Planning in the Media

Plans to compensate residents who accept incineration plants in their neighbourhoods are under consideration after a meeting between French waste giant SITA and communities secretary Eric Pickles, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

Big waste companies have "often been tied up for years in planning battles, as residents fear plants may cause pollution problems," the paper said.

Incentives could be part-community ownership of the plants, discounted energy bills or ring-fenced community funds.

But a government source reminded the paper that incinerators are dealt with by DEFRA rather than Pickles's department. The UK generates 1.5 per cent of its electricity from waste incineration, the same amount as by wind farms.

Half a million homes in flood-prone areas face a fourfold rise in insurance costs with many refused any cover, according to The Times. The warning follows a dispute between the insurance industry and the government over flood defences.

The paper claims that the industry is threatening to tear up a long-standing agreement that it should spread the cost of flood claims among all households and not penalise those living near rivers and the coast.

It is demanding a doubling in annual public spending on flood defences to more than £1 billion as the price of continuing to provide affordable cover to those in areas with a one-in-75-year risk of flooding.

But the government cut this year's flood defence budget by £30 million despite acknowledging that climate change would increase the risk of major floods. Ministers have indicated that the government cannot be expected to meet the £20 billion cost of flood defences for every property at risk.

Prince Charles has broken his silence over his controversial intervention in plans to redevelop Chelsea Barracks. In an interview with Vanity Fair, he said: "It just seemed to me that you have to start drawing lines in the sand about how much London is going to be mucked about with.

"I'd seen some of the plans and I thought 'this seems insane'. I just wrote a letter - a confidential letter to somebody I happen to know. I didn't do anything in public. It only came into play when they, for some reason or other, leaked my letter. Anyway, it produced the desired effect, in that it revealed that an awful lot of people are concerned."

Rowan Moore, The Observer's architecture critic, praised the Olympic Park Legacy Company for backing the development of family homes after the 2012 games. The company will remain the freeholder on the site indefinitely, along the model of the great estates that built London such as Grosvenor and Cadogan.

"It will have an interest in maintaining the quality of the place, rather than seeking the highest bidders for land at the earliest opportunity," Moore added. "Most regeneration projects do the latter, which means that a predictable band of volume housebuilders move in and do their usual mediocre stuff. Whatever guidelines there might be to achieve good design and planning are difficult to enforce."

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