§ Mr. Spearing
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is now taking to evaluate the impacts of proposals to utilise a new high-speed railway from London to the Channel tunnel for daily working journeys for residents in Kent to and from London; what effects he expects such proposals to have on the existing structure plan for that county; and if he will state his criteria for development in areas not scheduled for residential expansion.
§ Mr. Chope
The impact on daily working journeys for residents in Kent is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport.
I understand that British Rail is undertaking widespread consultations on Channel tunnel train services and is at present discussing the strategic implications of its proposals with Kent county council and the London planning advisory committee, and that Kent county council hopes to come to a conclusion on the strategic implications in January. It will be a matter for Kent county council to decide, in the light of British Rail's decision on a preferred route, whether or not to undertake a further review of the Kent structure plan.
The Secretary of State's criteria for development in areas not scheduled for residential expansion are set out in general terms in circulars issued by the Department and more recently in the planning policy guidance notes. The detailed application of these policies in this case is primarily a matter for the local planning authorities in Kent and London.