Making the planning system fit for the 21st Century? National Assembly committee opens consultation on Planning (Wales) Bill

Published 10/10/2014   |   Last Updated 09/06/2015

The National Assembly for Wales's Environment and Sustainability Committee is asking for the views of the public on the Planning (Wales) Bill.

The Bill, introduced by the Welsh Government on 6 October, sets out a number of proposals which intend to improve planning processes in Wales.

In summary, the Bill proposes changes to the law in order to:

  • move some of the bigger planning decisions (such as large scale energy projects) away from county councillors, to be considered instead by Welsh Ministers in Cardiff;
  • allow councils to work together to tackle larger, cross boundary issues (such as economic development along the A55 Corridor or housing supply in the Cardiff commuter area) by producing Strategic Development Plans;
  • make it easier for citizens to influence the future of their communities, through the introduction of statutory pre-application consultation for significant planning applications;
  • improve the efficiency of the planning system including the appeal process; and
  • make changes in relation to applications to register town and village greens.

According to the Explanatory Memorandum which accompanies it, the Bill will provide a modern legislative framework for the operation of the planning system in Wales, putting structures in place to 'make the planning system fit for the 21st Century'.

If passed, the Bill will support the delivery of national, local and community aspirations by creating sustainable places where citizens have improved access to quality homes, jobs and built and natural environments.

At this stage, the Committee is asking whether this Bill is necessary, or whether its objectives can be achieved through existing laws. It will also look at the financial implications of the Bill and will consider what arrangements are in place to measure the fulfilment of the Welsh Government's intended outcomes.

"Planning is one of those issues that touch every aspect of our life, from house prices and the length of our daily commute to national issues such tackling climate change," said Alun Ffred Jones AM, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee.

"Therefore, it is important that we get this Bill right, as the planning process provides us with the tools to balance the competing demands that are being placed on our communities.

"As a Committee, we will now look at this Bill in detail to see if it should become law, and to make sure that, if it is to become law, it is made to the highest standards."

For further information on the background to the Bill, read our blog post:

The video below shows Alun Ffred Jones AM, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee, explaining how the Committee is currently holding a consultation into general principles of the Planning (Wales) Bill.


The public consultation on the Bill will close on 7 November 2014. Details of the consultation will be available online from 10 October:

The full text of the Bill and Explanatory Memorandum can be found here: