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Construction is not the most eco-friendly industry, although there have been attempts to change this over the last several years. It doesn’t help that developers are under pressure to build where possible and provide much needed homes throughout the UK. There are nowadays all kinds of environmental requirements which have to be met before projects can receive permission to go ahead. Developers have to adhere to rules around biodiversity net gain, habitats, nutrient neutrality and air quality. The House of Lords built environment committee is now investigating the impact on development that these regulations are having.
The Lords committee is looking at governance and the associated costs for developers along with the delivery of projects. The committee want to know which specific regulations should be considered, and at what stage of the development. They are seeking solid evidence on many points such as:
- What is the main challenge for promoters and developers in fulfilling environmental requirements, and is there a solution?
- Is there clear communication regarding changes in environmental regulations governing development, and is there sufficient support available for developers to fulfil their responsibilities?
- What expense is involved in meeting environmental regulations? In what way does this vary for different types of developers in various locations.
- Is there adequate coherence between different environmental regulations, and could this be improved?
- Do Government bodies such as the Environment Agency and Natural England have a significant impact on planning and development decisions and do they work well together?
- How does the Environment Agency interact with development as regulator and owner of land and other assets?
- Does Natural England monitor and implement these regulations, and do they affect the delivery of new development?
- Are the information needs of the planning system proportionate?
- Are there sufficient resources for key actors to implement environmental regulations and carry out their responsibilities?
- Are there any significant changes that could improve this system?
The committee is not looking to evaluate the merits of particular environmental regulations, but wishes to learn about how these are implemented through the planning system.
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