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New planning shake-up lacks spirit, says Rogers

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Richard Rogers has called on the government to give teeth to its forthcoming planning bill in a speech to the House of Lords.

The urban task force chair criticised the planning shake-up as 'long on structure but short on aspirations' during the House of Lords' second reading of the bill on Tuesday.

The debate, the first time the upper chamber has considered the new legislation, was intended to tackle the spirit of the bill rather than particular details. Others speaking included Lord Rooker for the government, Baroness Hanham for the conservatives and Baroness Hamwee for the Liberal Democrats.

Rogers pointed to the bill's failure to make a single mention of design or the need to ensure the highest quality design. And he called for a proper definition of sustainability that would include the protection of ecosystems, the reduction of waste and the combatting of polarisation and exclusion.

'I welcome the duty contained in the bill to have regard to the achievement of sustainable development, ' he said. 'But such a duty is actually meaningless without a proper definition of sustainability on the face of the bill.'

He also called on the government to lead by example, by harmonising VAT, encouraging greater densities and greater use of brownfield sites.

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