News from the NDMP vote: public consultation, but no parliamentary scrutiny
Yesterday’s vote in the House of Lords marked as far as CPRE can go to improving National Development Management Policies (NDMPs) in the Levelling Up Bill.
NDMPs are a new type of national planning policy that covers how land is used in England. Until now, these policies could have been implemented without minimum guarantees on prior scrutiny.
Thanks to the hard work of CPRE supporters, alongside the incredible efforts of the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Better Planning Coalition, we were able to shift the government’s approach to ensure the public is consulted on any new NDMP – unless in exceptional circumstances.
Sadly, our final efforts to ensure parliament were able to consult on new NDMPs was thwarted in the House of Lords, despite the great work of Baroness Thornhill and Peers across the House. However, verbal assurances were given that NDMPs will undergo Environmental Assessment (EA), and again that only in the rarest of circumstances would a case be made for no consultation.
These wins, while small, are critical. NDMPs will cover so many of the things we care about, from Green Belt to affordable housing, flood risk and transport.
As drafted, the Bill states that when national policy and local policy conflict, local plans will be overridden, and priority will be given to NDMPs. So, ensuring as much scrutiny as possible of these new policies has been of the utmost importance.
NDMPs will return when the government consult on their scope, and we will be monitoring this process with a readiness to challenge.
Win on social housing
There were some encouraging wins on measures that would increase social and affordable housing in the countryside, thanks to the ongoing efforts of Shelter and other supporting organisations. In addition, as it stands, an amendment ensuring all planning decisions take climate change into account is still on the cards, and up for debate next week.
Check back on the CPRE website or follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for updates as the Levelling Up Bill progresses into becoming an Act of Parliament in the coming weeks. Until then, we will continue to work towards a planning system that works for people, nature and planet.