Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered on 26th January 2022.
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when he plans to introduce the direction on local planning authorities to consult with him on developments that affect ancient woodlands; and when he plans launch the consultation on revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework.
In Planning for the Future we make clear that, under the reforms proposed, local authorities would use the plan-making process to ensure the continued protection and enhancement of areas important for biodiversity, including ancient woodland.
The consultation direction has been committed to and further details on this will follow in due course. While the necessary changes are awaited there is, in the meantime the option for requests to be made for individual applications to be called in for determination by the Secretary of State, using the broad powers under section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
As part of our reforms, we have set out that the National Planning Policy Framework will be revised. Our approach to planning reform remains under very active consideration, in the context of my departments’ wider mission to level-up our country. The way forward will be announced as soon as possible.
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