DCLG tests streamlined planning guidance

30th August 2013

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Practitioners have six weeks to comment on a new government website containing its draft guidance on planning

The communities department has unveiled a new online library of guidance on the planning regime in England and Wales.

The online portal, which will replaces 7,000 pages of printed guidance with around 500 webpages, is now in a six-week testing phase and the department is asking for comments from the public on its content and usability.

“Having stripped away outdated advice, our new user-friendly website brings together a simplified set of clear, concise guidance and publishes it altogether in one place,” said planning minister Nick Boles in launching the site. “This will make the planning system much easier to navigate for everyone involved.

“Planning shouldn’t just be the preserve of technocrats, lawyers and council officers. Yet up to now even the experts have struggled to plough through all the background documents and find the right advice.

“To be effective our planning system needs to be supported by practical guidance that anyone can consult and follow.”

On the test site, the communities department’s existing 58-page guide on environmental impact assessment (EIA) – circular 02/99 – is replaced by eight webpages covering, for example, the purpose of EIA, the stages of an assessment and who is responsible for preparing the environmental statement.

Josh Fothergill, IEMA’s policy lead on EIA, urged the Institute’s members to look at the site and contribute their feedback.

“IEMA is pleased to see the government deliver on its promise to create up-to-date, concise and accessible planning guidance,” he said.

“However, this process cannot be successful without input from practitioners. We therefore welcome the six-week testing period and encourage members to take this opportunity to trial and comment on the tool.”

To contribute to IEMA’s review of the guide, email your comments to j.fothergill@iema.net or join the conversation on LinkedIn.

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