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Budget 2012: Planning reforms to get go-ahead

A radical shake-up of planning rules will feature in this week’s Budget, the prime minister has confirmed, following waste experts lambasting draft proposals.

In a speech on national infrastructure at the Institute of Civil Engineering, David Cameron said: “We must get our planning system fit for purpose. It needs to be quick. It needs to be easier to use. And it needs to better support growth, jobs and homes.”

See full speech here

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), consulted on last summer, will replace more than 1,200 pages of planning guidance with a new 52-page document.

But the Environmental Services Association has criticised draft proposals of the NPPF. It said the framework would create a “recipe for confusion” for the waste sector after the document only a gave a “cursory” mention of waste management and outlined a raft of measures in response (see box).

However, anti-incinerator campaigners were also critical of the draft NPPF.

UK Without Incineration campaigner Shlomo Dowen said: “The draft NPPF failed to ensure that waste incinerators are not imposed on communities that do not want them and fails to give communities recourse to a public inquiry via an automatic right of appeal.”

He added the new rules would be likely to lead to more legal action.

Groups including the Campaign to Protect Rural England and National Trust have dubbed the plans a “developer’s charter”, and claim it will make it easy to build on farmland and other green sites.

ESA’s report No Time to Waste: Planning Reform for Sustainable Waste Infrastructure set out its position on the planning system:

  • More meaningful reference in the NPPF on the role of waste management in meeting the Government’s strategic objectives
  • Planning authorities should form strategic waste planning partnerships
  • The Government should propose statutory time limits for preparation and adoption of development plans
  • Business rates and a proportion of the Community Infrastructure Levy should be retained for direct community benefit
  • Planning decisions should be excluded from the scope of local referendums proposed in the Localism Bill
  • Local authorities should publicise the costs of unsuccessfully defending a planning appeal
  • Every year, Defra and the Department for Communities and Local Government should report jointly on progress in delivering waste infrastructure

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