Review of select committee activity and proposals for new committee activity - Liaison Committee Contents

An ad hoc Select Committee on national policy for the built environment

29.  Baroness Andrews and Baroness Whitaker proposed a select committee on policy for the built environment in England. Policy towards the built environment is defined at both the national and local level. At the national level, the framework that governs the use and development of land is set out in legislation. Many of the broad principles of this framework were first developed in the Town and Country Planning Act 1947, and have not been revisited as a whole since then, although they have been supplemented and revised by successive governments. Broad policy direction on the built environment, across diverse areas including housing, green belts, design, the natural environment and heritage, is also set out nationally in guidance.

30.  Policy in this area cuts across many departmental boundaries, including the Departments for Communities and Local Government; Culture, Media and Sport; Transport; Energy and Climate Change; and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. There has not been a holistic inquiry covering the wider field of built environment.

31.  An ad hoc committee could consider the following aspects of policy in this area:

·  The ways in which national built environment policy is developed and implemented, including inter-relationships between the different Government departments concerned;

·  The effects of national policy in this area; the ways in which national policy affects local authorities, planners, developers, employers, infrastructure providers and others;

·  The impact of the built environment on economic growth, wellbeing, social cohesion and sustainability;

·  Elements that help to determine the national significance and importance of the built environment including, for example, the education and training of planners.

32.  We recommend the appointment of an ad hoc committee to consider the development and implementation of national policy for the built environment.

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