and suggested a need to repackage transport
proposals by sub-region.
Chelmsford was at the
heart of bus growth in Essex., there were already
travel to work plans for all major employers in Chelmsford. School travel
plans had reduced car trips by 5-15% in the morning peak hours. SUSTRANS
however, pointed out that travel to work was only 20% of al trips and that
more restraint measures were needed. Air pollution was a problem due to
queuing of cars as all roads were at capacity. Modal shift was dependent on
funding. EERA suggested that the highest priority for funds should be given
to small local schemes that provided the best opportunity to encourage modal
shift and that greater links were needed between development and
Bedfordshire outside Milton Keynes
it in or is it outside the MKSM Growth Area?
considerable debate arising from the confusion of just what the MKSM
Strategy covered and what policies in the Plan covered what bits of this
area and also if the MKSM strategy could be incorporated in the Plan or left
to the next review. EERA suggested
that there were in fact 3 layers of policy, the generic policies in the
Plan, policies of the London Arc except when there were specific sub-area
policies. It was subsequently pointed out that the London Arc covered those
areas where there was metropolitan greenbelt where in fact
South-Bedfordshire had its own Green Belt and was not covered by
metropolitan green-belt. The Government Office(Go-East) made it clear that
the whole of Bedfordshire was in the Growth Area as in fact the Key diagram
indicated (this had been queried) and thus could access Growth Area funding,
this appeared to be news for a number of participants. Positive news for
Forest of Marston Vale seeking funding, they also sought a target for
woodland creation in the Plan.
Canal – is it in or out of Plan?
proposal for a canal from Bedfordshire to Milton Keynes was supported by the
Environment Agency as a good addition to the canal network and for leisure
and tourism opportunities. The need to reserve the corridor was discussed
and whether this proposal was strategic and needed to be in the Plan.
targets too high or deliverable and relationship to
Considerable debate surrounded, the issue of the Joint Economic Development
Strategy (JEDS) and Luton
airport and the impact on the quality of life and whether it would in fact
deliver on jobs. A key question was whether the
area was putting too much emphasis on
airport to deliver jobs and the alignment of jobs and housing.
Luton Borough Council pointed out that forecasts
were assumption driven, but went on to outline the buoyancy of market in the
Borough . The representative for the airport
admitted that ‘the industry had to address the issue of climate change as
the government has to’.
Housing more or less?
The final session was
taken up with housing issues. Developer proposals for developments East of
Bedford were given short shrift by the Beds BC as they said there was
already substantial available land supply and there was danger of competing
in the same housing market and impacting on the other delivery plans for
Bedford. The GO-East statement that all Beds was in the growth area raised
the issue of whether all parts of it should be contributing to the “step
change” required by the Sustainable Communities Plan, and contradicted
earlier assurances from EERA of “generic” policies applying to the
rural areas. CPRE pointed out that the figures in the Beds CC paper showed
that the step change was well catered for by the MKSM plans and that there
was therefore a real opportunity to deal with the smaller settlements on the
basis of clearly identified local needs.
4 March 2006
Week 12 (28 Feb - 1
March) EiP closing week.
– Delivery and Implementation
and Matter 9B –
Monitoring review form and content
Does the delivery process have transparency?
EERA, outlines the process
it intended implement regional stratgeies. There
was much debate as to whether establishing various boards was the best way
and if they would be transparent. EERA responded that, while a number of the
meetings of the delivery boards would not be open to the public;
organisations would be represented on them with responsibility for
communication to a wider audience, minutes would
be published on websites. Friends of the Earth observed that past
experience of regional forums did not inspire confidence and noted that
meetings of the Regional Partnership Group, the key body dealing with
delivery, would not be open to the public.
New policy for implementation chapter
plan, came in for a lot of
disucussion, from all sides. Criticisms were various; it was
not robust enough, deficient in various respects; no timetable, no
indication of priorities; it lacked any statement of delivery mechanisms and
resources; the responsibilities of groups and partnerships involved with
delivery were not clear; there was no guidance to local planning authorities
to assist them in producing their local development documents. EERA
rejected these criticisms and EEDA supported the flexibility provided by
avoiding hard and fast decisions now whilst.
New policy for the implementation chapter – trigger
points and conditionality?
The new policy proposed by EERA
envisaged trigger points, which if reached would require
intervention to get the plan back on track. and
to correct any imbalance would be taken and what that action or intervention
would be. EERA expected to have identified some of the trigger points
by the time the post-EiP proposed changes to the plan were published. The
policy provides for annual monitoring to ascertain whether the delivery of
infrastructure, the growth in jobs and the provision of housing are all
proceeding at similar rates Fears were expressed by developers that the
policy was designed to stop development. The East of England Business
Group, asked what the response should be if progress towards the jobs target
was outstripping progress towards the housing target, said that the answer
was to increase the rate of housing build. If progress towards the
jobs target was falling short, the Business Group’s answer was again to
increase the housing build rate, to stimulate the economy. Although
strongly argued by the Business Group, few if any of the other parties
present appeared to agree that increasing the rate of house building was the
answer to every problem. With the exception of Norfolk, which regarded
transport infrastructure as deserving the highest priority, county councils
were clear that jobs, housing and infrastructure must not get out of line
with other; if they did long distance commuting and increased congestion
When does the water run out- hitting the red light?
The Environment Agency pointed out
that water resources and waste water treatment plants in the region
needed to be proceeded in phase with other development. The analogy of
a train running towards an obstruction was widely used. Was the region
running through yellow lights with a red light just ahead, when all
development would have to cease? How far away was the red light?
The Environment Agency preferred to say that we were running through green
lights at present; there were yellows ahead with a red in the far distance
but actions would be taken to turn the yellows into greens and the red into
a yellow before they were reached, although these actions took time.
There was the possibility of increasing capacity at Rye Meads and other
treatment plants to meet the requirement up to 2016 but more water treatment
capacity would have to be found by then. The region was not
self-sufficient in water at present and more water would have to be imported
from Rutland water and other sources. Surprise was expressed that,
while the regional plan was informed by various strategies, economic,
housing, transport, etc., there was no corresponding water strategy
How can the target for affordable housing be met?
The environmental and the business lobbies found
themselves on the same side for once, in agreeing that the provision of
affordable housing was a fiscal, not a planning, issue. The key was
Government finance, not the building of market houses to finance the
affordable sector. CPRE pointed out the anomaly in the implementation
policy that a failure to deliver jobs would also jeopardise achievement of
the affordable housing target, given that housing may need to be slowed to
Enough guidance in the Plan for
Local Development Documents, and what tariff system?
Most LAS were happy with the guidance, but Friends of
the Earth pointed out that the Plan lacked guidance on climate change
issues such as carbon neutral development and water efficiency
targets. There was a lot of debate surrounding
developer contributions for infrastructure through the Milton Keynes example
of a flat rate tariff (commonly known as a rook tax). It as pointed out this
might be problematic for districts outside a growth area to achieve. It was
also pointed out that there were special circumstances existing at Milton
maps and review
There was quite a lot
of debate about targets ,EERA had provided a 2
page summary of those suggestions from response that they had agreed to take
up. Once more water was focussed on in particular how to monitor water
efficiency requirement effectively. Several suggestions were made regarding
improvements to the key diagram. GO East suggesting a poster size map with
insets for sub-regions.. EERA in their final
response did acknowledge that there was a need to reinforce the
environmental and sustainability monitoring arrangements and recognised that
the plan needed to give more recognition that the Plan needed to emphasise
not just responding to climate change issues but seeking to reduce climate
change emissions, the difficulty was in finding indicators to measure this
at the regional level.
On the need for review
of certain matters which have arisen during the EiP , the subject of gypsies
and travellers needs, waste apportionment and the need for a new settlement
would all be necessary but at different time frames. The first two straight
away the latter as part of a general review once the Panel report is
out.This review would take the Plan to 2031.
housing projections are due to be published on the 14th March. The Inspector
has said that if following this there is a need to look at the figures in
the Plan, the participants will be given 3 weeks to put forward further
submissions to their statements to the Panel, or if necessary he will
convene an extra session of the EiP.
Next steps in the process for
finalizing the Plan for the East of England.
Inspector publishes his report in June.(CPRE will
be preparing a report on this)
Secretary of State makes changes to the Plan and publishes these for a 12
week consultation sometime in the Autumn. (CPRE
will be responding to this)
is then finalized and adopted during early 2007.
Delivery process needs to be
The regional assembly outlined the process whereby it
intended to implement regional strategies. There was much debate
as to whether establishing various boards was the best way
forward and whether the boards would be transparent. The
regional assembly stated that while a number of the meetings of
the delivery boards would not be open to the public,
organisations with responsibility to a wider audience would be
represented on them, and minutes would be published on websites.
Friends of the Earth observed that past experience of regional
forums did not inspire confidence and noted that meetings of the
Regional Partnership Group, the key body dealing with delivery,
would not be open to the public.
Implementation plan could be
The regional assembly's implementation plan came in for a lot
of discussion from all sides. Criticisms were various: it was
not robust enough and was deficient in various respects; it had
no timetable or indication of priorities; it lacked any
statement of delivery mechanisms and resources; the
responsibilities of groups and partnerships involved with
delivery were not clear, and there was no guidance to local
planning authorities to assist them in producing their local
development documents. The regional assembly rejected these
criticisms and the development agency supported the flexibility
provided by avoiding hard and fast decisions now.
Business Group says housebuilding is the answer
The new policy proposed by the regional assembly envisaged
trigger points which, if reached, would require intervention to
get the plan back on track and to correct any imbalance. The
regional assembly expected to have identified some of the
trigger points by the time the post-EiP proposed changes to the
plan were published.
The policy provides for annual monitoring to ascertain
whether the delivery of infrastructure, the growth in jobs and
the provision of housing were all proceeding at similar rates.
Fears were expressed by developers that the policy was designed
to stop development. The East of England Business Group, when
asked what the response should be if progress towards the jobs
target was outstripping progress towards the housing target,
said that the answer was to increase the rate of housing build.
If progress towards the jobs target was falling short, the
Business Group's answer was again to increase the housing build
rate, to stimulate the economy. Although strongly argued by the
Business Group, few if any of the other parties present appeared
to agree that increasing the rate of housebuilding was the
answer to every problem.
With the exception of Norfolk, which regarded transport
infrastructure as deserving the highest priority, county
councils were clear that jobs, housing and infrastructure must
not get out of line with each other; if they did, long-distance
commuting and increased congestion would result.
Water will need to be
The Environment Agency pointed out that water resources and
wastewater treatment plants in the region needed to proceed in
phase with other development. The analogy of a train running
towards an obstruction was widely used. Was the region running
through yellow lights with a red light just ahead, when all
development would have to cease? How far away was the red light?
The Environment Agency preferred to say that we were running
through green lights at present; there were yellows ahead with a
red in the far distance, but actions would be taken to turn the
yellows into greens and the red into a yellow before they were
reached - although these actions took time. There was the
possibility of increasing capacity at Rye Meads and other
treatment plants to meet the forecast requirement up to 2016,
but more water treatment capacity would have to be found by
then. The region was not self-sufficient in water at present,
and more water would have to be imported from Rutland Water and
Surprise was expressed that, while the regional plan was
supported by various strategies, such as economic, housing and
transport strategies, there was no corresponding water strategy.
Providing affordable housing is a fiscal, not planning, issue
The environmental and the business lobbies found themselves on
the same side for once, in agreeing that the provision of
affordable housing was a fiscal, not a planning, issue. The key
was Government finance, not the building of market houses to
finance the affordable sector. CPRE pointed out the anomaly in
the implementation policy that a failure to deliver jobs would
also jeopardise achievement of the affordable housing target,
given that housing may need to be slowed to address balance.
Enough guidance in the plan for Local Development Documents?
Most local authorities were happy with the guidance provided,
but Friends of the Earth pointed out that the plan lacked
guidance on climate change issues such as carbon-neutral
development and water efficiency targets. There was a lot of
debate surrounding developer contributions for infrastructure
through the Milton Keynes example of a flat rate tariff. It was
pointed out this might be problematic for districts outside a
growth area to achieve. It was also pointed out that there were
special circumstances existing at Milton Keynes.
arrangements need to be strengthened
quite a lot of debate about targets. The regional assembly had
provided a two-page summary of suggestions from responses
received that it had agreed to take up. Once more, water was the
focus, in particular how to monitor water efficiency requirement
effectively. Several suggestions were made regarding
improvements to the key diagram, with the Government Office
suggesting a poster-size map with insets for sub-regions. The
regional assembly, in its final response, did acknowledge that
there was a need to reinforce the environmental and
sustainability monitoring arrangements, and recognised that the
regional plan needed to emphasise not just responding to climate
change issues but seeking to reduce climate change emissions.
The difficulty was in finding indicators to measure this at the
On the need for review of certain matters which have arisen
during the EiP, it was said the subject of gypsies' and
travellers' needs, waste apportionment and the need for a new
settlement would all be necessary, but at different times. The
first two were needed straight away, and the latter as part of a
general review once the panel report was out. This review would
take the regional plan to 2031.
housing projections due next week
long-awaited Government housing projections are now due to be
published on 14 March 2006. The Inspector has said that if,
following their publication, there is a need to look at the
figures in the draft regional plan, participants will be given
three weeks to put forward further submissions to their
statements to the Panel. If necessary, he will convene an
additional session of the EiP.
Next steps in the
process for finalising the East of England Plan
- The Panel Inspector will publish his report in June (CPRE
will be preparing a report on this)
The Secretary of State will make his own changes to the
draft plan, and publish a revised draft for a 12-week public
consultation sometime in the autumn. CPRE will also respond
The plan is due to be finalised and formally adopted in
14 March 2006
Government finally releases Household Projections
Last week, we said that we would report
the Government's figures for household projections to 2021 and
beyond. We find the figures surprising and confusing.
Surprising because the annual rate of increase for our region is
put at 27,800 (2003 - 2026), whereas the Draft East of England
Plan estimated 23,900. Confusing because no overall figure is
given for population in the region, and there is no information
available about the assumptions used in preparing these
projections, and hence how the actual figures were derived.
Across the country as a whole, the projections - if translated
into numbers of houses built - would lead to 16 square miles of
countryside being built on each year. And that is only for the
40% of houses not built on previously developed, 'brownfield'
Where did the figures come
It appears that the figures are trend-based extrapolations; that
is to say, they assume that what has happened in the past will
continue to happen in the future. It is essential to take
account of the way that changes in policy can influence trends.
Household projections of this sort cannot be used as a basis for
establishing housing needs in the region because so many
different factors need to be taken into account.
There appear to be three factors that
have a significant impact on the final projections: life
expectancy, migration and fertility rate. Any small change in
just one of these factors could change the projected figure
significantly. We are not told anything about the assumptions
made for them.
Where does this leave the EiP?
If the Inspector decides to invite further submissions from
participants in the light of the Household Projections, then
CPRE will respond. We think that we - and other participants -
will have some difficulty in making sense of such sparse and
If you would like the pleasure of
reading the ODPM's figures first hand, you will find them on the
Transcript - East of England Plan, Examination in Public
Matter 8H1: Harlow section of Stansted/M11 corridor
February 15, 2006
Transcribed by Mary Edwards, 16/02/06
START of session on environmental issues, particularly water and
sewerage (17.20 – final session on day two of Matter 8H1)
Chat about whether or not to continue later than usual in order
to discuss water and sewage issues particularly. People voted to stay on.
Let me turn to the water environment issues. In the Panel note
it says the Environment Agency (EA) points out that catchment and this is the
relevant areas from which water would have to be drawn to supply development in
this sub-region, the relevant areas according to Catchment Abstraction
Management Strategies show that they have no water available being overlicencsed
and over abstracted. Growth will require additional water resources development
and this is in addition to water efficiency of 25% in all new development and
then that there are water quality issues relating to low flows in the rivers
Leigh and Stort, concerns about the ability of Rye Mead’s sewage treatment works
(STW) to handle future demands without breaching EU environmental standards and
that known technology I believe does not provide a solution for doing this
within Rye Meads so that an alternative approach has to be looked for, as I
understand it, in a location which might enable discharges to be made
elsewhere, that place again.
Then there are flood risk concerns which I won’t elaborate on
now. They are raised particularly in the downstream sense by the GLA and I
think the issue of sustainable drainage schemes and so on has been illuminated
elsewhere. My main concern is that we cover these water supply and sewage
treatment issues as factors to be taken into account in the strategic thinking
and I am not talking about the detail so much as is there a timing factor
involved here, is there a locational factor involved here that we ought to be
taking account of when making strategic decisions about development. So with
that I turn first to the Environment Agency. And then Anglian Water, Thames
Water, I beg your pardon, who are here to talk about this. Environnment Agency
Environment Agency (EA) Debbie Jones
Our point is that any development in this area should not be
considered in isolation. Neither Harlow nor North Weald or any other location
can be considered from the East of England or indeed the South East. The
challenges on water resources come from a combination of developments and
population and of course we are the driest part of the country. Therefore the
effect of proposed development is cumulative.
We believe that the demand for water or shared water supplies
could be met if there was 25% improvement in per capita water consumption so
this would mean that explicit in any new build that the property was 25% more
water efficient. In terms of resource development, locally as you said,
resources are fully committed to existing abstraction and the environment, and
further development would mean major resource development outside the catchment.
Now that could be something like the Oxford reservoir or the desalination
plant or indeed a bulk transfer from the north from Anglian Water. All
those things would need to be delivered according to water company plans and
they are long term projects.
Locally within one or two spots in fact North Weald and south of
North Weald, if you look at our catchment abstraction management plan, it does
say that there is some water available to meet local needs but that probably
means that it’s small development, might just be farming needs and that any
abstractions would probably be subject to conditions which would be unsuitable
for public water supply because obviously you need a secure supply.
Moving on to the sewage issue, the sewage treatment issue, Rye
Mead as we mentioned before, presently serves a very large area which includes
Stevenage and Harlow. The scale of the development that is proposed across the
catchment will almost certainly require higher standards of treatment and just
to explain that, and the comment that you made, is that if you increase the
loading on the STWs the available dilution in the water course is less therefore
the technology to meet the standards has to be that much higher. What we’re
saying is that with the proposed population growth, the technology is not
available to meet the standards beyond that which it can meet at the moment.
And I have to say that Rye Mead is an exceptionally highly developed and highly
efficient sewage works at the moment.
One of the solutions to that could be to provide additional
treatment facilities somewhere within the catchment that would enable the self
purification capacities of the river systems to be harnessed, but to do that the
timescales for developing that additional infrastructure and enhancement would
be no doubt quite long term. As a rough guide I would presume, I am informed,
would take probably some thing between seven and nine years to develop a fully
operational STW. But I’m sure my colleagues at Thames Water could give you a
more precise figure on that.
The other issue with sewage treatment developments at the top of
the catchments like North Weald, there are existing sewage works, they are quite
small, and even if they have additional capacity the water courses at the top of
the catchments are quite small. They have low flows and whether the hydrology
is appropriate to take additional discharges from the sewage works would have to
be looked at and so I think what I’m coming around to in all the development
what we’d say is that we do need integrated water cycle studies and they in
themselves cost money and take time to do so that any development, specific
development proposals must be accompanied by quite detailed integrated water
Thank you very much. Just to confirm the point about 25% water
savings which we’ve heard quite a lot about before and you say all new
development and this would apply not just to the large developments that we’ve
been hearing about of 6, 00 or 10,000 dwellings or even a few thousand but
virtually all the development in the sub-region including the small scale
development that goes to make up the numbers because the numbers still add up to
the flow that has to be dealt with. Is that right?
EA Debbie Jones
Yes chair. You’re right and in addition to that it would need
considerable demand management from existing householders.
Thank you. I’ll turn to Anglian (sic) Water, you may be able to
help us with some of the points here and in particular the points we’ve just
heard here from the EA about the need for alternative, when you get, I’d like
you to cover both water supply and sewage treatment and when you get to sewage
treatment about the options for doing something in relation to Rye Mead.
Clearly that needs to be thought about. So I turn then to Thames Water.
Thames Water (TW) Mark Dickenson
Just want to clarify a few points before we do start. TW are the
sewerage undertaker for the Harlow and surrounding area with the exception of
Brentford and Epping Forest where we provide both water and waste water
services. I think you will find that the majority of the Harlow area for water
is supplied by Three Valleys Water (TVW) not ourselves.
We have heard today and yesterday and the references to sustainability and
deliverability and I would like to make some comments on both those topics.
Sustainability – In considering sustainability of a development
or strategic growth area it is important to consider this beyond the context of
the immediate site environment. For sewage treatment, this will mean that
environment of the possible receiving treatment works and critically the water
course into which the treated effluent is discharged.
This can in some instances be some distance from the development area.
Deliverability – It’s important not to underestimate the time
required for waste infrastructure provision. Waste water infrastructure is
essential to any development that takes place. Phasing of the infrastructure in
line with developments in the case of waste infrastructure needs to happen ahead
of any development. Failure to provide infrastructure in time can lead to
internal sewerage flooding because the sewers are not large enough or pollution
of rivers because treatment plan cannot be built in time. Under the Water
Industries Act, TW Utilities has a legal obligation to provide infrastructure
and in the majority of cases infrastructure can be provided in time. Small
construction projects take 18 months, upgrades to treatment plants around 3
years and relocation of treatment plants can take 7 to 10 years. For instance,
Reading STW has recently been relocated. From an engineering point of view it
was not complex and from a planning point of view had the support of the local
planning authority, but still took 7 years to construct at a cost of over £80
TW often gets challenged as to why infrastructure takes so long
to put in place. This is often as a result of external factors. For example TW
is reliant on the EA for defining the treatment limits we work to. It is not
uncommon for it to take 2 years for treatment limit to be released. This is
because the EA needs to undertake comprehensive surveys and modeling work.
Added to the 3 years for design and construction, 5 years becomes a considerable
period. Inability to gain planning permission is also an issue. We may need to
lay a pipeline but the requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
may also substantial increase the timescales required. Lack of early
consultation from local planning authorities and developers can also delay the
delivery of infrastructure.
TW is reliant on OFWAT to set its funding levels. The recent
determination for our funding period up to 2010 has allocated us less money than
we requested to meet the growth levels of Regional Planning Guidance (RPG) 9, in
advance of RPG14. The additional growth levels identified as part of the East
of England Plan will place a further strain on these funding levels.
The EA defines statutory treatment limits for us which are dictated by EU law.
They effectively dictate the chemical load which we can discharge to the river.
The more development that takes place the greater the chemical load we discharge
to the river. In order to keep the river at the same environmental condition,
the EA tightens the treatment limits so that the river remains the same.
TW already has some of the tightest treatment limits in the
country. Although Rye Meads is not the lowest, it is within the top three out
of 350. The top 9 of which are rapidly approaching the limits of what is
physically possible to treat with existing sewage treatment technology.
Following the Milton Keynes-South Midlands Examination in Public (EiP), TW has
recognized the need to develop and trail new technology. However this has not
been funded as part of the 2005 to 2010 bid to OFWAT. Either as a pilot plant
or as a series of plan upgrades, assuming funding was allocated in 2010, a trial
would be required taking 2 years and if successful, construction would be a
minimum of 3 years taking the time period up to 2015. In addition to this
problem, the EA has also indicated that it will be introducing upper tier
treatment limits for which TW has again not been funded by OFWAT. These are
treatment levels which are 3 times the normal treatment limits but must be met
100% of the time instead of 95% of the time. To ensure that there is no failure
of the requirement, robust testing of any new process would be required again
extending delivery timescales.
Moving on to some specific issues around Rye Meads and later on
moving on to North Weald. Rye Mead STW – Waste water for the Harlow areas is
treated at the TW Rye Mead’s Sewage treatment works located at 5 kms west on the
River Leigh. This works also receives waste water for flows from other areas.
These include Sawbridgeworth, Welwyn Garden City, Stevenage, Hertford, Ware,
Stansted Abbots, Hoddeson, and North Broxbourne, and also takes trade effluent
from Stansted Airport in the form of glycol.
The cumulative impact of growth must be taken into account. The
alone is an increase of 25% or 50,000 population equivalent on the works. Rye
Meads STW is located at the headwaters of a sensitive river. Most of the river
is made up of what we discharge from the STW therefore further growth will
inevitably results in a reduction of the treatment limits. The EA have yet to
confirm the effluent consent that would be required for the levels of projected
growth in the area, but have verbally stated that these would be consistent with
the Water Research Council’s model.
Can I just stop you there. There is no need to read all of this
out. We have most of these points from your statement. What we are anxious to
get into is what’s being done about it and what we are to do about it. OK so we
are aware of the factual background but particularly interested in the options
and actually whether there is a process going forward between the water industry
and EERA (East of England Regional Assembly), or the planning authorities and
the GLA in particular because clearly their area is also implicated. So if you
could cut to the chase.
Thames Water Mark Dickenson
I’ll cut to my conclusions in just one moment but you might be
interested in a statement on North Weald about a statement that Lend Lease made
in their written submission. Lend Lease have said that North Weald is
particularly well served with regard to most utilities including sewerage. They
then go on to say that current sewerage works has a spare capacity of
approximately 1,500 properties. North Weald STW currently treats sewerage for a
population equivalent of about 5,000 and while the equipment on site may well
have a theoretical capacity to treat another 1,500 properties or a population
equivalent of 3,500 that is likely to trigger a new consent from the EA and
therefore what we would say is that it is not fair to say that there is spare
capacity there for another 1,500 properties. We’ve also heard about the
potential river flooding that could occur further downstream and again that
would be an issue for the EA to determine whether or not sufficient hydraulic
capacity existed in the receiving water network.
Just to go on to our conclusions, to consider further the
suitability of the Harlow – North Weald area as a strategic growth area we would
encourage the EA to undertake a full water cycle study for the area. This would
include river modeling to identify the existing sewerage treatment works,
whether or not there was sufficient capacity for us to drain into the ah,
hydrologically drain into the existing rivers and also identify the potential
locations of any new strategic STWs that they felt were necessary.
Engineering solutions to waste water drainage and treatment may
be available, but in the context of the environmental constraints the EA have
outlined in their submission, it would appear that such solutions are unlikely
to be easy to be identified and without significant financial costs or quick to
TW’s next opportunity to obtain the funding for the growth identified in the
draft plan for the East of England will be from 2010/11 financial period (as
referred to as our AMP 5 period). This process will begin in 2007/08.
The government has confirmed in its draft revised circular on
planning obligations that the use of Section 106 agreements is not appropriate
for the funding and delivery of water supply and waste water infrastructure.
Just one other point I would like to pick up on, the 25% water
efficiencies on new build, while TW supports the principle of this one of the
things we are concerned of is how we ensure that they are, that water efficiency
is maintained long term, for instance if people redevelop or refurbish their
bathrooms and subsequently fit power showers or not water efficient products.
That’s all I have for now.
If I can summarise what you say in layman’s terms, we have a
problem. We have no technological solution and no locations on which to
plan facilities to solve that problem and no funding as far as Thames is
concerned to address it until 2010?
Thames Water Mark Dickenson
With regard to the funding that is correct with regard to 2010.
Some of the other points may be better directed to the EA with regard to
I will come back to the EA because as I understand it the EA is
calling for water cycle studies to be undertaken but you have just replayed that
call to the agency so I’d like to know first how this happens.
Are we talking about different levels in other words the agency is looking at
water cycle studies related to particular developments but you’re talking about
needing to do it on a sub-regional and a wide sub-regional scale at that, so I’d
like to hear from the agency on that next please. I appreciate others want to
come in on this. You can see why I wanted to originally address these issues
before lunch yesterday. EA please.
EA Debbie Jones
Unfortunately we are not funded to do strategic water
infrastructure cycle studies for the catchment. On terms of local studies we
would try and contribute to some sort of partnership arrangement, but we are not
funded to undertake the cycles themselves.
Would you agree with TW’s analysis that a sub-regional scale, a
wide sub-regional scale study is need? We don’t have much information to go
forward with on a detailed level in relation to actual solutions to this problem
at the moment do we?
EA Debbie Jones
No, we don’t have the information and with all these I think it
is a strategic view that we need but we don’t have that information.
Thank you. Well we’ve reached an interesting point here. I’d
like to turn to Friends of the Earth.
Friends of the Earth, East of England Mary Edwards
Boy am I happy to come in here. I personally would call that the
smoking gun. I’ve been looking for it but thank you Thames Water and thank you
the Environment Agency. I’m pretty nonplussed even by my standards. I wanted
to come in particularly on this. My bigger picture was on sustainability,
global warming, CO2 emissions and indeed water, issues related to
climate change. But if we should possibly have time I might get back to those
but I wanted to ask a couple of questions on this, points of clarification
really because I am so nonplussed by this.
Has anyone anywhere done any kind of, even a back of the envelope
attempt to cost all of this?
The EA doesn’t have the money to do the studies, TW is throwing it back to the
agency because they don’t have the money and there is no chance of getting the
money, even asking for it before 2010. This is quite quite astonishing to me
that we have come this far and this is where we find ourselves. So has anybody
got that back of the envelope amount of money that this is going to cost,
including the sewage and the supply?
Also what I have never heard, has within the figuring on this
factored in the reduction in supply because of climate change because obviously
we are looking at a bit more rain in the winter but much less rainfall in the
summertime so how is this being factored into the question of whether or not we
actually have the supply?
And finally what I’m also not clear on is whether or not the EA
and TW are looking at the total water picture and sewage picture in terms of for
instance on waste we frequently talk about just municipal solid waste and we
forget about all those thousands and millions of tonnes of commercial and
industrial waste and all those other difficult to handle things. So are you
looking at the total water picture so that all of the, not only houses that are
going to be built, but all the commercial development etc., are you looking at
those water requirements and sewerage requirements as well?
I will come next to developers Lend Lease and Savills I think to
begin with, ah yes, let’s have Anglian Water again...
(Brief toing and froing over Thames Water not Anglian Water)
Sorry sir Thames Water.
Yes I keep calling you that because of…
We are Thames Water not Anglian Water
I know you are Thames Water. It’s my fault. I tend to think of
the words Anglian and Water in the same breath after the time we spent at Ely
hearing from them, but I know who you are, Thames Water.
Thames Water Jason Stratton
I just wanted a point of clarity really. The Agency mentioned,
when talking about the water resources for the strategic growth area, the
possible use of the Oxford reservoir that TW is currently undertaking studies
on. I am the planning manager for that project. The demand for that project is
being driven by growth in Swindon and Oxfordshire and London. The growth in the
East of England region is not a factor driving the development of that
reservoir. We’re fully developing a reservoir that will meet the needs of
London, Swindon, and Oxfordshire and not, as I say, East of England in that
Sir, as I say, I don’t think we have Three Valleys Water here,
and I appreciate that water supply to this sub-region isn’t primarily for you,
but what you are saying is that as far as at least water resources are being
developed in your region, they are spoken for?
Thank you. Now Lend Lease please.
Lend Lease Adrian Smith
As has been amply demonstrated just in the debate that has just
happened, the provision of water to cater for growth in both households and
employment that is projected for the sub-region and the region as a whole, is an
issue of some concern and that is regardless of where that growth goes across
that region. We recognize this. However it is also worth noting that from
investigations that we have undertaken and also from discussions we’ve had with
Three Valleys Water (TVW), which is the provider for water, would be the
provider for water in North Weald, and in both his submission and his
correspondence to us, it has confirmed that not only is it obviously his duty to
provide water for all future needs, but it has - it is making allowances within
its long term plans to cater for this growth commensurate with levels outlined
in the plan. And that was their correspondence to us.
We are also aware obviously, and are exploring other
opportunities to help that water efficiencies and to supply a proportion of the
North Weald’s water demands from other sources and as you are aware a number of
these issues and a number of these ways of water management have been already
identified whether this is water harvesting of sustainable urban drainage
systems (SUDS) and efficiency measures that you would put in to any new
development particularly of the scale, that type of development of North Weald
would become, we potentially have more opportunities to enhance that well above
the 25% efficiency levels that are currently being sought. We will be exploring
these options with TVW from the earliest possible times.
It is also important to note that comments made by TVW on the
benefits of large scale development as opposed to large scale piecemeal
development also need to be taken into account. It says that urban
concentrations present particular planning challenges for water supply and a
large amount of development within or adjacent to existing urban sectors would
require significant distribution systems, upgrades and expansion and when
development is piecemeal and spread over time, it is more difficult to apportion
these costs between developments. Importantly the company identified that large
scale new settlements facilitate a more efficient approach to the provision of
this new infrastructure and obviously developments of the scale of, as I said,
of North Weald and other large settlements that have been promoted by people
around the table do allow for this careful and coordinated planning and
implementation of water efficiencies and conservation measures and does enable
and give time for people, for the utilities and others, and the Environment
Agency to plan for the long term future, gives that greater certainty.
Moving onto the sewage treatment issues, although in the past it
has been stated that obviously TW operates with a certain degree of headroom for
future growth as we’ve just heard, that degree of headroom is probably not as
great as people would wish. However, from our early investigations, and yes we
have had these investigations undertaken by Atkins, and they did indeed indicate
that the NW STW has spare capacity for a further 1,500 homes and obviously we
are aware of the consent issues that that would require, and obviously we would
be looking to overcome that and have discussions with both TW and the EA as soon
as we could to make sure that those consent issues and any flow management
measures would be incorporated into any design to make sure that it didn’t have
any issues of flooding risks from discharge.
We have also been advised by TW that subject to the expansion of
Rye Mead, and obviously that is potentially a big subject too, which is not just
to undertake and cater for NW’s development but, depending on that and subject
to that RM’s expansion, that it would be able to receive foul water from our
proposed development through the long term. We are also obviously exploring
other options of developing treatment facilities on site that would cater for
some if not all of the treatment that would be required and also possibly allow
for the consolidation of the existing Thornewood and NW works. Thank you.
Thank you. I think our perception is that there is an issue here
for EERA as much as for anyone else in terms of the Plan and the overall scale
of development at regional level rather than for individual developers, though
clearly their role in delivering anything will be important. With that in mind
I come to Savills and with an eye on the clock please, Mr. Brighton again
Savills Mr. Brighton
Thank you sir, I will be very brief. We have been aware of the
difficulties at RM for some little while and as part of the consideration of any
scheme north of Harlow we have given a good deal of thought to the whole issue
of waste water treatment and what I hear from my left is really a single model
approach based on really existing practice. But there are other approaches and
certainly one which we believe has great promise for urban extensions of the
type that are proposed around Harlow is the whole concept of local treatment
based on single or perhaps double neighbourhood level of treatment. These, from
a sustainability view point, are much more energy efficient than piping sewage
five miles down the valley to a distant facility.
As I mentioned yesterday in terms of achieving the water savings
requirements, we see that the whole issue of grey water recycling and storage on
the site and dual pipe systems containing both potable and non-potable supplies
will become a necessity on all development and certainly it’s something we
assume will be required as part of any scheme that we are involved in, and it’s
only by achieving or implementing those sorts of measures that you will achieve
the greater efficiency in the use of water.
Clearly I take your point that this also needs to be extended to
existing water users in the region to be fully effective, and to complete the
integrated nature of this approach, the solid waste that results from that
process is potentially useable in biomass power generation, again within the
same locality so rather than just recognize a problem and set it out to you, we
are beginning to develop solutions which are capable of being implemented
Thank you. The North Weald Bassett Community Action Group
North Weald Bassett Community Action Group
Thank you chairman. We touched on flooding yesterday and you
kindly suggested that we return to it today. This is the opportunity. We at
times have too much water which is quite a strange thing to say, but this occurs
due to flash flooding, normally in the summer period, and we are advised that
this normally occurs every 40 to 50 years, but we have had three in the last 30
years, one every ten years. We’ve had two flood alleviation schemes in NW and
one in Thornewood village, which is in the parish. They’ve been installed over
the recent years at a cost of over a million pounds each which at the moment are
adequate for our needs but unlikely to support a new settlement.
The flooding, may I remind people, has in fact been 4 foot high
in many of the houses around the High Street. This has contained water and
effluent. This has been detrimental to health, not only from the sewage and
water ingress but also from mental stress.
It has caused reduced property prices in the area and is also
been a significant increase in insurance policy rating for the area as it has
now been recognized as a flood problem area. All local planning does take this
into account, but if I may, may I ask the Panel please to give their assurance
that special consideration is given to the North Weald flooding issue when
making their recommendations. Thank you.
Thank you. We have that also from various written submissions.
I’ll turn back to the EA please to come back on the issues to do with how this
is assessed and whatever you were going to say.
EA Debbie Jones
Firstly I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to mislead the Panel by quoting
the Oxford reservoir as a source of supply. I was merely using it as an example
to say that major resource development is needed for the South East of England.
Secondly, if what I think we are asking is that, if sub-regional
development proceeds, that we need collectively to do a piece of work and that
to meet the aspirations of the RSS, we need to set out terms of studies and
needs, and that would be in terms of studies for water cycle and in terms of
need, that if the RSS thinks or directs that we need to start thinking about
sewage works for future development then it should instruct us to go away and
start doing a site search. Thank you.
Thank you. And when you say ‘we’, who other than the Agency do
you have in mind?
EA Debbie Jones
I would say that is in partnership and that’s developers, Thames
Water, the Agency, perhaps some of the local councils.
And EERA? Unintelligible Thank you. Let’s take the
Government Office next please.
GO-East John Dowie
Thank you. Just trying to pull some threads together from the
previous discussion. I think we’ve got a number of issues here that iterate
between themselves. The understanding that I have is that the water industry
needs clarity of development levels in order to meet that development both in
terms of water supply and disposal as well. At the same time they’ve got
constraints in terms of rolling out new infrastructure whether it’s upgrading
existing sewage works, whether it’s building additional sewage works. The study
that has just been referred to clearly does need to pull together a number of
partners and needs to be done in partnership. I’m sure that the Office of the
Deputy Prime Minister would be willing to contribute to deliver such a study, is
best done in the context of a development framework. So I understand.
I think the issue for the Panel and the development of the RSS is
to get a better handle on the lags or the implications for the development
phasing of the lags required in delivery of the sewerage infrastructure. I
think things today have been left rather too loose to allow you to do that
properly and to take a proper judgment, and I think there may be a window of
opportunity between now and the implementation session in a couple of weeks time
to try and pull together a better piece of advice to you to give a sense on the
development phasing consistent with the existing infrastructure.
Thank you. Can I take up just one aspect of that and is there
any sense in which Sustainable Development and considering Sustainable
Communities requires a more holistic approach rather than the sort of sequential
one that you imply there, where you decide where development is going to go on a
regional scale and how much you are going to have and then you deal with the
consequences in terms of engineering the environment to cope with it.
Whereas perhaps you make that decision perhaps all in one rather
than simply regarding the water environment consequences as a consequence, as an
implementation issue because clearly it may have an influence on the options
available to you as to where development takes place, in what quantity over what
timescale and so on. So is there an element in which more integration of the
process is required and that the reason why we are in a little bit of a bind
this afternoon is that that hasn’t been the approach so far?
GO-East John Dowie
I think what we’ve got is a process which inevitably has to
involve a degree of iteration between an emerging spatial strategy and an
emerging strategy for the water infrastructure. And to some extent there is an
issue about relative positioning of horses and carriages here, that there needs
to be clarity about future development trajectories in order to drive forward
considerations of the water industry’s infrastructure whether that’s in terms of
supply of infrastructure or in terms of provision of funding through the price
control formula for the water industry. That cannot operate on the basis of a
set of hypotheticals.
At the same time, you are absolutely right that there needs to be
iteration back to the development trajectory to reflect realities in terms of
the water industry. What I’m suggesting by way of process is clearly imperfect,
but I think it is the best I can do at present in order to try and produce an
Thank you. I’m acutely aware that we have to wrap things up for
tonight come what may because there are other users needing to use the building
tonight. We’ve overstayed our welcome by half an hour already. Is there a
brief comment by way of finishing off Mr. Burchell you’d like to make, otherwise
those who are here tomorrow for our resumption in 8H2 overlap…….DISCUSSION
OF NEEDING TO USE THE RESERVE SESSION ON FRIDAY TO FINISH OFF
EERA Mike Burchell
Chairman, hopefully just trying to wind up on the issue we’ve
been discussing. I mean I think you’ve been getting the impression that there’s
been no dialogue going on between EERA and the water and waste water industry.
That has clearly not been the case, and we have various iterations in the
process to date, had exchanges of view and whilst we have been given the clear
impression that the development strategy that is being proposed is a challenging
target, none the less, we’ve not been given any impression that it is
prohibitively a problem. And clearly in relation to water supply, we’ve
previously discussed at some length efficiency targets and we’re fully behind
We realize that new resources need to come on stream, and we
appreciate that there is a different planning cycle that’s needed at OFWAT, and
as Mr. Dowie has said, to some degree they need some certainty from us about
what they have to do before they can get into that cycle. But again our
questions to the water industry about whether there’s in a sense, a preferred
way of couching the spatial strategy that would make their job easier or not, we
haven’t had that impression from them. They’re in a sense willing to deal with
the strategy as we put it on the table.
And we’ve been acutely aware of some of the limitations of
dealing with waste water, and that has been a subject of some discussion about,
in the Stevenage context. Again we have been given the impression that there
are ways of dealing with that, either by a new facility or by managing the way
in which they’d handle the water through existing, through networks in dealing
with that problem. Again we are aware that that needs to feed in on a planning
cycle in order to deal with any new facility that’s required to take the
pressure off Rye Mead.
So with that background Chairman, it does seem to me that it
doesn’t actually, whilst there are clearly challenges in all of that that need
to be brought on mind, and it clearly affects the phasing issue of when
development comes forward, it doesn’t fundamentally undermine the strategy that
we’ve been discussing today.
Thank you. Close of session
EERA East of England Regional Assembly
EA Environment Agency
GO-East Government Office for the East of England
TVW Three Valleys Water
TW Thames Water
STW Sewage treatment works
RPG Regional Planning Guidance
RSS Regional Spatial Strategy
7-10 February, there is no sitting of the EiP.
Next week, 14-17 February, the EiP will hear discussions
about Stansted and also about the London-Peterborough 'growth area', which CPRE
has been campaigning hard on. You can read more on our website:
And please note: Stop Harlow North is organising a public demonstration of
support for the Green Belt around Harlow, which is under threat from these
growth area plans. If you can, please attend the public demonstration, which is
at 9am on 14 February. More details can be found on the group's