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RTPI reflects on Liberal Democrat manifesto

The Liberal Democrat party has released its 2024 General Election manifesto, outlining plans to fund local planning departments, allow councils to set planning fees, and reduce policy restrictions on the development of solar and wind energy projects.

On planning resourcing and fees

Ambitions to adequately fund local planning departments and give councils the freedom to set planning fees shows an understanding that properly funded planning departments are essential for addressing the UK's housing crisis, avoiding piecemeal developments and preparing the UK for net zero. This will be key if we want to resource a sustainable, reliable system that benefits both residents and businesses. It is clear that our calls for better funding are being heard.

On planning for housing

Expert planners will be critical to delivering the Liberal Democrats' ambitious housebuilding target, especially with such a high number of homes intended for social rent, on brownfield land and in new garden cities. The manifesto has supported our Planifesto ask to deliver 'infrastructure first' so that new development is aligned with infrastructure, services and amenities that new residents will need.

On new renewable energy

It is positive to see the Liberal Democrats focus on reducing national policy restrictions on new solar and wind power, which currently go beyond those that other types of energy project face. This is something our Planifesto called for.

On nature recovery

Our Planifesto 2024 calls for reducing the trade-offs between environmental protection and development. We believe parties should introduce a single ‘Local Environmental Improvement Plan’ covering water, soil, air, biodiversity, and habitat management to better inform decisions about land use for the environment and development. By doing so, planners can help identify and make Liberal Democrats’ proposals ‘wild belts’ possible.

The policies outlined by the Liberal Democrats today have clear intentions for planning, and it is critical that the party understand that planning is at the centre of its ambitions not only for housing, but across many of its key proposals – from housing to nature and energy. Planning is crucial to make these possible and will need to be properly resourced to help achieve them.

Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the RTPI

The RTPI will provide more detailed responses to all of the political parties’ manifestos on our elections hub following their release.

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