Examination of Witnesses

Part of Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:10 pm on 23rd June 2022.

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Paul Miner:

Just to go back to Rachael’s initial question, one area of the Bill that gives us real cause for concern, in terms of local authorities’ ability to adapt to climate change, is the proposal on national development management policies. We think that, as the clauses are currently drafted, it will make it more difficult for local councils to have what is known as Merton rule-style policies, requiring a higher amount of renewable energy generation in new developments compared with the national building regulations. Similarly, on biodiversity net gain, the national policy is to ensure 10%, but some local authorities want to go beyond that. They would not do so if we had a national development management policy that told them to keep to what is nationally mandated.

We therefore think that clause 83 needs to be changed so that it just says that local authorities should be able to decide applications in line with both local and national policies, but not always have to give supremacy to national policies. We hope the Committee will look further at that in due course. We know that, for many members of the Committee, it is a major cause of concern, which they have raised already.