Consultation details on 'simple and consolidated national planning framework' published

The Department for Communities and Local Government has released a written statement on the national planning policy framework, along with its consultation on a proposed new single national policy framework for planning. The new framework will aim to unify all existing central guidance and planning policy guidance into a single document.

Planning professionals, local authorities, community groups and members of the public are being asked to contribute their ideas on what shape the new framework should take.

The Government has also published a timetable for major infrastructure planning reform, including the abolition of the Infrastructure Planning Commission and creation of the Major Infrastructure Planning Unit.

The Minister for Decentralisation (Greg Clark) said: The Coalition Agreement states that the Government will publish and present to Parliament a simple and consolidated national planning framework that covers all forms of development and sets out national economic, environmental and social priorities.

The planning system is vital to the re-building of Britain’s economy. We need to reinvigorate our construction and development industries and the investment that goes with them and to ensure that we develop and protect our national assets. We need a planning system which encourages the idea that development can positively benefit a community. We need a planning system that enables local people to shape their surroundings in a way that, while heeding national objectives and constraints, is also sensitive to the history and character of a given location. We need participation and social engagement enabling communities to formulate a positive vision of their future development.

The Localism Bill sets out a legislative framework for achieving these goals.

The Government has made it clear that with the exception of nationally important projects, planning should be a local matter. The role of Central Government is to determine and define environmental, economic and social priorities for the country and design a planning system which helps ensure a pattern of development that matches these priorities and local aspiration. This role is currently fulfilled through legislation, and through the suite of Planning Policy Guidance notes (PPGs) and Minerals Policy Guidance notes (MPGs), and more recently Planning Policy Statements (PPSs) and Minerals Policy Statements (MPSs).

These documents, which run to over 1000 pages, set out central government policy on various aspects of development and land use to local planning authorities, who must legally have regard to them when drawing up their Local Development Frameworks. They are also often relevant to making decisions on planning applications. They cover broad policy themes such as planning aspects of climate change, housing, renewable energy, flood risk, Green Belt and waste, and also procedural themes such as how to compile local development plans.

The Government believes that the current suite of planning policy statements and guidance notes is too centralist in its approach, and too long and cumbersome for councils and developers to use effectively. There is no over-arching integrated statement of the Government’s priorities for the country and the role which planning can play in delivering them.

Related stories