Freeports: Planning Permission

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered on 23rd September 2022.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether there will be a relaxation of planning protections in designated landscapes where parts of those areas fall within proposed freeport outer boundaries.

Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, how many hectares of land falls within the proposed outer freeport boundaries in England; and how much of that land falls within the boundaries of (a) a National Park, (b) an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and (c) a National Site Network and Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Photo of Dehenna Davison Dehenna Davison Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

By delivering investment on specific priority sites, Freeports will create thousands of high-quality jobs in some of our most deprived communities. These sites have been carefully selected for their suitability for development by the local Freeport coalition, which comprises key private partners and local authorities who, importantly, provide democratic accountability for the actions of the Freeport.

The department does not hold information on how many hectares of land falls within the proposed outer freeport boundaries in England; and how much of that land also falls within the boundaries of (a) a National Park, (b) an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or (c) a National Site Network and Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The development sites sit within an 'outer boundary' which sets the limit for how far apart they can be and broadly indicates the area they expect to benefit most directly from the Freeport's economic impacts. This in no way means that the area has been earmarked for development nor does this confer any special planning status and local authorities within it retain all their statutory powers and responsibilities, including responsibility for providing planning permission. Freeport status in no way undercuts the local planning process and there is no change to the current planning and environment status of national parks.

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