Biodiversity Net Gain ; Planning Reforms Consultation – PAS September Events; Community Land Auctions - Responding to the plan-making reforms consultation; and more...

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28 September 2023

Planning Advisory Service

I hope you have all had a good Summer and time to recharge and reflect. September is always busy, and this year is no different. As well as the day job, we’ve completed the recruitment of three new team members (welcome Nina, Sarah and Liz) and been out on the road - it is always lovely to see our local government colleagues in person and I especially like a local plans event. 

We have been travelling with our DLUHC and Planning Inspectorate colleagues to regional venues to workshop the proposals implementing the planning reforms consultation. Focussing on the positives, we have been looking at what works now, what looks promising in the proposals and what we can start or continue to do that would work in any system. We are now working through the flipcharts and post-its (these were PAS events, after all) to summarise the findings. We would like to say a big PAS thank you to all who attended; we really appreciate your input.

As ever, this month’s newsletter contains something to get everyone back in the swing of things - PAS events, BNG, training sessions, toolkits and details of a new Homes England Housing Information Hub.

Anna Rose
Head of Planning Advisory Service

Biodiversity Net Gain

We learned this week that the introduction of mandatory biodiversity net gain (BNG) is going to be delayed until January. The timetable suggests that some of the remaining details are going to be published late in November, which allows for training and updating throughout December. We have been working for a long time on BNG readiness, and will update our checklist shortly. You can also expect us to produce updated training materials (including some targeted at planning committees) when we have seen the updates from Government. 

Planning Reforms Consultation – PAS September Events

We have completed our series of five events supporting council officers in their understanding of the consultation proposals and helping with the preparation of their council’s responses to the consultation. The presentation materials are now available on our website alongside a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Community Land Auctions - Responding to the plan-making reforms consultation

Community Land Auctions (CLAs) are being introduced as a piloted measure through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and detailed proposals to introduce them are included in the plan-making reforms 2023 consultation. On the 12th September 2023 we held an online workshop with DLUHC for Local Planning authorities who are interested in becoming CLA pilots. For further information on CLAs a copy of DLUHC's presentation from this workshop is available on our website.

Planning Reforms - Supplementary Plans – November Webinars

Delegates at our recent plan making reforms consultation events said they’d welcome an opportunity for further discussions on specific reform topics. In response, PAS are again teaming up with DLUHC officials for a series of online events - starting in November with Supplementary Plans. The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill provides for the creation of new supplementary plans which will have the same weight as a local plan and are intended to be produced at pace to enable planning authorities to react and respond positively to unanticipated changes in their area separate from the local plan preparation process. 

These events are taking place after the official consultation closes on 18th October but will provide a great additional opportunity for local authority planning officers to discuss Supplementary Plans with PAS and officials from DLUHC. Sign up for the events here:

Updated Development Management Toolkit

We have recently updated the Development Management Challenge Toolkit.  The updates are based on feedback we have received from councils who have used the toolkit, alongside changes in national guidance. We have also used recent research on pre apps / PPAs and Planning Committee schemes of delegation to ensure councils can make the best use of the toolkit. 

Infrastructure Funding Statements - Updated guidance

A gentle reminder that councils have a statutory requirement to publish their Infrastructure Funding Statement for the financial year 2022/23 by 31 December. We have updated our guidance to help you with this and if you need any advice do get in touch at

PAS Workshop: Managing planning applications for innovative zero-carbon projects

PAS is holding a workshop with the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero to help Planners better understand how to manage planning applications for innovative zero-carbon projects that fall within the normal planning process rather than the NSIP regime. The workshop will focus on how PPAs can help councils navigate the very particular technical issues associated with these types of projects. You may also find the workshop helpful if you want to understand how PPAs can help other very bespoke innovation projects. We are holding the event online on 17th October at 1400

Natural England Biodiversity Metric training

We recently hosted two training sessions from Natural England on the Biodiversity Metric. Recordings and slides are available from the introductory session and intermediate level training. See also our biodiversity net gain webpages for general information on BNG.

UK100 Powers in Places Nature Chapter

UK100 launched their new report last week "Powers in Place: Nature", a supplementary handbook to "Powers in Place: The Handbook of Local Authority Net Zero Powers". The full report provides a comprehensive overview of local authority powers to drive nature recovery, tackle climate change, and simultaneously deliver health and wellbeing co-benefits by promoting engagement with the natural environment — and the related duties they are subject to. Shorter member briefing papers are also available which outline the key takeaway, recommendations, key barriers and case studies for each chapter of the main handbook.

DLUHC launch Authority Wide Design Codes Survey and final few places available on roundtables

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities are asking local authorities to take part in a short 5min survey to help them to understand the challenges faced in preparing authority wide codes design codes, what further support to local authorities may be needed to produce codes at this scale and help inform updates to the National Model Design Code.

We also have a small number of places left on the virtual round tables on this topic in October, with an opportunity to share authorities' experiences to date.

Office for Place - design code pathfinder masterclasses - Weekly until 5th December

The Office for Place started their series of free to attend workshops to share learning, ideas and practical suggestions from the Design Code Pathfinder Authorities this month and they run through until December 2023. Please click here for more details and to book tickets.

Design Council publish Design Code Pathfinder learning materials

Design Council have published a range of learning materials from the Design Code Pathfinder Programme in partnership with DLUHC and Office for Place. It provides a range of practical tools and guidance, including first hand experience of Local Authorities and Neighbourhood Planning Groups producing codes.

New: Housing Information Hub

Homes England has announced a new Housing Information Hub. Now available on GOV.UK, the hub will support the sector by providing direct access to over 300 sources of guidance, information and tools relating to homebuilding, placemaking and regeneration. 

Developed by Homes England’s Local Government Capacity Centre, the Housing Information Hub is one of a series of new initiatives designed in collaboration with local authorities and other partners to respond the needs, and asks, of the sector.  

With the aim to cover the full housing and delivery journey, resources are split into five key areas - financing, leading, building, using land and planning.