Consultation on the new draft National Planning Policy Framework began today.
It streamlines the current 1000-page book of local planning rules down to just 52.
Planning minister Greg Clark said: “Clarity in planning has become lost in translation. National planning policy and central government guidance has become so bloated that it now contains more words than the complete works of Shakespeare, making it impenetrable to ordinary people.
“We need a simpler, swifter system that is easier to understand and where you don’t need to pay for a lawyer to navigate your way around. That’s why we promised reform to make planning easier to understand and easier to use for everyone.
“Today’s proposals set out national planning policy more concisely, and in doing so make clearer the importance of planning to safeguarding our extraordinary environment and meeting the needs of communities, now and in the future.”
The move has been welcomed by residential and commercial developers but civil engineers are warning of potential problems.
Land Securities’ chief executive Francis Salway said: “It’s refreshing to have a concise national planning framework which supports and encourages growth, and at same time protects our heritage.”
But CECA director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner said: “Most of these proposed changes are very welcome but we worry that the localism agenda will make it more difficult to deliver essential major infrastructure projects in future.”
Institution of Civil Engineers director general Tom Foulkes said: “We would warn against over-simplifying such an important area of guidance which must deal effectively with infrastructure projects that are crucial to both the national and local economies.”