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Will proposed planning reforms deliver for farming?

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This article summarises the NFU's response to the government's Planning for the Future White Paper, highlighting the significant impacts the reforms are set to have on the agricultural sector and the broader rural economy, and how the NFU is engaging closely to shape the reforms.

NFU members: Click here to read the NFU's full response to the White Paper

Given the scale of change the agriculture sector faces in the coming years, the prospect of significant planning reform as promised through the government's Planning for the Future White Paper could be perceived as a positive development. Planning reform that makes a difference, cuts costs and complexity and allows much needed farm development to be delivered on the ground would be welcomed and is much needed. As farmers and growers look to adapt their businesses to meet the changing economic landscape posed by COVID-19 and EU exit as well as respond to the challenges of climate change, a more flexible and enabling planning system seems just the ticket to support a more agile and responsive farming sector to underpin our vital food chains.

Indeed, one of the key learning points of the COVID-19 crisis has been the importance of resilient local food chains which over the summer were supported by decisive and swiftly implemented changes to planning rules, enabling them to