By Max Clarke

The Government today published the Draft National Planning Policy Framework.

Intended to streamline planning procedures in a bid to facilitate infrastructure and economic development, the reforms have been welcomed by business.

Concerns have, however, been raised by those who fear that lax planning constraints may reduce confidence in energy companies seeking to develop infrastructure, and that the reforms amount to 'oversimplification'.

Edwin Morgan, a spokesperson from the Institute of Directors, discusses the reforms:

“The National Planning Policy Framework is the first step towards a planning system which enables development rather than holding it back. The previous approach which produced huge amounts of overly-prescriptive guidance was difficult for applicants to navigate, and did not produce the right development in the right areas.

“The Government is right to choose a more straightforward approach, setting out the broad direction for a more pro-growth planning system, with the presumption in favour of sustainable development at its heart. This presumption will give businesses more of the certainty they need before they risk their money on new projects.”

“What matters now is that local authorities have the right incentives to approve sustainable development in their area. For example, it would certainly help if they were allowed to retain some of their business rates so they could really see the benefits of business growth.”

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