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Pickles slams 'regulatory creep' of EU legislation

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has said EU directives on the environment are making the UK planning system more expensive.

“Regulatory creep is imposing additional and expensive requirements on the [UK] planning system,” he said in Parliament.

In particular, Pickles was concerned about the impacts of amendments to an EU environmental impacts assessment directive for planners.

He said carrying out such assessments represented a significant cost to developers, beyond current UK environmental safeguards.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has published a memo on the topic ahead of its consultation in 2013, which discusses the creation of thresholds for planning applications that would mean that some developments would not need to carry out an environmental impact assessment.

Pickles said: “This will aim to remove unnecessary provisions from our regulations, and to help provide greater clarity and certainty on what EU law does and does not require.”

He also criticised an “increasing number of directives which have implications for land use planning.”

As well as the environmental impacts assessment, other relevant directives included both the waste framework and revised waste framework directives, as well as others relating to air quality, soil quality, energy efficiency, energy infrastructure and those that protect rare habitats or species.

In March this year, the Government published the National Planning Policy Framework, which it said would make the planning system less complex and promote sustainable growth.

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