Reform of planning system must be flexible and support rural businesses

Farming landscape

The NFU says a major overhaul of the planning system must be flexible and support the agricultural transition to a new farming economy to ensure rural businesses and communities can thrive.

The government has published its Planning for the Future White Paper, which aims to speed up and modernise the planning system and get the country building.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said that, “valued green spaces and green belt will continue to be protected for future generations, with the reforms allowing for more building on brownfield land.”

The white paper, published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government (MHCLG) says:

  • The planning process to be overhauled and replaced with a clearer, rules-based system. Currently around a third of planning cases that go to appeal are overturned at appeal;
  • A new simpler national levy to replace the current system of developer contributions which often causes delay.

Have your say: Take our survey

The NFU has launched an online planning survey asking members about their experiences of the planning system, to see if and how members have got involved in the planning system, what is currently working and what members would like to see work better? You can take part in the survey here.

NFU senior planning and rural affairs adviser Suzanne Clear said:

“Without doubt, we need a flexible and enabling planning system to support the agricultural transition to a new farming economy and ensure rural businesses and communities can thrive.

“Any new zonal system will only work it if can efficiently deliver what farming and rural communities need; that includes the development of new farm buildings and operations, diversified businesses, affordable homes and digital services.
“Reform of the planning system needs to help deliver zero carbon targets for farming for 2040; to help farmers deliver climate friendly, profitable and sustainable food production and to work to complement farm schemes to deliver wider public goods and ecosystem services.

“The NFU is inviting members to give us their views on the planning system. It is essential the farm voice is heard in this debate.”

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