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Penfold Review of non-planning consents

The Penfold Review, set up to identify whether non-planning consents delay or discourage investment published its final report in July 2010.

Penfold Review of non-planning consents

Outcomes from the Penfold Review have allowed government to build a programme of streamlining and simplification measures for the planning and development consents systems.

Implementing the Penfold Review  

In November 2011 government published an implementation report taking forward measures from the Penfold Review and setting out a programme to:

  • scrap unnecessary development consents and simplify others
  • reform the remits and working practices of the public bodies granting or advising on development consents
  • set a clear timescale for deciding development consent applications
  • make it easier to apply for development consents 

Implementation report on the Penfold review (PDF, 122 Kb)  

Government is currently working to implement these measures. In April 2012 draft improvement plans were issued by the Environment Agency, Natural England, English Heritage, Highways Agency and Health and Safety Executive. The improvement plans set out how the agencies will meet two of the review measures:

  • each agency's remit to promote sustainable development
  • commitment to determine development consent applications within an agreed timeframe

English Heritage's improvement plan for services 
Natural England's improvement plan
Environment Agency's improvement plan 
Health and Safety Executive's draft improvement plan 
Highway's Agency draft improvement plan

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, currently before Parliament, includes the following review measures:

  • enable the extend of a listed building's special interest to be legally defined
  • enable developers to seek a Certificate of Immunity from designation or listing at any time
  • allow owners of listed buildings and local authorities to enter into Statutory Management Agreements
  • Remove the requirement for Conservation Area Consent when demolishing unlisted buildings

Background to the Penfold Review

Reforming the planning system is an important part of the government’s growth agenda. Adrian Penfold undertook a review of consents which have to be obtained alongside or after, and separate from, planning permission in order to complete and operate a development (non-planning consents). The interim and final reports were published in 2010.

Penfold: review of non-planning consents – interim report 
Penfold: review of non-planning consents – final report

The Review accepted that while these consents play an important role in achieving economic, social and environmental benefits, they could also create delay, uncertainty and costs to business. It challenged Government to improve the interaction between the planning and development consent systems, to remove duplication and to take a more pro-active approach to understanding the impact of new development consents upon business and the wider planning system.

The recommendations from the review were welcomed by government in the response document.

Government response to the Penfold Review