§ Mr. Flight
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on Railtrack's position as regards planning legislation, with particular reference to demolition of property. 
§ Mr. Raynsford
The carrying out of development of land generally requires planning permission. This normally entails a planning application but the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 grants a general permission (through permitted development rights) for various types of development. Where Railtrack carried out works which fall within the definition of permitted development under Class A of Part II or Part 17 of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, it will enjoy permitted development rights and will not need to submit a planning application.
Demolition of property requires planning permission where it meets the definition of development. Under the Town and Country Planning (Demolition—Description of Buildings) Direction 1995, planning permission is only required for the total demolition of dwellinghouses and buildings adjoining them outside conservation areas, and for the demolition of the whole or part of a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure within conservation areas. Part 31 of Schedule 2 to the General Permitted Development Order then grants permitted development rights for the demolition of these descriptions of buildings, subject to certain conditions. However, listed building consent or conservation area consent for the total or substantial demolition of buildings may also be required. These provisions apply to Railtrack as they do to other prospective developers.