From the complete Budget 2012 document:
The Government is reforming the planning system so that it supports growth. The Government will publish the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) by the end of March 2012, coming into force for plan-making and decisions from that point onwards, with appropriate implementation arrangements for local authorities with pro-growth policies in local plans. There will be support to help local authorities get plans up to date quickly.
The NPPF will refocus planning policy to better support growth, will include a powerful presumption in favour of sustainable development to underpin all local plans and decisions, and will localise choice about the use of previously developed land, ending nationally imposed targets. The Government will also work with key statutory consultees to ensure that they support the delivery of sustainable development in line with the NPPF and are held to account for doing so.
In addition, the Government:
- will introduce further measures to deregulate and simplify the planning system. The Government will shortly consult on reducing information requirements and on proposals to amend the Use Class Order and the associated permitted development rights to make changing the use of buildings easier, for implementation by April 2013. In addition, new permitted development rights for micro-renewable energy installations will come into force in April 2012;
- will remove duplication in the consenting regime for major infrastructure development by bringing forward legislation to adjust the scope of Special Parliamentary Procedure, and will shortly publish draft revised guidance to make the regime clearer and easier to use;
- has implemented major reforms to the key consenting and advisory agencies involved in planning applications to give certainty to developers, including ensuring they adhere to a 13 week maximum timescale for most non-planning consents and are improving their performance in dealing with planning applications; and
- has helped make progress on habitats issues that were holding up development for Chiltern Railways and Able Marine Energy Park, so that final decisions can be taken within a year. The Government has also completed a review of the implementation in England of the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives, to be published on 22 March 2012. Following this review, the Government will reduce unnecessary cost and delay to developers by: setting up a Major Infrastructure and Environment Unit; streamlining guidance; setting clearer standards for evidence; and changing the culture of statutory bodies.