Monthly Archives: December 2019


The Conservative Party Manifesto 2019


The Conservative Party launched their election manifesto on Sunday 24th November 2019.  Amongst some of the usual planning ‘suspects’ such as greenbelt, new homes and affordable housing, the party has chosen also to pick up on more specific matters such as design, electric charging points and even expecting all new streets to be lined with trees.  Starting with the usual planning ‘suspects:’

  • Greenbelt/brownfield – will continue to protect and enhance the greenbelt by continuing to focus new development on brownfield land.  At the same time, they have pledged to make the countryside more accessible to local communities whilst improving poor quality land which, where possible, can increase biodiversity
  • New homes – continue to progress towards the target of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020’s, the belief is that at least a million new homes can be delivered over the forthcoming Parliament term
  • Affordable homes – renew the Affordable Homes Programme following a publication of a new Social Housing White paper

Thereafter appear a number of specific topics designed to be tackled by policy, investment or particular geographic focus:

  • Design – encouraging/expecting local communities to decide on their own design standards when development comes forward.  This builds on earlier policy announcements which aim, through central guidance, to bring through a more ‘uniform’ approach to design standards when being assessed at local levels
  • Development infrastructure – bringing in policy to ensure that development infrastructure is delivered before residents occupy new homes, the spur being a new £10bn Single Housing Infrastructure Fund
  • Cycle infrastructure – the introduction of mandatory design standards for new cycle routes with a new £365m Cycling Infrastructure Fund to support this
  • New homes for local families – through developers S106 contributions in the planning system, enable councils to discount homes in perpetuity by a third to local people who cannot otherwise afford to buy in their area.  The implication here is that this is can assist in the provision of ‘key worker’ accommodation for the likes of the commonly recognised police, teachers and nurses through to other less commonly picked up such as local authority town planners and probation officers
  • Electric vehicles – rolling out a £1bn fast-charging network to ensure everyone is within 30 miles of a rapid electric charging point
  • The setting up of a new independent Office for Environmental Protection which will issue and oversee specific legal targets to deal with subjects such as air pollution
  • Trees – ensuring all new developments where streets are created, to have trees lining them

There then also appear a number of initiatives which are less planning specific, more national or regional ‘boosters’ which have less immediate or exact planning impact, examples being:

  • A new £3.6bn “Towns Fund” to improve the local economy of an initial 100 towns
  • Funding new youth clubs and services (£500m), new civic infrastructure (£250m) and a Community Ownership Fund (£150m), this being to encourage local communities to take over community assets which are under threat
  • Regional ‘boosts’ – applying “Northern Powerhouse” principles to Liverpool, Tees Valley and Hull, investing in the Midlands Rail Hub and funding city-regions to upgrade transport series  to parallel London

Read our key points from the Liberal and Labour  Manifestos.

Visit our blog again soon where we will give our opinion of the General Election results. 

Share this on:


The Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2019


As part of our election series, with the General Election just around the corner, the Liberal Democratic Party published its manifesto in November 2019. The key pledges made which are of most significance to the planning profession are set out below:


  • Require all companies registered in the UK and listed on UK stock exchanges to set targets consistent with the Paris Agreement on climate change and to report on their implementation, and establish a general corporate duty of care for the environment and human rights
  • Establish a Department for Climate Change and Natural Resources, appoint a cabinet-level Chief Secretary for Sustainability in the Treasury to coordinate government-wide action to make the economy sustainable resource-efficient and zero-carbon, and require every government agency to account for its contribution towards meeting climate targets
  • Establish UK and local Citizens’ Climate Assemblies to engage the public in tackling the climate emergency
  • Create a statutory duty on all local authorities to produce a Zero Carbon Strategy, including plans for local energy, transport and land use, and devolve powers and funding to enable every council to implement it
  • Guarantee an Office of Environmental Protection that is fully independent of government and possesses powers and resources to enforce compliance with climate and environmental targets
  • Increase government expenditure on climate and environmental objectives, reaching at least five per cent of the total within five years
  • Support investment and innovation in zero-carbon and resource-efficient infrastructure and technologies by creating a new Green Investment Bank and increasing funding for Innovate UK and new Catapult innovation and technology centres on farming and land use and on carbon dioxide removal
  • Implement the UK’s G7 pledge to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 and provide Just Transition funding for areas and communities negatively affected by the transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions
  • Introduce a Nature Act to restore the natural environment through setting legally binding near-term and long-term targets for improving water, air, soil and biodiversity, and supported by funding streams of at least £18 billion over five years
  • Combat climate change, and benefit nature and people by coordinating the planting of 60 million trees a year and introducing requirements for the greater use of sustainably harvested wood in construction
  • Invest in large scale restoration of peatlands, heathland, native woodlands, salt marshes, wetlands and coastal waters, helping to absorb carbon, protect against floods, improve water quality and protect habitats, including through piloting ‘rewilding’ approaches
  • Reduce basic agricultural support payments to the larger recipients and redeploy the savings to support the public goods that come from effective land management, including restoring nature and protecting the countryside, preventing flooding and combating climate change through measures to increase soil carbon and expand native woodland
  • Introduce a National Food Strategy, including the use of public procurement policy, to promote the production and consumption of healthy, sustainable and affordable food and cut down on food waste
  • Support producers by broadening the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator and supporting them with access to markets
  • Significantly increase the amount of accessible green space, including protecting up to a million acres, completing the coastal path, exploring a ‘right to roam’ for waterways and creating a new designation of National Nature Parks
  • Give the Local Green Space designation the force of law


  • Promote longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built-in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes
  • Improve protections against rogue landlords through mandatory licensing
  • Allow local authorities to increase council tax by up to 500 per cent where homes are being bought as second homes with a stamp duty surcharge on overseas residents purchasing such properties
  • Build new houses to zero-carbon standards and cut fuel bills through a ten-year programme to reduce energy consumption from all the UK’s buildings
  • Devolve full control of Right to Buy to local councils
  • Help young people into the rental market by establishing a new Help to Rent scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time renters under 30
  • Promote longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built-in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes

Affordable Housing

  • Build at least 100,000 homes for social rent each year and ensure that total housebuilding increases to 300,000 each year
  • Help finance the large increase in the building of social homes with investment from our £130 billion capital infrastructure budget
  • Help people who cannot afford a deposit by introducing a new Rent to Own model for social housing where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property-owning it outright after 30 years
  • Set clearer standards for homes that are socially rented
  • Require complaints to be dealt with in a timely manner
  • Proactively enforce the regulations that are intended to protect social renters
  • Fully recognise tenant panels so that renters have a voice in landlord governance

Renewable Energy

  • Accelerate the deployment of renewable power, providing more funding, removing the Conservatives’ restrictions on solar and wind and building more interconnectors to guarantee security of supply; we aim to reach at least 80 per cent renewable electricity in the UK by 2030
  • Expand community and decentralised energy, support councils to develop local electricity generation and require all new homes to be fitted with solar panels
  • Ban fracking because of its negative impacts on climate change, the energy mix and the local environment
  • Support investment and innovation in cutting-edge energy technologies, including tidal and wave power, energy storage, demand response, smart grids and hydrogen
  • Provide an additional £12 billion over five years to support these commitments, and ensure that the National Infrastructure Commission, National Grid, the energy regulator Ofgem, and the Crown Estate work together to deliver our net-zero climate objective

Lower Energy Bills

  • Cut energy bills, end fuel poverty by 2025 and reduce emissions from buildings, including by providing free retrofits for low-income homes, piloting a new subsidised Energy-Saving Homes scheme, graduating Stamp Duty Land Tax by the energy rating of the property and reducing VAT on home insulation
  • Empower councils to develop community energy-saving projects, including delivering housing energy efficiency improvements street by street, which cuts costs
  • Require all new homes and non-domestic buildings to be built to a zero-carbon standard (whereas much energy is generated on-site, through renewable sources, as is used), by 2021, rising to a more ambitious (‘Passivhaus’) standard by 2025
  • Increase minimum energy efficiency standards for privately rented properties and remove the cost cap on improvements
  • Adopt a Zero-Carbon Heat Strategy, including reforming the Renewable Heat Incentive, requiring the phased installation of heat pumps in homes and businesses off the gas grid, and piloting projects to determine the best future mix of zero-carbon heating solutions


  • Investing in public transport, buses, trams and railways to enable people to travel more easily while reducing their impact on the environment
  • Placing a far higher priority on encouraging walking and cycling – the healthiest forms of transport
  • Accelerating the transition to ultra-low-emission transport – cars, buses and trains – through taxation, subsidy and regulation
  • Committed to completing HS2
  • Freeze train fares, with a fare-freeze for all peak times and season tickets

Reduce the Need for Car Travel

  • Give new powers to local authorities and communities to improve transport in their areas, including the ability to introduce network-wide ticketing, like in London
  • Implement, in cooperation with local authorities, light rail schemes for trams and tram-trains where these are appropriate solutions to public transport requirements
  • Restore bus routes and add new routes where there is local need; we will provide £4.5 billion over five years for this programme
  • Introduce a nationwide strategy to promote walking and cycling, including the creation of dedicated safe cycling lanes, increasing spending per head five-fold to reach 10 per cent of the transport budget
  • Build on the successful Local Sustainable Transport Fund established by the Liberal Democrats when in government, and workplace travel plans, to reduce the number of cars – particularly single-occupancy cars – used for commuting and encourage the development of car-sharing schemes and car clubs and autonomous vehicles for public use
  • Amend planning rules to promote sustainable transport and land use


  • Investment in infrastructure in rural and coastal communities by providing the following:
  • Set up a £2 billion Rural Services Fund to enable the co-location of services in local hubs around existing local infrastructure
  • Invest in bus services by:
  • Substantially increasing funding for buses, enabling local authorities to restore old routes and open new ones
  • Supporting rural bus services and encouraging alternatives to conventional bus services where they are not viable
  • Encouraging local authorities to use their new powers under the Bus Services Act, including franchising powers and repealing the rule preventing local councils from running their own bus companies
  • Providing funding to accelerate the transition to electric buses
  • Ensure that all households and businesses have access to superfast broadband (30Mbps download and 6Mbps upload)
  • Invest £2 billion in innovative solutions to ensure the provision of high-speed broadband across the UK, working with local authorities and providing grants to help areas replicate the success of existing community-led projects
  • Invest in mobile data infrastructure and expand it to cover all homes
  • Launch a National Fund for Coastal Change, to enable local authorities to properly manage their changing coastlines
  • Reform planning to ensure developers are required to provide essential local infrastructure from affordable homes to schools, surgeries and roads alongside new homes.

Read our key points from the Conservative and Labour Manifesto.

Visit our blog again soon when we will give our opinion of the General Election results.

Share this on:


The Labour Party Manifesto 2019


As part of our election series, with the General Election just around the corner, the Labour Party published its manifesto on 21st November 2019. The key pledges made which are of most significance to the planning profession are set out below:


  • Introduce a Climate and Environment Emergency Bill setting out in law new standards for decarbonisation, nature recovery, environmental quality and habitats and species protection
  • Introduce an Environment Emergency Act with revised standards for a healthy natural environment
  • Provide increased funding for National Park authorities and the introduction of ten new National Parks
  • Introduce a Green Transformation Fund of £250 billion over the next ten years to directly fund the ‘transition to our sustainable future’. Separate funding streams shall be made available for:
  • Developing renewable and low carbon energy sources
  • Supporting the shift towards sustainable, pollution-free transport systems
  • Supporting the decarbonisation of energy-intense industries
  • Achieving net biodiversity gains through natural environment restoration
  • Delivering natural mitigations of climate change
  • Embark on a programme of tree planting with a target of 300 million trees being planted within its first term in office
  • Introduce a new Clean Air Act, with a vehicle scrappage scheme and clean air zones
  • Provide restoration and enhancement of our water environments to ensure that 50% of rivers and lakes meet the standard of good ecological status by 2027
  • Maintain and continuously improve the existing EU standards of environmental regulation
  • Provide an extra £5.6 billion in funding to improve the standard of flood defences and respond to the increased risk of flooding, prioritising areas at risk in North West England, Yorkshire and the East Midlands
  • Reframe Green Belts by introducing a new primary purpose into the planning framework recognising the role they play in adapting to and mitigating against climate change
  • An investment of £4.5 billion will be made towards the waste and recycling infrastructure that will be required to reduce the waste we create
  • Give local government greater freedom to set planning fees and require the climate and environmental emergency to be factored into all planning decisions
    Introduce a zero-carbon home’s standard for all new homes


  • Will create a new Department for Housing and make Homes England a more accountable national housing agency and put councils in the driving seat
  • Will set out a strategy for a flourishing construction sector with a skilled workforce and full rights of work
  • Establish a new English Sovereign Land Trust, with powers to buy land more cheaply for low-cost housing. Public land will be used to build this housing
  • Developers will face new ‘use it or lose it’ taxes on stalled housing developments
  • The Land Registry will remain in public hands and will seek to make ownership of land more transparent
  • Brownfield sites will be the priority for development and the green belt protected
  • Developers will face new ‘use it or lose it’ taxes on stalled housing
  • Build more low-cost homes reserved for first-time buyers in every area, including Labour’s new discount homes with prices linked to local incomes

Affordable Housing

  • Deliver a new social housebuilding programme of more than a million homes over a decade, with council housing at its heart. By the end of the Parliament, Labour hopes to build at an annual rate of at least 150,000 council and social homes, with 100,000 of these built by councils for social rent
  • Labour will establish a new duty on councils to plan and build these homes in their area, and fund them to do so, with backing from national government
  • Scrap the Conservatives’ definition of ‘affordable’, set as high as 80% of market rents, and replace it with a definition linked to local incomes
  • End the conversion of office blocks to homes that sidestep planning permission through ‘permitted development’
  • Reform ‘Help to Buy’ to focus on first-time buyers on ordinary incomes
  • Make available 8,000 additional homes for people with a history of rough sleeping
    Introduce a new national levy on second homes used as holiday homes to help deal with the homelessness crisis

Building Safety

  • Introduce a £1 billion Fire Safety Fund to fit sprinklers and other fire safety measures in all high-rise council and housing association tower blocks, enforce the replacement of Grenfell style cladding on all high-rise homes and buildings, while introducing mandatory building standards and guidance, inspected and enforced by fully trained Fire and Rescue Service fire safety officers


  • Bring together transport and land-use planning to create towns and cities in which walking and cycling are the best choices
  • Ensure street designs provide freedom for physically active outdoor play
  • Rebalance power in the planning system by giving local government greater freedom to set planning fees and by requiring the climate and environmental emergency to be factored into all planning decisions
  • Review the planning guidance for developments in flood risk areas


  • Start a Green Industrial Revolution that will create one million jobs in the UK to transform industry, energy, transport, agriculture and buildings, while restoring nature
    Introduce a zero-carbon home’s standard for all new homes
  • Upgrade most of the UK’s 27 million homes to the highest energy-efficiency standards
  • Develop the recommendations of their ‘30 by 2030’ report to put the UK on track for a net-zero-carbon energy system within the 2030s
  • As part of heat decarbonisation, Labour will roll out technologies like heat pumps, solar hot water and hydrogen, and invest in district heat networks using waste heat
  • To balance the grid, Labour will expand power storage and invest in grid enhancements and interconnectors
  • Labour will create a Sustainable Investment Board to bring together the Chancellor, Business Secretary and Bank of England Governor to oversee, co-ordinate and bring forward investment – involving trade unions and business
  • Launch a National Transformation Fund of £400 billion and rewrite the Treasury’s investment rules to guarantee that every penny spent is compatible with climate and environmental targets and that the costs of not acting are fully accounted for too. Of this, £250 billion will directly fund the transition through a Green Transformation Fund dedicated to renewable and low-carbon energy and transport, biodiversity and environmental restoration
  • Invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Bring energy and water systems into democratic public ownership
  • Deliver free full-fibre broadband to all by 2030
  • Under their Green New Deal, Labour aims to achieve the substantial majority of their emissions reductions by 2030


  • Regulate and take public ownership of bus networks
  • Increase and expand local services, reinstating the 3,000 routes that have been cut
  • Bring railways back into public ownership
  • Introduce a long-term investment plan including delivering Crossrail for the North as part of
  • improved connectivity across the northern regions

Read our key points from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Manifesto.

Visit our blog again soon where we will give you our opinion of the General Election results.

Share this on: