Consent rule merger eyed

Business leaders and developers have welcomed the government's efforts to streamline planning rules to encourage development and stimulate economic growth.

In its official response to July's Penfold review, which urged action to tackle complex and fragmented non-planning consents, the government has confirmed that the DCMS will work with the DCLG to investigate legislation to merge conservation area consent with planning permission.

The government will produce an update next spring on moves to increase the number of small-scale, commercial and minor non-residential developments deemed below the level required for consent.

DEFRA and the DCLG have also begun drafting guidance to improve the links between environmental permitting and planning permission.

Institute of Directors head of regulation Alexander Ehmann responded: "We welcome a renewed focus on planning deregulation as a means of stimulating economic growth.

"It is one of the government's key building blocks and is central to supporting private sector investment."

The British Property Federation also welcomed the response and maintained that implementation would speed up and simplify a bureaucratic planning process.

"We are particularly pleased that the government is to establish a mechanism to ensure that departments and non-planning consent decision-makers work together to provide oversight," said associate director of special projects Michael Chambers.

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