The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has warned of a lack of robust standards of public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny in proposed English National Development Management Policies (NDMPs), which are being reviewed today in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill’s third stage of scrutiny in the House of Lords.
Without these essential safeguards, the RTPI warns that local communities will have limited engagement in the planning system, potentially leading to decisions made on a national level that do not adequately address local interests and needs.
The RTPI, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool and ARUP, has conducted research highlighting the urgent need for strong standards of public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny. This research emphasises the significance of precise rules-based systems in fostering confidence and certainty within the planning system and national policy.
The RTPI calls upon Lords to recognise the urgency of enhancing public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny within the planning system. By incorporating stronger standards, the interests and needs of local communities can be better represented, ensuring a more inclusive and effective planning process.
Sue Bridge, President of the RTPI said: “Public confidence in the planning system has reached an all-time low. Without adequate safeguards, local councils may find themselves compelled to implement national policies that fail to align with the specific needs of their communities. This further erodes confidence in the planning system and jeopardises the integrity of local plans.
Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the RTPI said: "National Development Management Policies are a central component of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. While the ambition of these policies is sound, they must possess flexibility in their approach for their potential to be fully realised.
“By offering a floor, rather than a ceiling, to standards on climate change and other national priorities such as beauty, we can encourage and embrace innovation and local adaptation, whilst maintaining a consistent baseline."