Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Kelly unveils simpler planning system

The Government has announced its white paper on planning, which will have a wide-ranging impact on the construction industry. The white paper is intended to simplify planning procedures for both large projects and small scale developments. M&E contractors could see an upsurge in work in the coming years as clogged planning systems are freed up to allow rapid building of power stations, infrastructure and housing. Heating installers could also see an upsurge in renewables work as microgeneration will no longer require planning permission. The white paper unveiled a new system for dealing with major infrastructure decisions, which includes; - a national policy framework set by Ministers and parliament setting out how the country's key infrastructure needs for the next 10-25 years will be met, bringing it together under one legal framework; - a stronger but clearer inquiry system with more expertise; - a legal requirement on developers to consult with the public and key parties such as environmental groups and heritage experts; - a major expansion of free access to advice from planning professionals. In local planning, a major change is the new fast-track appeals system. Under the new system appeals have to be lodged within eight weeks rather than six months and the time to deal with standard householder appeals is slashed from 16 weeks to eight. Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly said: “We need a simpler system that is quicker but which locks in community consultation at every stage of the process. “Nobody will agree with every planning decision but our reforms will make the system better focused, fairer, faster and more accessible for all.” Rynd Smith, head of policy and practice at the Royal Town Planning Institute said the initiative was very significant in relation to large scale works. “The white paper is a radical departure on very large projects. It dismantles individual consenting regimes, and replaces them with an integrated planning body. We have a huge sustainability challenge and if we don’t bite the bullet on major infrastructure and energy projects we will be in deep trouble.” RICS spokesperson, Damian Cleghorn agreed the document would be important in speeding up the progress of major projects. “The Government is right to introduce a national policy framework so that decisions about large projects such as new roads, power stations and airports can be integrated into a wider, holistic development plan. This will help avoid the long delays that currently affect major infrastructure projects.”