Planning added £2.3bn to Welsh economy in 2016/17, according to new toolkit

The planning system contributed at least £2.35 billion to the Welsh economy in 2016/17, according to research conducted by the Welsh Government and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Cymru using a new toolkit.

Development: new toolkit designed to flag planning's economic benefits
Development: new toolkit designed to flag planning's economic benefits

The toolkit, which seeks to capture the economic and social value of the planning system, was developed by consultancies Arup and JLL who were commissioned by RTPI Cymru and the Welsh Government.

It was developed in consultation with statutory consultees, developers and healthcare bodies and piloted by local authorities including Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Cardiff City Council, Merthyr Tydfil Council, Monmouthshire County Council, and Snowdonia National Park Authority.

RTPI Cymru and the Welsh Government said the toolkit could be easily applied to other areas and is intended for local authorities to make the case for investment in planning services.

In Wales, the toolkit identified that in 2016/17, planning services secured around £122.4 million in developer infrastructure contributions, £2.5 million of recreational benefits from open spaces, at least £750,000 of community benefits from health facilities, and more than £17 million in planning fees. The vast bulk of the total calculated - more than £2.2 billion - came from the lifting of land values by the granting of planning permissions.

The toolkit also found that planning services in Wales provided 558 full-time jobs, processed 22,569 planning applications, and adopted 18 local development plans.

Lesley Griffiths, cabinet secretary for energy, planning and rural affairs at the Welsh Government, said: "The new tool will enable local authorities to estimate their own values and I encourage each planning authority to use the resource."

Tom Watson, chair at RTPI Cymru, said: "It is important that society values more what planning does and how it contributes to the making of a sustainable and prosperous Wales. This tool we are launching today makes an important and practical first step.
"The value of planning can never be wholly conveyed in quantitative terms. Things like well being, quality of life and investment confidence have much to do with good, consistent planning, but it is not yet practical to measure these factors."

For more information on the toolkit, contact Roisin Willmott, director RTPI Cymru, at

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