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Penfold Review: Non-planning consents must be simplified

The Penfold Review - set up to tackle problems facing businesses - has made a series of recommendations for encouraging development and growth, simplifying the planning and consents environment and cutting red tape

The review aimed primarily to save time and money for developers and investors in England looking at ‘non-planning consents’ such as environment permits, highways orders, and heritage consents needed alongside or after planning permission.

The investigation discovered ‘a complex and fragmented’ landscape that poses real problems for some businesses to navigate effectively.

The Review recommends:

  • Simplifying the non-planning consents landscape by removing some individual consents and rationalising other groups of related consents;
  • Giving developers easy access to clear, accurate and up-to-date information;
  • Delivering greater certainty for developers and removing duplication by improving the way planning and non-planning consents operate together;
  • Improve the co-ordination and governance around decisions involving multiple decision makers;
  • Strengthening the service culture of decision-making bodies by, for example, setting timetables for the determination of non-planning consents; and
  • Creating a clear system for oversight of the planning and non-planning landscape.

Mark Prisk, Minister for Business, said: ‘We need innovative solutions that simplify how government can deliver real benefits for business, saving time and money and encouraging growth.’

Adrian Penfold said: ‘Decision-making bodies also stand to benefit by making changes that enable them to free up resource and redirect it towards their highest priorities.

‘Establishing non-planning consents regimes that are more responsive to the needs of all users and that effectively interact with the planning process is very important in helping to drive sustainable economic growth.’

The Government will consider the recommendations from the Penfold Review in detail and will publish a formal response in the autumn.

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