PAS Bulletin: 26 November 2021

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26 November 2021

PAS Bulletin

You will have noticed recently that the Environment Bill received Royal Assent to become the Environment Act. There is lots of detail still to be understood, but it feels like we are entering a creative moment. Planning policy needs to get better at factoring the environment into decisions, at both plan and project levels. The Act is huge, so we have started with what planners need to understand about biodiversity, and we are now looking to strengthen our team on the habitat regulations (see below). Perhaps more to come. 

Last week the PAS team were throwing ideas around for our conference in January, given fresh impetus by the news that the Planning Bill seems unlikely to be out by then.

We have always seen it as one of our roles to help keep a collective eye on what's coming over the horizon, but sometimes it pays to step back and think about what is *not* going to change. No matter what the next planning reform brings, some things will be the same in 10 or 20 years. More on this thought on the blog

Richard Crawley
PAS Programme Manager

Planning performance update

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) two-year performance figures for speed of decision making (Majors, non-Majors and County Matters) will be published in December, covering the period October 2019 to September 2021. If you think your council may be below the minimum threshold and you have not already been contacted by PAS, email to discuss the support that PAS can offer.

Planning Services best practice

Seventy-six delegates attended our "How to pay for your Planning service when times are tough" event on 9 November. Copies of the three best practice presentations from Plymouth City Council, Maidstone Borough Council and Homes England are now on our website.

Biodiversity Net Gain FAQs

We have worked with Natural England and Defra to answer the questions we are most frequently asked by local authority officers and members about biodiversity net gain (BNG) and those that have come up at events so far. We are keen to get your views and comments – you can email Beccy with feedback.

Come and work with PAS!

We are scaling up our work on nutrients, and are looking for some expertise to help us with:

  • Habitat Regulations and nutrient neutrality
  • strategic mitigation planning
  • governance and working with stakeholders
  • identifying, sifting and delivering environmental schemes

It's an evolving, tricky and interesting area. It's unlikely we will find a single person who can tick all the boxes so we're actively welcoming secondments and part-time secondments from a variety of people. We're still finalising the details but if you'd like to register your interest or have a chat about what's going on in this field, please contact

Housing Delivery Test

The Housing Delivery Test (HDT) will shortly be in its fourth year and many councils have now produced Action Plans.

We want to hear views on HDT and the lessons learnt from preparing Action Plans, including hearing from councils who have an Action Plan they are proud of and have improved delivery in their areas. So, come along to this workshop to share your thoughts with us.

Blog – don’t be afraid to copy good ideas from the past

Pilgrim Pete has written his first unofficial blog on learning from past town planning gurus. He argues that sometimes you can get inspiration about achieving net zero from town planners of the past even though they would have said at the time, "What the dickens are you talking about?"

Infrastructure Funding Statements - Deadline 31 December 2021 

A gentle reminder that we are fast approaching December and councils have a statutory requirement to publish their second Infrastructure Funding Statement for the financial year 2020/21 by 31 December. We have published guidance to help you with this and if you need any advice do get in touch at

Supply chains and lorry parks

DLUHC issued a Written Ministerial Statement on lorry parking on 8 November 2021. It highlights existing policy in the National Planning Policy Framework and states that DLUHC will take forward a review of how the freight sector is considered in guidance. The accompanying press notice makes clear that planning authorities have a role to play in a programme of improvements to facilities and HGV parking capacity more generally. Get in touch if you have questions. 

National Framework of Green Infrastructure (GI) Standards

On 7 December 2021, Natural England will launch a new, online, free, interactive baseline map of Green and Blue Infrastructure across England (beta version) for Local Planning Authorities and Green Infrastructure (GI) stakeholders. Register for the launch.

They are also looking for LPAs at the start of their GI journey to test the draft Framework of GI standards. Contact if you are interested.

Environmental Benefits from Nature Tool - feedback your experiences

This week celebrates the 1000th download of Natural England’s ‘Environmental Benefits From Nature’ decision-support tool - developed to work alongside BNG to enable wider benefits for people and nature from habitat change. Take part in shaping the next steps for the Beta Tool by completing the user survey by 7 January 2022.

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