We have been following with interest the Telegraph's reports on 'moonlighting' planning officers. It was brought to light again by today's Matt cartoon, which shows cars stuck in the snow with the caption "We'll never get home. Let's bribe a planning official and build a house right here".

It would be a real shame if the result of the undercover investigations is something that puts the reputation of planning officers at risk and attacks the credibility of the profession.

Insofar as councillors are concerned, Eric Pickles has written to Hilary Benn noting his concerns and referring to sanctions under the Localism Act and the Bribery Act. Mr Pickles notes that councillors are not full-time politicians and may have other jobs. He concludes, poetically, that he believes that "the sunlight of transparency will be the best disinfectant".