The planning act 2008
A brief overview and what it means to us
At the first stage The White Paper set out a wide ranging package of reforms to effectively streamline the process of the planning system. The Government commissioned Kate Barker to consider how better to deliver economic growth and prosperity through planning policy. Furthermore the Government asked Rod Eddington to advise on long-term links between transport and the UK’s economic productivity to examine delivery and how delivery mechanisms for infrastructure might be improved.
Kate Barker’s Headline Recommendations:
- Streamline policy and process through reducing policy guidance, unifying consent regimes and reforming plan-making
- Update national policy on planning for economic development
- Introduce a new system for dealing with major infrastructure projects
- (The Infrastructure Planning Commission)
- Promote a positive planning culture within the plan-led system
- Consider enhancing fiscal incentives to ensure a more efficient use of land
- A more risk-based and proportionate approach to regulation
- Remove the need for minor commercial developments to require
- planning permission
- Improve skills and ensure sufficient resources for planning
- Reduce delays at appeals and call-in
- Ensure that new development beyond towns and cities occurs in the most sustainable way
Rod Eddington’s Analysis for Delivery echoed Kate Barker’s concerns about the potential of existing planning processes to delay the development of vital new infrastructure. Hence the radical reforms to the process of planning for major infrastructure.
Rod Eddington’s Headline Recommendations:
- Primary role of ministers to set national policy statements (NPS) for major infrastructure developments taking account of economic, social and environmental considerations, following consultation
- There should be a presumption in favour of developments for major infrastructure so long as they are consistent with NPS and compatible with
- EU law and Human Rights
- An independent commission to be established to manage inquiries and determine individual applications
- Local consultation to be carried out by the applicant at pre-application stage and inquiries and decisions would have regard to local considerations
- Consent regimes should be rationalised to eliminate duplication and overlap, and to treat major projects as a whole; and there should be clear framework for statutory rights to challenge at key stages of the process
So, where did that work lead to?
The Government took into account the reports of Barker and Eddington, finalised the Act which of course includes Town and Country Planning but that is not for this summary, and created the IPC. Overall through the Act it is hoped to create a timely, efficient and predictable outcome in planning.
It is clearly stated within the documentation that Local Authorities in particular will have a strong part to play in representing their communities and in helping to shape the national infrastructure in their area.
For nuclear and its associated infrastructure this means that there will be help available to applicants to improve the way they prepare their applications and to streamline the development consent procedures by rationalising the different regimes, improving inquiry procedures and imposing statutory timetables on the process. These proposals are aimed at reducing the time taken from application to decision to under a year in the majority of cases.
It follows that the new procedures for dealing with nationally significant infrastructure projects will also include new provision for public consultation and engagement -that is if you have the will and/ or the means to wade through thousands of pages of documentation!
Where are we now? Government have published the NPS, the IPC has been created, and applications pre-planning are in place. Noticeable by their absence there are no infrastructure (grid etc) pre-planning consultations or documentation for the nuclear build. Why is this? Simply because the site at Kirksanton does not fit any of the presumptions made by Barker.
Sellafield of course has its road and rail structure in place.
Please note: This information has been lifted from fuller documentation and therefore should not be used as anything other than general information.
Read the Planning Act.
Read the White Paper.
Read the final Barker report – Land Use Planning .