The Government has published a progress update on its implementation of the Penfold Review. A summary of the important points to emerge is as follows.

  • Steps taken since November to "simplify and improve" the planning process include:
  • Improving ‘customer service’ amongst the major consenting bodies. A set of "aspirational standards" has been set out. Increased transparency "will allow users to see how well consenting bodies are performing".
  • Paperwork has been cut by merging several environmental consents into one application process
  • A "lighter-touch process for low-impact environmental consents" from the Environment Agency and Natural England has reduced the costs to businesses.
  • The requirement for developers to attend all PINS enforcement site visits has been diluted, reducing costs and time requirements.  
  • LPA decision-making transparency has been encouraged, allowing "businesses to better organise their applications".  
  • Work to simplify development consent regimes will continue beyond May 2011. This will aim to "ensure a level of continuous improvement and better regulation to increase investor confidence and allow easier navigation for new entrants. The ultimate outcome is a simpler and more straightforward landscape which is both more accessible and more responsive to business needs.
  • There will be an annual update on simplification measures in the planning system, to include reports of further progress in this context. The first of these will be published this autumn.