The Telegraph’s Jonathan Isaby notes how the government were defeated in this vote on Friday because they wrongly calculated that the vote would be inquorate if they didn’t actively vote against it.

Michael Fallon MP:
"I beg to move, that the Bill be now read a Second time.

am grateful for the wide support that the Bill has received, not only
from my co-sponsors from all parts of the House, but from those
councils at the forefront of good energy practice, the Local Government
Association and our energy industry, which is ready and willing to help
meet the challenge of climate change.

is not a big Bill, but it does one important thing: it will enshrine in
law, I hope, the so-called Merton rule, which I shall describe in more
detail. Back in 2003, the London borough of Merton adopted in its local
planning documents the policy that, for new developments, at least 10
per cent. of the new energy required must come from renewable or
low-carbon sources on or near that development. The aim was to reduce
the amount of energy that had to be brought in from miles away and to
encourage microgeneration and more energy-efficient buildings, which
would use less energy in the first place.

Bill therefore gives Merton-style planning policies statutory
protection. I should emphasise that it does not compel other councils
to follow Merton, although around 100 are doing that. I should
add—perhaps because the ghost of our late colleague Eric Forth seems to
haunt this place on Fridays—that the Bill does not compel anybody to do
anything. What it does is to put on the statute book the ability of a
council to adopt a Merton-style policy, if it wants to do so. Without
the Bill, councils will be left uncertain as to whether the policies
that they adopt will remain legal."

More from Hansard here.

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