Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Planning and the Environment

An article on the BBC website indicates that the Welsh Government is going to bring forward new planning rules "next month" .  John Griffiths the Minister for the "Environment" has a poor record on planning.  Over the last year he has been pushed repeatedly by me and others to permit small scale renewable installations, such as solar panels, and to include them in the permitted development rules.  He has dragged his feet and delayed, which meant that many people were not able to install when the more preferential rates were available.  One development in Deeside worth millions could not go ahead.  So you would think the news might be good news that new rules are coming out.  My concern is that the new rules will be used to drive through highly controversial onshore windfarm developments.  We will wait to see what the new rules say.  Housing developers have clearly indicated why they are not building at the moment, rules on the environmental standards are the toughest in the UK and that combined with new fire sprinkler requirements are what are holding back developments in North Wales at the moment. If Griffiths wants to kick start the housing sector, then it will be interesting to see if those issues are addressed.