Policy Summary: Welsh government includes planning priorities in key strategy document

Policy: Prosperity for All: The National Strategy

Welsh Assembly: planning strategy
Welsh Assembly: planning strategy

Issued by: Welsh Government

Issue date: 19 September 2017

Background: The document, Prosperity for All, sets out the Welsh government's long-term strategy for how the country's public services will deliver its aim of "achieving prosperity for all". It focuses on planning as a key tool to meet this aim and includes new housing and planning proposals, such as plans to create a new streamlined Welsh infrastructure consenting process, as well as reiterating several previously-announced measures.

Key points: Planning is one of the four key "levers" that the Welsh government can use "to deliver our central goal of prosperity for all", the document says, with the "right planning system ... critical" for delivering the strategy's objectives.

Planning proposals are cited in a number of policy objectives. To drive sustainable growth and combat climate change, the Welsh government pledges to "establish a bespoke infrastructure consenting process which is responsive to business and community needs, to support sustainable economic growth, and to decarbonise our energy supply". A spokesman confirmed this was a new announcement and the proposals would be consulted on next year.

While the Welsh government's Developments of National Significance system determines energy projects of 10-50MW, those above this size are determined by the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project regime, which covers England and Wales.

To meet the same sustainable growth aim, the Welsh government also restates its promises to "introduce a new National Development Framework", which would set out a 20-year land-use plan for Wales and guide strategic development.

The document adds that the Welsh government will "reduce emissions and deliver vital improvements in air quality" through "planning, infrastructure, regulation and health communication measures".

To help deliver "modern and connected infrastructure", the Welsh government says it will "introduce the new National Infrastructure Commission for Wales to strengthen the governance and strategic planning of major infrastructure investments". It will also "require co-ordinated planning of new homes, facilities and infrastructure by local authorities, health bodies, housing associations and other key partners".

Housing is one of the strategy's five "priority areas". Key promises include linking "new housing with major new infrastructure developments", citing as examples the proposed South Wales Metro system and Wylfa Newydd nuclear power station on Anglesey. It also pledges to "work with local authorities to begin council house building at pace and scale for the first time in decades", to help small and medium housebuilders and to "incentivise housing providers to build homes which respond to the challenges of an ageing population". The Welsh government also reiterates meeting its previously-announced target of building 20,000 new affordable homes by 2021.

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