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CLA North West reaction to aspects of the Queen’s Speech

[Friday 20 November 2009]

Douglas Chalmers, Director CLA North comments on aspects of Wednesday Queen's Speech.

Commenting on the Flood and Water Bill, Douglas Chalmers, Director CLA North, said:

“It is pleasing to see that some of the CLA’s views on local determination have been taken on board, but the real challenge is to ensure that local authorities have the funding to manage flood risk and maintenance at a local level. This has been underlined by the current weather situation across the regions and will require a serious commitment to provide expertise and knowledge.

"While we welcome the deregulation of reservoirs over 25,000 cubic metres on the basis of risk, we are opposed to the proposal to lower the volume threshold, which will mean more reservoirs need to be registered. Although the degrees of administration have not been finalised, this move can only increase the regulatory burden on landowners, and we are continuing to lobby to ensure that any changes are proportionate to the identified risk.

Commenting on the Energy Bill, Douglas Chalmers, Director CLA North, said:

“The CLA notes the aim to move towards a low-carbon economy which we fully support.

“We support green energy and have been always been active in promoting its benefits. These are obviously the environmental benefits, and also the opportunities for economic activity by land owners and managers. However we have to question the logic of funding research and development in the coal sector coming from electricity consumers. We believe the Feed In Tariff is a better mechanism as it allows anyone to participate and to benefit by becoming their own generator.

“The cost of connecting small-scale renewables to the low voltage network can sometimes be ridiculously expensive. It is disappointing that Ofgem has missed the opportunity to review this.”

Commenting on the Digital Economy Bill, Douglas Chalmers, Director CLA North said:

“I was disappointed to hear so little practical information about how Government will achieve its stated outcome of fast affordable broadband for rural areas. Our advisers will be looking carefully at the details when it is published in full later this week.”

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