Reforms to the planning system to deliver a streamlined procedure for approving large infrastructure projects, ranging from power stations to transport links. Financial Times

A planning reform bill expected later this month will create an independent infrastructure planning commission to decide on projects of national significance.

The government says all these changes are necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with a climate change bill due to be published by the end of the year. This would set a legally binding target to cut carbon dioxide emissions to 60 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050. Hilary Benn, environment secretary, has said he would ask an independent committee that would monitor the government’s progress to consider whether the target should be toughened to an 80% cut.

Business broadly welcomed improvements to the planning regime. Centrica, the energy group, said the commission needed to be running by 2009 to clear the backlog of energy projects stacked up in the system.