Comments by planning experts on the key planning decisions for the new government, including runway
Planning magazine asked various planning experts what they thought would be key issues for the new government. As well as several raising the problem of needing action to improve air quality by the end of 2015, one commented on the runway problem: “The Conservative party is not committed to implementing the Davies Commission recommendations, yet it seems to me that they are in a difficult position if they don’t: the Conservatives were the main architects of the Davies Commission – can they afford to be seen to waste five years of expenditure and delay? I fear the easiest solution will be for the next Government to say that they will use Davies’ work to inform the Airports National Policy Statement without giving a clear commitment either way and that we embark on another lengthy process before the NPS is adopted. interesting to see how interventionist the new Government is willing to be.” Another said: “I am assuming that the decision will be implemented via the NSIP regime, but will this also include any associated terminal, car parking and warehousing development and major public transport improvement that will be associated with implementing the decision?” The need for the UK to produce a national spatial plan, which other EU countries have, was also mentioned.
Greg Clark has been appointed local government secretary by Prime Minister David Cameron in his post-election reshuffle, replacing Eric Pickles at the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The key planning decisions in the new government’s in-tray
Last week, Planning asked a variety of experts to name the key planning-related decisions that awaited the new government. Below we present their answers.
Below are some extracts from the article, relating mainly to airports and to air quality.
Full article can be seen at
…..DUNCAN FIELD, PARTNER AND HEAD OF PLANNING, NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT1) The decision on the next South East runway is the hottest political potato in the planning world. The Conservative party is not committed to implementing the Davies Commission recommendations, yet it seems to me that they are in a difficult position if they don’t: the Conservatives were the main architects of the Davies Commission – can they afford to be seen to waste five years of expenditure and delay? I fear the easiest solution will be for the next Government to say that they will use Davies’ work to inform the Airports National Policy Statement without giving a clear commitment either way and that we embark on another lengthy process before the NPS is adopted. interesting to see how interventionist the new Government is willing to be……
JANICE MORPHET, VISITING PROFESSOR, BARTLETT SCHOOL OF PLANNING, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
1) Respond to the recent court judgement on lack of UK air quality plan to conform with EU standards. Under this judgement the UK has to come up with an effective plan before the end of 2015 to be in conformity with EU agreed air quality levels. An effective plan will require action on the part of several government departments, including that responsible for planning. This will probably include denser transport-oriented development and less greenfield development, use of CIL and conditions for retrofitting existing properties including housing; more local energy plants and more passive houses.
2) London airport runway decision and its consequences for development. I am assuming that the decision will be implemented via the NSIP regime, but will this also include any associated terminal, car parking and warehousing development and major public transport improvement that will be associated with implementing the decision?
3) Reform of strategic planning as a consequence of creation of combined authorities across England. This could be very quick off the blocks, like the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships in 2010. It is also needed I think to meet EU objections to LEP strategic economic plans that were not made within a democratic context and do not mesh with existing spatial plans. I expect this approach to be based on a business plan model that includes a much greater attention to investment and delivery as well as vision, strategy and policy.
4) Reform of strategic planning system in London prior to election of mayor of London 2016.
The reform of the London plan system to bring it in line with the rest of the country is long overdue and if there are strategic planning reforms these should include London. The London Plan is not spatial in its conceptual structure and needs a far greater emphasis on its role of delivering the mayor of London’s own budgets as well as other public investment.
5) Waste planning. As waste planning is very slow, this needs some urgent national action to be successful in 10 years time. See what delaying action on air quality has led to…
6) A spatial plan for the UK. As the EU is about to embark on an EU spatial investment plan running to 2050 and the the UK is the only member state without a national spatial plan, we will be very disadvantaged without one and this should be an urgent priority to enable the UK to participate fully in the formulation of the 2050 plan.
SIMON RICKETTS, JOINT UK HEAD OF REAL ESTATE, KING & WOOD MALLESONS
3) Resolving the increasingly difficult controversy over use of viability appraisals and the question as to the extent to which they should be made public.
4) The need to have air quality plans (to secure compliance with limits for nitrogen dioxide levels) in place by December 2015 in the light of the Supreme Court’s ruling on 29 April.
5) Urgent need to sort out resource problems at the Planning Inspectorate, given the delays of up to ten weeks to validate appeals!
Full article can be seen at
Greg Clark (has replaced Eric Pickles as secretary of state for Communities and Local Government in the Conservative cabinet reshuffle, and will be joined at the department by new minister of state Mark Francois who is expected to take the housing portfolio.
Clark has been promoted from a ministerial role at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to head the department responsible for creating “great places to live and work”. The DCLG has also recently assumed responsbility for architecture policy.
Previously, Clark has held the posts of minister for decentralisation at DCLG, and minister for cities at the Cabinet Office, and his appointment is being seen as a strengthening the regional and cities devolution agenda.
Industry bodies reacted positively, with Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, saying: “Greg Clark played a crucial role in putting in place the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and we welcome his appointment as state for communities and local government.
“The NPPF has been a real step forward in terms of rationalising our planning system and enshrining the responsibility of local decision-makers to deliver sufficient new housing. It’s pleasing to see someone with Mr Clark’s understanding and commitment at the helm of the DCLG,” he added.
Bristol’s mayor George Ferguson who said on twitter: “Greg Clarke [sic] has been brilliant as minister for cities and will be a shoe-in at DCLG. [It is a] most appropriate appointment.”
………….. and it continues
New UK runway consent unlikely before March 2020 at the earliest, due to necessary National Policy Statement etc
Speaking at the RunwaysUK Surface Access debate on 2nd June, Oliver Mulvey of the Airports Commission Secretariat confirmed that final go-ahead by the government for any new runway would take at least a year following publication of the Commission’s final report after the General Election in 2015. Planning consent for a new runway is unlikely to come before March 2020 (with an election in May 2020) despite government efforts to streamline the controversial planning process using the Airports Commission. It would take the new government at least a year to produce the necessary National Policy Statement on runways. It might take 2 years to agree the NPS. After that, Mr Mulvey confirmed there are 2 possible routes: “The first is a planning application under the 2008 Planning Act. The other is the Hybrid Bill route, as for HS2. Both have their own risk and costs associated with them. ….All our dates show the middle of the next decade  as the earliest a new runway could open.” The planning process for a NSIP (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project) – which a runway would be – is itself a long process.
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