Move to support Planning Committee

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Deputy Russell Labey has lodged a proposition to rescind a standing order which bars a Member from putting themselves forward for election for both bodies.

The proposition follows a recent States Assembly sitting during which two Deputies expressed an interest in standing for a position on both the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel and the Planning Committee but were prevented from doing so by Standing Order 141A(2)(c).

Deputy Labey is now calling on Members to consider ‘whether such a standing order is appropriate or justifiable’ and has questioned if a link exists between the Scrutiny panel and the Planning Committee.

A report accompanying his propositions says: ‘Does the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel’s remit actually cover planning applications at all, when there already exist two formal routes of appeal available to interested parties – should they take exception to a determination – namely the third-party planning appeal apparatus before an independently appointed UK planning inspector and the Royal Court?

‘Both of these mechanisms provide scrutiny of the panel’s work.’

Deputy Labey says that if in both theory and practice the two bodies operate independently of each other it is relevant to question the ‘necessity’ for the standing order. His report adds: ‘In the event of a crossover somehow materialising, the opportunity is available to a potentially conflicted panel or committee member of recusing themselves from any initiative or investigation which may lead to him or her being subject to compromise.’

The report also says that finding recruits for the Planning Committee ‘can be difficult’.

‘It is not unnatural for those of an environmental leaning to gravitate towards both the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel and the Planning Committee, which is exactly what was witnessed recently,’ it says.

‘If an unnecessary impediment exists to prevent those with a specialised interest participating fully in functions suited to their expertise to the ultimate benefit of the Island, it is prudent to have it removed.’

The proposition is due to be debated on 25 September.

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