Welsh Government
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Independent report recommends improvements to planning in Wales

An independent report setting out how the planning system in Wales could be improved has been published by the Welsh Government.

The report is the work of an Independent Advisory Group established at the request of Environment Minister, John Griffiths to look at how the planning system should be delivered in the future.  

The group, which includes representation from a wide range of interests - from major house builders through to environmental bodies - compiled its 180 page report after nine months of hard work. 

Speaking ahead of a meeting with the Planning Forum, the Minister said:

“The planning system is vital to the social, economic and environment wellbeing of Wales so it is important that any reform or improvements should be based on hard evidence and should follow  honest dialogue with interested parties. 

“The Independent Advisory Group was established to review the delivery of the planning system in Wales with a view to making it more transparent, accessible and focussed on delivery. In drawing together its findings the group considered 110 different responses to the group’s call for evidence, and met over 100 individuals, selected for their knowledge and expertise in the field.

“The resulting report is a comprehensive look at planning in Wales. Whilst it finds that the system is conceptually sound and not in need of root and branch reform, it sets out 97 recommendations which comprise an ambitious but deliverable programme of change.

“I would like to thank the group, and all the people who provided evidence for their time and effort. This comprehensive report has been welcomed by Welsh Government Ministers and I will provide more information how we will be taking forward the planning reform agenda later this month."

John Davies MBE, Chair of the Independent Advisory Group said:

“Compiling this report was a rewarding but demanding task, not just because of the wide range of issues presented to us.  Our report stresses the importance of the planning system as a central delivery mechanism; it is the means by which land can be provided to meet society’s needs in a sustainable manner.

“It is arguably more important today than in 1947, when comprehensive control of development was first introduced in Britain.  Our recommendations amount to a significant reform of the 1947 system, preserving its principles of a democratic, plan-led system whilst seeking to improve and adapt it so that it delivers better.  The Group is heartened by the welcome our report has received by the Welsh Government Ministers and hope that our recommendations will assist in the delivery of the necessary reforms.”

The key recommendations of the report include:

  • The need for leadership and, where necessary, intervention by government.  This includes Welsh Ministers taking decisions on nationally significant devolved infrastructure schemes.
  • Preparation of a national framework within which local planning authorities deliver local development plans.
  • The introduction of a statutory framework for strategic planning at  a level above individual local planning authority.  This could accommodate a city region approach to spatial planning.
  • The establishment of a planning advisory and improvement body.

 The report will be debated in Plenary on 25th September.  The Welsh Government has also published two related reports today:

  • Public attitudes towards the planning system in Wales 
  • A new approach to managing development in Wales

You can access the reports on the Welsh Government website.

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