HL Deb 15 September 2003 vol 652 cc156-7WA
Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they plan to issue a new land use planning policy statement for rural areas in England. [HL4460]

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker)

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) is today publishing a draft, for public consultation, of a new planning policy statement (PPS) on Sustainable Development in Rural Areas in England. It is the Government's intention that the new PPS (PPS7) should, in due course, replace existing planning policy guidance note 7 (PPG7),The Countryside—Environmental Quality and Economic and Social Development) published February 1997).

The December 2001 planning Green Paper, Planning—delivering a fundamental change, announced that, as part of their proposals for reforming the planning system, the Government intended to review all their planning policy guidance to see whether it is needed; to seek greater clarity; and to remove from national policy guidance advice on practical implementation and policies which are better expressed at a regional or local level. In line with these proposals, the ODPM, in close consultation with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), carried out a review of PPG7. The conclusion of this review was that there remains a strong requirement for a distinct set of national planning policies that address the particular circumstances of rural areas and the wider countryside.

Consequently, a consultation draft of new PPS7 has been prepared, setting out key national planning policies for achieving thriving, sustainable rural communities. supporting development that meets the economic. social and recreational needs of all, and protecting the quality of the countryside and its landscapes. The PPS also recognises the importance of supporting a sustainable and diverse agricultural industry, and of the role of the tourism and leisure sectors in rural areas. When, in due course, they are issued in their final form, these policies will inform planning authorities, regional planning bodies and planning inspectors in carrying out their land use planning and development control responsibilities.

In the mean time, the Government are seeking views on draft PPS7 from a wide range of interested parties. The consultation period will run for 12 weeks, closing on 12 December 2003. Copies of the consultation document are being made available in the Libraries of both Houses.