The Bill, which the Coalition government argues will boost the economy by £3.9 billion over the next 10 years, is seen as yet another threat to take away the rights of the public – not just in future developments but also in environmentally damaging activities such as fracking.
It has already been passed by the Lords and is now in the House of Commons at the Committee Stage, where a closed Committee are discussing and amending it.
When the Committee have reported back to the House of Commons (currently scheduled for 15th/16th Jan) it will then move to the Report Stage, where a new version of the Bill (with new section/clause numbers) will be released, and opened up for all MPs to make amendments to it, and vote on it.
If passed, will enable the following:
• Any public land (apart from that owned by the royal family and now our forests) can be transferred to the government’s Homes and Communities Agency, to be passed on to private firms to use for any kind of development, with all rights of public access removed
• The recovery of gas and oil – including fracking, coal gasification, coalbed methane extraction and geothermal – anywhere in Britain to be a legal objective
• The right to dump and abandon any substance whatsoever under any land (including radioactive and gases)
• The right to drill under any land, public or private
• Major projects (such as power stations, new towns, high-speed rail and motorways) to be decided on by government rather than councils, with communities also unlikely to be consulted
• Any species deemed non-native (including barn owls, red kites, goshawks) can be controlled or exterminated.
• Councils given short time limits to enforce planning restrictions or their duties will be discharged by a panel of two government inspectors and a minister, giving developers free rein
• The Land Registry will be given major new powers to hold local registers, and be the judge, jury and executioner on land ownership disputes
• Anyone building fewer than 50 houses in a development will no longer need to ensure they are zero carbon or eco-friendly
"If this becomes law it makes a mockery of any democratic rights still held by the people of this country," argues Canon Andrea Titterington from Preston.
There is a mass lobby of parliament at 11.00am on 14 January 2015 (more information here on Facebook).
• If you plan to attend the lobby email us at BinTheBill@gmail.com to let organisers know how many of you are coming. If you can't make it to London, please write to your MP and let them know that you are opposed to the Bill as it stands, and that you would like to support the amendments that are being tabled.
• Tell your MP that you are opposed to the Bill as it currently stands (#BinTheBill), and that you would like him/her to
- Vote to support the main amendments to the Bill that Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Tory MP Norman Baker have tabled (http://drillordrop.com/
- Vote to support any other amendments that you feel strongly about
- Demand the disclosure of the heavily redacted DEFRA report on the economic impacts of Fracking
• Government News Stories on the Infrastructure Bill