Changes to the National Planning Policy Framework: Letter from Secretary of State to Planning Inspectorate

06th August 2021

On Monday 2nd August, Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State, wrote to Sarah Richard, Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate, regarding concerns raised by Local Planning Authorities around the recent changes to the National Planning Policy Framework – specifically paragraph 22 which states:

“Strategic policies should look ahead over a minimum 15 year period from adoption, to anticipate and respond to long-term requirements and opportunities, such as those arising from major improvements in infrastructure. Where larger scale developments such as new settlements or significant extensions to existing villages and towns form part of the strategy for the area, policies should be set within a vision that looks further ahead (at least 30 years), to take into account the likely timescale for delivery.”

Some Local Planning Authorities have raised concerns about how paragraph 22 will impact their emerging plans, to which the Government have agreed to prepare a planning practice guidance update on the way Local Authorities should reflect the recent paragraph 22 changes in their local plans to ensure that plan preparation can continue at a suitable pace while also ensuring that the Government’s objectives are delivered. The Secretary of State has asked that the Inspectors are “alive to these policy changes and forthcoming guidance when this is made available shortly”.

It should be noted that in the letter, the Secretary of State outlines that the changes to paragraph 22 do not affect plans published or submitted for examination prior to the changes being implemented (21st July). An exact date for the revised planning practice guidance has not been given, but due to the scope of the impact it will be in the Government’s best interest to publish it as soon as possible.

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