The new NPPF will reduce over 1,000 pages of environmental planning regulation to just 52 pages in a bid to improve investment from developers in the UK.
- There are some concerns that the simplification of national planning, coupled with the delegation of plan development to local communities, will mean these communities are quickly expected to become “experts”.
- A key concern is the ability of local communities to develop appropriate local plans. Land management is a vastly complex arena, and citizens are likely to need up skilling programmes to help them participate in and draft local plans.
- Additionally, by delegating responsibility at the local scale, national scale planning may become fragmented and incoherent. There is a definitive need for UK-wide and global planning to meet food, energy and water security challenges. Local decision making may for example make valuable agricultural land vulnerable to development in some areas, which could have UK-wide implications for food security.
Government may need to support community up-skilling initiatives and fund outreach programmes to ensure local decision makers have an understanding of the wider environmental implications of their decisions.