The Government has published a summary of the consultation responses and the way forward for the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
Responding, NFU Deputy President Guy Smith said: “A new national policy planning framework is crucial to farmers and the UK’s agri-food businesses. We know that farming is at the heart of thriving rural communities and its ability to adapt and change is vital.
“However, planning continues to be a big issue for our members. The current system is slow, complicated and remains inconsistent across the country.
“Any new planning policy must ensure planning officers understand the need for agricultural businesses to be able to evolve and adapt to the new opportunities and challenges of a post Brexit future. It is disappointing that the proposed framework fails to reference the specific need to deliver the flexibility for appropriate new on farm housing to help manage family succession within farm businesses.
"While the new NPPF recognises the need for a fit-for-purpose communications infrastructure such as high-speed broadband, we need to see more from Government to deliver for rural communities as a matter of urgency. Our own NFU broadband and digital survey shows that only 16% of our members have access to reliable indoor and 15% access to reliable outdoor mobile signal.
“While it was good to see that there is an express requirement that planning policies and decisions should recognise the economic and other benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land, the proof will be in the delivery during the decision-making process in the years to come.
The NFU urges the Government to ensure the value of British food production and a thriving farming sector is central to future planning improvements.”