This was the message from Environment Minister, John Griffiths who was speaking in Plenary about the Government’s ongoing work to review planning policy so it better supports the recovery of the Welsh economy.
Speaking in a Plenary debate on the issue, the Minister said:
“This Government is determined to do all it can to ensure that Wales withstands the current economic challenges. This means putting in place policies and processes which support jobs and stimulate economic recovery.
“We know the planning system can play a key role in helping economic recovery by creating more certainty for investment. That is why we have put in place, or are consulting on, improvements to the planning system that it will make it faster, more agile, and more consistent.”
Work so far includes a public consultation which is seeking views on proposed changes to the text of Planning Policy Wales that relate to economic development.
The Minister said:
“It is important that our planning system supports the whole economy, whether that is the service sector, the green economy or more traditional sectors such as manufacturing and heavy industry.”
The Environment Minister urged local authorities to play their part in this process and encouraged them to work collaboratively to identify key opportunities, and to plan more strategically to help deliver the economic growth that is needed in Wales.
The Minister also emphasised the importance of local authorities ensuring that they had up to date Local Development Plans (LDPs) in place. He congratulated the five authorities who has already adopted theirs, and the eleven other authorities who are making significant progress towards adoption.
However the Minister expressed his disappointment that some Planning Authorities were still making poor progress on LDPs and in doing so were holding back their local economy and the wider Welsh economy.
Other important work underway by the Welsh Government to improve the planning system in Wales includes:
- Making sure the planning application process is as proportionate, straight forward and efficient as possible
- A Planning Bill to consolidate existing legislation and make the planning system more effective, transparent and accessible. A White Paper on this is planned for 2013
- The establishment of an Independent Advisory Group to consider options on how best to deliver the planning system in the future, and a ‘ call for evidence’ to inform that work.