Ministers move to streamline highways and transport consents

The government will consult on plans to improve the operation of orders that allow highways to be closed so that development can take place, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced.

Road: streamlined highways consents process mooted
Road: streamlined highways consents process mooted
In a document setting out how it intends to implement the recommendations of the Penfold Review of non-planning consents, BIS said that the government will consult upon "options to improve the operation of Stopping Up Orders", which allow roads to be closed so that development can take place.

The document said that the government was considering "processing Stopping Up Orders concurrently with planning permission to save the developer time".

Other options under consideration include devolving decision-making powers to local authorities and merging Stopping Up Orders with the planning system, "thus removing the requirement for an additional Stopping Up Order", according to the document.

It also says that the government could produce guidance to encourage close working practices between local planning and highways authorities and may encourage "delegation of functions from local highways authorities to local planning authorities when the consents are associated with development".

The document also proposes sweeping changes for listed buildings and conservation area regulations.

BIS said it intends to legislate to:

* Enable the extent of a listed building’s special interest to be legally defined in its list entry, removing the requirement for a consent for works on other parts of the building.

* Allow developers to seek a certificate of immunity from listing, valid for five years, at any time, rather then only after planning applications have been made.

* Allow owners of listed buildings and local authorities to enter into agreements where specified works could be carried out without separate applications.

* Remove the requirement for conservation area consent when demolishing unlisted buildings, and make such demolitions subject to planning permission instead.

It will also consult on whether to allow independent people to be certified as advisers to councils on conservation issues, rather than relying on council staff for this.

The government also intends to stop requiring the same consents to be secured under both the planning permission and development consent processes, according to the document.

Implementation of the Penfold Review is available here.

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