House of Commons Debates – 4 November 2010
9. Matthew Hancock (West Suffolk) (Con): If she will discuss with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government proposals to extend the power of communities to protect local rural environments. 
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Richard Benyon): The Government are committed to reforming the current top-down planning system to give communities far greater powers to shape their neighbourhoods and share in the benefits of growth. In particular, neighbourhood plans will give communities the freedom to bring forward more development than is set out in the local authority plan, or to introduce more localised rural environmental protection policies. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will work closely with the Department for Communities and Local Government in taking that forward.