New national planning policy framework set to simplify and speed up planning system

The Government is to radically overhaul planning policy in a move to cut bureaucracy and speed up decision-making on planning applications.

A new National Planning Policy Framework will decentralise planning decision making and consolidate a multitude of existing policy statements and guidance documents in a bid to boost local development.

Companies, organisations and individuals are invited to contribute ideas on how best to achieve the goals of the planning framework which are to:

  • return power to local communities to decide what is right for them
  • be more user-friendly and accessible
  • ensure that planning is used as a mechanism for delivering Government objectives only where it is relevant, proportionate and effective to do so
  • establish a presumption in favour of sustainable development

Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark said:

"We have over 1000 pages of policy and guidance that have made the planning system unclear and burdensome.

"This creates vast amounts of paperwork and bureaucracy that burdens developers and limits the power of local people to shape their neighbourhoods around their vision.

"The new framework will integrate our current suite of policy statements and guidance into a single concise document. It will focus on the Government's key priorities for planning and help deliver a more effective, decentralised system."

Greg Clark also set out a plan for major infrastructure planning reform which will move towards the abolition of the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) and drive planning reform.

A new Major Infrastructure Planning Unit, established within the Planning Inspectorate, will replace the IPC and advise ministers on nationally important infrastructure projects and grant permissions.

The Government pledged to make planning decisions at least as quickly as the twelve months allowed under the major infrastructure planning regime and possible quicker, the statement said.

An estimated £200 billion of private and public sector money will be spent on infrastructure over the next five years.

Greg Clark added:

"Securing investment in new infrastructure is essential to help rebuild the UK economy and provide new jobs.  We cannot expect to meet the needs of tomorrow with yesterday's infrastructure and reform of the planning system is vital to securing essential investment and achieving economic growth."

Send suggestions, by 28 February 2011, to:


Alan Scott
National Planning Policy Framework
Department for Communities and Local Government
Zone 1/H6
Eland House
London SW1E 5DU

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