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Impact assessments needed for changes to the NPPF policy

The cross-party Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities Committee is urging the government to adopt a more strategic approach to future consultations on the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This means publishing timelines for proposed reforms and conducting impact assessments of past NPPF changes to inform future improvements.

The committee's report follows an inquiry that examined housing targets, revealing that the government is struggling to deliver its promise of 300,000 homes per year by the mid-2020s. While on track to achieve one million homes during this Parliament, the government's decision to make local housing targets advisory has raised concerns about reaching the ambitious mid-2020s goal. The committee questions whether this change will lead to more housebuilding without sufficient evidence.

Uncertainty for the future

Moreover, the stop-start nature of planning policy reforms over the years has created uncertainty for local authorities and planners, causing delays in local plans and slowing down housebuilding.

Clive Betts, chair of the committee, emphasizes the urgent need for action to address the national housing shortage and rising housing costs. The committee warns that the proposed policy reforms could significantly reduce annual housebuilding, affecting aspiring homeowners, families looking to move, and communities in need of affordable housing.

Impact assessments

To tackle these challenges, the committee urges the government to conduct impact assessments on future NPPF changes, providing evidence-based insights for effective decision-making. The goal is to learn from past experiences and develop more successful housing policies.

Additionally, the report highlights the pressing need for more resources to support local planning authorities and implement proposed reforms effectively. The current support offered by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is deemed insufficient in addressing the resourcing challenges faced by local planning authorities.

To remedy this, the government is called upon to publish a comprehensive resources and skills strategy for the planning sector. This strategy should outline how the resourcing needs of local planning authorities will be met, ensuring they can efficiently contribute to the success of national planning policy.


Victoria Hills, chief executive at the RTPI, supports the committee's recommendations, emphasizing the critical need for greater resources in the planning system. Overworked and understaffed local planning authorities struggle to deliver the necessary homes, services, and infrastructure communities require. A lack of resources has led to a quarter of local authority planners leaving local government in recent years, making the situation unsustainable.

The committee also advocates for effective public and parliamentary consultations, as these have proven successful in similar policy regimes in other countries. Involving various stakeholders fosters collaboration and ensures that planning decisions address local needs adequately.


Find the government's latest report on reforms to the national planning policy here

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Charlotte Cooper

Charlotte Cooper

Content Writer at Commonplace