Current regulatory and planning consultations – September 2020

16 September 2020

There are a number of current consultations from the national governments of the UK. All include important proposed changes to legislation or guidance for building safety, housing and planning. Please read on for a summary and to have your say.

Current consultations in England

Fire safety

The ‘Fire Safety – Government consultation’ considers strengthening parts of the fire safety order, implementing the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations and changes to consultation procedures between building control bodies and fire and rescue authorities. This consultation was published alongside the draft Building Safety Bill and is part of the Government’s reform programme to improve buildings/fire safety in regulated premises.

The consultation was released on 20 July 2020 and runs until 11:45pm on 12 October 2020. Have your say here:

Fire Safety Consultation

Accessibility standards for new homes

This consultation considers raising accessibility standards for homes in England. It proposes changes to the current minimum requirement M4(1) of the Building Regulations; whether this should be removed or adapted to make the whole, or parts of the current optional requirement M4(2) a minimum standard. It also considers the option of mandating a minimum percentage of M4(3) dwellings in areas to remove the planning policy requirement.

The consultation was released on 8 September 2020 and runs until 11:45pm on 1 December 2020. Have your say here:

Raising accessibility standards for new homes

Changes to the current planning system

An interim consultation to make short-term changes to the planning system in England, this proposes some tweaks to quickly remove some barriers to development. It considers changes to the method of assessing local housing need, securing First Homes through developer contributions, supporting small and medium-sized builders by temporarily lifting the small sites threshold for affordable housing contributions, and extending the current Permission in Principle to major development.

The consultation was released on 6 August 2020 and runs until 11:45pm on 1 October 2020. Have your say here:

Changes to the current planning system

Planning for the future

Following ‘Changes to the current planning system’, the Government is proposing significant reforms to the planning system.

The proposals include using data rather than documents, making time limits for applications restrictive, revolutionising local plans, automatic digital validation, use of design and pattern books, use of digital tools, ensuring the system supports climate change, automatic outline planning for developments meeting criteria and replace section 106/CIL with a new ‘Infrastructure levy’.

The consultation on the white paper was released on 6 August 2020 and runs until 11:45pm on 29 October 2020. Have your say here:

Planning for the future

Recognition of professional qualifications and regulation of professions: call for evidence

There is a call for evidence on the recognition of professional qualifications and regulation of professions. The Government is seeking views from professionally qualified individuals and those who employ them.

The aim is to ensure recognition from other countries is fair; promote a regulatory environment that supports jobs, social mobility and access to all from differing backgrounds; ensure regulation is forward-looking, adaptive and meets the needs of consumers; and strengthen the UK’s ability to negotiate international trade agreements on recognition of qualifications.

The call for evidence was released on 25 August 2020 and runs until 11:45pm on 23 October 2020. Have your say here:

Recognition of professional qualifications and regulation of professions

Current consultations in Northern Ireland

Amendments to The Building Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and guidance

The Department of Finance in Northern Ireland is consulting on changes to the Building Regulations and Technical Booklets B (Materials and Workmanship), C (Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture) and E (Fire Safety). The consultation considers changes to the regulations and technical guidance to restrict the materials in walls and specified attachments in buildings with a floor over 18m to European Classification 'A1' or 'A2-s1,d0'; and to clarify the guidance for ‘assessments in lieu of tests’. They are also consulting on making changes to the definition ‘radon affected area’ in association with changes to the technical guidance.

The consultation was released on 14 August 2020 and runs until 4:00pm on 9 October 2020. Have your say here:

Amendments to The Building Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and guidance

Current consultations in Scotland

The Scottish Planning Policy and Housing

This consultation gives proposals to clarify specific parts of the planning policy that relate to housing as an interim measure ahead of the new National Planning Framework 4. The proposals support a plan-led approach to decision making, removing presumption in favour of development that contributes to sustainable development, a clearer basis for decisions on application for housing and clarifying what is meant by a 5 year effective land supply.

The consultation was released on 17 July 2020 and runs until 11:59pm on 9 October 2020. Have your say here:

Scottish Planning Policy and Housing

Pre-application consultation requirements in planning

This consultation proposes changes to existing requirements for pre-application consultation with local communities on national and major developments with the intention of improving community engagement.

The consultation was released on 13 August 2020 and runs until 6 November 2020. Have your say here:

Pre-application consultation requirements in planning

Current consultations in Wales

Mandatory quality standards for new homes

This consultation proposes changes to the minimum standards for homes built using Social Housing Grant and other forms of public subsidy that need to meet the Welsh Government Development Quality Standards. Proposals include a simplified standard, and emphasis on housing quality, innovation, sustainability, flexibility, safety, security and minimum space standards. A proposed new standard ‘Beautiful Homes and Spaces’ has been published and includes early adoption of forthcoming changes to Parts L and F for affordable housing.

The consultation was released on 1 August 2020 and runs until 1 November 2020. Have your say here:

Mandatory quality standards for new homes

Fire and rescue authorities becoming statutory consultees

The Welsh Government are consulting on a proposal to make Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRA) a statutory consultee at pre and post-application stages of the planning process. The changes will mean that developers will need to consult with the FRA prior to submitting their applications, local planning authorities (LPA) and Welsh Ministers will need to consult with the FRA prior to making their decision, and the FRA will need to respond where the LPA chooses to consult further on applications for approval, consent or agreement where they were initially consulted on a planning application.

The consultation was released on 28 July 2020 and runs until 23 October 2020. Have your say here:

FRAs becoming statutory consultees in the development management process

Talk to us

Technical queries and quotes