It's clear that all the news stories were based on BARD's press release, of which an MS Word version includes Collins' statement. The Telegraph is perhaps most guilty of muddying the waters.
The problem is that Collins said that there must be concern that Blears (Secretary of State at the Department of Communities and Local Government) may have disqualified herself from considering any planning application for an eco town because of perceived bias in favour. The story is conflating the current process of selecting of eco-towns with the possibility that Blears may in future have to rule on a planning application, which is initially the job of local councils.
Hazel Blears 'biased' over eco-town decisionsThe Government's eco-town programme faced a fresh blow last night after a judge warned that the minister charged with deciding whether projects should be built could be seen as "biased" in favour of the controversial developments.