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National Planning Policy Framework

Volume 539: debated on Monday 30 January 2012

13. When he plans to publish information on transitional arrangements in respect of his national planning policy framework. (92066)

We are committed to publishing the national planning policy framework by the end of March, having taken account the consultation responses, and the framework will include transitional arrangements.

I am glad to hear the Minister say that, as there have been reports that the Government are minded to introduce a transitional period of 18 months. Will he confirm what the transitional period will be—how much time will be allowed? Will he also explain why Members and local authorities have had to learn some of the details from the media?

I would be keen to understand that myself. We made a commitment that we would consult and listen to the responses, and the transitional arrangements were included. I gave a commitment to work closely with the Local Government Association on the transitional arrangements, and we are having those conversations.

Will the Minister confirm that the transitional arrangements will cover the application of PPS25 to properties at risk of flooding, and that all the reassurances given under PPS25 will continue into the permanent arrangements afterwards?

Clearly, the protection of properties against flooding is important to the whole country, and not least in my hon. Friend’s constituency. We are working on the transitional arrangements to ensure that there is no gap between the current regime and the new regime.

In connection with the transitional arrangements to the national planning policy framework, will the Minister update us on village greens? Last year, in his speech to the Conservative party conference, the Secretary of State spoke glowingly about his determination to protect village greens, so why does he now have plans to charge local communities £1,000 just to start the process of protecting them? Is the policy of a grand for a green going to continue?

I had not spotted the hon. Lady at our party conference, but she would be a welcome visitor at any time. The consultation on village greens is being taken forward by DEFRA. What we have consulted on in the national planning policy framework is a new designation of local green space, which will make it open to every authority for the first time to protect locally valued green space in the same way as the green belt. We shall respond to that consultation shortly.