News story

Simplifying development to aid growth

The update, an important action from the Growth Review, details the progress since the Government’s response to the independent review published…

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


The update, an important action from the Growth Review, details the progress since the Government’s response to the independent review published in November last year, which includes:

  • Expanding the simplified approach to the environmental permitting system, allowing developers to apply for one consent rather than several
  • Creating a lighter touch application process for low-impact environmental consents
  • Setting out service standards for the major consenting bodies to improve the ease of applying for consents, such as named points of contact, clearer guidance on whether consents are needed and encouraging early discussion to smooth an application process
  • Consulting on a code to increase transparency of the decision making process in Local Authorities
  • Creating a protocol to guide working between the Environment Agency, Local Authorities and developers to cut out duplication and confusion.

The recently launched Red Tape Challenge will play a significant role in reducing the burdens and confusion of the development consents system. It will allow people to comment on, and suggest improvements to, consents and planning regulations, with the aim of reducing unnecessary and out of date rules, cutting burdens and improving enforcement.

Mark Prisk, Minister for Business and Enterprise, said:

“Real progress is being made to cut back the confusion and complexity of the development consents system. These consents provide important environmental and social protections but too little thought was given their cumulative impact on businesses resulting in an often burdensome and overlapping system.

“The Penfold Review put forward strong recommendations to clear away the clutter and the Government is delivering on these to help transform a key driver to economic growth in the UK.”

Liz Peace, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, said:

“We are delighted the Government has listened to the concerns of the property industry and is moving to reduce the suffocating web of development consents that are currently stifling development and economic growth.

“The complexities of the consents are a real hindrance to developers, and it is particularly pleasing to see the number of environmental permits will be cut down, which is something we have been lobbying Government to change for a long time.

“Deregulation is one of the key planks of the Government’s plans to foster economic growth, and this is certainly a step in the right direction.”

Other key actions from the Government’s Growth Review, published alongside the Budget in March, are expected to be announced shortly, including a powerful new presumption in favour of sustainable development.

Development consents are required by developers, alongside or after planning permission, include environmental permits, highways orders and heritage consents. There are more than 80 consents that deliver key economic, social and environmental objectives, for example protecting endangered species, tackling climate change, delivering a well functioning road-network and protecting the health and well-being of local communities. But the system of consents was developed in an uncoordinated, creating unnecessary complexity and burdens for developers.

Notes for editors

  1. The Government commissioned Adrian Penfold, of British Land, to undertake a review of the development consents system in Autumn 2009. He published his report in July 2010 which set out recommendations to simplify the system, cutting unnecessary paperwork and costs to developers. The report can be found here:

  2. The Government responded to the report in November 2010, committing to take immediate practical steps to free developers from burdensome regulation. It also agreed to bring consents in line with the Government’s ‘one in, one out, approach to regulation and ensure that relevant government departments work closely together to drive forward and implement changes. The Government response can be found here: along with today’s progress report.

  3. The Red Tape Challenge was launched by the Prime Minister on 7 April, giving the public a chance to have their say on the more than 21,000 regulations that affect their everyday lives. The website is available at [](

  4. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See []( for more information.

Notes to Editors

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Published 25 May 2011