NALC helps secure amendments to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has secured several amendments to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill at last week's Report Stage in the House of Lords.
NALC's involvement in the Better Planning Coalition helped secure the amendments, which included introducing new duties on climate change, public health, and extra scrutiny of national development management policies. Peers agreed on the new clauses despite government opposition.
NALC's concerns about the national development management policies were highlighted in an amendment by Baroness Thornhill with support from across the house. The new clause stipulates the process for the government to designate and review a national development management policy, including minimum public consultation requirements and a process of parliamentary scrutiny.
Another concern to NALC has been Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS). Baroness Parminter tabled an amendment to introduce a new clause that established the relationship between LNRS and statutory development plans to ensure their objectives were delivered and aligned with development plans. The government committed to publish further guidance on LNRS shortly, and the amendment was withdrawn.
Lord Ravensdale inserted a new clause which places a duty on the government and relevant planning authorities to have special regard to the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change concerning national policy, local plan-making, and planning decisions. The clause addresses planning weight for climate in the system and a golden thread to ensure climate runs throughout the planning system.
Lord Crisp added two new clauses to the bill on the issue of healthy homes. The first requires the government to promote a comprehensive regulatory framework for planning and the built environment designed to secure physical, mental, and social health, well-being and healthy homes and neighbourhoods. The second inserts a new policy statement on the principle of the healthy home and requires the government to prepare a statement to explain how the principles will be implemented and adhered to in a way that takes account of a building development's urban, suburban, or rural location, plus a progress report for each annual reporting period.
Other amendments passed of interest were a new requirement for the government to engage with local authorities to devise strategies to reduce the number of high street financial services becoming vacant premises and a series of government amendments relating to planning data regulations.
The Better Planning Coalition represents 34 organisations across the environment, housing, planning, heritage and transport sectors with one common goal of a planning system fit for climate, nature and people. The coalition campaigns for the most significant upgrade to planning rules and work together to influence the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and the National Planning Policy Framework.