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Land Use Planning

The Land Use Planning Working Group acts to conserve the natural and historic environment by seeking improvements to the national planning system for the benefit of biodiversity, landscapes and people. The Group works to ensure that the reform of the planning regime in England helps to deliver better protection and enhancement of the natural environment as a key component of sustainable development.

Chair: Rebecca Pullinger, The Woodland Trust

Vice Chair: Carl Bunnage, RSPB

Link: Emma Clarke, Policy and Information Coordinator

Update from the group:

Link’s Land Use Planning Group have developed proposals on how the planning system can deliver for nature, climate and people. Proposed changes to the planning system offer an opportunity to put the environment at the heart of the planning system. The group's briefing on environmental planning outlines five key principles and policies to implement those principles to ensure land use planning delivers good environmental outcomes. The LUPG continues to advocate for our proposals on SEA and EIA, as set out in this briefing, as the Government indicated its intention to review these processes as a part of the wider planning reforms.

Recently the Land Use Planning Group hosted a workshop on environmental data on 8 June with a wide range of stakeholders. The outcomes of the discussion at this workshop will inform forthcoming policy proposals for Government to improve environmental information and information infrastructure to support environmental policies and land use planning.

The Land Use Planning Group recently submitted evidence to the EAC's inquiry on the sustainability of the built environment. The Group also submitted evidence to the HCLG Committee's inquiry on permitted development rights, following on from their consultation response to the Government's proposals to extend permitted development rights, proposals which risk harm to the environment and peoples' access to nature and undermine the ability of local authorities to plan for vital and viable communities. They also submitted a consultation response to the Government's draft revisions of the National Planning Policy Framework and the draft National Model Design Code.

Earlier in January, the Land Use Planning Group, in collaboration with 17 other organisations from across the nature, housing, transport and heritage sectors, launched a new vision for planning, setting out eleven principles for a better planning system. The vision included proposals for new planning designations that would strengthen existing protections for nature and create new spaces for nature to recovery, known as Highly Protected Areas and Nature Recovery Areas.

With a new Planning Bill expected in the latter half of this year, the Land Use Planning Group will continue to highlight how planning can make a positive contribution to nature's recovery, rather than perpetuating the sustained habitat loss seen over recent decades. Link's priorities for the Planning Bill can be found here.

To learn more about the Group's proposals to effectively integrate environmental improvement with the planning system, see their response to the Government's 'Planning for the Future' proposals for a reform of the planning system in England and their briefing from a Roundtable for MPs on the Planning White Paper and Nature held in November 2020.

The Group continues to advocate for provision in the Environment Bill such as Biodiversity Net Gain and Local Nature Recovery Strategies that will be crucial for delivering widespread, strategic restoration of nature and the creation of habitat to deliver the 25 Year Environment Plan.

For further information, contact Emma Clarke, Link's Policy and Information Coordinator.

Last updated: 30 September 2021

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