Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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New Review of Consents for Development

New Review of Consents for Development

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 15 December 2009

A new review, and a call for evidence, to identify and address barriers to investment created by consents for development, other than planning permission, was announced today by Business Minister, Ian Lucas.

The independent review, which will look at consents for development made alongside or after planning permission for all sizes of projects, will be headed up by Adrian Penfold, and is part of the Government’s wider programme to improve the planning system and development process. It will contribute to the Government’s work to create the best conditions for businesses to start up, invest and grow and could save businesses valuable time and money. It is intended that it will report as part of the Budget in 2010, making recommendations on areas such as improving co-operation between agencies, removing bottlenecks in the process and improving the experience for the investor.

The call for evidence is aimed at all those with an interest in improving the operation of consents. It offers the opportunity for all with an interest in this area to air their views. The responses will provide evidence to enable the review team to gain a full and representative understanding of the consents environment, highlight key issues and to develop its overall analysis.

Ian Lucas said:

“Removing barriers to investment in development projects of all sizes makes sense. Not only do these projects bring value in themselves but they help to stimulate greater business investment and provide a welcome boost to growth.

“Making the planning and consents system as simple as possible, minimising paperwork and costs for businesses, is part of the essential work to make the UK the best place to do business, creating the right conditions for businesses to start up, invest and grow. This review will play a key role in helping to deliver an effective and efficient planning and consents system.”

Adrian Penfold said:

“I am very pleased to have been invited to lead the review. I want to use this opportunity to make a real difference on the ground. A consents regime that is simple, equitable and transparent will enable early decisions on investment, so facilitating growth as the economy comes out of recession. I urge all interested parties to respond to the call for evidence and to make their views heard.”

Consent for developments that need to be obtained alongside or after planning permission, for example for bridges and tunnels, pipelines, roads and new energy plant construction, are an essential component in encouraging and facilitating new investment. Making the system as effective as possible remains a key Government priority that underpins its strategy to promote sustainable economic growth.

Significant progress has been made in recent years to modernise and simplify the planning system including the Barker review of land use planning in 2006, the planning White Paper in 2007 and the subsequent 2008 Planning Act. The recent Killian-Pretty review added to these reforms by making a range of recommendations for simplifying the planning regime. The focus of much of this work was on the planning application process and not on the wider non-planning consents landscape. The Penfold Review will be the first major examination of this area.

Notes to Editors

1. More information on the review and how to respond to the call for evidence can be found at

2. The review team will be supported by the Better Regulation Executive, part of the Department for Business, working closely with the Department for Communities and Local Government.

3. Adrian Penfold is Head of Planning and Environment at British Land. He has in the past worked in local government and for the London Docklands Development Corporation where he had responsibility for Canary Wharf and the surrounding sites and related major infrastructure projects. From 1990 to 1996 he was Head of Planning and Design at Dartford Borough Council. Major projects include the Bluewater regional shopping centre and the Ebbsfleet Channel Tunnel Rail Link station. At British Land he has dealt with a number of major mixed use development projects in central London. He has also managed large scale, mixed use, office, residential and retail planning projects elsewhere in the UK. He has wide experience of working with Government officials on planning policy matters, including the Mayor of London’s planning powers. He was a member of the Barker Review of Land Use Planning’s Panel of Experts, and is now a member of the DCLG Planning Sounding Board.

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.


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