The National Infrastructure Plan 2011, announced as part of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, is a significant improvement on last year's first ever National Infrastructure Plan according to the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) which represents over 22,000 planners in the UK and abroad.
Richard Summers (pictured right) President of the RTPI said:
"The National Infrastructure Plan 2011 is an important step forward in outlining the Government's priorities for major infrastructure projects across the country in a way that will be useful to planners, developers, communities and investors. We are particularly pleased to see the links that have been made between housing growth and infrastructure investment but the plan needs to go further to show the links with business development and environmental protection in our towns and cities and rural areas."
The RTPI has long campaigned for greater coordination between Government departments and a spatial approach to planning to indicate what investment will be targeted to what areas and when it will be delivered.
The Chancellor also made a number of other statements of significance to planning:
- An obligation on statutory bodies to promote sustainable development through the consents process as soon as the NPPF is adopted
- Proposals to introduce a 13-week maximum timescale for the majority of non-planning consents
- Proposals to put into place a more effective mechanism for appellants to obtain an award of costs where a statutory consultee has behaved unreasonably
- A more flexible and light-touch approach is to be adopted to Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects
- A review into the implementation of the Habitats and Birds Directives to reduce costs and delays to development
- A review of the appeals process to make it more faster and transparent, with proposals for implementation in summer 2012
- A consultation on a proposal to review of planning obligations made prior April 2010 for stalled development
- Proposals to allow agricultural buildings to be used for other uses e.g. office, leisure, and retail space.
National Infrastructure Plan 2011
The Autumn Statement 2011