Press release

Simplified regulations will make planning easier

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Unnecessary red tape will be cut as part of the Red Tape Challenge.

Unnecessary red tape that is no longer needed and which adds to the cost of providing new houses and enterprise will be cut as part of the Red Tape Challenge to reduce and consolidate planning regulations.

The changes will help simplify the planning process but will not change planning policy or environmental protections.

A phased programme will now begin to reduce the number of technical planning regulations down to 78 - a reduction of 57% as part of the government’s challenge to make sensible changes to regulatory burdens.

Planning Minister Nick Boles said:

We’re doing what we can to streamline the planning system and remove unnecessary burdens where we can, to create a smooth journey through the building process.

By removing unnecessary red tape and consolidating regulations we are able to make the planning process more efficient and accessible, and easier for people to use.

The changes will:

  • consolidate the rules on permitted development which have been amended 17 times and need an overhaul to make them easier to understand
  • tackle unnecessary and overly burdensome requirements in the application process
  • scrap 38 redundant regulations that are no longer needed

The Red Tape Challenge is one of many programmes in place to help reduce the regulatory burden on business and kick-start growth. In December 2012 we announced details of an ambitious 6-month programme of deregulation that will bring businesses annual savings of at least £45 million.

The government will also publish shortly draft secondary legislation on the types of business and commercial projects that can use the nationally significant infrastructure regime. The changes will provide developers of the most significant business and commercial projects in England with the option of having their projects considered through this planning regime.

Further information

A list of the regulations being removed or amended has been published today:

Red Tape Challenge: list of regulations to be improved or scrapped

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The government believes that economic growth in the UK has been held back by excessive regulation. To reduce the burden imposed on business by home-grown regulation, the government is running a Red Tape Challenge, which is systematically examining some 6,500 substantive regulations that we inherited, with the aim of scrapping or reducing as many of them as possible. The Red Tape Challenge was launched by the Prime Minister in April 2011. It gives business and the public the chance to have their say, by theme, on the regulations that affect their everyday lives.

Results of Red Tape Challenge so far include:

  • a radical package of employment tribunal reforms, expected to deliver £40 million of savings a year to employers; the qualifying period for unfair dismissal has increased from 1 to 2 years
  • a portable criminal records check, which employers can view instantly online, which will be available from spring 2013
  • since October 2012, deregulation of many live music performances and scrapped regulations dictating location and design of no smoking signs
  • planned reforms to environmental regulation to save business at least £1 billion over 5 years, while keeping important protections; these include reducing burdensome bureaucracy with the 23.5 million paper ‘waste transfer notes’ currently produced in the UK each year
  • a significant reduction in the paper required to run a car, including scrapping the paper counterpart to driving licences in 2015, saving UK drivers up to £8 million
  • a commitment to get rid of unnecessary burdens in the Equality Act, in recognition that bureaucracy and prescription are not routes to equality: example - ensuring employers are no longer liable for the harassment of staff by a third party such as a customer
  • a comprehensive programme of consumer law reform, including a consumer bill of rights, to scrap or improve some 12 pieces of overlapping and costly consumer legislation
  • exempting from April 2013 hundreds of thousands of low-risk businesses from health and safety inspections, as part of measures to scrap or improve 85% of health and safety regulations

Around 6,500 regulations are currently expected to undergo Red Tape Challenge scrutiny. At least 3,000 of these will be scrapped or reduced. By ‘scrapped’, we mean that regulation is completely removed from the statute book. By ‘reduced’, we mean that regulations are reduced in number (eg a consolidation, making the rules simpler to find and follow) and/or in terms of the burden they impose (eg reducing who is caught by the regulation; removing domestic gold-plating of EU law; active renegotiation of EU law; simplifying requirements set by the regulation or in related guidance; or reducing the burden of inspection and enforcement arising from the regulation).

Around 1,500 of the 3,000 changes will have a measurable financial benefit for business. This does not include consolidations of regulations without any changes to the content of those regulations. The Red Tape Challenge comprises regulation of UK origin and regulation that transposes EU laws. It does not include legislation or regulations falling within the responsibilities of the devolved administrations, tax and fees legislation or national security matters.

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