A selection of images representing communities.
The Government believes that, whenever possible, planning decisions should be made at the local level. It is working to change the planning system so councils have the freedom to make their own planning decisions in the best interests of the local area.
To achieve this the Department is ending top-down control over local planning decisions and ensuring democratic accountability in the planning system. We want to ensure that in future people who make planning decisions are directly accountable to those whose lives are affected by them.
We want councils and communities to be at the heart of a planning system that helps deliver more homes and economic growth. We will introduce powerful new incentives that ensure communities benefit from development they welcome, and new homes are matched with new jobs and investment.
We want housebuilders and the construction industry to benefit from a new generation of sustainable development delivered through a planning system where they work hand-in-hand with local communities.
We want to overhaul current planning policy so councils and communities have more control and flexibility over planning decisions made through a faster and leaner planning system.
The planning system helps ensure that development takes place in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. It also has a role to play in helping to cut carbon emissions, protect the natural environment and deliver energy security.
Local planning authorities prepare development plans which set the broad framework for acceptable development in their area. They are also responsible for assessing most applications for planning permission.
The Department oversees these plan-making and decision-taking functions.
Appeals against refusal of planning permission and inquiries are dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate (external link).
Many types of building work will require separate permission under building regulations.
There is a one-stop source of information on the Planning Portal (external link). It includes advice on planning permission, online applications and guidance on how the system works.
You can also find more information about planning applications and development plans on Directgov (external link).