Businesses back higher planning fees to speed infrastructure delivery

Seven in ten businesses would consider pay higher planning fees in order to speed up the planning process for infrastructure projects, research has revealed.

CBI director general John Cridland
CBI director general John Cridland

A report by business group the CBI and consultancy AECOM found major concerns amongst businesses about resourcing levels at local authority planning departments.

More than 700 business leaders were polled for the study, Turning Momentum into Delivery, with 62 per cent unhappy with the pace of progress on delivering infrastructure projects.

The report said that 70 per cent of businesses said they were prepared to consider paying more in planning fees if it led to "quicker decisions more consistently applied".

Asked about their priorities to tackle delays and costs in the planning system, the report said that 82 per cent said improving resourcing and skills levels at planning departments was "significant or very significant".

Almost nine in ten said the same about the need for a clearer link between individual planning decisions and the UK’s national infrastructure needs, while 85 per cent called for simplification of consultation and application requirements.

Support for improved resourcing of planning departments was strongest in the South West and the devolved nations, and weakest in London.

More than half of those questioned were positive about central government policies the National Planning Policy Framework, and the National Infrastructure Plan.

CBI director general John Cridland said: "The quality of infrastructure is a key factor in firms’ investment decisions, so businesses, communities and the whole country simply can’t afford the cost of inaction.

"Delivery of key projects – from where we build a new runway to how we power our industry and homes for the future – must be the crowning achievement of this Parliament.

"That doesn’t just mean taking the tough decisions for the long-term. It means better planning and having the right skills in place to ensure there is seamless continuity from when the green light is given for action to getting spades in the ground."

Earlier this month, a report by consultancy GL Hearn and property lobby group the British Property Federation (BPF) said it has found similar support for higher fees from applicants.


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