March 30, 2012 | Group News
A senior north east planning expert has welcomed Government changes to the planning system that provide positive encouragement for a sustainable approach to development work.
Philip Baker, planning director at regional energy and property firm the Banks Group, was speaking after the publication of the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which has been designed to simplify and clarify the UK planning system for all parties involved with development work.
The Framework includes a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development,’ as well as guiding principles for achieving sustainable development, the protection and enhancement of the natural and historic environments, and the approach to be used in making decisions on new developments.
The Banks Group undertakes a range of different projects which will all be assessed under the new framework, including wind farms, property schemes, waste management sites and surface mines, and Philip Baker believes that the new NPPF offers clear opportunities and benefits for both developers and the people living in the areas where they want to undertake new projects.
He says: “As a company that has long operated with a development with care strategy at the centre of everything it does, it is extremely heartening to see that the new national planning policy framework reforms show a clear presumption in favour of sustainable development.
“This approach involves engaging effectively with local communities, delivering tangible benefits directly to them and the local environment whilst working to the highest environmental standards.
“Our experience of doing exactly that over many years demonstrates that it makes good business sense as well as ensuring that people have a say in what’s happening in the places that they live.”
The economic benefits that the new Framework can help bring forward, and the impact this will have on regional job creation are also being highlighted as a key outcome of the new plans, which have been generally well received by groups on all sides of the development debate.
Philip Baker continues: “A sound and efficient planning process is vitally important for the development industry, which has a central role to play in supporting the regional and national economy’s continuing recovery.
“Delays and uncertainty caused by the existing system can hinder or even prevent businesses investing in new projects and creating the new employment opportunities that people need, so the simplification of the planning regime, and the reduction of the present 1,300 page planning policy to just 59 pages should make a tangible contribution to removing some of these delays.
“We look forward to continuing to work with communities and local authorities to create further sustainable growth, which will help deliver the higher social and environmental standards that we all strive for.”