To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposals in the Planning for the Future consultation, published 6 August 2020, on the (a) maintenance of green spaces and (b) conservation of biodiversity in Birmingham, Edgbaston constituency.
In Planning for the Future we have proposed significant changes to the focus and the processes of planning – to secure better outcomes in terms of land for homes, beauty and environmental quality. One key proposal is that future local plans would put all land into one of three categories: areas for growth, for renewal or for protection. That proposal makes clear that, under such a system, local authorities would use the plan-making process to earmark valued green space, which need not be a designated area such as Local Green Space or Green Belt, for protection.
It is not feasible to try to predict how a particular local authority would apply the proposed rules, the detail of which will depend on the response to our current consultation. However, I can be clear that, in its plan-making and decisions, a local authority will still be expected to promote the provision and retention of green space and other green infrastructure, and to protect and enhance biodiversity in line with natural environment policies in the National Planning Policy Framework. Moreover, the Environment Bill gives local authorities a new power to require developers to provide net gains for biodiversity as a mandatory condition of planning permission.