COMMONS

Government must do more to protect communities from unsustainable development

27 February 2015

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, has today criticised the complacency of the Government's response to the Committee's report, Operation of the National Planning Policy Framework

Clive Betts MP said:

"I am very disappointed by the Government's response to my Committee's recent report on the Operation of the National Planning Policy Framework.

My Committee produced a report on the draft NPPF in 2011, which the then Minister, Greg Clark, accepted almost in full. This is in stark contrast to the Government's latest response which rejects the vast majority of our recommendations. Current Ministers have missed an opportunity to provide greater protection against unsustainable development in England and to ensure communities aren't subject to unwanted housing development.

Our report was firmly evidence-based and the culmination of a long, meticulous inquiry in which we heard from a wide range of witnesses, from parish councils to house builders, from wildlife groups to the property sector.

We actually welcomed the NPPF as a step forward, but recommended some adjustments to ensure it addressed the growing number of concerns about unsustainable development. Sadly, the Government’s response shows it is burying its head in the sand about these important public concerns.

Our report didn't call for an overhaul of the NPPF but rather a series of changes aimed at ensuring it does the job it is intended to do. By refusing to countenance these changes, the Government risks damaging the good work that went into producing the NPPF and undermining the confidence of communities across the country in both the planning system and local decision making."

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