This may be a bit peripheral to the main purpose of the site, but I think it behoves anyone with an interest in wildlife conservation to be aware of the government white paper on proposed planning reform. This is my “take” on it, and will inevitably include some bias. You can find the original at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-future.
Essentially, central government will tell authorities what scale and type of development is required in their area. Local Plans will then be prepared, which must meet this demand.
These plans will divide each local area into three types:
Growth areas suitable for substantial development.
Renewal areas suitable for development on a smaller scale: infill of residential areas, development in town centres, and small sites within or on the edge of villages.
Areas that are Protected would include Green Belt, AONBs, Conservation Areas, Local Wildlife Sites, areas of significant flood risk, and important areas of green space.
In the first 2 categories, outline planning permission will be automatic. It will only remain to follow a speeded-up approval process. It is theoretically possible that a scheme will be rejected, if it includes a type of development not included in the Local Plan.
Land in the last category will, despite the name, still be subject to planning applications. It will not receive automatic outline permission, but will be subject to a streamlined version of the full approval process.
Interestingly, another facet of the system is highlighted for reform. Authorities currently have two ways in which they can extract money for infrastructure (roads, drainage etc.) to support developments from the builders. These raise £3-4 billion a year, but this is less than half what might be demanded: many councils do not choose to apply the levies. One wonders why…