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Government should take action now or risk widespread poorly planned development

6 March 2013

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) today (6 March 2013) reveals that just over half of English councils are not prepared for the Government’s planning reforms, with potentially damaging consequences for the countryside. CPRE is therefore calling on Ministers to extend the transitional period to allow local plans to be put in place.


In March last year, the Government gave councils across England 12 months to bring their local development plans into alignment with the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). As the deadline of March 27 looms, 52% of councils don’t have a plan in place at all. And a significant proportion of those plans that are in place could be deemed out of date and therefore at risk from being dismissed by Planning Inspectors.


The map below shows the current extent of Local Plan coverage in England.


 English councils local plan coverage

A number of councils have been working hard to update their plans. But resource cuts and wider reforms, including the expected abolition of regional planning, have made it difficult for many to proceed quickly.


As a consequence a majority of councils will face planning decisions based on national policies alone, with little consideration given to local priorities, environmental considerations or community views.


Neil Sinden, Director of Policy and Campaigns for CPRE, says:


‘It is not too late for the Government to take action to ensure their planning reforms do not result in a rash of damaging development and irreversible loss of countryside.


So today we are asking Planning Minister Nick Boles to extend the transitional period by at least another 12 months and ideally 18 months.


Of those councils with no plan, 23% have started the process of having a plan adopted; this extra time would therefore allow a significant proportion of councils to get their plans in place. This will help ensure that local people have a say on what development happens in their area.’


Later this month (March) CPRE will publish detailed research on the impact that the Government’s planning reforms are having on development decisions. The evidence indicates that where decisions are heavily reliant on the NPPF alone, damaging proposals are being too easily approved.




Notes to Editors

[1] Plan status, available from the Planning Inspectorate at

Plan status



Adopted plan



Published, submitted or found sound plan



No plan published








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