The MP for Buckingham is working on a bill which is ‘giving the Yellow Pages a hard time’

One of the most important bills passing the House of Commons at the moment is the Leveling and Reclamation Bill.

A few weeks ago I spoke during the second reading debate and, after making a few comments on areas where I thought the bill could be improved to better protect our countryside from development, c t was with some surprise that I heard about the shoulder of the whips announcing that I would be sitting on the committee of the bill.

A bill committee is where a group of MPs, representative of the composition of the House of Commons, go through the bill line by line to review and amend it.

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MP for Buckingham, Greg Smith

On a very practical level, since this bill is giving the Yellow Pages a hard time on thickness, it will now dominate my time until the end of September, requiring major surgery on pre-existing engagements, especially Tuesdays and Thursdays.

But on a positive note, this is a wonderful opportunity for me as a rural MP to advocate for greater protection of open countryside and farmland, as well as tougher rules to facilitate planning enforcement against illegal development and to strengthen communities. hands when it comes to how things like flood risk are assessed as part of planning.

By making significant amendments, such as the one already tabled on my behalf to make the consideration of food production a legal requirement by government and planning authorities when considering an application for the development of agricultural land (whether it’s housing or things like solar farms), I hope to protect our precious faraway land in the future.

Of course, there’s plenty to celebrate in the bill already, including the introduction of mandatory design codes to ensure development reflects community preferences.

It will also introduce a new infrastructure tax to fund affordable housing, schools, medical practices and roads for which new development creates the need and, importantly, a presumption for a “brownfield first” approach.

It will be hard work, but it will be worth it to get this important piece of legislation right.

Calvin W. Soper