We're hiring, biodiversity net gain, supplementary plans events, and more...

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26 October 2023

Planning Advisory Service

This month, PAS has had the pleasure of welcoming three new team members. This is always an exciting time as it enables us to get additional skills and experience into the team which in turn allows us to offer more to LPAs. We are also in the process of recruiting for a new post to lead on Protected Site Strategies.

We now have a new Programme Support Officer - Nina Edward and two new principal consultants - Sarah Lewis and Liz Hobden.

We have just come to the end of a busy period of events on the local plan consultation and design codes. Thank you to everyone who attended online or in real life, we really appreciate your time.

We also have further events coming up with online sessions on BNG, Supplementary Plans and slurry infrastructure.

Last but not least, we have had a few weeks of delivering Planning Peer Reviews in councils across England. If you are interested in a peer review please get in touch pas@local.gov.uk

Anna Rose
Head of PAS

We are hiring (again!)

We are continuing to grow our environmental planning team at PAS. We are about to start a new project for Natural England and need someone to lead on Protected Site Strategies. This will be a difficult but interesting project, working out how local authorities can contribute to this new partnership model. Come and join the PAS team, and help invent a new way to deliver environmental improvements. Further details about the job - closing date is 30 October

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) - events and slide-pack

We have published a slide-pack on BNG essentials for officers to use if they want to present an overview of the topic to colleagues, members and senior managers. We will also be hosting a BNG Policy update on 14 December and introduction to the Statutory Biodiversity Metric on 19 December

Supplementary plans events

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 is 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. They 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 closed on 18 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:

Planning applications for slurry infrastructure

PAS is hosting two sessions for Defra, Natural England and the Environment Agency to provide an overview of the Slurry Infrastructure Grant for a local authority audience.

Defra introduced the grant scheme to help farms invest in high quality slurry systems that exceed current regulations to reduce water and air pollution. It forms part of co-ordinated action taken by the government to reduce the environmental impact of farming on Habitats Sites while supporting domestic food production. 

These sessions will cover the purpose of the grant scheme, how it works and what local planning authorities will need to consider (e.g., Habitats Regulations Assessment). The event is suitable for planners, legal officers, ecologists, environment officers, greenspace / estate managers and others who want to understand more about the Slurry Infrastructure Grant, as a landowner, a responsible body and / or a decision-maker for applications for improved slurry storage. 

The first session will be on Wednesday 22 November 2023 at 2pm and will be repeated on Tuesday 28 November 2023 at 10am. Please only book one of these dates with your .gov.uk email address.

LGA decarbonising transport virtual event

Transport is the biggest emitter of carbon of any sector in the UK. If we are to reach our target of net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner, we will need a fundamental transformation of the ways we move. The LGA decarbonising transport event will be held on Wednesday 22 November. It will share good practice examples from councils who are developing and delivering decarbonising transport strategies and provision. 

DLUHC collecting information on Authority Wide Design Codes

DLUHC is asking local authorities to take part in a short five minute survey to help them 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.

Sign up to participate in research into planning permission for overhead electricity

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) is looking to work with LPAs to improve the application process for overhead electricity lines. This is through the advice collected from local authorities in the 'Form B' document. Even if you haven't been involved in this process before, they would like to hear from you -  please register your interest

LGA and Office for Environmental Protection online session for local authorities - 8 November

The LGA and the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) are offering you the opportunity to meet and hear from the complaints and investigations team from the OEP.   

If you want to find out what the OEP does with regard to dealing with complaints related to breaches of environmental law you can join an online session on Wednesday 8 November at 11am-12.15pm

This offer will be of particular interest to council environmental and regulatory officers, so please feel free to pass on to your relevant departments and contacts.  

Please  contact hilary.tanner@local.gov.uk for more information and to sign up.

Planning issues affecting delivery of children’s homes

On 23 May 2023, the Minister of State for Housing and Planning published a Written Ministerial Statement, reinforcing the Government’s commitment to support the development of accommodation for looked after children, and its delivery through the planning system. This followed a report by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on children’s social care, which found that the planning process is a significant challenge for children’s home providers seeking to create new supply in the placements market. 

The Department for Education (DfE) would like to gather more evidence from local planning authorities and children’s social care teams, to gain a greater understanding of planning considerations that may be affecting delivery of children’s homes. They have produced a short survey and would be grateful for responses by 10 November 2023. The survey findings will support further in-depth discussions with local authorities and inform the next steps for Government policy development in this area. 

Any enquiries regarding the survey and research into children’s home delivery should be sent to Care.STANDARDSREVIEW@education.gov.uk

From the 'unofficial' PAS blog

Biodiversity net gain – are we ready?

With mandatory biodiversity net gain under the Environment Act just round the corner, Becology provides their thoughts on BNG and asks Biodiversity Net Gain – are we ready?

PAS in conversation …..

The latest round of the PAS In Conversations series focuses on interviewing local authority political leaders who have been appointed since the local elections earlier this year. In this episode PAS's HouseyRousey chats with Cllr Alan Baldock, Leader of Canterbury City Council about what the administration wants to achieve, what are the big challenges they face, and a politician's perspective on Plan making.

Chief executive development hub

Our LGA colleagues have been beavering away on some learning and development materials for new chief executives (and those aspiring to become chief executives in the future). The first iteration of the learning hub was launched last week.

It's worth a look if you are thinking of getting further up the corporate ladder, and it has prompted some thinking on our part about how we might borrow some of it to strengthen our own leadership offer to heads of planning. Get in touch if you have any ideas of how we can help.

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