Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Memoranda

Memorandum by the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (PGP 06)


  1.  The Government welcomes the Select Committee's inquiry into the Government's proposals for the future of planning. This memorandum draws the Committee's attention to the relevant consultation documents issued by the Department.

  2.  The Green Paper "Planning: Delivering a fundamental change" invites views on a series of questions about reforming the planning system. The accompanying papers are Major Infrastructure Projects which proposes new parliamentary procedures for processing major infrastructure projects; "Reforming Planning Obligations", "Compulsory Purchase and Compensation", and "Use Classes Order" the consultation on possible changes to the Use Classes Order and Temporary Uses Provisions. Copies of the documents are attached.

  3.  The proposals set out in the Green Paper represent the most radical overhaul of the planning system for a generation. The current system is slow and bureaucratic: there are too many tiers of plan-making, local plans take too long to put in place and people affected by planning decisions are very often insufficiently involved in the planning process. The Government believes that the package of reforms set out in the Green Paper will make the planning system faster, fairer and more flexible for all.

  4.  The proposals aim to encourage much more community ownership of the planning system, by engaging the community from the start of the process and making the system more accessible and transparent. Equally, business will benefit from a faster, more predictable process.

  5.  The Green Paper proposals are principally about process not changes in planning policy. The Government maintains its strong commitment to sustainable development. The planning system clearly has a key role to play in achieving an urban renaissance and creating more sustainable communities. We want to safeguard our countryside and environment from inappropriate development and make the most efficient and appropriate use of land.

  6.  The consultation on the Green Paper itself and on Planning Obligations closes on 18 March, and that on Compulsory Purchase on 27 March. That relating to Major Infrastructure Projects by 22 March, and proposed changes to the Use Classes Order on 24 April. Following the close of the Green Paper consultation, the Department will prepare a summary of responses. A copy will be provided to the Committee as soon as it is available, along with a list of respondents. Copies of individual responses will be made available in the Department's library in due course, except where respondents have requested anonymity.

  7.  The Government looks forward to hearing the conclusions of the Committee's deliberations. An early report from the Committee would help the Government to take account of the Committee's views as work on reforming the planning system is taken forward.

March 2002

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