Planning, building and the environment

Planning and the environment

The Government is committed to protecting the environment for future generations and implementing a full programme of measures to deliver on its ambitions for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy. Planning policy and wider planning legislation plays an important role in supporting a decentralised planning approach and enabling infrastructure to be provided while safeguarding and enhancing the environment and tackling climate change.


The Department for Communities and Local Government has responsibility for developing planning policy and wider planning legislation that affect the environment, including:

  • climate change and renewable energy
  • the countryside
  • flood risk and coastal planning
  • minerals and waste
  • trees and high hedges

We work closely with colleagues across the Department, other government departments and external partners in delivering these policies.

What we are doing

Current planning policy for planning and the environment is set out in Planning Policy Statements (PPS) and Planning Policy Guidance (PPG). The Government has committed to publish and present to Parliament a simple and consolidated national planning framework covering all forms of development and setting out national economic, environmental and social priorities. More information on this is available from the planning system web pages.

Future workstreams for planning and environment include:

  • delivering the Government's commitment to:
    • maintain the Green Belt, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and other environmental protections, and create a new designation to protect green areas of particular importance to local communities, as part of the Localism Bill; and
    • take forward the findings of the Pitt Review to improve our flood defences, and prevent unnecessary building in areas of high flood risk
  • Tree Preservation Order consolidation
  • consulting on the consolidation and amendments to the Enviromental Impact Assessment Regulations.


European Commission consultation on Environmental Impact Assessment (external link)
The European Commission is undertaking a review of the EIA Directive (85/337/EEC) and is keen to seek the views of individuals, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and national administrations on the application and effectiveness of the Directive. We would encourage those with an interest in environmental impact assessment to complete the questionnaire to assist the Commission in their review.

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