The British Property Federation (BPF) has welcomed the announcement by Communities and Local Government announcement that the Coalition is to begin consulting on a National Planning Framework for England.
The framework will replace the current regime of planning policy statements and guidance notes, which many in the industry feel contributes to some of the confusion and conflict in planning.
Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: "We welcome the Government's commitment to produce a National Planning Framework. The planning system has become unwieldy and needs to be pared back.
"The proposed National Planning Framework should be the vehicle for doing this. The key objective should be to revise the scale and nature of national guidance to create a clear but minimal set of central rules that underpin all good planning decisions.”
The Government has made it clear that with the exception of nationally important projects, planning should be a local matter, a shift in emphasis that will mean a radical reduction in the existing suite of planning policy guidance notes (PPGs) and minerals policy guidance notes (MPGs), and more recently planning policy statements (PPSs) and minerals policy statements (MPSs). These 40 or so documents run to over 1,000 pages.
The Government plans to replace them wi th a national planning policy framework setting out their priorities for the planning system in England in a single, concise document covering all major forms of development proposals handled by local authorities. All the national planning policies set out in PPSs, MPSs, PPGs and MPGs, will be integrated into this single document.
The framework will also set out a strong basis for economic growth, a presumption in favour of sustainable development, as well as any further policy needed to establish and implement neighborhood plans. The Government will publish and consult on a draft of the new national planning policy framework during 2011 and will invite Parliament to hold a select committee inquiry on the framework during the consultation period.
For the time being national policy statements (which are separate statutory documents published in accordance with the Planning Act 2008, setting out the Government's policy on major infrastructure projects such as nuclear power stations and ports) will not be included in the framework.
6 January 2011