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LEGISLATION AND MATTERS ARISING

Secondary Legislation

The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications,

Requests and Site Visits) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 were introduced on 27 May 2021. Full details of the draft legislation can be found here.

Written Ministerial Statements

• The Housing Minister has laid an Affordable Housing Update Written Ministerial Statement. This introduces planning policy on First Homes setting out their definition, developer contributions, exemptions, transitional arrangements and exception sites.

EMERGING LEGISLATION

Government Bills

• Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill 2019-20: amongst other things the Bill establishes the right to breathe clean air; requires the Secretary of State to achieve and maintain clean air in England and Wales; and to enhance the powers, duties and functions of the Environment Agency, the Committee on Climate Change, local authorities (including port authorities), the Civil Aviation Authority, Highways England, Historic England and Natural England in relation to air pollution. The Second Reading in the House of Lords is yet to be scheduled.

Environment Bill 2019-21, 2021-22: amongst other things the Bill aims to make provision about targets, plans and policies for improving the natural environment, for statements and reports about environmental protection, conservation covenants, andabout air quality. The Government has reintroduced the Bill and has said that it demonstrates a ‘commitment to tackling climate change and to protecting and restoring our natural environment for future generations’. The Government publishedamendments to the Environment Bill which were debated in the House of Lords on 7, 21 and 23 June 2021. The inclusions of heritage in the Bill amendments were subsequently withdrawn. The next debate is scheduled for 30 June 2021 and the Bill is expected to become law by Autumn

PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BILLS

Climate and Ecology Bill 2019-21. The Bill requires the Prime Minister to achieve climate and ecology objectives; to give the Secretary of State a duty to create and implement those objectives; to establish a Citizens’ Assembly; and to give duties to the

Committee on Climate Change regarding the objectives and strategy. The Bill was presented to Parliament on 2 September 2020. The Second Reading is due to take place on 10 September 2021.

Planning (Proper Maintenance of Land) Bill 2019 – 21. The Bill makes provision for increased fines for failures to comply with a notice under section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Jonathan Gullis MP made positive reference to historic buildings and Historic England. It was introduced to Parliament under the Ten Minute Rule. The Second Reading in the House of Commons is due to take place on 14 January 2022.

Planning (Enforcement) Bill 2021-22. The Bill to create a national register of persons who have committed planning offences and introduce tougher penalties was introduced on 16 June 2021. The Bill is to receive its second reading on 19 November 2021.

Guidance: Planning Practice Guidance (PPG)

First Homes

• Policy and guidance on First Homes has been published in the NPPF (paragraph 71) and PPG .

Fire Safety and High Rise Buildings

• Guidance on Fire Safety and High Rise Buildings has been published in the PPG

MHCLG LETTERS TO CHIEF PLANNING OFFICERS

The Chief Planners Newsletter from Joanna Averley, MHCLG Chief Planner was issued on the 28 May 2021 and included:

o Neighbourhood planning and extension of the funding deadline to 7 June 2021.

o Notification of the introduction of the Faster Application Process for Key Public Service Infrastructure Development into legislation on 1 August 2021. This will reduce the statutory determination period from 13 weeks to 10 weeks and shorten the statutory consultation period from 21 days to 18 days.

o Introduction of Planning Gateway One: Building regulation and Fire Safety.

o First Homes: Written Ministerial Guidance.

o Bio-diversity Net Gain and the Environment Bill.

o National Model Design Code.

Update on MHCLG research on Building Regulations Part M Review.

o 5G: Changes to the permitted development rights for electronic communications

infrastructure – technical consultation, which closed on 14 June 2021.

o Natural England digital service improvements.

o Planning guidance published on carrying out reviews of National Policy Statements.

This supports the National Infrastructure Planning Reform Programme that is being

taken forward as part of Project Speed.
·  A further letter was issued to LPAs on Update on Financial Support for Neighbourhood Planning in 2021/22 which announced arrangements for funding LPAs for the financial year beginning April 2021 to support their role in the neighbourhood planning process.   The letter includes details on how to claim funding and FAQs.

COMMITTEES

Housing, Communities, and Local Government (HCLG) Select Committee

The Future of the Planning System in England

• The HCLG Committee has published its report on The Future of the Planning System in England . It makes recommendations against the planning reforms proposed in the PlanningWhite Paper: Planning for the Future. Headline conclusions and

recommendations include:

o The Planning Bill should be brought forward in draft form and subject to prelegislative scrutiny.

o The three areas proposal for Local Plans should be reconsidered and if it does process recommendations include to implement a ‘highly protected’ alongside ‘protected’ area category to enable strong protections for areas that need a shield

against development, whilst ensuring development can still happen in rural areas.

o Seek to obtain commitment for an additional £500 million over 4 years for LPAs and undertake a resources and skills strategy.

o Implement statutory Historic Environment Records, assess the merits of additional protections for other sites, published an assessment of impact of proposed planning reform on historic buildings and sites, and reconsider the retention of sustainability

assessments.

Permitted Development Rights

The oral evidence session on Permitted Development Rights took place on 16 June 2021 with Housing Minister, Christopher Pincher; Director of Planning, Simon Gallagher; and Private Secretary to the Minister at MHCLG, Georgie Caine giving evidence. The Housing Minister noted that permitted development rights would work alongside initiatives such as the future high streets fund, towns fund and levelling up fund.

Commons Transport Committee

Heritage Rail

The Commons Transport Committee published correspondence on 15 June 2021 to Baroness Vere of Norbiton, Minister for Roads, Buses and Places at DfT. The correspondence related to the Historic Railways Estate and the demolition or infilling of

bridges and tunnels.

OTHER INITIATIVES

Neighbourhood Planning

• MHCLG has announced arrangements for funding from 2021/22 to support LPAs in the neighbourhood planning process.

High Streets

• The Government has announced Towns Deals Funding of £725 million for 30towns to boost their local economies, create jobs and help them build back better from the pandemic.

• The House of Commons Library has published a briefing on town centre regeneration and includes a section on High Street Heritage Action Zones.

Design

• MHCLG has published a video to support the National Model Design Code.

• MHCLG has announced funding of £50,000 each for 14 councils to develop new local design codes as part of a pilot scheme. The codes will set out design principles for new development in local areas and will be expected to enhance the character of the local area.

Climate Change

• Defra published the Climate Change Adaptation Policy Information Paper on 21 June 2021 which sets out the approach including key actions and other organisations Defra is working with on climate change adaptation.

Rural

• Defra announced the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme which will provide funding to help farmers and other land managers based in National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). The funding will go towards projects such as conserving historic features on a farm.

• Defra has published the Nature for People, Climate and Wildlife policy paper which includes the England Trees Action Plan 2021 to 2024; Managing historic features on grassland about how to manage historic features, and conserve landscape character and cultural heritage; and the England Peat Strategy.

⏳August 1st: Fast track route for public service building applications comes into effect.

Of interest:  Transforming the way MHCLG delivers funding.

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NEW LORDS COMMITTEE LAUNCHES INQUIRY INTO HOUSEBUILDING

Peers will seek evidence on combating barriers to meeting housing demand

A newly-created committee in the House of Lords has launched an inquiry to look at ways of removing barriers to meeting housing demand.

The House of Lords Built Environment Committee, led by Conservative life peer and former minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe, has chosen to focus on housing for its first piece of work.

The wide-ranging inquiry will look at “the key factors shaping the type, tenure and quality of housing” needed across the UK and attempt to answer 11 questions (see box below).

It will investigate potential barriers to increasing supply, including skills shortages, planning policy and capacity in the construction sector.

The peers will probe whether the government’s 300,000 homes a year target accurately reflects housing demand and the extent to which it is achievable.

It will also look at the tenure split of homes, where they are built and how to improve the design and aesthetics of housing. The relationship between the government and local authorities will also be examined.

The committee has today issued a public call for evidence.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, chair of the House of Lords Built Environment Committee, said: “Our inquiry will focus on what shapes the type of housing needed in the UK as well as a range of challenges to meeting that demand. We will then make our recommendations to Government.

“To inform our work we want to hear from as broad a range of people as possible. If you have a view on housing, look at our call for evidence and let us know what you think.”

The deadline for responses is 10 September.
View the call for evidence and respond from that page.    If you are making any comments, would you please send them also to me at norasecretary@gmail.com so that we can respond as NORA.
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Regards,
Secretary,