Chancellor Rachel Reeves unveils planning reforms to 'get Britain building again'

Chancellor, Rachel Reeves - image

Chancellor Rachel Reeves has unveiled a raft of planning reforms to “get Britain building again”.

In her first first major speech at the Treasury she said there was “no time to waste” in boosting growth. 

A review of planning policy, a commitment to build 1.5m new homes in the next five years and bringing stalled infrastructure projects back on track were among her announcements. 

“Sustained economic growth is the only route to improving the prosperity of our country and the living standards of working people," she said.

“Where governments have been unwilling to take the difficult decisions to deliver growth – or have waited too long to act – I will deliver.

“It is now a national mission. There is no time to waste.”

She outlined the first steps the new government has taken to fix the foundations of the economy to “rebuild Britain and make every part of our country better off".

She said the economy had been held by “decisions deferred and decisions ducked”. 

Reeves announced the government will:

  • Reform the National Planning Policy Framework – with a growth focussed approach
  • Restore mandatory house building targets
  • End the onshore wind farm ban – and consult on bringing onshore wind back into the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project regime meaning decisions on large projects will be taken nationally not locally
  • Give priority to energy projects in the system to ensure they make “swift progress” –  and also build on the Spatial Plan for Energy, expanding this to other infrastructure sectors
  • Create a new taskforce to accelerate stalled housing sites in the UK beginning with Liverpool Central Docks, Worcester Parkway, Northstowe and Langley Sutton Coldfield representing more than 14,000 homes
  • Support local authorities with 300 additional planning officers across the country
  • Review greenbelt boundaries – prioritising brownfield and greybelt land for development  
  • See the deputy prime minster review planning applications where the potential gain for the regional and national economies warrant it, with the benefit of development a central consideration
  • Deliver the infrastruture the country needs - with the transport and energy security and net zero secrateries prioritising decisions on infrastructure projects that “have been sitting unresolved for far too long"

Reeves said an assessment of the country's public finances had been ordered and the results will be presented before parliament's summer break, before a full Budget is held later in the year

She also said the new government would set policy intentions for critical infrastructure in the coming month, ahead of updating relevant national policy statements within the year.

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