Wednesday, 1 April 2009

SEERA Submits To SNR

In an unreported move the South East England Regional Assembly (SEERA) was dissolved as of April 1st 2009.

English regional assemblies were formed as part of the shake-up of local government after Labour came to power in 1997 and are formally recognised under the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998.

The South East Regional Assembly comprised 111 members, with one elected representative from each of the 74 local authorities in the region and the remaining members drawn from economic, social and environmental interests [1]. Here is the full list of SEERA representatives (as you can see here it was heavily dominated by Conservatives).

The Assembly had a range of non-statutory and statutory responsibilities, including strategic regional planning (covering major issues such as energy, transport and housing). It operated as a voluntary body, which meant it wasn't subject to Freedom of Information legislation, but it recently come into conflict with central government by publicly stating it's opposition to the third runway and sixth terminal development at Heathrow.

The Government instigated it's Sub-National Review (SNR) of Economic Development and Regeneration which concluded that the South East England Partnership Board should take over the responsibilities in order to "streamline regional working arrangements".

This took place today and the SEEPB will now develop the Single Regional Strategy, deciding on many relevant local policies (including the massive housing development around Wokingham).

Oranjepan says:
Just as the unelected body started to gain legitimacy by standing up for the interests of the people against the government, it is stripped of any responsibility by the government!

The move means less accountability and less democracy - it may guarantee swifter decisions, but it doesn't guarantee better decisions.

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