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The Government proposes a makeover for PPS 10

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11/09/2013

The Department for Communities and Local Government recently released their consultation on an updated national waste planning policy, which further outlines the Government’s commitment to recycling and generating energy from waste.

The ‘Updated National Waste Planning Policy: Planning for Sustainable Waste Management’ provides an updated, national waste planning policy with a focus on sustainable waste management and minimising adverse environmental impact. The proposed policy is intended to sit alongside the Government’s Waste Management Plan for England and replace the current ‘Planning Policy Statement 10: Planning for Sustainable Waste Management’ (PPS 10).

PPS 10

PPS 10 has been active since 2005 and was revised in March 2011.  It provides a plan-led approach to facilitate protection of the environment and human health, reducing waste and promoting the use of waste as a resource.  PPS 10 aims to give a framework for local authorities to develop waste management plans and localised strategies, via which they can deliver sufficient opportunities for new, appropriate and timely waste management facilities.

PPS 10 also provides a level of protection for Green Belt sites and ensuring only appropriate development is undertaken in Green Belt.  However, the policy does stipulate that significant weight should be given to the wider economic and environmental benefits when considering planning applications for building of waste facilities in Green Belt locations.

What’s New?

The Government’s primary objective appears grounded in the promotion of economic growth. The consultation, however, emphasises the Government’s approach to boosting economic growth via an efficient planning regime to ensure that resulting expansion is sustainable.  As such, the proposed policy seeks to provide a streamlined and clear planning policy in respect of waste.

The intended policy contains a number of changes to the current PPS 10.  These include:

  • seeking to maintain the Government’s drive for an increased level of recycling and preventative waste management, focusing on the use of waste as a resource
  • the relative weighting given to economic and environmental benefits when assessing waste planning applications on Green Belt land has been reduced to provide a more equal weighting with other material considerations.  The decision-maker is to consider applications on their individual planning merits and the circumstances of each particular case, giving weight as he/she considers appropriate to the waste planning authority’s local waste plan and other material considerations
  • in support of the changes introduced under the Localism Act 2011, the proposed policy seeks to abolish regional planning.  County or unitary authority Local Plans are instead to form the focus.  As such, this provides a change in emphasis for planning from a regional level, but maintains an overall localised approach
  • encouragement for the use of heat as an energy source.  In particular, Combined Heat and Power schemes are promoted under the proposed policy.  The Government is seeking to encourage local authorities to plan for Energy from Waste (EfW) facilities within areas where heat can be used as an alternative to electricity.  Consequently, such EfW developments are likely to be situated closer to urban areas and/or existing sewage treatment works, to take advantage of the potential benefits of co-locating such facilities.

Changes to PPS 10, along with the intention to provide updated guidance supporting the new policy, are all part of the Government’s broader aim to ensure simplicity and clarity in the planning process, to better support planning delivery and growth – as outlined in the 2013 Budget.

Key dates

The consultation will remain open until 23 September 2013.  Both PPS 10 and the supporting guidance remain in effect until they are replaced by the updated policy and practice guidance respectively.

Further Information

Full details of the consultation can be found here.

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