Planning support sought for growers

NFU puts forward the case for presumption in favour of agricultural development in national planning policy framework.

Changes in planning regulations would putonus on local authorities to show why building should not be permitted - image: HW
Changes in planning regulations would putonus on local authorities to show why building should not be permitted - image: HW

The NFU is calling for changes to planning regulations that would give the green light to all agricultural buildings.

The proposal would make it easier to construct buildings such as glasshouses and polytunnels, if it is included in the forthcoming national planning policy framework.

The framework, which is expected to be published in draft form in July, will outline all UK planning policy.

The NFU response to the consultation suggested that there should be a "presumption in favour of agricultural development" unless it would conflict with interests "of acknowledged national importance". These would include sites such as areas of outstanding natural beauty.

This presumption would mean that applicants would not have to prove the case for a development. Instead, the local authority would have to demonstrate why the building should not be permitted.

The NFU is lobbying for extended permitted development rights to promote food production and renewable energy. It argued that planning should be a vehicle for the recovery of the rural economy.

The organisation also recommended that the definition of sustainable development should recognise the needs of rural areas.

A Communities & Local Government spokeswoman said: "The draft framework will be published this summer and regulations covering agricultural buildings will form part of this."

Modern approach

Ivan Moss, planning policy adviser, NFU

"We are lobbying to get a relaxation of various elements of planning. Our focus is on polytunnel issues. We're looking to see whether permitted development rights for polytunnels can be extended. We want local authorities to take into account when looking at major applications for glasshouses and polytunnels and new dairy systems - the obvious example is Nocton - that agriculture needs modern buildings that may be quite substantial."


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