Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
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Government welcomes the Killian Pretty Report

Government welcomes the Killian Pretty Report

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT News Release (279) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 24 November 2008

The Government today welcomed proposals to help small businesses and councils save up to £300m a year through a root and branch overhaul of the bureaucratic planning application process recommended by the Killian Pretty review.

The review, commissioned by the Communities and Business Secretaries, is especially relevant given the current challenging economic environment. Creating a more proportionate and responsive planning application process will help businesses, developers, councils and households, facing these challenging circumstances both now and in the future.

Ministers agree with the Killian Pretty review that it is not good enough that we have a planning system that is ranked 61st in the world. They agree that the process for small scale minor developments (which constitute the vast majority of applications) needs to be made simpler, freeing up resources to deal better with larger and more complex proposals.

The Government has signalled it supports the broad thrust of the report. The Government intends to publish an implementation plan early in the new year, setting out in more detail how it intends to respond to the proposals that will deliver to the country the benefits of a leaner and less bureaucratic planning application process.

Housing and Planning Minister Margaret Beckett said:

"We believe this is a thorough analysis that pinpoints where the application process can free up resources and be much less bureaucratic.

"I am determined that we do everything we can to tackle today's economic challenges head on. It is vital that when the economy begins to recover that people find a re-invigorated and leaner planning system.

"Where we can, we will act immediately to develop and take forward the Killian Pretty's recommendations as a matter of urgency so we deliver savings to the UK economy quickly."

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears added:

"People often tell me they are confused and exasperated by the planning system. We urgently need to unburden our economy, businesses and overstretched council resources by creating a more proportionate and efficient planning application service.

"The system must keep the safeguards that ensure the right decisions are made but unnecessary red tape and a lack of clarity aren't just annoying, they're costly too. I thank David Pretty and Joanna Killian who have rightly identified that we need a better, more efficient planning application service now more than ever.

"The Killian Pretty review has provided government with a comprehensive and authoritative recipe to reduce the bureaucratic burdens in the planning application process that will prevent it hurting our economy and saving us all £300m a year.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said:

"Business is facing tough challenges and we need bold new thinking and approaches to help us tackle the current global downturn.

"The hard work by Killian Pretty has given us the means to cut out an enormous amount of red tape, creating a simpler and more responsive process.

"Freeing up the system, taking out up to 40 per cent of minor commercial planning applications, would give a much needed boost to business, saving time and money, generating more investment and delivering estimated saving of £300 million to the UK economy."

The Government has already begun to modernise the planning system so it can meet the unprecedented pressures of the twenty-first century - a global trading system, rapid demographic shifts and climate change. The 2007 Planning White Paper and subsequent legislation have already made inroads and this report is the next step in the process of modernisation.

Notes to editors

1. The World Bank's doing business survey measuring business regulations ranks economies on their ease of doing business includes the dealing with construction permits (planning) category - which the UK economy is ranked 61st. It can be found at:

2. The Killian Pretty review press release can be found at:

3. The full review can be downloaded at:

4. The Government has already introduced changes so that home extensions, loft conversions and solar panels no longer need planning permission. This has the potential to remove over 80,000 applications from the process. We have also introduced an online planning application form to begin simplifying and speeding up the planning application process. The Planning Inspectorate is also piloting a fast track house-holder scheme. The Planning Reform Bill is expected to receive Royal Assent later this week.

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