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Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill

Volume 724: debated on Tuesday 13 December 2022

[2nd Allocated Day]

[Relevant document: Correspondence from the Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, on the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill, reported to the House on 24 August 2022, HC 309.]

Further consideration of Bill, as amended in the Public Bill Committee

New Clause 48

Condition relating to development progress reports

“(1) TCPA 1990 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 56(3) (time when development begun), after ‘89,’ insert ‘90B,’.

(3) Before section 91 (including the italic heading before that section) insert—

‘Development progress reports

90B Condition relating to development progress reports in England

(1) This section applies where relevant planning permission is granted for relevant residential development in England.

(2) The relevant planning permission must be granted subject to a condition that a development progress report must be provided to the local planning authority in whose area the development is to be carried out for each reporting period.

(3) The first reporting period in relation to the development is to be a period—

(a) beginning at a prescribed time or by reference to a prescribed event, and

(b) during which the development is begun.

(4) A new reporting period is to begin immediately after the end of a reporting period which is not the last reporting period.

(5) A reporting period which is not the last reporting period is to be a period of 12 months.

(6) The last reporting period is to be a period ending with the day on which the development is completed (subject to any provision made under subsection (9)).

(7) A “development progress report”, in relation to relevant residential development, means a report which sets out—

(a) the progress that has been made, and that remains to be made, towards completing the dwellings the creation of which the development is to involve, as at the end of the reporting period to which the report relates,

(b) the progress which is predicted to be made towards completing those dwellings over each subsequent reporting period up to and including the last reporting period, and

(c) such other information as may be prescribed in regulations under subsection (9).

(8) If relevant planning permission is granted without the condition required by subsection (2), it is to be treated as having been granted subject to that condition.

(9) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision—

(a) about the form and content of development progress reports;

(b) about when and how development progress reports are to be provided to local planning authorities;

(c) about who may or must provide development progress reports to local planning authorities;

(d) about the provision of development progress reports and other information to local planning authorities where there is a change in circumstances in connection with relevant residential development, such as (for example) where the development is no longer intended to be completed in accordance with—

(i) the relevant planning permission;

(ii) a previous development progress report;

(iii) any timescales specified in a commencement notice given under section 93G;

(e) about when a condition under subsection (2) is to be treated as being discharged;

(f) about when relevant residential development is to be treated as being completed for the purposes of this section.

(10) In this section—

“relevant planning permission” means planning permission other than—

(a) planning permission granted by a development order;

(b) planning permission granted for development carried out before the grant of that permission;

(c) planning permission granted for a limited period;

(d) planning permission granted by an enterprise zone scheme;

(e) planning permission granted by a simplified planning zone scheme;

“relevant residential development” means development which—

(a) involves the creation of one or more dwellings, and

(b) is of a prescribed description.’

(4) In section 69 (register of applications etc)—

(a) in subsection (1), after paragraph (e) insert—

‘(f) development progress reports under section 90B;’;

(b) in subsection (2), after paragraph (b) insert—

‘(c) such information as is prescribed with respect to development progress reports under section 90B that are provided to the local planning authority;’.

(5) In section 70 (determination of applications: general considerations), in subsection (1)(a), after ‘sections’ insert ‘90B,’.

(6) In section 73 (determination of applications to develop land after non-compliance), before subsection (4) insert—

‘(2E) Nothing in this section authorises the disapplication of the condition under section 90B (condition relating to development progress reports in England).’

(7) In section 96A (power to make non-material changes to planning permission), before subsection (4) insert—

‘(3B) The conditions referred to in subsection (3)(b) do not include the condition under section 90B (condition relating to development progress reports in England).’

(8) In section 97 (revocation or modification of planning permission), at the end insert—

‘(9) Subsection (1) does not permit the revocation or modification of the condition under section 90B (condition relating to development progress reports in England).’

(9) In section 100ZA(13)(c) (restrictions on power to impose planning conditions in England), as amended by paragraph 3(12) of Schedule 14 to the Environment Act 2021, at the end insert “or the condition under section 90B (condition relating to development progress reports in England)”.

(10) Until paragraph 3(12) of Schedule 14 to the Environment Act 2021 comes into force, section 100ZA(13)(c) has effect as if at the end there were inserted “but do not include the condition under section 90B (condition relating to development progress reports in England)’.”—(Lucy Frazer.)

This new clause provides that certain planning permissions for residential development must be subject to a condition which requires development progress reports to be provided to the local planning authority in whose area the development is to be carried out, and makes related provision. The new clause will be inserted after clause 100.

Brought up, and read the First time.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government new clause 49—Community land auction arrangements and their purpose.

Government new clause 50—Power to permit community land auction arrangements.

Government new clause 51—Application of CLA receipts.

Government new clause 52—Duty to pass CLA receipts to other persons.

Government new clause 53—Use of CLA receipts in an area to which section (Duty to pass CLA receipts to other persons)(1) duty does not relate.

Government new clause 54—CLA infrastructure delivery strategy.

Government new clause 55—Power to provide for authorities making joint local plans.

Government new clause 56—Parliamentary scrutiny of pilot.

Government new clause 57—CLA regulations: further provision and guidance.

Government new clause 58—Expiry of Part 4A.

Government new clause 59—Interpretation of Part 4A.

Government new clause 60—Street votes: community infrastructure levy.

Government new clause 63—Marine licensing.

Government new clause 64—Fees for certain services in relation to nationally significant infrastructure projects.

Government new clause 67—Power to decline to determine applications in cases of earlier non-implementation etc.

Amendment (a) to Government new clause 67, in proposed new section 70D(1)(d), after “subsection (2) or (3)” insert “or (3B)”.

Amendment (b) to Government new clause 67, before proposed new section 70D(4) insert—

“(3B) This subsection applies in a case where there has been a failure adequately to fulfil conditions attached to a previous planning permission.”

Government new clause 68—Duty to grant sufficient planning permission for self-build and custom housebuilding.

Government new clause 69—Street votes.

Government new clause 77—Nutrient pollution standards to apply to certain sewage disposal works.

Government new clause 78—Planning: assessments of effects on certain sites.

Government new clause 79—Remediation.

Government new clause 118—Pre-consolidation amendment of planning, development and compulsory purchase legislation.

Government new clause 119—Registration of short-term rental properties.

New clause 3—Solar panel requirements for new homes

“(1) The Secretary of State must, before the end of the period of six months beginning on the day this Act is passed, use the power under section 1 of the Building Act 1984 to make building regulations for the purpose in subsection (2).

(2) That purpose is to provide that all new homes built in England from 1 April 2025 must have solar panels installed.”

This new clause would require new homes in England from 1 April 2025 to have solar panels.

New clause 5—Ecological surveys prior to planning application

“(1) TCPA 1990 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 57 (planning permission required for development) insert—

57A Ecological surveys prior to planning permission

(1) Before making an application for planning permission the applicant

must undertake an ecological survey of the proposed site to establish

whether the proposed development threatens the habitat of a

vulnerable species.

(2) The Secretary of State must by regulations make provision about—

(a) such ecological surveys and requirements to undertake them,

(b) the definition of “vulnerable species” for the purposes of this

section,

(c) the mitigation hierarchy being duly followed, and

(d) the relocation of species to suitable alternative habitats where

clearance or destruction of the habitat cannot be avoided or

mitigated onsite.

(3) A person who alters a potential development site—

(a) prior to the completion of an ecological survey under this section,

and

(b) without due regard to potential habitats of vulnerable species

on the site commits an offence.

(4) A person who commits an offence under subsection (3) is liable on summary conviction to a fine.

(5) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about offences

under subsection (3).’

(3) After section 58A (permission in principle) insert—

58AA Duty of regard to wildlife habitats in granting permissions

In considering whether to grant planning permission or permission in principle for the development of land in England which threatens the habitat of a vulnerable species under section 57A the local planning authority or (as the case may be) the Secretary of State must have special regard to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the habitat.’”

This new clause requires ecological surveys establishing whether a proposed development threatens habitats of a vulnerable species before a planning application. It also requires planning authorities to take vulnerable species’ habitats into account in planning decisions and creates an offence relating to destroying habitats prior to the ecological survey.

Amendment (a) to new clause 5, in proposed new section 57A(1), leave out

“the habitat of a vulnerable species”

and insert—

“(a) the habitat of—

(i) any vulnerable or endangered species, or

(ii) any species of red status bird, or

(b) ancient woodland.”

Amendment (b) to new clause 5, after proposed new section 57A(5), insert—

“(6) In this section—

‘vulnerable or endangered species’ means a species protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981;

‘red status bird’ means any species of bird on the latest Birds of Conservation Concern red list.”

Amendment (c) to new clause 5, at end insert—

“(4) Where an ecological survey identifies that a proposed development constitutes a threat under subsection (1), any consideration of a planning application in relation to the proposed development by the local planning authority must begin with a presumption against development.”

New clause 6—Disposal of land held by public bodies

“(1) The Local Government Act 1972 is amended in accordance with subsections (2) and (3).

(2) In section 123 (disposal of land by principal councils), after subsection (2) insert—

‘(2ZA) But the Secretary of State must give consent if the disposal is in accordance with section [Disposal of land held by public bodies] of the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2022.’

(3) In section 127(3) (disposal of land held by parishes and communities), after ‘(2A)’ insert ‘, (2ZA)’.

(4) The National Health Service Act 2006 is amended in accordance with subsection (5).

(5) After section 211 (acquisition, use and maintenance of property) insert—

211A Disposal of land held by NHS bodies

Any power granted by this Act to an NHS body to dispose of land is exercisable in accordance with section [Disposal of land held by public bodies] of the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2022 as if the NHS body were a local authority.’

(6) Subject to subsection (8), a disposal of land is in accordance with this section if it is in accordance with the Local Government Act 1972 General Disposal Consent (England) 2003 published in Department for Communities and Local Government Circular 06/03, as amended by subsection (7).

(7) Those amendments to the Local Government Act 1972 General Disposal Consent (England) 2003 are—

(a) after paragraph 1 insert—

‘(1A) This consent also applies to any NHS body in England as if it were

a local authority in accordance with section 211A of the National

Health Service Act 2006;’;

(b) in paragraph 2(b), for ‘£2,000,000 (two million pounds)’ substitute ‘£3,000,000 (three million pounds) or 40% of the unrestricted market value, whichever is greater’;

(c) for paragraph 3(1)(vii) substitute—

‘(viii) a Police and Crime Commissioner established under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011;’;

(d) for paragraph 3(1)(ix) substitute—

‘(ix) the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime;’;

(e) for paragraph 3(1)(x) substitute—

‘(x) the London Fire Commissioner;’;

(f) after paragraph 3(1)(xii) insert—

‘(xiii) a combined authority;

(xiv) a mayoral combined authority;

(xv) the Greater London Authority;

(xvi) any successor body established by or under an Act of Parliament to any body listed in this subparagraph.’

(8) The Secretary of State may, to reflect inflation, further amend the cash value that the difference between the unrestricted value of the land to be disposed of and the consideration for the disposal must not exceed.”This new clause would bring an amended and updated version of the Local Government Act 1972 General Disposal Consent (England) 2003 into primary legislation, extends its application to NHS bodies and clarifies that the Consent applies to Police and Crime Commissioners, MOPAC and the London Fire Commissioner.

New clause 8—National Parks purposes

(1) Section 5 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 is amended in so far as it applies to England as follows.

(2) For section 5(1) substitute—

‘(1) The provisions of this Part of this Act shall have effect for the purpose—

(a) of restoring, conserving and enhancing the—

(i) biodiversity and the natural environment;

(ii) natural beauty; and

(iii) cultural heritage

of the areas specified in the next following subsection; and

(b) of providing equal opportunities for all parts of society to

improve their connection to biodiversity and the natural

environment, natural beauty and cultural heritage of those areas

and the enjoyment of their special qualities.’

(3) For section 5(2) substitute—

‘(2) The said areas are those extensive tracts of country in England which it appears to Natural England that by reason of—

(a) their biodiversity and natural environment, natural beauty and cultural heritage; and

(b) the opportunities they afford for providing equal opportunities for all parts of society to improve their connection to biodiversity and the natural environment, natural beauty and cultural heritage of those areas and the enjoyment of their special qualities, having regard both to their character and to their position in relation to centres of population,

it is especially desirable that the necessary measures shall be taken for the purposes mentioned in the last foregoing subsection.’

(4) Omit section 5(2A).

(5) After subsection (3) insert—

‘(4) In subsection (1) above—

“biodiversity” has the meaning given to the term “biological diversity” by Article 2 of the United Nations Environmental Programme Convention on Biological Diversity of 1992;

“natural environment” has the meaning given by section 44 of the Environment Act 2021;

“natural beauty” has the meaning given by section 114(2) of this Act;

“cultural heritage” means any building, structure, other feature of the natural or built environment or site, which is of historic, architectural, archaeological or artistic interest.’

(6) The amendments made by subsections (1) to (5) above are without prejudice to the continuing validity of any designation of an area as a National Park under subsection (3) of that section.”

This new clause will amend the statutory purposes of National Parks to make it clearer that National Parks should actively recover nature and improve people’s connection with nature, as recommended by the Glover Review. Part (3) amends the criteria for designating new National Parks in line with the updated purposes.

New clause 9—Duty of certain bodies and persons to have regard to the purposes for which National Parks are designated

“(1) Section 11A (Duty of certain bodies and persons to have regard to the purposes for which National Parks are designed) of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 is amended in so far as it applies to England as follows.

(2) After subsection (1) insert—

‘(1A) A National Park authority, in pursuing in relation to the National Park the purposes specified in subsection (1) of section 5 of this Act, shall seek to promote climate change mitigation and adaptation, in particular through policies and projects that restore, conserve and enhance biodiversity and the natural environment while also reducing, or increasing the removal of, greenhouse gas emissions or supporting climate adaptation.’

(3) For subsection (2) substitute—

‘(2) In exercising or performing any functions in relation to, or so as to affect, land in a National Park, any relevant authority must further the purposes specified in subsection (1) of section 5 of this Act and, if it appears that there is a conflict between paragraphs (a) and (b) of that subsection, shall attach greater weight to the purpose of restoring, conserving and enhancing the natural environment and biodiversity, natural beauty and cultural heritage of the area comprised in the National Park.’”

This new clause implements two recommendations from the Glover Review, to give National Park authorities a new duty to address climate change and to strengthen the existing duty on public bodies to “further” National Park purposes.

New clause 10—National Park Management Plans

“(1) Section 66 (National Park Management Plans) of the Environment Act 1995 is amended in so far as it applies to England as follows.

(2) After subsection (1) insert—

‘(1A) A National Park Management Plan must include targets and actions to be achieved before the review of the plan under subsection (4) by the National Park authority and other relevant authorities that are exercising or performing any functions in relation to, or so as to affect, land in the National Park.

(1B) The targets and actions must include those that will contribute to—

(a) the furthering of the purposes specified in subsection (1) of section 5 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949;

(b) the achievement of targets as may be set under

(i) sections 1 to 7 of the Environment Act 2021;

(ii) environmental improvement plans prepared under sections 8 to 15 of that Act; and

(iii) the Climate Change Act 2008 for the protection of the climate, including in respect of the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change; and

(c) the implementation of any local nature recovery strategies for an area within the National Park prepared under sections 104 to 107 of the Environment Act 2021.

(1C) In exercising or performing any functions in relation to, or so as to affect, land in a National Park, a relevant authority must—

(a) in the case of a relevant authority other than a National Park authority, assist with the preparation of the National Park Management Plan by providing to the National Park authority a list of the actions that the relevant authority will take reasonable steps to undertake over the 5 years of the Plan to further the purposes specified in subsection (1) of section 5 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949;

(b) take reasonable steps to undertake those actions within that period; and

(c) in the case of a relevant authority other than a National Park authority, at least six months prior to the commencement of the review of the National Park Management Plan, provide to the National Park authority the details of the actions that the relevant authority has undertaken during the period to which the Plan relates.

(1D) For the purposes of (1A) and (1B) “relevant authority” has the same meaning as in section 11A(3) of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.’

(3) After subsection (4) insert—

‘(4A) At least three months prior to the commencement of a review under subsection (4) a National Park authority must publish a report setting out, in particular, details of—

(a) targets and actions in the National Park Management Plan that have been achieved;

(b) targets and actions that have not been achieved;

(c) targets and actions that the National Park authority is not yet able to determine whether they have been achieved, the reasons for that and the steps the National Park authority or any other relevant authority intends to take in order to determine whether the target or action has been achieved, and, in respect of (b), the reasons why a target or action has not been achieved and the steps the National Park authority or any other relevant authority has taken, or intends to take, to ensure the target or action is achieved as soon as reasonably practicable.

(4B) Within three months of the publication of the report prepared in accordance with subsection (4A) Natural England must provide and publish advice to the National Park authority and any relevant authority as it sees fit, in relation to the National Park Management Plan that is to be reviewed, on—

(a) the extent to which and reasons why any targets in that Plan have not been met;

(b) actions that should be taken by the National Park authority or any relevant authority to ensure that the target is achieved as soon as possible; and

(c) targets to be set in the revised plan.

(4C) Advice given under (4B) must also contain the reasons for that advice.

(4D) It shall be the duty of a National Park authority and any relevant authority to follow the advice given under subsection (4B) unless it appears unreasonable to do so, in which case the National Park authority or relevant authority must publish a statement giving reasons why it is not following that advice.

(4E) At the same time as the publication of a report under paragraph (c) of subsection (6), a National Park authority must publish a report on its response to the advice given under (4B) and any actions taken by the National Park authority or any other relevant authority as a result of the advice given under paragraph (b) of subsection (4B).’

(4) For subsection (7) substitute—

‘(7) A National Park authority which is proposing to publish, adopt or review any plan under this section must publish notice of the proposal and a copy of the plan, together (where appropriate) with any proposed amendments of the plan and consult—

(a) every principal council and corporate joint committee whose area is wholly or partly comprised in the relevant Park;

(b) Natural England;

(c) the Environment Agency;

(d) any other relevant authority that is exercising or performing any functions in relation to, or so as to affect, land in a National Park; and

(e) the general public.’

(5) After subsection (7) insert—

‘(7A) A National Park authority must take into consideration any observations made by any of the persons consulted under subsection (7).’

(6) After subsection (8) insert—

‘(8A) Any plan which a National Park authority publishes, adopts or amends following a review under this section shall not be made operational until it is approved in writing by the Secretary of State on advice from Natural England.’

(7) After section 66 insert—

‘66A Guidance on the preparation of National Park Management Plans: England

(1) Natural England must issue guidance to National Park authorities on the preparation, content and implementation of National Park Management Plans.

(2) Guidance must be—

(a) published by Natural England in such manner as Natural England sees fit;

(b) kept under review; and

(c) revised where Natural England considers it appropriate.

(3) A National Park authority must have regard to the guidance when preparing and implementing a National Park Management Plan.

66B Annual reports on the implementation of National Park Management Plans: England

(1) As soon as practicable after the end of each financial year, a National Park authority in England must prepare a report on the implementation of the current National Park Management Plan during that year and send a copy of the report to the Secretary of State and Natural England.

(2) The report must include an assessment of—

(a) the progress that has been made during the financial year in achieving the targets and actions set out in the National Park Management Plan;

(b) the further progress that is needed to achieve those targets and actions and the steps the National Park authority or any other relevant authority will take to ensure the target or action is achieved before the next review of the Plan under subsection (4) of section 66; and

(c) whether those targets and actions are likely to be achieved before the next review of the Plan under subsection (4) of section 66.

(3) A relevant authority other than a National Park authority that is exercising or performing any functions in relation to, or so as to affect, land in a National Park in England must contribute to the report by providing to the National Park authority the details of the actions that the relevant authority has undertaken to further the purposes of the National Park specified in subsection (1) of section 5 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 during the financial year to which the report relates.

(4) The Secretary of State must lay a copy of the report before Parliament and publish the report.

(5) “Relevant authority” has the same meaning as in section 11A(3) of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.

66C Duty to provide advice or other assistance on request: England

Natural England must, at the request of a National Park authority or other relevant authority, provide advice, analysis, information or other assistance to the authority in connection with—

(a) the authority's functions under this or any other Act; and

(b) the progress made towards meeting the targets and actions included in a National Park Management Plan.

66D Strategic priorities and objectives for National Parks: England

(1) Within six months of the entering into force of this section, the Secretary of State must publish a statement setting out strategic priorities and objectives for National Park authorities and relevant authorities in carrying out relevant functions.

(2) National Park authorities and relevant authorities must carry out those functions in accordance with any statement published under this section.

(3) In formulating a statement under this section, the Secretary of State must further the purposes in section 5 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 (“the 1949 Act”).

(4) Before publishing a statement under this section, the Secretary of State must consult—

(a) National Park authorities;

(b) Natural England; and

(c) such relevant authorities as the Secretary of State thinks appropriate.

(5) Before publishing a statement under this section the Secretary of State must—

(a) lay a draft of the statement before Parliament; and

(b) then wait until the end of the 40-day period.

(6) The Secretary of State may not publish the final statement under this section if, within the 40-day period, either House of Parliament resolves not to approve it.

(7) “The 40-day period” means the period of 40 days beginning with the day on which the draft is laid before Parliament (or, if it is not laid before each House on the same day, the later of the days on which it is laid).

(8) When calculating the 40-day period, ignore any period during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than 4 days.

(9) The Secretary of State shall, in accordance with this section, publish a revised statement no later than five years after the publication of each statement.

(10) In this section—

“relevant authorities” shall have the same meaning as in section 11A of the 1949 Act; and

“relevant functions” means, for National Park authorities, the functions mentioned in Part III of this Act and, for relevant authorities, those functions mentioned in section 11A(2) of the 1949 Act.’”

This new clause would implement the recommendation of the Glover Review that National Park Management Plans should contain targets, priorities and actions to deliver the purposes of National Parks. It would also require National Park authorities and other public bodies to set out what steps they will take to achieve those targets, priorities and actions.

New clause 11—National Park Authorities

“(1) Schedule 7 to the Environment Act 1995 is amended in so far as it applies to England as follows.

(2) In paragraph 1(3) after “must” insert “not”.

(3) In paragraph 2(3)(c) omit “only at the request of that council”.

(4) After paragraph 2(4) insert—

“(4A) In appointing local authority members of a National Park authority, a principal council must have regard to the desirability of—

(a) the members (between them) having experience of, and having shown some capacity in, the purposes of National Parks specified in subsections (1) of section 5 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949; and

(b) maintaining an overall balance between members with experience of and capacity in those purposes.”

(5) After paragraph 3(2) insert—

“(2A) In appointing parish members of a National Park authority the Secretary of State must have regard to the desirability of—

(a) the members (between them) having experience of, and having shown some capacity in, the purposes of National Parks specified in subsections (1) of section 5 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949; and

(b) maintaining an overall balance between members with experience of and capacity in those purposes.”

(6) After paragraph 4(1) insert—

“(1A) In appointing members of a National Park authority the Secretary of State must have regard to the desirability of—

(a) the members (between them) having experience of, and having shown some capacity in, the purposes of National Parks specified in subsections (1) of section 5 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949; and

(b) maintaining an overall balance between members with experience of and capacity in those purposes.””

This new clause would allow the Secretary of State to amend secondary legislation to increase the proportion of National Park authority members who are nationally appointed, on the basis of their skills and experience. It would also require that consideration is given to ensuring members have relevant experience.

New clause 12—Requirements to encourage the development of small sites

“(1) In respect of a development where the conditions in subsection (2) are satisfied, local authorities must support opportunities to bring forward sites and apply a presumption in favour of development.

(2) The conditions are that—

(a) the site is less than 0.25 hectares in area, and

(b) the site contains over 60% affordable housing.

(3) In this section, “affordable housing” has the same meaning as in Annex 2 of the NPPF.”

This new clause would provide for a presumption in favour of development for affordable-led small sites and encourage councils to bring forward small sites for development.

New clause 13—Duty of regard to the right to nature

“(1) It is the duty of public authorities when exercising their functions under this Act to have special regard to the right to nature.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), the “right to nature” means the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

(3) Contributing to providing and maintaining a clean, healthy and sustainable environment includes increasing access to natural spaces and reducing geographical inequalities in this access.”

This new clause would create a right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and require authorities to increase access to nature and to ensure access is equitably distributed across different communities.

New clause 14—FloodRe Build Back Better scheme participation

“(1) The Financial Conduct Authority must, before the end of the period of six months beginning on the day this Act is passed, make rules under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 requiring insurance companies participate in the FloodRe Build Back Better scheme to reimburse flood victims for costs of domestic flood resilience and prevention measures.

(2) In making those rules the Financial Conduct Authority must have regard to its operation objectives to—

(a) protect consumers, and

(b) promote competition.”

This new clause would require the Financial Conduct Authority to make rules requiring insurance companies to participate in the currently voluntary Build Back Better scheme, which was launched by FloodRe in April 2022.

New clause 15—Minimum requirements for flood mitigation and protection

“(1) The Secretary of State must, before the end of the period of six months beginning on the day this Act is passed, use the power under section 1 of 5 the Building Act 1984 to make building regulations for the purpose in subsection (2).

(2) That purpose is to set minimum standards for new build public and private properties in England for—

(a) property flood resilience,

(b) flood mitigation, and

(c) waste management in connection with flooding.”

This new clause would require the Government to set minimum standards for flood resilience, flood mitigation and flood waste management in building regulations.

New clause 16—Duty to make flooding data available

“(1) The Secretary of State and local authorities in England must take all reasonable steps to make data about flood prevention and risk publicly available

(2) The duty under subsection (1) extends to seeking to facilitate use of the data by—

(a) insurers for the purpose of accurately assessing risk, and

(b) individual property owners for the purpose of assessing the need for property flood resilience measures.”

This new clause would place a duty on the Government and local authorities to make data about flood prevention and risk available for the purpose of assisting insurers and property owners.

New clause 17—Flood prevention and mitigation certification and accreditation schemes

“(1) The Secretary of State must by regulations establish—

(a) a certification scheme for improvements to domestic and commercial properties in England made in full or in part for flood prevention or flood mitigation purposes, and

(b) an accreditation scheme for installers of such improvements.

(2) The scheme under subsection (1)(a) must—

(a) set minimum standards for the improvements, including that they are made by a person accredited under subsection (1)(b), and

(b) provide for the issuance of certificates stating that improvements to properties have met those standards.

(3) The scheme under subsection (1)(a) may make provision for the certification of improvements that were made before the establishment of the scheme provided those improvements meet the minimum standards in subsection (2)(a).

(4) Regulations under this section may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

(5) A draft statutory instrument containing regulations under this section must be laid before Parliament before the end of the period of six months beginning with the day on which this Act comes into force.”

This new clause would require the Government to establish a certification scheme for improvements to domestic and commercial properties in England made for flood prevention or flood mitigation purposes and an accreditation scheme for installers of such improvements.

New clause 18—Insurance premiums

“(1) The Financial Conduct Authority must, before the end of the period of six months beginning on the day this Act is passed, make rules under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 requiring insurance companies to take into account the matters in subsection (2) when calculating insurance premiums relating to residential and commercial properties.

(2) Those matters are—

(a) that certified improvements have been made to a property under section [flood prevention and mitigation certification and accreditation schemes], or

(b) that measures that were in full or in part for the purposes of flood prevention or mitigation have been taken in relation to the property that were requirements of the local planning authority for planning permission purposes.”

This new clause would require the Financial Conduct Authority to make rules requiring insurance companies to take into account flood prevention or mitigation improvements that are either certified or planning permission requirements in setting insurance premiums.

New clause 19—Flood Reinsurance scheme eligibility

“(1) The Secretary of State must, before the end of the period of six months beginning on the day this Act is passed—

(a) establish a new Flood Reinsurance scheme under section 64 of the Water Act 2014 which is in accordance with subsection (2), and

(b) lay before Parliament a draft statutory instrument containing regulations under that section to designate that scheme.

(2) A new Flood Reinsurance scheme is in accordance with this section if it extends eligibility to—

(a) premises built on or after 1 January 2009 which have property flood resilience measures that meet the standard under section [minimum requirements for flood mitigation and protection](2)(a), and

(b) buildings insurance for small and medium-sized enterprise premises.

(3) The Secretary of State may by regulations require public bodies to share business rates information with the scheme established under subsection (1)(a) for purposes connected with the scheme.

(4) The Water Act 2014 is amended in accordance with subsections (5) to (9).

(5) In section 64 (the Flood Reinsurance scheme), after “household premises”, in each place it occurs, insert “and small and medium-sized enterprise premises”.

(6) In section 67 (scheme administration), after “household premises”, in each place it occurs, insert “and small and medium-sized enterprise premises”.

(7) After section 69 (disclosure of HMRC council tax information) insert—

“(69A) Disclosure of business rates information

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations require public bodies to disclose information relating to business rates to any person who requires that information for either of the following descriptions of purposes—

(a) purposes connected with such scheme as may be established and designated in accordance with section 64 (in any case arising before any scheme is so designated);

(b) purposes connected with the FR Scheme (in any case arising after the designation of a scheme in accordance with section 64).

(2) A person to whom information is disclosed under regulations made under subsection (1)(a) or (b)—

(a) may use the information only for the purposes mentioned in subsection (1)(a) or (b), as the case may be;

(b) may not further disclose the information except in accordance with those regulations.”

(8) In section 82(5) (interpretation)—

(a) for “69” substitute “69A”;

(b) after “household premises” insert “small and medium-sized enterprise premises”.

(9) In section 84(6) (regulations and orders), after paragraph (e) insert—

“(ea) regulations under section 69A (disclosure of business rates information),”.”

This new clause would require the Government to extend the FloodRe scheme to premises built since 2009 that have property flood resilience measures that meet minimum standards and buildings insurance for small and medium-sized enterprise premises.

New clause 20—Strengthening local powers on new home standards, affordable housing and bus services

“(1) The Secretary of State must make Building Regulations under section 1 of the Building Act 1984 providing that new homes in England must meet the full requirements of the Future Homes Standard from 1 January 2023.

(2) A local authority in England may choose to require and enforce minimum carbon compliance standards for new homes in its area which exceed the Future Homes Standard from that date.

(3) Notwithstanding the National Planning Policy Framework, a local planning authority may mandate that any new housing in its area is affordable.

(4) A local planning authority may define “affordable” for the purposes of subsection (3).

(5) Notwithstanding section 66 of the Transport Act 1985, a local authority in England shall have power to provide a service for the carriage of passengers by road which requires a PSV operator’s licence.”

This new clause would bring forward the date for which the Future Homes Standard for carbon compliance of new homes would apply and give local authorities the option of imposing higher standards locally; it would enable local authorities to mandate that new housing under their jurisdiction is affordable and confer new powers on local authorities to run their own bus services.

New clause 40—Requirement to hold a referendum on fracking applications

“(1) This section applies to any planning application for the purposes of, or in connection with, hydraulic fracturing.

(2) The local planning authority may not approve an application to which this section applies unless it has been approved by a referendum in accordance with subsection (3).

(3) A referendum is in accordance with this subsection if—

(a) it is a poll of all local authority electors resident in the license area or the impact zone of the proposed hydraulic fracturing site; and

(b) it is approved by the majority of such electors who vote in the referendum.

(4) The Secretary of State may, by regulations, make further provision about the conduct of referendums under subsection (3).

(5) In making regulations under subsection (4) the Secretary of State must have regard to the provisions of the Local Authorities (Conduct of Referendums) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014).

(6) The total referendum expenses incurred must be paid in full by the planning applicant.”

New clause 43—Planning permission required for use of dwelling as second home

“(1) The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 55 (meaning of “development” and “new development”), after subsection (3)(a) insert—

“(aa) the use of a dwelling as a second home following a change in ownership involves a material change in the use of the building (whether or not it was previously used as a second home);”.”

This new clause would mean planning permission would be required for a dwelling to be used as a second home following a change of ownership.

New clause 44—Local authorities to be permitted to require that new housing in National Parks and AONB is affordable

“(1) Notwithstanding the National Planning Policy Framework, a local planning authority may mandate that any new housing in its area that is within—

(a) a National Park, or

(b) an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

is affordable.

(2) A local planning authority may define “affordable” for the purposes of subsection (1).”

This new clause would enable local authorities to mandate that new housing under their jurisdiction and within a National Park or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is affordable, and to define “affordable” for that purpose.

New clause 47—Disability accessibility standards for railway stations

“(1) The Secretary of State must take all reasonable steps to ensure that railway stations in England—

(a) provide step-free access from street to train, and

(b) meet in full and as soon as possible the disability access standards in the Design Standards for Accessible Railway Stations Code of Practice published by the Department for Transport and Transport Scotland in March 2015.

(2) Any requirements made in conjunction with that duty may not make any exemptions or concessions for small or remote stations.

(3) In undertaking the duty in subsection (1) the Secretary of State may—

(a) make an application to the Office of Rail and Road under section 16A (provision, improvement and development of railway facilities) of the Railways Act 1993;

(b) revise the code of practice under section 71B (code of practice for protection of interests of rail users who are disabled) of the Railways Act 1993;

(c) amend the contractual conditions of any licenced railway operator;

(d) instruct Network Rail to take any action the Secretary of State considers necessary in connection to the duty.

(4) The Secretary of State must report annually to Parliament on performance against the duty.”

This new clause places a duty on the Secretary of State to ensure that railway stations meet disability access standards.

New clause 72—Super-affirmative procedure for EOR regulations made under Part 5

“(1) If the Secretary of State proposes to make EOR regulations which fall under section 195(5), the Secretary of State must lay before Parliament a document that—

(a) explains the proposal, and

(b) sets it out in the form of draft EOR regulations.

(2) During the period of 60 days beginning with the day on which the document was laid under subsection (1) (“the 60-day period”), the Secretary of State may not lay before Parliament draft regulations to give effect to the proposal (with or without modifications).

(3) In preparing draft regulations under this Part to give effect to the proposal, the Secretary of State must have regard to any of the following that are made with regard to the draft regulations during the 60-day period—

(a) any representations, and

(b) any recommendations of a committee of either House of Parliament

charged with reporting on the draft regulations.

(4) When laying before Parliament draft regulations to give effect to the proposal (with or without modifications), the Secretary of State must also lay a document that explains any changes made to the proposal contained in the document laid before Parliament under subsection (1).

(5) In calculating the 60-day period, no account is to be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which either House is adjourned for more than 4 days.”

This new clause would require EOR regulations made under Part 5 to be subject to the super-affirmative procedure.

New clause 73—National development management policy

“(1) A national development management policy must not include any provision that—

(a) requires any housing to be built on the green belt; or

(b) encourages the building of housing on the green belt.

(2) For the purpose of this section, “the green belt” means any land designated as green belt by a local planning authority.”

This new clause would ensure that the government cannot use national development management policies to allow housing to be built on green belt land.

New clause 80—Prohibition of onshore developments for purposes of oil and gas searching, boring and extraction

“(1) The Petroleum Act 1988 is amended in accordance with subsection (2).

(2) In section 3 (licences to search and bore for and get petroleum), after subsection (2) insert—

“(2A) But the appropriate authority may not issue any new such onshore licence after the day on which the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 is passed.

(2B) The prohibition in subsection (2A) includes licences or consents relating to hydraulic fracturing.”

(3) A planning authority or Secretary of State may not grant planning permission to any proposed development for the purposes of searching for, boring for or getting petroleum.

(4) This section comes into force on the day on which this Act is passed.”

This new clause would prevent planning authorities or the Secretary of State from granting planning permission to any new onshore oil or gas developments, including hydraulic fracturing.

New clause 81—Prohibition of development for the purpose of coal-mining

“(1) The Coal Industry Act 1994 is amended in accordance with subsection (2).

(2) In section 26 (Grant of licences), after subsection (2) insert—

“(2A) But the appropriate authority may not issue any new such licence after the day on which the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 is passed.

(2B) The prohibition in subsection (2A) includes licences or consents relating to—

(a) any new coal mine; and

(b) the expansion of, or extension to, any existing coal mine (including time-extension applications).”

(3) A minerals planning authority must not grant planning permission to any proposed development for the purposes of coal-mining operations.

(4) A minerals planning authority must not grant any extension of existing planning permission to any development for the purposes of coal-mining operations.

(5) This section comes into force on the day on which this Act is passed.”

New clause 83—Industrial support reporting

“(1) The Secretary of State must prepare annual reports on—

(a) the rates of the matters in subsection (2), and

(b) the extent to which the fiscal and regulatory framework supports growth in those matters in areas with rates of poverty, unemployment or economic inactivity above the national average.

(2) The matters are—

(a) new factory openings,

(b) investment in new factory equipment,

(c) the introduction of tailored skills-acquisition programmes, and

(d) the creation of manufacturing jobs.

(3) The first such report must be laid before Parliament before the end of 2023.

(4) A further such report must be laid before Parliament in each subsequent calendar year.”

This new clause would require the Secretary of State to report annually to Parliament on the rates of, and the extent to which the fiscal and regulatory framework supports, new factory openings, investment in new factory equipment, introduction of tailored skills-acquisition programmes and creation of manufacturing jobs in areas with rates of poverty, unemployment or economic inactivity above the national average.

New clause 85—Wildbelt

“(1) Local planning authorities should maintain a register of wildbelt land in their local areas (see section 106(c) of the Environment Act 2021).

(2) Wildbelt land must be recognised in Local Plans based on areas identified in the Local Nature Recovery Strategy.

(3) Local planning authorities must act in accordance with Local Nature Recovery Strategy wildbelt designations in the exercise of relevant functions, including land use planning and planning decisions.

(4) Wildbelt land should not be subject to land use change that hinders the recovery of nature in these areas.”

This new clause would secure a land designation in England that provides protection for sites being managed for nature’s recovery, identified through the Local Nature Recovery Strategies created by the Environment Act. Sites designated as wildbelt in Local Plans would be subject to only moderate controls, precluding development but allowing farming and other land uses which do not hinder the recovery of nature.

New clause 86—Wildbelt & the Environment Act

“In section 106(5) of the Environment Act 2021, after paragraph (b) insert—

“(c) any sites identified as having potential for nature’s recovery, to be known as wildbelt sites;””

New clause 87—Energy efficiency measures in listed buildings

“(1) The Secretary of State must make regulations about the use of energy efficiency measures in residential listed buildings.

(2) The aim of the regulations must be to make it easier for owners of residential listed buildings to improve the energy efficiency of those buildings.

(3) The regulations may impose any requirement upon Historic England that the Secretary of State considers necessary in order to achieve the aim in subsection (2).

(4) In this section, “energy efficiency measures” include—

(a) the installation of heat pumps; and

(b) any measure aimed at improving the energy efficiency rating of a property.”

New clause 88—New Permitted Development Right

“(1) The Secretary of State must, by regulations, create a new permitted development right to allow existing residential buildings to be redeveloped without further planning consent if—

(a) the building is in an urban area,

(b) the local authority has issued one or more design codes for the area in which the building is situated, and the redevelopment complies with it,

(c) the building is not a listed building or subject to other heritage protections, and

(d) the redevelopment complies with all relevant building safety regulations.

(2) Subsection (1) comes into force after a period of six months beginning on the day on which this Act is passed.

(3) A local planning authority must issue one or more design codes for residential buildings in all urban areas within their boundaries within six months of the passage of this Act.”

This new clause would create simplified residential planning permission for homes in towns and cities which comply with designs that have been pre-approved by their Local Authority.

New clause 89—Peat Extraction: no compensation for alteration of planning permissions

“(1) Section 107 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 is amended as follows.

(2) After subsection (5), insert—

“(6) From 1 January 2024, this section does not apply to permissions relating to the extraction of peat.””

This new clause removes a barrier that prevents Mineral Planning Authorities taking action to bring to an end the extraction of peat within England. It is timed to coincide with the expected legal ban on the sale of peat and peat containing products in England and Wales.

New clause 92—Chief Planning Officers

“(1) The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 1 insert—

“1A Planning authorities: chief planning officer

(1) Each planning authority must have a chief planning officer.

(2) The role of an authority’s chief planning officer is to advise the authority about the carrying out of—

(a) the functions conferred on them by virtue of the planning Acts, and

(b) any function conferred on them by any other enactment, insofar as the function relate to development.

(3) The Secretary of State must issue guidance to planning authorities concerning the role of an authority’s chief planning officer.

(4) A planning authority may not appoint a person as their chief planning officer unless satisfied that the person has appropriate qualifications and experience for the role.

(5) In deciding what constitutes appropriate qualifications and experience for the role of chief planning officer, a planning authority must have regard to any guidance on the matter issued by the Secretary of State.””

This new clause would place a duty on local planning authorities to appoint a Chief Planning Officer to perform planning functions and requires them to appoint sufficiently qualified persons to perform them with regard to guidance from the Secretary of State.

New clause 94—Vacant higher value local authority housing

“(1) The Housing and Planning Act 2016 is amended as follows.

(2) Leave out Chapter 2 of Part 4 (Vacant higher value local authority housing).”

This new clause would implement the decision set out in the 2018 social housing green paper to not require local authorities to make a payment in respect of their vacant higher value council homes as provided for by the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

New clause 95—Review of Permitted Development Rights

“(1) The Secretary of State must establish a review of permitted development rights under Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended).

(2) The review should include an assessment of—

(a) the past effectiveness of permitted development rights in achieving housing targets;

(b) the quality of housing delivered under permitted development rights;

(c) the impacts of permitted development on heritage, conservation areas and setting;

(d) the estimated carbon impact of the use of permitted development rights since the expansion of permitted development to demolition;

(e) the relative cost to local planning authorities of processing permitted development compared to full planning consents;

(f) potential conflict between existing permitted development rights and the application of national development management policies;

(g) the impact of permitted development rights, or other policies in this Bill designed to deliver streamlined consent, on the efficacy of levelling-up missions.

(3) The Secretary of State must publish a report of the recommendations made by this review no later than twelve months after this Act comes into force.”

This new clause would commit the government to carrying out a comprehensive review of permitted development rights within 12 months of the Bill securing Royal Assent.

New clause 96—Local authority planning committee meetings

“(1) The Secretary of State must by regulations make provision relating to—

(a) requirements to hold local authority planning committee meetings;

(b) the times at or by which, periods within which, or frequency with which, local authority planning committee meetings are to be held;

(c) the places at which local authority planning committee meetings are to be held;

(d) the manner in which persons may attend, speak at, vote in, or otherwise participate in, local authority planning committee meetings;

(e) public admission and access to local authority planning committee meetings;

(f) the places at which, and manner in which, documents relating to local authority planning committee meetings are to be open to inspection by, or otherwise available to, members of the public.

(2) The provision which must be made by virtue of subsection (1)(d) includes in particular provision for persons to attend, speak at, vote in, or otherwise participate in, local authority planning committee meetings without all of the persons, or without any of the persons, being together in the same place.”

This new clause would allow local authorities to hold planning committee meetings and reach planning decisions virtually or in a hybrid form.

New clause 97—Chief Planning Officers

“(1) The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 1 insert—

“1A Planning authorities: chief planning officer

(1) Each planning authority must have a chief planning officer.

(2) The role of an authority’s chief planning officer is to advise the authority about the carrying out of—

(a) the functions conferred on them by virtue of the planning Acts, and

(b) any function conferred on them by any other enactment, insofar as the function relate to development.

(3) The Secretary of State must issue guidance to planning authorities concerning the role of an authority’s chief planning officer.

(4) A planning authority may not appoint a person as their chief planning officer unless satisfied that the person has appropriate qualifications and experience for the role.

(5) In deciding what constitutes appropriate qualifications and experience for the role of chief planning officer, a planning authority must have regard to any guidance on the matter issued by the Secretary of State.””

This new clause would place a duty on local planning authorities to appoint a Chief Planning Officer to perform planning functions and requires them to appoint sufficiently qualified persons to perform them with regard to guidance from the Secretary of State.

New clause 98—Duty with regard to climate change

“(1) The Secretary of State must have special regard to achieving the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change when preparing—

(a) national policy or advice relating to the development or use of land,

(b) a development management policy pursuant to section 38ZA of the PCPA 2004.

(2) The Secretary of State must aim to ensure consistency with achieving the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change when exercising a relevant function under a planning enactment.

(3) A relevant planning authority when—

(a) exercising a planning function must have special regard to, and aim to ensure consistency with, achieving the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, and

(b) making a planning decision must aim to ensure the decision is consistent with achieving the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (3), a relevant planning authority is as set out in section 81 (a) and (b) and (d) to (j).

(5) For the purposes of subsection (2) a relevant function is a function that relates to the development or use of land.

(6) For the purposes of subsection (3) a planning function is the preparation of—

(a) a spatial development strategy;

(b) a local plan;

(c) a minerals and waste plan;

(d) a supplementary plan; or

(e) any other policy or plan that will be used to inform a planning decision.

(7) For the purposes of subsections (3) and (6) a planning decision is a decision relating to—

(a) the development or use of land arising from an application for planning permission;

(b) the making of a development order; or

(c) an authorisation pursuant to a development order.

(8) In relation to neighbourhood planning, a qualifying body preparing a draft neighbourhood plan or development order must have special regard to achieving the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.

(9) For the purposes of this section, achieving the mitigation of climate change shall include the achievement of—

(a) the target for 2050 set out in section 1 of the Climate Change Act 2008, and

(b) applicable carbon budgets made pursuant to section 4 of the Climate Change Act 2008.

(10) For the purposes of this section, achieving adaptation to climate change shall include the achievement of long-term resilience to climate-related risks, including—

(a) the mitigation of the risks identified in the latest climate change risk assessment conducted under section 56 of the Climate Change Act 2008, and

(b) the achievement of the objectives of the latest flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy made pursuant to section 7 of the Flood and Coastal Water Management Act 2010.”

This new clause would place an overarching duty on the Secretary of State, local planning authorities and those involved in neighbourhood plan-making to achieve the mitigation and adaptation of climate change when preparing plans and policies or exercising their functions in planning decision-making.

New clause 99—Permitted development: temporary use of land

“(1) Section 3 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 is amended in accordance with subsection (2).

(2) After subsection (6) insert—

“(6A) Where the proposed use of any land is to operate a commercial helicopter service—

(a) the local planning authority must be notified of the date the site will be used for this purpose, and

(b) the site must be approved for use for this purpose by the local planning authority.””

New clause 100—Planning Application Fees

“(1) Section 303 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (Fees for planning applications etc.) is amended as follows.

(2) After subsection (4) insert—

“(4A) A local planning authority may make provision as to how a fee or charge under this section is to be calculated (including who is to make the calculation).””

This new clause would allow local authorities to set the fees for planning applications, in order that the cost of determining an application is reflected by the fee charged.

New clause 101—Greenbelt protection in the NPPF

“(1) The Secretary of State must ensure that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is in accordance with subsection (2).

(2) The NPPF must provide that when considering any planning application in the greenbelt, unmet housing need does not constitute very special circumstances.”

This new clause would ensure that unmet housing need cannot constitute a very special circumstance when assessing harm caused by development on the greenbelt, to align with the Written Statement HCWS423 of 17 December 2015. This would, for example, enable a local planning authority to refuse an inappropriate speculative development in the absence of a local plan.

New clause 102—Calculation of housing need

“(1) The Secretary of State must, by regulations, make provision requiring local planning authorities to use the most recently published ONS household projections when preparing their local plans.

(2) The NPPF must provide that when considering any planning application, unmet housing need is calculated using the most recent ONS household projections.”

This new clause would end the mandatory use of outdated 2014 ONS household projection figures when calculating unmet housing need using the standard method.

New clause 103—Onshore wind in the National Planning Policy Framework

“(1) The Secretary of State must ensure that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is in accordance with subsection (2).

(2) The NPPF must not contain a presumption against a proposed wind energy development involving one or more turbines.”

This new clause would remove the presumption against onshore wind turbines, which is currently prevented in all cases by the inclusion of Footnote 54 in the NPPF.

New clause 104—Deliberative democracy: local planning

“(1) Before the preparation of any development or outline plan the local planning authority must undertake a process of deliberative democracy which involving the community to set—

(a) the balance of economic, environmental, infrastructure and special plans,

(b) the type of housing to be delivered,

(c) the infrastructure that is required to be hosted,

(d) the type of economic space, and

(e) environmental considerations, including making sites sustainable.

(2) A process of deliberative democracy under this section must—

(a) invite all residents of the local authority area to apply to be a representative in the deliberative democracy process,

(b) include measures to try to ensure that there will be a diverse representation of that community in the process, and

(c) provide for a forum of representatives that—

(i) will determine its terms of terms of reference, number of meetings and agenda at its first meeting, and

(ii) will produce a report from the deliberative democracy process.

(3) A report under subsection (2)(c)(ii) may determine the scope of development on a site.”

This new clause would introduce a deliberative democracy forum comprised of members of the public prior to the formation of a new development plan or outline plan.

New clause 105—Nature restoration duty

“(1) It is the duty of relevant Ministers to identify of and maintain a network of sites for the purposes of restoring and protecting the natural environment in local areas.

(2) By 2030 and thereafter, the network must include at least 30% of land in England that is protected, monitored and managed as a "protected site" or other effective area-based conservation measures for the protection and restoration of biodiversity.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), "protected site” means a site that satisfies the following conditions—

(a) habitats, species and other significant features of the natural environment with biodiversity value within the site are strictly protected from direct and indirect harm;

(b) management and monitoring provisions are made to ensure that habitats, species and other significant features of the natural environment with biodiversity value within the site are restored to and maintained at favourable condition and are subject to continuing improvement; and

(c) provision is made to ensure that conditions (a) and (b) are met in perpetuity.

(4) In carrying out duties under this section, the Secretary of State must be satisfied that—

(a) any areas of special interest for biodiversity in England as defined in section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981;

(b) all irreplaceable habitats; and

(c) areas identified in Local Nature Recovery Strategies that are protected in the planning system and managed for the recovery of the natural environment have been identified and designated as a protected site.”

This new clause would require relevant Ministers to identify and maintain a network of sites for nature to protect at least 30% of the land in England for nature by 2030. The clause defines the level of protection sites require to qualify for inclusion in the new network and requires key sites for nature to be included within it.

New clause 106—Churches and church land to be registered as assets of community value

“(1) The Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012 (S.I. 2421/2012) are amended as follows.

(2) After regulation 2 (list of assets of community value), insert—

“2A Parish churches and associated glebe land are land of community value and must be listed.””

This new clause would require parish churches and associated glebe land to be listed as assets of community value, meaning communities would have the right to bid on them before any sale.

New clause 107—Licensing scheme: holiday lets

“(1) The Secretary of State must make regulations to require each relevant local authority in England to introduce a local licensing scheme for holiday lets.

(2) Any local licensing scheme introduced pursuant to regulations made under subsection (1) must require any owner of a holiday let to—

(a) obtain any fire, gas and electricity safety certificates as specified by the scheme;

(b) ensure that the holiday let complies with any health and safety regulations specified by the scheme, including the completion of any risk assessments required by those regulations;

(c) secure a licence for the holiday let from the local authority prior to trading;

(d) obtain a licence and renew this licence—

(i) every three years,

(ii) when the property changes ownership, or

(iii) when there is a change in the person holding day to day responsibility for the property; and

(e) not let out a property without a valid licence.

(3) A local authority introducing a licensing scheme must—

(a) outline—

(i) the terms and conditions of the licence,

(ii) the application process for securing the licence, and

(iii) the licence renewal process;

(b) determine an annual licence fee for each licensed property;

(c) inspect any property prior to issuing a licence;

(d) require the owner of a short term holiday let to—

(i) apply for and hold a licence to operate for each property they let prior to trading,

(ii) pay a licence application fee and annual charge for the licence,

(iii) renew the licence as required by the local authority under their licensing scheme,

(iv) pay any fines associated with breaches of a licence as laid out in the local licensing scheme,

(v) ensure that the holiday let complies with any health and safety regulations specified by the scheme, including the completion of any risk assessments required by those regulations, and

(vi) provide up to date property details including details of who will hold responsibility for the day to day management of the property;

(e) maintain an up to date list of all licensed short term holiday let properties within the local authority area to include—

(i) the address of the property,

(ii) whether this is a shared property occupied by the owner or a separate let,

(iii) how many people are eligible to stay at the property, and

(iv) how many days of the year that the property will be advertised for letting and be let;

(f) inspect the property following a report from the public of an issue of concern relating to the property or to any other property owned by the same person;

(g) monitor compliance with the licensing scheme;

(h) publish an annual report on the number and location of licences including the number and location of licences in each ward and their impact on local residential housing supply and details of any breaches reported and fines issued; and

(i) provide residents adjacent to the short term holiday let contact details of their enforcement officer should they experience any issue at the property.

(4) A licensing scheme must allow the local authority to—

(a) set out details of any area where the granting or renewal of licences will be banned, suspended or limited;

(b) set limits and or thresholds on the level of the licencing permitted in any area;

(c) require property owners to renew their licences every three years, or when a property changes in ownership;

(d) issue fines or remove a licence of a property if—

(i) fire, health and safety conditions are breached,

(ii) criminal activity occurs at the property, or

(iii) excess noise and nuisance or anti-social behaviour rules as set out in the licensing conditions are repeatedly breached, or

(iv) the registered owner or the person listed as holding responsibility for the property has had licences on other properties removed; and

(e) issue penalties or licensing bans on those renting properties without a licence.

(5) In this section—

an

“area” may be—

(a) a polling district;

(b) a ward; or

(c) the whole local authority area;

“holiday let” means—

(a) a dwelling-house let for the purpose of conferring on the tenant the right to occupy the dwelling-house for a holiday, or

(b) any part of a dwelling-house let for the purpose of conferring on the tenant to occupy that part of the house for a holiday;

“relevant local authority” means—

(a) a district council in England;

(b) a county council in England for an area for which there is no district council;

(c) a London borough council; (d) the Common Council of the City of London.”

This new clause provides for the introduction of a licensing scheme for holiday lets.

New clause 108—Review of Permitted Development Rights

“(1) The Secretary of State must, within 12 months of this Act gaining Royal Assent, commission and publish an independent review of permitted development rights under Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (S.I. 2015/596).

(2) The review should include an assessment of—

(a) the past effectiveness of permitted development rights in achieving housing targets;

(b) the quality of housing delivered under permitted development rights;

(c) the impacts of permitted development on heritage, conservation areas and setting;

(d) the estimated carbon impact of the use of permitted development rights since the expansion of permitted development to demolition;

(e) the relative cost to local planning authorities of processing permitted development compared to full planning consent;

(f) potential conflict between existing permitted development rights and the application of national development management policies;

(g) the impact of permitted development rights, or other policies in this Bill designed to deliver streamlined consent, on the efficacy of levelling-up missions.

(3) The review should make recommendations.”

This new clause requests a review of permitted development rights to run in conjunction with the development of national development management policies, which will examine the potential for conflict between existing rights and likely national policies. This review would examine the interaction between other permissive and streamlined consent provisions in the Bill.

New clause 109—Cycling, walking and rights of way plans: incorporation in development plans

“(1) A local planning authority must ensure that the development plan incorporates, so far as relevant to the use or development of land in the local planning authority’s area, the policies and proposals set out in—

(a) any local cycling and walking infrastructure plan or plans prepared by a local transport authority;

(b) any rights of way improvement plan.

(2) In dealing with an application for planning permission or permission in principle the local planning authority shall also have regard to any policies or proposals contained within a local cycling and walking infrastructure plan or plans and any rights of way improvement plan which have not been included as part of the development plan, so far as material to the application.

(3) In this section—

(a) “local planning authority” has the same meaning as in section 15LF of PCPA 2004;

(b) “local transport authority” has the same meaning as in section 108 of the Transport Act 2000;

(c) a “rights of way improvement plan” is a plan published by a local highway authority under section 60 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.”

This new clause would require development plans to incorporate policies and proposals for cycling and walking infrastructure plans and rights of way improvement plans. Local planning authorities would be required to have regard to any such policies and proposals where they have not been incorporated in a development plan.

New clause 110—Consistency with the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change

“(1) The Secretary of State must aim to ensure consistency with the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change in preparing—

(a) national policy or advice relating to the development or use of land,

(b) a development management policy pursuant to section 38ZA of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

(2) A relevant planning authority when making a planning decision must aim to ensure the decision is consistent with the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), a relevant planning authority is as set out in section 81.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (2) a planning decision is a decision relating to—

(a) development arising from an application for planning permission;

(b) the making of a development order granting planning permission;

(c) an approval pursuant to a development order granting planning permission.

(5) For the purposes of this section—

(a) the mitigation of climate change shall include the achievement of—

(i) the target for 2050 set out in section 1 of the Climate Change Act 2008, and

(ii) applicable carbon budgets made pursuant to section 4 of the Climate Change Act 2008.

(b) adaptation to climate change shall include the achievement of long-term resilience to all climate-related risks, such as risks to health, well-being, food supply and infrastructure, including but not limited to—

(i) the mitigation of the risks identified in the latest climate change risk assessment conducted under section 56 of the Climate Change Act 2008, and

(ii) the achievement of the objectives of the latest flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy made pursuant to section 7 of the Flood and Coastal Water Management Act 2010.

(6) The meaning of the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change given by subsection (5) applies for the purposes of—

(a) Parts 2 and Part 3 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004,

(b) section 334 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999, and

(c) Part 10A of the Planning Act 2008.”

This new clause would require planning policy prepared by the Secretary of State to inform local plan-making and planning decisions, and planning decisions themselves (including those made by the Secretary of State) to be consistent with national targets and objectives for the mitigation of, and adaption to, climate change. To ensure consistency in implementation, the clause extends the definition to the requirements relating to the mitigation of, and adaption to, climate change set out in the bill.

New clause 111—Vacant higher value local authority housing

“(1) The Housing and Planning Act 2016 is amended in accordance with subsection (2).

(2) Leave out Chapter 2 of Part 4.”

New clause 112—Registers of persons seeking to acquire land to build a home

“(1) Section 1 of the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (A1) omit the words “or completion”.

(3) At the end of subsection (A1) insert “, where the individuals will have the main input into the full design and layout of their home.”

(4) In subsection (A2), for “who” substitute “, firm, business or company who or which”.

(5) At the end of subsection (A2) insert “, firm, business or company; and nor does it include off-plan homes, nor homes purchased at the plan stage prior to construction and without the main input into the full design and layout from the individual or individuals who will be the future occupiers.””

This new clause would clarify the legislation with respect to self-build and custom housebuilding to recognise that most homes are built by building firms, businesses or companies for individuals who want to build a home and that self-build and custom housebuilding means individuals must have main input into the full design and layout of their home.

New clause 114—Onshore wind planning applications

“(1) The Secretary of State shall within six months of this Bill securing Royal Assent remove from the National Planning Policy Framework the current restrictions on the circumstances in which proposed wind energy developments involving one or more turbines should be considered acceptable.

(2) The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 is amended in accordance with subsection (3).

(3) In section 19 (preparation of local development documents), after (1B) insert—

“(1BA) Each local planning authority must consider how the desirability of the deployment of renewable energy, and specifically onshore wind generation, can be achieved in the local authority’s area.””

This new clause would commit the Secretary of State to revising the National Planning Policy Framework within six months of the Bill securing Royal Assent to remove the onerous restrictions it currently places on the development of onshore wind projects by deleting footnote 54 and ensure that local authorities are required to proactively identify opportunities for the deployment of renewable energy including onshore wind generation.

New clause 115—Duty to grant sufficient planning permission for self-build and custom housebuilding (No. 2)

“(1) Section 2A of the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (2)—

(a) omit “suitable”; and

(b) for “in respect of enough serviced plots” substitute “for the carrying out of self-build and custom housebuilding on enough serviced plots”.

(3) Omit subsection (6)(c).

(4) After subsection (6) insert—

“(6) Development permission must specify the precise number of dwellings which fall within the definition of self-build and custom housebuilding in this Act and must be subject to an express planning condition or planning obligation specifically requiring dwellings to be built in line with the definition of self-build and custom housebuilding in this Act, and only in respect of the specific number of dwellings so identified.”

(5) After subsection (9) insert—

“(10) Where individuals and associations of individuals who have registered on the register identified in section 1 have not had their demand met from one base period, they will have their demand added to the subsequent base period, provided those individuals or associations of individuals remain on the register or register in that subsequent base period.

(11) Unmet demand for self-build and custom housebuilding carries forward each year until it is met, provided the individual or associations of individuals continue to remain on the register or register each year and have not had their demand met.

(12) Once an individual or associations of individuals has been entered on the register identified in section 1, they shall not be removed from that register during the base period or for the three subsequent years during which the relevant authority is under a duty to meet the requirement for the base year in which the individual or associations of individuals has registered, other than with the express written consent of the individual or associations of individuals.””

This new clause provides that planning permission only qualifies towards meeting the demand for self-build and custom housebuilding if it is actually for self-build and custom housebuilding. It would also introduce a requirement to specify the precise number of dwellings which fall within this definition and clarify that the demand for self-build and custom housebuilding as recorded on an authority’s register is cumulative.

New clause 120—New use classes for second homes

“(1) Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (S.I. 1987/764) is amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph 3 (dwellinghouses) for “whether or not as a sole or” substitute “as a”

(3) After paragraph 3 insert—

“3A Class C3A Second homes

Use, following a change of ownership, as a dwellinghouse as a secondary or supplementary residence by—

(a) a single person or by people to be regarded as forming a single household;

(b) not more than six residents living together as a single household where care is provided for residents; or

(c) not more than six residents living together as a single household where no care is provided to residents (other than a use within class C4).

Interpretation of Class C3A

For the purposes of Class C3A “single household” is to be construed in accordance with section 258 of the Housing Act 2004.””

New clause 121—New use classes for holiday rentals

“(1) Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (S.I. 1987/764) is amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph 3 (dwellinghouses) after “residence” insert “other than a use within Class C3A)”.

(3) After paragraph 3 insert—

“Class C3A Holiday rentals

Use, following a change of ownership, as a dwellinghouse as a holiday rental property.””

New clause 122—Report on a resources and skills strategy for the planning sector

“(1) The Secretary of State must, within 60 days of the day on which this Act is passed, establish a review of the—

(a) resources; and

(b) skills

within and to local planning authorities.

(2) The Secretary of State must lay a report on the findings of this review before Parliament no later than 6 months after this Act comes into force.

(3) A report under subsection (2) must include a strategy for—

(a) increasing resources to; and

(b) supporting the capacity of

local planning authorities.”

This new clause would require the Secretary of State to review resources and skills within local planning authorities and those potentially available to them such as Planning Performance Agreements and to report the findings to Parliament.

New clause 123—Housebuilding targets at a local level

“(1) The Secretary of State must set each local authority a reasoned housebuilding target.

(2) If the local authority accepts the housebuilding target set by the Secretary of State, it must be incorporated into the local plan.

(3) If the local authority does not accept the housebuilding target set by the Secretary of State, the decision on the housebuilding target is subject to a decision at the local inquiry stage.”

New clause 124—Public consultation on planning and women’s safety

“(1) The Secretary of State must, within 90 days of the day on which this Act is passed, open a public consultation to establish the impact of proposed changes to the planning system on women’s safety.

(2) Section 70 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 is amended in accordance with subsection (3).

(3) After subsection (2A), insert—

“(2B) In dealing with an application for planning permission for public development, a local planning authority must establish a review of how the proposed development would impact women’s safety. The review must in particular, consider the impact of proposed development on—

(a) open spaces,

(b) layout of buildings,

(c) unlit or hidden spaces,

(d) visibility of entranceways, and

(e) blind spots.

(2C) The local planning authority must prepare and publish a report setting out the results of the review.””

Government new schedule 1—Amendments of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017: assumptions about nutrient pollution standards.

Amendment 20, in clause 75, page 85, line 9, at end insert—

“(1A) Regulations under this Chapter may require relevant planning authorities to process data in accordance with approved data standards relating to the number and nature of—

(a) second homes,

(b) holiday let properties

in the planning authority area.”

This amendment would enable planning data regulations to provide for the collection of data to national standards about second homes and holiday lets.

Amendment 78, in clause 83, page 91, line 28, leave out lines 28 to 30 and insert—

“(5C) But the development plan has precedence over any national development management policy in the event of any conflict between the two.”

This amendment gives precedence to local development plans over national policies, reversing the current proposal in inserted subsection (5C).

Amendment 77, page 91, line 30, at end insert

“, subject to subsection (5D).

(5D) But any conflict must be resolved in favour of the development plan in an area if—

(a) in relation to it, regulations under section 16 of the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 have been made to provide for the town and country planning function and the highways function and any functions exercisable under the Environment Act 2021 of a county council or a district council that is exercisable in relation to an area which is within a county combined authority area to be exercisable by the CCA in relation to the CCA's area,

(b) if, in relation to it, regulations under section 17 of the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 have been made to provide for at least one function of another public body that is exercisable in relation to an area which is within a county combined authority area to be exercisable by the CCA in relation to the CCA's area,

(c) it has a joint spatial development strategy, or

(d) it is in Greater London.”

This amendment would place limits on the primary of national development management policies over the development plan where a Combined County Authority had been handed planning, highways, environmental powers and at least one function of another public body under a devolution deal, in areas covered by a joint spatial development strategy and in Greater London.

Amendment 79, in clause 84, page 92, line 9, leave out lines 9 to 16 and insert—

“(2) Before designating a policy as a national development management policy for the purposes of this Act the Secretary of State must carry out an appraisal of the sustainability of that policy.

(3) A policy may be designated as a national development management policy for the purposes of this Act only if the consultation and publicity requirements set out in clause 38ZB, and the parliamentary requirements set out in clause 38ZC, have been complied with in relation to it, and—

(a) the consideration period for the policy has expired without the House of Commons resolving during that period that the statement should not be proceeded with, or

(b) the policy has been approved by resolution of the House of Commons—

(i) after being laid before Parliament under section 38ZC, and

(ii) before the end of the consideration period.

(4) In subsection (3)

“the consideration period” ,in relation to a policy, means the period of 21 sitting days beginning with the first sitting day after the day on which the statement is laid before Parliament under section 38ZC, and here “sitting day” means a day on which the House of Commons sits.

(5) A policy may not be designated a national development management policy unless—

(a) it contains explanations of the reasons for the policy, and

(b) in particular, includes an explanation of how the policy set out takes account of Government policy relating to the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change.

(6) The Secretary of State must arrange for the publication of a national policy statement.

38ZB Consultation and publicity

(1) This section sets out the consultation and publicity requirements referred to in sections 38ZA(3) and 38ZD(7).

(2) The Secretary of State must carry out such consultation, and arrange for such publicity, as the Secretary of State thinks appropriate in relation to the proposal. This is subject to subsections (4) and (5).

(3) In this section “the proposal” means—

(a) the policy that the Secretary of State proposes to designate as a national development management policy for the purposes of this Act or

(b) (as the case may be) the proposed amendment (see section 38ZD).

(4) The Secretary of State must consult such persons, and such descriptions of persons, as may be prescribed.

(5) If the policy set out in the proposal identifies one or more locations as suitable (or potentially suitable) for a specified description of development, the Secretary of State must ensure that appropriate steps are taken to publicise the proposal.

(6) The Secretary of State must have regard to the responses to the consultation and publicity in deciding whether to proceed with the proposal.

38ZC Parliamentary requirements

(1) This section sets out the parliamentary requirements referred to in sections 38ZA(3) and 38ZD(7).

(2) The Secretary of State must lay the proposal before Parliament.

(3) In this section “the proposal” means—

(a) the policy that the Secretary of State proposes to designate as a national development management policy for the purposes of this Act or

(b) (as the case may be) the proposed amendment (see section 38ZD).

(4) Subsection (5) applies if, during the relevant period—

(a) either House of Parliament makes a resolution with regard to the proposal, or

(b) a committee of either House of Parliament makes recommendations with regard to the proposal.

(5) The Secretary of State must lay before Parliament a statement setting out the Secretary of State's response to the resolution or recommendations.

(6) The relevant period is the period specified by the Secretary of State in relation to the proposal.

(7) The Secretary of State must specify the relevant period in relation to the proposal on or before the day on which the proposal is laid before Parliament under subsection (2).

(8) After the end of the relevant period, but not before the Secretary of State complies with subsection (5) if it applies, the Secretary of State must lay the proposal before Parliament.

38ZD Review of national development management policies

(1) The Secretary of State must review a national development management policy whenever the Secretary of State thinks it appropriate to do so.

(2) A review may relate to all or part of a national development management policy.

(3) In deciding when to review a national development management policy the Secretary of State must consider whether—

(a) since the time when the policy was first published or (if later) last reviewed, there has been a significant change in any circumstances on the basis of which any of the policy set out in the statement was decided,

(b) the change was not anticipated at that time, and

(c) if the change had been anticipated at that time, any of the policy set out would have been materially different.

(4) In deciding when to review part of a national development management policy (“the relevant part”) the Secretary of State must consider whether—

(a) since the time when the relevant part was first published or (if later) last reviewed, there has been a significant change in any circumstances on the basis of which any of the policy set out in the relevant part was decided,

(b) the change was not anticipated at that time, and

(c) if the change had been anticipated at that time, any of the policy set out in the relevant part would have been materially different.

(5) After completing a review of all or part of a national development management policy the Secretary of State must do one of the following—

(a) amend the policy;

(b) withdraw the policy's designation as a national development management policy;

(c) leave the policy as it is.

(6) Before amending a national development management policy the Secretary of State must carry out an appraisal of the sustainability of the policy set out in the proposed amendment.

(7) The Secretary of State may amend a national development management policy only if the consultation and publicity requirements set out in section 38ZB, and the parliamentary requirements set out in section 38ZC, have been complied with in relation to the proposed amendment, and—

(a) the consideration period for the amendment has expired without the House of Commons resolving during that period that the amendment should not be proceeded with, or

(b) the amendment has been approved by resolution of the House of Commons—

(i) after being laid before Parliament under section 38ZA, and

(ii) before the end of the consideration period.

(8) In subsection (7) “the consideration period”, in relation to an amendment, means the period of 21 sitting days beginning with the first sitting day after the day on which the amendment is laid before Parliament, and here “sitting day” means a day on which the House of Commons sits.

(9) If the Secretary of State amends a national development management policy, the Secretary of State must—

(a) arrange for the amendment, or the policy as amended, to be published, and

(b) lay the amendment, or the policy as amended, before Parliament.”

This amendment stipulates the process for the Secretary of State to designate and review a national development management policy including minimum public consultation requirements and a process of parliamentary scrutiny based on processes set out in the Planning Act 2008 (as amended) for designating National Policy Statements.

Amendment 21, in clause 88, page 94, line 28, at end insert—

“(aa) policies (however expressed) relating to the proportion of dwellings which may be in—

(i) use class 3A (second homes), or

(ii) use class 3B (holiday rentals)

under Schedule 1 of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (S.I. 1987/764).”

This amendment would enable neighbourhood plans to include policies relating to the proportion of dwellings which may be second homes and short-term holiday lets under use classes created by NC38.

Amendment 22, page 94, line 28, at end insert—

“(aa) policies (however expressed) limiting new housing development in a National Park or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to affordable housing;”

This amendment would enable neighbourhood development plans to restrict new housing development in National Parks and AONBs to affordable housing.

Amendment 74, page 95, line 6, at end insert—

“(B1) A neighbourhood development plan must include proposals to—

(a) achieve net zero,

(b) promote and increase local biodiversity, and

(c) improve local levels of recycling.”

Amendment 4, page 95, line 11, after “contribute” insert

“to the mitigation of flooding and”.

This amendment would require neighbourhood development plans to be designed to secure that the development and use of land in the neighbourhood area contribute to flood mitigation.

Amendment 95, in clause 90, page 96, line 34, at end insert—

“(3A) Where regulations under this section make requirements of a local authority that is failing to deliver a local plan in a timely way, the plan-making authority must consult the local community on the contents of the relevant plan.”

This amendment would require, in the event of a local authority failing to deliver a local plan in a timely way, those taking over the process to consult with the community.

Amendment 23, in clause 92, page 98, line 39, at end insert—

“a National Park

the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage, and the opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the area by the public, under section 5 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949

an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the area, under section 82 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000”

This amendment would protect as heritage assets National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Government amendments 57 and 58.

Amendment 90, page 105, leave out clause 97.

Government amendments 27, 24 and 59.

Amendment 73, in clause 100, page 118, line 31, at end insert—

“(3A) But notwithstanding subsection (3) the completion notice deadline may be less than 12 months after the completion notice was served if the local planning authority are of the opinion that—

(a) development has not taken place on the site for prolonged period,

(b) there is no reasonable prospect of development being completed within a reasonable period, and

(c) it is in the public interest to issue an urgent completion notice.

(3B) A completion notice may include requirements concerning the removal of any buildings or works authorised by the permission, or the discontinuance of any use of land so authorised, at the end of the completion period, and the carrying out of any works required for the reinstatement of land at the end of that period.”

This amendment would enable the issuance of completion notices withdrawing planning permission with a deadline of less than 12 months when certain conditions are met, and enable completion notices to require that building works be removed from a site or a site be reinstated to its previous condition.

Government amendment 28.

Amendment 81, in clause 115, page 132, line 21, leave out “a charge” and insert “an optional charge”.

This amendment would ensure that application of the Infrastructure Levy would be optional rather than mandatory.

Amendment 91, page 132, leave out clause 117.

Amendment 87, in clause 118, page 134, line 17, leave out subsection (5) and insert—

“(5) Before making any EOR regulations which contain provision about what the specified environmental outcomes are to be, the Secretary of State must ensure they are in accordance with—

(a) the current environmental improvement plan (within the meaning of Part 1 of the Environment Act 2021),

(b) biodiversity targets including those required under sections 1 and 3 of the Environment Act 2021,

(c) the duty to conserve biodiversity as required under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006,

(d) local nature recovery strategies as required under section 104 of the Environment Act 2021, and

(e) lowering the net UK carbon account as required under section 1 of the Climate Change Act 2008.”

This amendment would ensure that when using EOR regulations to specify environmental outcomes the Secretary of State would have to ensure they are in accordance with the current environmental improvement plan and additional criteria.

Amendment 63, page 134, line 19, leave out from “to” to end of line 20 and insert—

“(a) the current environmental improvement plan (within the meaning of Part 1 of the Environment Act 2021);

(b) the protection of the climate, including through meeting the UK’s domestic and international obligations in respect of the mitigation of, and adaption to, climate change;

(c) the preservation of the green belt;

(d) the protection of heritage in the built environment.”

This amendment would require the Secretary of State to have regard to climate obligations, the preservation of the green belt and the protection of heritage, as well as to the current environmental improvement plan, when setting EOR regulations.

Amendment 105, in clause 119, page 134, line 25, at end insert—

“(1A) Where an environmental outcomes report is required to be prepared in relation to a proposed relevant consent—

(a) the local authority must independently commission a report; and

(b) the developer must provide sufficient funding to the local authority to commission and to provide a reasonable fee for the undertaking of such a report.”

This amendment seeks to remove any conflict of interest, perceived or otherwise, of the developer commissioning an Environmental Outcomes Report, by establishing independent commission through the local authority. It requires the developer to fund not only the report itself but the costs accruing to the local planning authority in undertaking the commissioning process.

Amendment 88, in clause 122, page 138, line 3, leave out subsection (1) and insert—

“(1) The Secretary of State may only make EOR regulations if doing so will result in no diminution of environmental protection as provided for by environmental law at the time this Act is passed.”

This amendment would ensure that the new system of environmental assessment would not reduce existing environmental protections in any way rather than merely maintaining overall existing levels of environmental protection.

Amendment 89, in clause 129, page 142, line 14, leave out “in particular” and insert “not”.

This amendment would ensure that any specified environmental outcomes arising from EOR regulations made would augment not substitute those arising from existing environmental assessment legislation and the Habitats Regulations.

Government amendments 34 to 36, 30, 52, 99, 33, 100, 53, 31, 65, 101, 48, 25, 55, 50, 54, 26, 56, 32, 66, 49 and 102.

Amendment 92, in schedule 7, page 242, line 11, at end insert—

“(6A) In preparing their local plan, a local planning authority may have regard to whether a nationally significant infrastructure development has been granted in their area, and adjust their housing need calculation accordingly.”

This amendment would allow local authorities to consider the impact on available land of the imposition of nationally significant infrastructure developments in their area, such as rail freight terminals, power stations, or expansion of airport facilities.

Amendment 93, page 243, line 14 at end insert—

“(ha) Environmental Outcomes Reports,”.

This amendment would require local planning authorities to have regard to Environmental Outcomes Reports in preparing a local plan.

Amendment 75, page 252, line 5, at end insert—

“15EZA Development prior to the adoption of a local plan

(1) This section applies—

(a) after a draft local plan has been submitted for independent examination under section 15D but before it has been adopted under section 15EA; and

(b) when a local planning authority considers that a planning application might conflict with the provisions of the draft local plan.

(2) The local planning authority may defer a decision on the granting of planning permission for the application in paragraph (1)(b) until the draft local plan has been adopted.”

Amendment 80, page 274, line 31, at end insert—

“(4) In this part—

“mitigation of climate change” means compliance with the objectives and relevant budgetary provisions of the Climate Change Act 2008;

“adaptation to climate change” means the achievement of long-term resilience to climate-related risks, including the mitigation of the risks identified in relation to section 56 of the Climate Change Act 2008, and the achievement of the objectives of the relevant flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy made pursuant to section 7 of the Flood and Coastal Water Management Act 2010.”

This amendment requires references to climate change mitigation and adaptation in the inserted sections on plan making to be interpreted in line with the Climate Change Act 2008.

Amendment 85, in schedule 11, page 286, line 34, at end insert—

“(2A) The intention of IL is to enable local authorities to raise money from developments to fund infrastructure to support the development of their areas while allowing planning obligations under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to continue to be used to provide affordable housing and ensure that development is acceptable in planning terms.”

Amendment 82, page 287, leave out lines 28 and 29 and insert—

“(1) A charging authority in England may, if it determines that IL would be more effective than the community infrastructure levy for delivering infrastructure in its area and would not prevent it meeting the level of affordable housing need identified in its local development plan, in accordance with IL regulations, charge IL in respect of development in its area.”

This amendment to inserted section 204B, which is connected to Amendment 81, would ensure that application of the Infrastructure Levy would be optional rather than mandatory.

Amendment 97, page 289, line 30, leave out “may” and insert “must”.

Amendment 3, page 289, line 37, at end insert—

“(9) IL regulations must provide for exemption from liability to pay IL in respect of affordable housing as defined in Annex 2 of the NPPF.”

This amendment would provide for an exemption from liability to pay IL for affordable housing as defined in Annex 2 of the NPPF.

Amendment 5, page 291, line 36, at end insert—

“(1A) A charging schedule may—

(a) require a developer to pay their full IL liability for a development before being permitted to commence work on that development,

(b) require infrastructure funded by IL associated with a development to be built before work on that development may commence,

(c) require a developer, at request of the local council, to pay additional money to be held in bond for remedial work.”

This amendment would enable Infrastructure Levy charging authorities to require a developer to pay their full IL liability, or for infrastructure funded by IL associated with a development to be built, before development may commence. And for developers to be required, at the request of the authority to provide money for remedial work.

Amendment 76, page 291, line 36, at end insert—

“(1A) A charging schedule must, in accordance with IL regulations require—

(a) that a developer pay their full IL liability for a development before being permitted to commence work on that development,

(b) that infrastructure funded by IL associated with a development be built before work on that development may commence.

(1B) Subsection (1A) applies only to proposed developments of more than 50 units.”

Amendment 84, page 291, leave out from line 37 to line 3 on page 292 and insert—

“(2) A charging authority, in setting rates or other criteria, must ensure that—

(a) the level of affordable housing which is funded by developers and provided in the authority’s area, and

(b) the level of the funding provided by the developers, is maintained at a level which, over a specified period, enables it to meet the level of affordable housing need identified in the local development plan.”

This amendment would require Infrastructure Levy rates to be set at such a level as to meet the level of affordable housing need specified in a local development plan.

Amendment 104, page 291, line 37, leave out from “must” to “that” in line 39, and insert “ensure”.

This amendment would require Infrastructure Levy rates to be set at such a level that funding for affordable housing is maintained at existing levels.

Amendment 86, page 292, line 14, after “development” insert “of the area”.

This amendment seeks to ensure consistency with inserted section 204A(2) on page 282 and ensure that consideration of viability relates to the area as a whole.

Amendment 96, page 292, line 28, at end insert—

“(4A) IL regulations must make provision for a sliding scale of charges increasing in proportion to the share of the development that is on greenfield land, for the purposes of incentivising brownfield development, unless any development on greenfield land is offset by the re-greening of an agreed area of brownfield land in a densely developed or populated area.”

This amendment is offered as an alternative proposition to Amendment 59, adding safeguards intended to prevent extremely dense development in urban centres with an undersupply of open space.

Amendment 2, page 298, line 21, at end insert—

“(ca) facilities providing childcare to children aged 11 or under,

(cb) the provision of subsidised or free schemes to deliver childcare for children aged 11 or under,”.

This amendment would add childcare facilities to the list of “infrastructure” in this schedule and therefore include it in the list of facilities which may be funded, improved, replaced or maintained by the charging authority, as well as allowing local authorities to use levy funds to provide subsidised or free childcare schemes in their area.

Amendment 98, page 301, line 36, at end insert—

“(c) all provision that is captured through the section 106 system.”

Amendment 83, page 312, leave out from line 40 to line 13 on page 313 and insert

“may be given under subsection (4) for authorities that have adopted an IL charging schedule, only if it is necessary for—

(a) delivering the overall purpose of IL mentioned in section 204A(2), or (b) avoiding charging a specific development more than once for the same infrastructure project through both IL and the following powers—

(i) Part 11 (Community Infrastructure Levy) (including any power conferred by CIL regulations under that Part),

(ii) Section 106 of TCPA 1990 (planning obligations), and

(iii) Section 278 of the Highways Act 1980 (execution of works) unless this is essential to rendering the development acceptable in planning terms.”

This amendment would avoid restrictions being placed on the use of the community infrastructure levy, section 106 obligations, and section 278 agreements at the Secretary of State’s discretion unless necessary to avoid double charging for the same infrastructure provision.

Government amendments 37 to 39, 67, 103 and 68.

Our houses are not just bricks and mortar; they are homes. And those who live around us are not just our neighbours; they are our communities. We all want to live in streets that uplift our spirits and where our children, and their children, can afford to live and own their own homes alongside us. Churchill once said:

“We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.”—[Official Report, 28 October 1943; Vol. 393, c. 403.]

So too, if we empower our communities, they will empower us.

We know that we can do more to ensure that, when we expand our communities, we do so in the right places, with the right infrastructure, and with the support of local people and local representatives. The think-tank Demos asked people whether they would prefer to have more say over how money is spent in their area, or to have more money. People were twice as likely to say that they would prefer to have more say and less money. Our Bill seeks to provide opportunities for collaboration and empowerment. It provides more opportunity for more homes that are beautiful, supported by infrastructure, delivered with democracy, which level up across our country.

I thank all colleagues for their extensive engagement, highlighting to me, to the Under-Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Felicity Buchan), and to the Secretary of State the issues and concerns in their local areas. All represent different and diverse areas across the country: rural and urban, coastal and remote, island and inner city. I thank in particular my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers) and my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Bob Seely) for their constructive contribution on this issue and their unwavering commitment to our planning system and their constituents.

I also thank my right hon. Friends the Members for Ashford (Damian Green) and for Romsey and Southampton North (Caroline Nokes), my hon. Friends the Members for Gosport (Dame Caroline Dinenage), for Aylesbury (Rob Butler), for Rushcliffe (Ruth Edwards), for North Devon (Selaine Saxby) and for Buckingham (Greg Smith), and the many Members across the House who have contributed significantly to our policy decisions on these issues.

It is important that we build homes this country needs in the places that we need homes most. We have a moral responsibility to get on and build, but we also have a responsibility to our existing communities to do so in the right way and with community support.

My constituents in Rushcliffe are supportive of house building, but they rightly object to being forced to build 660% of the national average, as they were last year, often on greenfield sites and without the infrastructure to match. Can my right hon. and learned Friend confirm that the Bill will give real teeth to our brownfield-first policy and give power back to local people to shape the future of their communities?

I was pleased to discuss these issues with my hon. Friend, and she is absolutely right that we must build on brownfield first. That is what local communities want. Through not just this Bill, but the consultation that we will bring forward on the national planning policy framework, we will identify how we can encourage local communities to do just that, with incentives through the infrastructure levy, for example, but through other measures too.

The way for a community and local representatives to shape their area’s future is through the local plan. At the moment, local plans are taking too long. The system is too onerous and councils feel that their local constraints are not properly taken into account. The result is that fewer than 40% of planning authorities have adopted a plan in the last five years. That means that, instead of developments being delivered coherently and in collaboration with communities, new houses are being imposed on local people through successive planning applications. Through the Bill and the consultation on the NPPF, which we intend to launch before Christmas, we will ensure that the needs of the community are taken into account when a plan is designed. Once the plan is in place, it will provide protection against other unwanted development.

I completely agree with the Minister about local plans. The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee has said that on many occasions. May I just ask her, though, whether, in national terms, the Government are still committed to the 300,000 figure, as a target, an objective, an aspiration or whatever and, if they are, how will they achieve that figure unless the numbers agreed in local plans individually throughout the country add up to that 300,000?

I can confirm that the Government are committed to building 300,000 homes because we do need those homes across the country and we need to ensure that young people can get on to the housing ladder. As I have just identified, communities are not agreeing local plans with those figures in them, so they are getting development where they do not want it; it is speculative development. What we will see through this measure is communities coming together with that starting point number, but seeing what works for their communities. When they engage properly on it, I think we will see that housing coming through.

My right hon. and learned Friend knows that I am a passionate campaigner for brownfield first. When it comes to this point about communities, it is refreshing to hear that the Government have taken on board the points about including communities in that process, making them feel much more involved. Will she, at some point, be giving us further detail on how that process will work and where the opportunities will be for local communities to feed in their views?

I was happy to discuss these very issues with my right hon. Friend, who has written on this issue and I know feels very deeply about it, especially the issue of brownfield land and development. We will ensure that people will build what their local community wants through, for example, not just their local plan, but the mandatory design code. Local areas will have a design code, so that, when a building comes through, it will be in the manner and design that local communities want.

My right hon. and learned Friend will know that, from the time I was the shadow Housing Minister 15 to 20 years ago, to the Building Beautiful, Building Better Commission and now the Office For Place, I have emphasised exactly what she has just described. Too often in the modern age, development has been out of scale and out of keeping with the existing built environment. Will she ensure that local authorities are fully informed of their ability to turn down an application for housing purely on design and scale terms?

I know that my right hon. Friend is very interested in these issues and is conscious of beauty and the importance for us to maintain that. Of course local authorities will be able to take their local decisions on those matters that concern them.

I am pleased to hear what the Minister is saying about improving the efficiency of the process. She will know that my amendment 75 talks about the fact that the guards are down for local authorities when their local plan is in abeyance. That was brought into sharp relief in the village of Harrold. It was only thanks to local councillor Alison Field Foster and the local parish council that development could be stopped. Is what the Minister is saying today going to close that gap to make my amendment unnecessary, or will there still be a liability for local authorities under her plan?

I have studied carefully my hon. Friend’s amendments, which are all on interesting points. We do not think that there is a need for those amendments, because there are provisions in the Bill to ensure that local communities can make decisions to protect local communities.

Can the Minister remind the House how the Government will stop developers gaming a local plan and getting permissions that are not within the local plan under some silly rule?

This Bill and the proposals that we are bringing forward through the revised NPPF will do exactly that. At the moment, in 60% of areas, building is through speculative development, not where communities want it. We want to streamline the local plan process, get those plans in place, where communities want it, and then we can start and continue to build.

I will make a little progress, but I am happy to come back to the hon. Member shortly.

In setting the principles for a local plan, we intend to retain a method for calculating local housing need figures. But these will be an advisory starting point. We propose that it will be up to local authorities, working with their communities, to determine how many homes can actually be built. They will take into account considerations such as the green belt, and the existence of a national park or coast. Building densities should not be significantly out of character with an area. We also propose making changes to the rolling five-year land supply, ending the obligation where a planned strategic housing policy is up to date. Communities will have a powerful incentive to get involved in their local plans.

It is good to hear the policies that my right hon. and learned Friend is outlining. My constituency has a high housing target that is forcing the closure of a working port. How would the options she has just outlined help my constituency keep a working docks instead of seeing the development of high-rise flats?

I know that my hon. Friend is a champion for her area, which has seen significant building. I cannot comment on any particular local plans, but an area must consider all the things that it needs to thrive, and that includes houses as well as employment facilities.

I thank the Minister for her words, which are incredibly helpful. Not many constituencies are like Basingstoke, which has built 150,000 houses in the last five decades. Can the Minister give me some comfort that that high level of delivery will be taken into account when future house building needs are decided? At the moment, we have to build 1,400 houses a year, which is just not sustainable, not least for the NHS.

I thank my right hon. Friend, and I was pleased to talk to her about her concerns, because I know that she is a huge advocate for her area. I can give her that comfort that we think it should be taken into account if areas have already over-delivered and taken significant housing. That should be taken into account when putting together the local plan.

Further to the point that the hon. Member for Rochester and Strood (Kelly Tolhurst) made, when developers build luxury flats that the local community often cannot afford it adds nothing to the housing numbers that need to be delivered. How will the Bill address that issue?

We are taking a variety of approaches. We emphasise the importance of variety, not just in the types of accommodation provided but in the type of buildings. That is how we get more housing supply, because we will have more uptake. We are also committed to more affordable homes, and we have a £11.5 billion fund to ensure that we get those homes built.

The Bill respects communities, but it also respects the environment. Central to our reforms will be a new system for assessing the impact of development on the environment. The system will replace the bureaucratic maze that we inherited from the EU. We will replace it with a system that is just as protective, but is outcomes based, not systems driven.

Clearly the Bill will not achieve the perfect planning system for every Member, councillor and constituent, when we all live in diverse areas with conflicting needs and interests, but I hope that the amendments will go even further towards improving our planning system.

My right hon. and learned Friend will know that Warrington, as a new town, has seen thousands and thousands of homes built in the last 50 years. It is currently in the process of agreeing its local plan—the local planning inquiry finished just last week. I am pleased to hear today that many of the suggestions will be put into law. Can she confirm that there will be a period in which local plans are paused before they are agreed and adopted? Many of the proposals she talks about today are fundamental to making the changes that we need to see in local plans.

I can give a confirmation that there will be some transitional provisions enabling local councils to proceed with the plan that they are about to adopt, but if they want to reflect, there will be an opportunity to do that as well. We believe that we are improving the system through the measures that we have set out.

Does the right hon. and learned Lady accept that we also need to level up access to green space and nature? Right now, the distribution of green space is very unequal; many people on the lowest incomes simply do not have access to green space at all. Will she look at my new clause 13 and look again at the whole issue of ensuring a right of access to good green space?

As I mentioned just now, the Bill is not just about building; it is also about protecting the environment. A number of measures in the Bill will ensure that we protect our natural spaces—30% of our nature—and our local nature recovery strategies, which are due to begin across England as soon as possible, were committed to in the Environment Act 2021.

Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that, following the talks between Ministers, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers) and me, we should have reached a compromise on a much more community-led, environmentally friendly and regenerative housing policy? As the Minister can hear, however, there is still considerable concern about making sure that we deliver the substance of these things as well as simply the words around them. Will that be reflected in the NPPF?

I reiterate my thanks to my hon. Friend, who has worked so hard with my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet to make sure that we get our planning system right, on behalf of and with so many colleagues on our Benches. I assure him that we in the Department for Levelling Up—me and the Secretary of State—believe that we have come to a better solution. We are committed to delivering it, as I am sure my hon. Friend and others across this House will see in the policy that we will propose in the NPPF and bring forward before Christmas.

I will make a little progress, because I would like to address the Government amendments, which I will do in five categories. First, we are making it easier for people to develop where they want to develop, and where it delivers the best gain to the community and ensures that planned-for development actually happens. I will highlight five measures in this first category.

Through new clauses 49 to 59, we will pilot community land auctions. They will seek to increase the supply of land and aim to capture more land value more effectively to the benefit of the local community. Planning permission will not be granted automatically on sites allocated in the local plan through the auction process.

Through new clauses 60 and 69, we are allowing for street votes enabling residents to come together and propose additional development on their streets in line with their preferences—subject to meeting prescribed requirements—and vote on whether it should be given permission. In speaking to those new clauses, I would like to acknowledge the work of my hon. Friend the Member for Weston-super-Mare (John Penrose) and the “Strong Suburbs” report by Policy Exchange.

We are making it easier for people to access suitable plots to build their own homes. We are building on the immense work of my hon. Friend the Member for South Norfolk (Mr Bacon). We recognise the importance of self-build and custom housebuilding, and new clause 68 clarifies the duty on authorities to provide for plots for such homes in their planning decisions.

We will also seek to reduce barriers to smaller-scale developments that communities can easily get behind. I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton South (Andrew Lewer) has worked significantly on that area. I can confirm that our intention is to consult on changing national policy to encourage greater use of small sites, especially those that will deliver higher levels of affordable housing.

Importantly, we are ensuring that when permissions are given, developments can be built out quickly. New clauses 48 and 67 deal with that. Members across the House have been concerned about the rate at which development occurs once planning permission has been granted. It is wrong for developers simply to sit on planning permissions, because that increases the number of permissions that have to be granted and risks overdevelopment. The Bill introduces further steps to tackle the issue, including a requirement for developers to report on the rate at which they build, and allowing authorities to deny permission for further development on the same sites where the developers have failed to build out. All those measures will encourage development where people want it and where they have agreed to have it.

I am not sure whether the Minister has looked at my amendments to her new clause 67. I agree with her about ensuring that builders build out at the required rate. However, some builders build out while ignoring the conditions for the planning permission put on them. I have a really bad case of that in my constituency with Avant Homes, which does not connect with local people, puts mud all over the roads and puts silt in the local brook—that sort of thing. Will she accept that local councils should be entitled to take account of failures to observe conditions when looking at future planning applications?

We are looking at the issue carefully and will consult on further measures that we might be able to bring forward. I assure the hon. Gentleman that where there are reasonable avenues that we can explore, we will look closely at them.

I want to build further on that intervention with regard to building out. In my constituency, many of those who have built out and built houses have not done so to the required quality, leaving many residents having to seek significant remedial works. However, my local authority is not allowed to take that into account when giving future permissions. Could the Minister look at consulting on that? Surely we should be encouraging quality over quantity.

I am happy to discuss that issue further with my right hon. Friend. As I mentioned, we are very concerned about build-out to increase the number of homes, and I know that the Secretary of State feels strongly about quality.

The second set of measures that we are introducing by way of amendments relates to infrastructure, because put simply, we cannot have houses without services to support them. Through the Bill, we will replace the existing system with an infrastructure levy—a non-negotiable liability for the developer based on the value of the development. Our plan is to implement the levy in stages so that we can adapt it according to the latest data and the latest evidence.

Thirdly, we are protecting the environment. On top of our environmental assessment reforms, new clauses 77 to 79 will support the Government’s efforts to protect and enhance our natural environment. We are creating an obligation on water companies to go further to address nutrient pollution and clean up our rivers. That will unlock thousands of new homes, complemented by new wetland and woodland areas, improving people’s access to green space and delivering new habitats for nature. I am grateful to the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Rebecca Pow), for her support and to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for working with us so closely to achieve these ends.

Fourthly, we recognise that some areas—Devon and Cornwall, for example—have particular problems with short-term lets, which, while attractive as a tourist industry, mean that large parts of an area have limited long-term residents, creating a real problem for local services. I am grateful to a number of colleagues for highlighting and campaigning on that. I thank my hon. Friends the Members for North Devon, for Cities of London and Westminster (Nickie Aiken), for Totnes (Anthony Mangnall), for Truro and Falmouth (Cherilyn Mackrory), for North Cornwall (Scott Mann) and for St Austell and Newquay (Steve Double) as well as others for the work that they have done. As a result of the points that they have raised, we intend to deliver a new registration scheme for short-term lets, starting with a further consultation on the exact design of the scheme, which will launch before the summer recess.

We will go even further by also consulting on a change to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 to enable local areas to better control changes of use to short-term lets, if they wish. Furthermore, the consultation on changes to use classes and the introduction of national permitted development rights to enable change of use where there is no local issue will be launched early next year.

I am very grateful to the Minister for taking an intervention and for the time she gave me last week to discuss this matter. Can she clarify whether it is now the Government’s intention to make short-term lets a separate category of planning use following the consultation? If so, when would that come in? Will she also ensure that planning departments have the resources to enforce that?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for speaking on this issue and indeed other issues on this topic. We are committing to consulting on the issue. We propose to consult early in the new year. Following that consultation, we hope to bring in some legislation, if that is the result of the consultation. There is a very tight timetable both for that and the registration scheme, and the registration scheme will be coming through in autumn.[Official Report, 20 December 2022, Vol. 725, c. 4MC.]

Will the Minister explain why she is not bringing in a licensing scheme that would enable local authorities to determine areas where they could exclude the expansion of Airbnbs or control licences where it was appropriate to do so?

We are bringing through a very important first step to identify where people have short-term lets across the country and where there are local issues. We know there are issues in some local areas, but not in others. We want to establish where they are and where they are causing issues for local communities, so we can make evidence-based policy and bring forward action to ensure those communities are not hollowed out, that people live there and that they can get the services they need. I emphasise that that builds on other action the Government have taken to ensure that we act and that people living in those communities get the support they need.

Fifthly, we are making the process work better. The Bill makes it easier to create new, locally led urban development corporations that can be the planning authority for large-scale development. We are also ensuring that all types of development corporation can have the planning powers they need. In support of that, Government amendments 34 and 36 make technical changes. Through Government new clause 64, we are facilitating charging by statutory consultees for nationally significant infrastructure projects. This recognises that commenting can be a resource-intensive exercise, and we do not want valuable advice to delay development. In addition, the Secretary of State will be given powers to commit the Marine Management Organisation to increase its fees for post-consent marine licensing monitoring, variations and transfers.

Our amendments focus on making the planning system, and the systems that interact with it, work better, innovating and improving for the benefit of all our constituents.

Madam Deputy Speaker, I apologise for not arriving for the beginning of my right hon. and learned Friend’s remarks. On the third group of amendments, on nutrient neutrality, may I applaud the Government for the work they are doing in trying to ensure that water companies take full responsibility for their discharges into our waterways? This is an extremely important and powerful set of amendments, and I applaud her for that. In that context, and in the context of both community land auctions and the infrastructure levy, is it the case that water companies can be in receipt of both those sources of funding in the event that local authorities deem it an appropriate use either of the infrastructure levy or funds arising out of community land auctions? At present, they do not appear to be. Can they become statutory consultees on significant developments, which at present they are not?

I am grateful for my right hon. Friend’s intervention, because I know he has done significant work on this issue. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced future funding from fines handed out to polluting water companies being invested in schemes for the benefit of our natural environment. I know he did a lot of work on that issue.

On the infrastructure levy, water and waste water networks are covered by the broad definition of infrastructure, so the answer to my right hon. Friend’s question on that issue is yes. On statutory consultees, the Secretary of State can make changes to the list of statutory consultees through secondary legislation, and we will consult on whether to make water companies statutory consultees, and if so, how best to do that.

Before the last intervention the Minister mentioned improving communities. I am grateful for the time she has spent with me in the last few weeks discussing this Bill, but will she give some clarity on amendment 2, on including childcare provision within the infrastructure definitions? Conversations with her outside this place indicate that she feels it would be included, but can she give me and the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Stella Creasy), in whose name the amendment stands, the reassurance that childcare provision would be included?

My hon. Friend is a strong advocate for his area; I have dealt with him in a number of Departments, and he stands up for his community on every issue. I am grateful for the work he has done to make sure the Bill overall comes out in a good place, and I know he has also spoken to my colleagues on a number of issues.

On the amendment on childcare, I should emphasise that there is a list of what constitutes infrastructure for the infrastructure levy, and it is a non-exhaustive list, so it will be possible for other items to be included. It is drafted purposefully to give local authorities wide powers to apply the levy to infrastructure that is important and needed in their local area. It contains illustrative examples of what might be included as infrastructure, but in any event the levy will be able to be spent on childcare facilities such as nurseries and pre-schools, as these fall under the definition of

“schools and other educational facilities”

already included in the list.

I know the Minister has tried to take account of these concerns, but from what she has just said, it is not the case that childcare would, unless it is connected to a school, be considered part of this. So what amendment 2 does is set out that, whether it is a nursery, a toy library or a childminding setting, if local councils felt that was something that needed to be done, they could work with developers to deliver it. Will she make that commitment, and most importantly will she write it down? It is one thing to make a commitment at the Dispatch Box, but those of us who have dealt with local government know that it needs to be in the guidance and regulations for us to truly declare that childcare is infrastructure.

I totally understand the hon. Lady’s points, and it is crucial that children get the support, care and education they deserve. It must be the case that nurseries and pre-schools fall within the definition of

“schools and other educational facilities”,

which is in the list at proposed new section 204N(3)(c). There is also a question about the provision of the care within that: that would not fall within the definition of infrastructure per se, but proposed new section 204N(5) allows regulations to make provision about when local authorities could apply levy money to non-infrastructure items, which could include subsidising the cost of childcare places for parents and carers if this was considered a priority by the local area.

I want to give Members across the House an opportunity to speak in this debate. We believe that our amendments focus on making the planning system, and the systems that interact with it, work better, innovating and improving for the benefit of all our constituents, and I commend them to the House.

I think it may be useful to colleagues if I explain how we intend to conduct the debate. Many Members wish to speak, and there have been and will be quite lengthy Front-Bench speeches. The debate has to finish at 6 o’clock. I want to give priority to those who have amendments tabled in their names—by and large, not everybody. I will have to put on a time limit of six minutes or five minutes. If we do not do that, we will not have a chance of getting anywhere near everyone in, or even everyone who has tabled amendments. That is just a warning—the time limit will come in after the shadow Minister.

I rise to speak to the new clauses and amendments in my name and those of my hon. Friends. It is two weeks and two significant concessions to large groups of disgruntled Government Back Benchers later, but it is a pleasure to finally be back in the Chamber to conclude the Report stage of this Bill. As my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham North (Alex Norris) made clear on day one of Report, in 27 sittings over a four-month period, the Bill was subject to exhaustive line-by-line consideration. Such was the appetite to participate in the Committee’s proceedings that not only was it formally adjourned to allow new members to take part, but we enjoyed appearances from seven different Ministers, some of whom even had more than a passing familiarity with the contents of the legislation.

I thank my hon. Friends the Members for York Central (Rachael Maskell), for South Shields (Mrs Lewell-Buck) and for Coventry North East (Colleen Fletcher) and the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron) for so ably scrutinising in Committee the many technical and complex provisions that the Bill contains. The new clauses and amendments that we have tabled for consideration today are almost identical to a number of those we discussed at length in Committee. That deliberate choice reflects not only the importance we place on the matters that they relate to, but the lack of anything resembling robust and convincing reassurances from Ministers in Committee in respect of the concerns that they seek to address. Indeed, if anything, the debates that took place and the responses provided by successive Ministers served only to harden our view that a number of the measures in the Bill relating to planning and the environment would almost certainly have adverse impacts.

Our hope, perhaps a forlorn one, Madam Deputy Speaker, is that the new ministerial team may have used the almost 50 days since their appointment to further interrogate the potential risks posed by those measures in the Bill that are controversial and to reflect on the wisdom of proceeding with them.

Part 3 of the Bill deals with a wide range of issues relating to both national planning policy and local and neighbourhood planning. Many of the clauses that this eclectic part contains are unproblematic, but others are contentious, and we raised detailed concerns in Committee about several of them. Amendments 78 and 79 seek to address arguably the most disquieting, namely clauses 83 and 84, concerning the future relationship between local development plans and national planning policy given statutory weight in the form of national development management policies. We welcome the fact that new section 38(5B) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 in clause 83 provides communities with greater confidence that finalised local plans will be adhered to and any safeguards they contain respected. However, we believe that new subsection 5C in clause 83, in providing that anything covered by an NDMP will not only have legal status but will take precedence over local development plans in any instance where there is found to be a conflict between the two, represents a radical centralisation of planning decision-making that will fundamentally alter the status and remit of local planning in a way that could have a number of potentially damaging consequences.

I must make it clear that our concern in relation to the effect of this subsection would exist even if the Government had published the national planning policy framework prospectus and provided hon. Members with an overview about what NDMPs are likely to cover. The fact that they have not and that we therefore still have no idea precisely what these new statutory national policies will eventually contain—coupled with the fact that clause 84 of the Bill makes it clear that NDMPs can cover any policy area relating to development or use of land in England and can be modified or revoked without any form of consultation if that is the wish of the Secretary of State of the day—merely heightens our concerns.

We know that there is significant anxiety across the House about the future implications of NDMPs, and rightly so, because legislating to ensure that they overrule local plans in the event of any conflict does represent a radical departure from the status quo. As we argued in Committee, what is proposed is a wholly different proposition from the current application of the NPPF, and our fear is that it will lead to the erosion of local control in a way that threatens to transform what is currently a local plan-led system into a national policy-led system.

The hon. Gentleman must recognise that the local plan process has been distorted by the imposition of housing targets driven from the centre. Indeed, individual planning applications have often been skewed because local authorities, even where they do not want to accept the application, feel they cannot reject it because they would lose on appeal if they are not meeting the national housing targets. Surely he would welcome the Government’s sharp turn in that direction.

That is slightly separate from my point about NDMPs, but the right hon. Gentleman gives me an opportunity to respond to the Government’s announcement on housing targets. The problem he identifies ultimately resides in the Government’s lack of strategic planning and effective subregional frameworks for housing growth. There is a case for reviewing how local housing targets operate, but to render them effectively unenforceable without a viable alternative, in the middle of a housing crisis, is the height of irresponsibility. We do not know the extent, but it will cause damage by reducing housing supply, with the economic growth impact that implies. We regret that the Government have backed down in the face of their Back Benchers on this point.

I have not heard the hon. Gentleman perform at the Dispatch Box before, but he clearly knows his subject well and delivers his case effectively. There has long been a misunderstanding that housing is entirely about supply, as it is also about the fluidity of the housing market. He might want to add to his considerable stock of knowledge an understanding that, according to the Empty Homes Agency, there are 750,000 empty homes. That number is persistent, and no Government of any colour have managed to adopt policies to bring those homes into use.

There is a point to what the right hon. Gentleman says. It is partly about the distribution of who can buy the houses that come online, but it is also partly about supply. The Minister has confirmed that the 300,000 annual target remains Government policy. It remains an aspiration, yet the Government, by removing the enforceability of local housing targets, have made their job of boosting supply far harder, and they are not meeting the target as it stands.

The hon. Gentleman represents a seat in outer London, so he will understand that there are constraints on the ability of some areas to absorb development. The Government are simply saying that a local authority should use best endeavours but that there will be circumstances in which it simply cannot meet an arbitrary numeric target. As an MP for an urban area, surely that is something he should welcome.

I disagree with the right hon. Gentleman’s analysis. We do not know precisely what the Government have in mind for local housing targets, but my reading of their announcement is not that local authorities will simply use best endeavours. Although local house building targets will remain as an aspiration, they will not be enforced and we will therefore see a hit to housing supply, with a resulting hit to economic growth.

I want to make some progress, so I will not give way.

We take issue with the Government making local housing targets unenforceable in the absence of a viable alternative to try to maintain supply.

We believe it is essential not only that the process by which the Secretary of State must designate and review an NDMP involves minimum public consultation requirements and an appropriate level of parliamentary scrutiny, but that the scope of an NDMP to override local plans is suitably constrained. On that basis, I commend amendments 78 and 79 to the House.

Part 4 addresses the new infrastructure levy, which is the Government’s proposed replacement for the present arrangement by which local planning authorities secure developer contributions. We believe the new levy is one of the most consequential aspects of the Bill and has potentially far-reaching implications not only for the provision of core infrastructure but for the supply of affordable housing. Although we fully appreciate that schedule 11 merely provides the basic framework for the levy, with a detailed design to follow, and that the levy’s implementation will take a test-and-learn approach, we are convinced that, as a proposition, it is fundamentally flawed.

As we argued in great detail in Committee, the deficiencies inherent in a rigid fixed-rate mechanism for securing both infrastructure and affordable housing, based on the metric of gross development value, almost certainly means the levy will prove onerously complicated to operate in practice and that, overall, it will deliver less infrastructure and less affordable housing in the future, while putting the development of less viable sites at risk.

For that reason, we remain of the view that if the infrastructure levy is taken forward, it should be optional rather than mandatory, with local authorities that believe that the needs of their areas are best served by the existing developer contributions system able to continue to utilise it. Taken together, amendments 81 to 83 and 91 would ensure that local authorities retain that discretion, and I hope the new Minister, whom I welcome to her place, will consider them carefully, along with amendment 86, which seeks to address a specific concern about how viability testing will inform the levy rate-setting process.

Amendment 84 seeks to ensure that if the Government insist it is made mandatory, the new infrastructure levy must deliver sufficient levels of affordable housing. Since the publication of the Bill, Ministers have repeated ad nauseam that the new levy will secure at least as much affordable housing as developer contributions do now, yet the Government have so far been unable to provide any evidence or analysis to substantiate why they believe it can fulfil that objective. More importantly, there is nothing in the Bill to ensure that the commitment made by successive Ministers with regard to affordable housing will be honoured. At present, proposed new section 204G(2) of the Planning Act 2008—in schedule 11, on page 291 of the Bill—only requires charging authorities to have regard to the desirability of ensuring that levels of affordable housing are

“maintained at a level which, over a specified period, is equal to or exceeds the level of such housing and funding provided over an earlier specified period of the same length.”

Put simply, the Bill as drafted would enable—one might even say encourage—inadequate levels of affordable housing supply to remain the norm by making them the minimum requirement.

If we want to ensure that the new levy secures at least as much affordable housing as is being delivered through the existing developer contributions system—and ideally more—we believe the Bill needs to be revised. That is not a view confined only to this side of the House. In the foreword to a report published only yesterday by the Centre for Social Justice, the hon. Member for Walsall North (Eddie Hughes)—himself a former Minister in the Department—argues in relation to the levy that

“it would be good to see stronger safeguards in primary legislation, rather than in regulations, for protecting and increasing the existing levels of affordable housing supply funded in this way”.

Not for the first time, I find myself in agreement with the hon. Gentleman.

One of the specific things that my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers) and I requested in our agreement with Ministers was to make it easier for councils to increase the percentage of affordable housing. Clearly there is the economics of how that can happen, but we absolutely encouraged them to allow us to have that wording, so that in a place such as the Isle of Wight we could dramatically increase affordable housing as a percentage of housing. We actually put this at the centre of our plans.

Increasing the supply of affordable housing, which is at pitifully low levels, is a laudable aim. I agree with the hon. Member on that, and I therefore hope he can support our amendment 84, because it would achieve the objective in relation to the infrastructure levy by requiring charging authorities to ensure that levels of affordable housing are maintained at a level that, over a specified period, enables any given authority to meet the housing need identified in its local development plan, and I commend it to the House.

Turning to part 5 of the Bill, this concerns the Government’s proposed new approach to assessing the potential environmental effects of relevant plans and major projects—namely, environmental outcomes reports. Chief among several concerns we have about the proposed EOR system are the deficiencies of clause 122 in relation to non-regression safeguards. While we welcome the inclusion of this clause in the Bill as a means of constraining the use of the wider regulation-making powers in part 5, we are concerned that the clause as drafted contains a series of loopholes. First, use of the relevant non-regression provisions is entirely at the discretion of the Secretary of State. Secondly, the Bill stipulates that the principle of non-regression will only apply to the

“overall level of environmental protection”,

rather than specific aspects of it. Thirdly, the definition of environmental law used in the relevant subsection will limit the extent to which it can provide protection against potential future regression.

The Minister who responded to the debate on this issue in Committee provided some measure of reassurance as to why the clause is drafted in the way it is, but our concerns have not been entirely assuaged. We have tabled amendment 88 to ensure that the new system of environmental assessment would not reduce existing environmental protections in any way, and I look forward to hearing how the Minister responds to it in due course.

We want to see many other changes to the Bill. Among other things, we have tabled amendments and new clauses to ensure that the Government undertake a comprehensive review of the extension of permitted development rights since 2013; to allow local authorities to hold planning meetings virtually or in hybrid form; and to place a duty on local planning authorities to appoint suitably qualified chief planning officers.

Of particular importance to us is the need to ensure that the Bill fully aligns the planning system with the UK’s climate mitigation and adaptation goals. In Committee, Ministers argued repeatedly that existing local and national duties, requirements and powers are sufficient to ensure that the planning system responds as required to the climate emergency, yet that is demonstrably not the case, given that the system regularly throws up decisions that are seemingly incompatible with the need to make rapid progress towards net zero emissions by mid-century and to prepare the country for the changes that are already under way. That is likely to remain the case until the Government produce clear and unambiguous national policy guidance, in the form of a revised NPPF, and legislate for a purposeful statutory framework to ensure genuine coherence between our country’s planning system and its climate commitments. New clause 98 would deliver the latter, and I urge Members to support it.

Before I turn to a number of the substantial Government amendments that have been tabled since the Bill left Committee, I will speak briefly to new clause 114. As you will know, Madam Deputy Speaker, despite a notional majority of more than 80, the Government are developing an alarming habit of allowing national policy to be dictated by the demands of amorphous groups of their own Back Benchers. In the case of onshore wind deployment, the Government’s weakness in the face of such demands is all ostensibly to the good, because Ministers are now seemingly committed to amending the NPPF to finally end the harmful effective moratorium imposed on onshore wind since 2015.

However, the written ministerial statement published last Tuesday provoked more questions than it answered. For example, what criteria will Ministers specify to determine what qualifies as a demonstration of local support for onshore wind projects, given that there is certainly no clear indication that the Government are minded to bring consenting for onshore wind in line with other forms of infrastructure, as it should be?

To take another, there is the assertion in that statement that we need

“to move away from the overly rigid requirement for onshore wind sites to be designated in a local plan.”—[Official Report, 6 December 2022; Vol. 724, c. 9WS.]

What is meant by that? The Minister will know that sites do not have to be identified in local plans to receive consent for onshore wind deployment, but there is a strong presumption that they should be, and rightly so. If we are to strengthen our energy security, cut bills and reduce emissions, we need local authorities to proactively consider the opportunities within their boundaries for the deployment of all forms of renewable energy, including onshore wind generation.

Given the degree of ambiguity that now surrounds the Government’s position, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the Secretary of State has simply sought to buy himself the time he needs to get this legislation passed by alighting on a form of words nebulous enough to temporarily appease the warring factions within his party.

New clause 114, in contrast, is clear and unambiguous. It would require the Government to remove the onerous restrictions that the NPPF places on the development of onshore wind projects, and it would ensure that local communities have their say via the planning process, without imposing a uniquely restrictive consenting regime upon only this form of renewable energy generation. It would ensure that local authorities must at least explore the desirability of renewable energy deployment, including onshore wind, as part of the local plan preparation process, and I commend the new clause to the House.

Turning finally to a number of the Government amendments that have been tabled in recent weeks, Government new clauses 49 to 59 insert an entirely new part into the Bill, as the Minister said, that enables community land auction pilots to take place. As many Members will be aware, such auctions are not a novel concept, having been first proposed as far back as 2005. On paper, the premise appears entirely sensible. Landowners would have the freedom to voluntarily come together to grant options over land in the area of a participating local planning authority, with a view to it being allocated for development in the local plan. On the assumption that the option value would be significantly less than the market value for housing development, and that landlords will release said land at the lower price to realise the guaranteed short-term return, the authority in question will be able to exercise or sell the option, capturing some of the increased value uplift and using it to support local development.

In practice, the idea is riven with flaws. First, the circumstances for which this theoretical arrangement is designed—namely, a collection of small and completely substitutable land parcels with multiple landowners—bears little relation to the characteristics of the actual land market across the country.

Secondly, the idea that auctions will drive down land prices in the absence of any element of compulsion is frankly for the birds. One need only look at Transport for London’s disappointing experience with the development rights auction model to see how the proposed arrangement will fall short in that regard.

Thirdly, if the arrangement were proven to be workable in practice it would almost certainly only be an attractive proposition in areas with significant housing demand and high land values, in all likelihood on greenfield land rather than more complex brownfield sites, thereby compounding the inequalities between and within regions that this Bill is supposedly intended to address.

We will not vote against this group of new clauses, but we find it staggering that the Government have expended so much effort on inserting these provisions into the Bill at this late stage, given the obvious deficiencies of the concept. There is a reason successive Conservative Governments shied away from legislating for community land auctions, yet so desperate is this Administration to do everything other than what is necessary to deliver enough of the right homes in the right places that they are willing to dredge up any ill-conceived academic proposal in the hope that something might confound expectations and shift the dial when it comes to development and regeneration.

In our view, the Government’s time over recent weeks would have been far better spent bringing forward for consideration today the proposals outlined in the second part of the recent compulsory purchase compensation reforms consultation to disapply section 17 of the Land Compensation Act 1961 in certain circumstances and thereby enable local authorities to acquire land at or closer to existing use value.

I turn to Government new clauses 77, 79 and 78, the last of which introduces new schedule 1. As the Minister said, these would collectively insert into the Bill another entirely new part, amending the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 to require local authorities to assume that certain sewage disposal works will meet new nutrient pollution standards in relation to nitrogen and/or phosphorous within new designated catchment areas by specified dates.

In general terms, we support this set of amendments, seeking as they do to address the real problem of polluting effluent discharged from sewage treatment works that causes damage to the ecological health of nutrient-sensitive habitats. In particular, we welcome the presumptive upgrade date in new clause 77, given that it aligns with the Environment Act 2021 target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030.

However, we believe the new part these amendments introduce could be strengthened in several important ways. I will give just two examples. First, we believe the Government should reconsider the exemption new clause 77 provides for sewage works serving smaller populations where their catchment areas would impact upon sensitive upstream river sites, given their importance for biodiversity.

Secondly, given the real risk that development that contributes to nutrient pollution could be approved in areas where the necessary upgrade works ultimately do not take place by the presumptive 2030 deadline, we believe the Government should strengthen new clause 78 to provide for a robust and adequately resourced monitoring and compliance process to ensure that required upgrades are on track. Given the lack of opportunity that we have been given to scrutinise this new part appropriately, we trust the other place will consider carefully these and other potential improvements that might be made.

Finally, Government new clause 119 would require the Secretary of State by regulations to

“make provision requiring or permitting the registration of specified short-term rental properties”.

Along with highlighting the detrimental impact of excessive rates of second home ownership on many coastal and rural communities, we debated at great length during Committee the problems experienced by many coastal, rural and urban communities as a result of the marked growth in short-term and holiday lets in terms of the affordability and availability of homes for local people to buy and to rent, as well as a rise in anti-social behaviour in some circumstances.

Over a period of many years, the Opposition have not only raised concerns about the deregulated nature of the short-term lettings sector, but have resisted attempts to deregulate it further. We therefore very much welcome the fact that the Government have finally accepted that more regulation of short-term rental properties is required.

At present, there is no single definitive source of data on the total number of short-term lettings in existence, not least because it is an incredibly diverse sector, with providers offering accommodation across multiple platforms. Accurate data is essential if we are to properly regulate the sector, and we therefore welcome the principle of a registration system as provided for by Government new clause 119.

However, in our view registration is a necessary but not sufficient step towards properly addressing the impact that excessive concentrations of short-term lets are having on communities across the country. We recognise fully the need to introduce regulation in this area carefully and in a way that is proportionate, so that local economies can continue to enjoy the benefit that short-term lettings can bring.

However, such is the impact of high concentrations of short-term lets on many local housing markets and economies that we feel strongly that communities need to be given the means to limit their numbers now. That could be facilitated by an appropriately resourced and enforceable licensing scheme, such as the one proposed in new clause 107 in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for York Central; the creation of new planning use classes, which the Government have indicated they are minded to consult on; or even a greater willingness on the part of Ministers in the short term to allow local authorities to exercise article 4 directions where they believe they are necessary.

Whatever the precise means, what is important for the purposes of the Bill is that Ministers recognise not only that registration alone will not be enough, but that they must seek to enact further measures at pace, preferably by means of this legislation. As such, although we will not oppose new clause 119, we will continue to press the Government to go further and faster on this matter.

Every day, we see an increase of 29 new short-term holiday lets. Therefore, the Government’s step-by-step process will not be sufficient in holiday hotspots, which are targeted by a very aggressive investor market for short-term holiday lets. I thank my hon. Friend, but does he agree that we need to get pace behind this to ensure we protect our communities from the extraction of housing by investors?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and she is not the only hon. Member for whom this is an acute problem: I have heard Members say in several debates over the past year that this is a huge problem in their local areas. She will remember that there was a real difference of opinion in Committee about how bold the Government need to be in response to this problem and how quickly they need to act. I urge the Minister to think again about what additional provisions can be put into the Bill to go beyond the registration system.

In Westminster alone, we have 13,000 short-term let properties, so we are fully aware of the issues. I often advocate licensing schemes, but I think that a registration scheme under new clause 119, which I support, is a good first step. It is important to remember that no two local authorities are the same, and we have to respond to them. Does the shadow Minister agree that this is a good first step? A licensing scheme may be appropriate eventually, but let us go with a registration scheme first.

I agree and disagree with the hon. Lady. I agree that it is a good first step, and I disagree in the sense that the Government cannot consult for a number of years on what additional measures might be required. We are ultimately talking about local discretion to apply, whether it is use classes or a licensing scheme, but we think that, such is the acute nature of the problem in particular parts of the country, a registration scheme is not enough. We cannot wait until 2024 for additional measures.

Does my hon. Friend, like me, share the sense of mysticism that I suspect parents around the country will feel about the fact that the Government consider childcare to be a “non-infrastructure item”? The Minister just said that—I hope she misspoke. Parents recognise that, just as we fund roads so they can drive to work, funding childcare helps them get to work. That is why many local authorities do not do deals to invest in childcare and make sure it and childminders are part of our local economies. That is why we need things such as amendment 2.

We believe it is essential that the infrastructure levy is designed and implemented in a way that, first and foremost, ensures local authorities deliver the necessary amount of affordable housing and core infrastructure to support the development of their area. For that reason, we raised concerns in Committee about the possibility that the levy could be spent on non-infrastructure items such as services that are wholly unconnected to the impact of development on communities, without those needs having been met. However, as my hon. Friend knows—as any parent knows—childcare is infrastructure. Given the acute pressure on childcare places in many parts of the country, we agree that there is a case for explicitly making reference to childcare facilities in the list of infrastructure in proposed new section 204N so that local authorities are aware that they can use levy proceeds to fund it as part of developing their areas.

There are a number of useful provisions in the Bill that we support, but we fear that any benefits that might flow from them will ultimately be undermined by others that risk causing serious harm, whether it be to already low levels of affordable housing supply, the status and remit of local planning or important environmental protections. If the legislation before us were only an idiosyncratic mix of the good, the half-baked and the bad—a typically Govian curate’s egg, one might say—that would be disappointing enough. What adds to the frustration we feel is the fact that, in a larger sense, it represents a real missed opportunity to enact the kind of planning reform that is required to meet the multiple challenges that we face as a country: to tackle the housing crisis, to respond to the climate emergency, to address our rapidly degrading natural environment, and to better promote health and wellbeing.

We have a chance today to overhaul the Bill in a number of important respects. We have a chance to rectify the aspects of it that are problematic and enable it to address the vital issues on which it is currently silent, and I urge the House to come together to do so.

I pay tribute to all who were involved in the creation of this Bill, which I had the pleasure of overseeing briefly as Secretary of State. Let me also express my appreciation for the Government’s work in relation to last week’s commitment to a new approach to the permitting of onshore wind, enshrining community consent as the key guiding principle when it comes to whether new developments, or indeed existing ones, can be set up. That is a hugely welcome change, and one that I believe can and should unite the House. As a result, I have withdrawn what was new clause 90 today, although I thank all those who supported it, particularly my right hon. Friend the Member for Reading West (Alok Sharma).

The hon. Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Matthew Pennycook) mentioned the consultation which we look forward to seeing in due course. I am confident that it will be a robust, credible mechanism which will establish how we can measure community consent and how we can unlock developments when communities wish to support them, while, obviously, protecting places that do not wish to host onshore wind.

There is much that I commend in the Government’s new clauses, new schedule and amendments, just as there was on the first day’s debate on devolution. I particularly welcome new clause 69, on street votes, and clause 50, on community land auctions. Both are classic supply-side reforms of the kind that we badly need if we are to liberalise house building. That has clearly been a central issue of contention in recent debates on the Bill, but there are some welcome new proposals that we should also consider. I especially commend the new clauses tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Weston-super-Mare (John Penrose), which I think would successfully complement the wider liberalisation set out in the Bill.

We should recap some of the fundamental points that we need to recognise when it comes to not just today’s debate, but all debates in the House about intergenerational fairness and opportunities. Since the 1950s and 1960s the rate at which we expand our housing supply has halved, even as the population has risen. In London it would take the average worker more than 15 years to afford a deposit. To put it simply, we need more homes—as many as we can possibly build—and we should enable the free market through every possible mechanism at our disposal.

It is to the Government’s credit that we have been building at the fastest rate for some 30 years, but for too many people under 50, the dream of an opportunity society is receding rather than coming closer. As recently as 1991, 78% of those aged between 25 and 44 were owner-occupiers; the figure today is 56%. For those aged between 25 and 34, it has fallen from 67% to 41%. So many of the long-term concerns that we confront in this Chamber—inequality, productivity, even fertility—are linked with our fundamental problem of not being able to build enough homes for it to be affordable for too many young people to rent, let alone buy.

I happen to believe that enabling home ownership is an existential priority for my party, but Members on both sides of the House should welcome innovative new measures in the Bill, such as street votes and community land auctions, which can progress that agenda. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has said with regard to street votes—and, as so often, I cannot phrase this better than him—

“Arithmetic is important but so is beauty, so is belonging, so is democracy, and so is making sure that we are building communities.”

I think that these measures will help us to realise that.

However, there are issues on which I believe we ought to go further. I am conscious of the limited time that we have today, but I will touch on the issue of nutrient neutrality. I believe that, although the Bill makes welcome progress to try to unlock this thorny problem—which is blocking 100,000 new planning permissions from being realised—we can and should go further. That potentially includes derogating from the habitat regulations, while imposing tighter restrictions on the root causes of pollution: bad farming practices, and poor management of waste water by our waterworks.

Most fundamentally, I want to go back to that point in regard to the need for us to build the homes that this country requires, and that takes us back to the underlying issue of targets and the new clauses tabled in this regard by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers) and my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Bob Seely). It is critical that, as the national planning policy framework is redrawn, we keep making the case for good, high-quality developments with the right infrastructure and rational incentives for communities to welcome new homes. If we do not, it will be a social and economic disaster for this country and a terrible problem for my party as we seek to make the case for a property-owning democracy and popular capitalism.

I will try to draw on the work that the Select Committee has done in a number of reports over the years. First, I want to come back to the point I raised with the Minister about planning authorities having the right to take into account whether developers have fulfilled planning conditions in the past. That is a reasonable request and I am pleased that the Minister is going to consider it. I would be grateful if she could keep me updated on that. From the Front Bench, my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Matthew Pennycook) has mentioned the issue of ensuring that the change from 106 to an infrastructure levy does not reduce the number of affordable homes being built. Changing the present wording in the Bill, in which charging authorities must have regard to this, to make them ensure that it happens is a really important change that the Government need to think carefully about.

On the new clauses that I have tabled on skills and resources, one of the biggest challenges for planning authorities is the reduction in their spend and the reduction in the number of their planning officers. When the pressure is on to turn around individual planning applications, it means local plans get put on the back burner and do not get delivered on time. Also, as the Minister has said, too many local plans are out of date, and that needs to change. New clause 122 simply asks the Government to do a review and produce a plan for local authority planning staff and resources. We need a plan for staff and workforce in the health service and social care, and it is just as important in the long term that we have a similar approach to how we deliver our planning system. Currently that is not being done, and local authorities are struggling for those resources and that manpower.

I move on to the tricky issue of housing targets. In the end the Government cannot deliver their national target if they do not have a view about local targets. Their local targets have to add up to the national target if they are going to work. My new clause 123 says that the Government should produce a properly assessed housing need figure for each local area, that they should have discussions with local authorities about that in a transparent and open way and that, if the local authority agrees with that target, that should be the target set in the local plan. If the local council agrees with central Government, then put it in the local plan. If there is no agreement, the local authority should come forward with its own target, and that can be debated as part of the inquiry and the inspector will decide which is the appropriate way forward. One of the problems with local plans at present is that they often get bogged down, not with discussions about where housing should go—

Does the hon. Member not understand that the whole point about more local determination is that the local community ultimately has to say, “This is all we can manage and we cannot be overridden”?

Yes, I understand that, and that should be taken into account, as it can be at the local plan stage. The problem is that, if every local community decides that it does not want house building, we end up with not enough houses being built nationally. That is the simple reality of life. What I am saying is, yes, have the argument at the local plan stage, but all too often now, local plans get bogged down not with where the houses should be built or with the quality of the housing and the infrastructure, but with arguments over housing numbers, with developers and councils employing lawyers and consultants to argue with each other. That is what happens. If we can get agreement between the council and the Government and that is then accepted as the target for the way forward, that is a suitable way to do it, rather than the current endless debate and argument about numbers and calculations.

I want to mention one other amendment, on environmental outcomes. One of the biggest arguments at local level is often on the environmental impact of development. There is great concern among local communities about the environmental impact and the fact that, when developers commission an environmental report, it is commissioned by the developer and paid for by the developer. Communities are often suspicious that the report produces what the developer wants to hear, rather than what the actual environmental impact is for those communities. My amendment 105 is simple: in future, the developer should pay, but the local authority should commission. In that way, we make it absolutely clear that environmental outcome reports on individual developments are completely independent, and that local communities can trust them. That seems to be a sensible suggestion. I hope that the Minister will accept it and move it forward.

I rise to speak to new clauses 8 to 11 in my name and the names of other hon. Members.

As chair of the national parks all-party parliamentary group, and with a delightful corner of Dartmoor in my constituency, I am pleased to propose these new clauses. As we all know, national parks provide many benefits to nature, climate, heritage and culture. However, they are underpinned by an outdated legislative framework, which prevents them from realising their full potential for people, nature’s recovery, the 30x30 initiative and the Government’s net zero goals.

The Glover review of protected landscapes in 2019 highlighted these issues and put forward a package of recommendations to address them, the majority of which, to be fair, were accepted by the Government in their response to the review. But it is time that we implemented them to make best use of the rich natural heritage that we have been blessed with in our country. The new clauses that I have tabled could act as a vehicle to take forward the Glover review’s recommendations.

National parks play a key role in furthering the Government’s levelling-up mission, particularly in having a positive impact on our health, wellbeing and pride of place. Given this Bill’s focus on environmental matters and the planning system, it provides the perfect opportunity to implement the Glover recommendations to strengthen national parks as planning authorities. We must take this opportunity as these next few years are vital for meeting the commitment to protect 30% of England for nature by 2030, for halting the decline in species abundance and for making progress towards net zero.

New clause 8 delivers on proposal 1 in the Glover review to give national parks a renewed mission to recover biodiversity and nature. Natural England has found that only 26% of the protected habitat area inside national parks is in favourable condition, compared with 39% for England as a whole. The new clause seeks to address this disparity by recognising that we have a role not just in protecting national parks, but in actively strengthening and recovering them. It also delivers on proposal 7 of the Glover review, which proposed a stronger mission to connect all people with our national landscapes.

National parks have invaluable potential to improve people’s connection with nature and our levelling-up goals require that we should all enjoy equal access to nature across the country. During the lockdown, we learnt that, if we did not already know it. Natural England has shown that, if everyone has access to a green space, we could save the NHS more than £2 billion a year.

New clause 9 implements two recommendations from the Glover review to give national park authorities a new duty to address climate change and to strengthen the existing duty on public bodies to further national park purposes. The Government have already said that national park management plans should contain

“ambitious goals to increase carbon sequestration”

and

“set out their local response to climate adaptation”.

New clause 10 helps in setting out realistic goals for national park improvement. That would deliver other key elements of proposal 3 in the Glover review, that strengthened management plans should set clear priorities and actions for nature’s recovery and climate in national parks, and that legislation should give public bodies a responsibility to help prepare and implement management plans.

New clause 11 seeks to address Glover’s ambition to increase skills and diversity on national park authority boards. The Government’s response to Glover committed to measures to ensure that boards

“have more flexibility to balance diversity and expertise”

and proposes

“a more merit-based approach”.

So let us get on with it. The new clause would deliver this flexibility, removing the restrictive legislation referred to in the Government’s response, and ensure that boards are better equipped to deliver national park purposes. I am supported in these new clauses by the Better Planning Coalition, representing 27 organisations across the key sectors of the environment, housing, planning, and heritage.

I had a positive meeting last week with the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Trudy Harrison), who is responsible for national park policy. She is committed to working with national parks to bring about the bright new future that Glover anticipates and I hope that those on the Front Bench today will assist her in that vital mission.

The “Levelling Up” White Paper set out a mission that by 2030 the number of primary school children who were achieving the expected standards in reading, writing and maths would be increased. That cannot be done without investing in early years. We already see the impact of the failure to do that, with children from disadvantaged backgrounds being 11 months behind their peers in terms of development by the time they get to primary school. Investing in early years is what bridges the gap.

We know that our early years sector is in crisis. Since 2019, 500 non-domestic early years childcare settings have closed, 300 in the last year alone. Some 65% of those closures took place this summer. In total, there are 5,500 fewer providers of early years services than there were just a few years ago, and 95% of those providers say that it is the current levels of funding and investment that are driving them out. Crucially, that is happening most in the areas that need that provision most: 15% of closures are happening in deprived areas.

I really hope that the Minister will listen to the case I make today, because it should be a no-brainer. It is not just about seeing children as part of our future and it being worth investing in them as infrastructure. Some 64,000 more women of working age are out of work today than were last year, and 35,000 of them say that caring commitments stop them going to work. I tabled amendment 2, because our economy cannot afford not to realise that childcare is infrastructure. We must realise that making sure people have the right roads and resources to get to work must include ensuring that their children can be cared for.

A report by the Centre for Progressive Policy shows that if women had access to adequate childcare they could increase their earnings from £7.6 billion to £10.9 billion. What would that mean for the Exchequer, which should be here supporting this amendment? The Women’s Budget Group estimates that 1.7 million women are prevented from taking on work for childcare reasons. That costs the economy £28 billion a year. Amendment 2 and unlocking resources for childcare would be a win-win for our economy and for our communities. It would be an investment that would save us money. It is also right that developers should play their part.

Comparing Ofsted and Office for National Statistics data shows that since 2014 the rate of population growth outstrips the growth of the childcare sector in 116 out of 149 local authorities, including 15 of the 20 areas with the highest population growth. The National Childbirth Trust now tells parents to put their not yet born children on the list for childcare providers, because there are not any and getting one is almost impossible.

I see the problem first hand in my local community. The brilliant Walthamstow Toy Library is about to be yet again kicked out of its building because developers want to turn it into flats. Those developers looked completely blank at the idea that they would invest in providing a space for that service because it has such an impact on our local community. That is happening across the country: vital resources that help parents get to work and to develop our children are not getting the funding that they need. The Minister could change that if she would just make it explicit that the provision is not about educational settings. The list that she has now covers nurseries that are attached to schools, but what we are talking about is any form of childcare and revolutionising the funding that is available.

The hon. Lady has done an excellent job in highlighting this issue in the context of the debate, but I have some sympathy with the Government’s position on this. Does she recognise that the Department for Education guidance on this matter in November 2019—and it is a DFE matter, not a DLUHC matter—explicitly states that early years and childcare is something that local authorities can use in seeking a section 106 contribution from a developer? It is already in the regulations, which I was not aware of when I put my name to her amendment. Does she also acknowledge that, while we are all sympathetic to her point about maintaining affordable childcare, developer contributions are as a rule capital only for the provision of buildings and facilities, and may not be used for the ongoing support of day-to-day services?

The hon. Member heard the words of the Minister, who called childcare a non-infrastructure item. He will know of examples, as we all do, of councils building in payments for police community support officers or ongoing maintenance as part of a development. If he is right that developers could do this, why oppose writing it into the Bill to put it beyond doubt and make sure that developers and councils know they can do it?

Passing amendment 2 is about saying the words that my party’s Front-Bench spokesperson said and, frankly, the hon. Member’s did not: “Childcare is infrastructure. The mums listening right now who feel invisible do matter. The services that would help them get back to work do matter. Parents are as important to us as potholes.”

The hon. Member, the Minister and everyone in the House knows that I have campaigned for and championed changes to childcare policy. The Minister absolutely did not dismiss or dilute the Government’s commitment to changing and supporting childcare. Amendment 2 covers two separate things: childcare facilities, and whether community infrastructure levy funds can be paid for ongoing amounts. It is important to be clear about that.

I quote back the words of the Minister, who talked explicitly about how non-infrastructure items could include subsidising the cost of childcare. If we subsidise police offices or anti-fly-tipping activities, why would we not subsidise parents to get to work? We have an opportunity—

I am sorry, but I cannot give way, because of the time. The hon. Member will have her say too.

Amendment 2 would put childcare on an equal footing. Why are we making this form of infrastructure second best? Why are we debating the matter when it seems that there is common agreement? We all recognise, if we have dealt with local government, the need to clarify things and put them in legislation. The right hon. Member for Ludlow (Philip Dunne) talked similarly about waste and water infrastructure, and the Minister was happy to confirm that that was covered. We need to give councils a clear line, and that is what I am looking for from the Minister today, because I think she has actually muddied the water somewhat. We must ensure that we write things into legislation so that we put these debates beyond doubt.

Let us do this for the sake of our children and our economy, and for all the women sitting at home right now watching the debate because they cannot get the childcare they want to be able to get back to work and pay taxes. This is a cross-party issue, but it will divide the House, and it will send a clear message about whose side we are on when it comes to those parents. The amendment would mean the world to all those parents who are struggling to find affordable childcare places right now. I pay tribute to Pregnant Then Screwed for setting out so clearly the impact that it could have, because investment in childcare pays for itself.

I ask the Minister to rethink her words, to say clearly that childcare is infrastructure, and to write it down in the legislation in the way that she has for water and waste, so that parents and potholes get equal attention from us in this place.

I rise to talk specifically about new clauses 3 and 5, but first I should make a point on the broader housing issue. My constituency is the smallest borough in my county, and it is the most densely populated part of my county. It was never realistic for the centrally designed targets to apply to an area where we were being asked to increase the housing stock by about 25% to 30%. I praise Ministers for reaching what I believe to be a sensible compromise.

I am very much in favour of new homes in my constituency—I have argued for a number of new developments, and I continue to do so—but house building cannot be simply unrestricted. It cannot be at the level that a formula requires; we must apply common sense. My right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers) and my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Bob Seely), in negotiation with the Secretary of State, have come up with a sensible way forward that will deliver extra housing—I passionately believe that we have to have extra homes in my constituency—but in a sustainable way. We must remember that the national planning policy framework requires us to strike the right balance between three things: building new houses, looking after the local economy and looking after the local environment. I believe that what we have on the table now will deliver that.

I turn to the new clauses. On solar power, I have a simple message for Ministers. I cannot understand why we have not reached a point where it is mandatory to put solar panels on the roof of every new building in this country. Although I do not think new clause 3 will take us through the Division Lobbies tonight, I strongly urge Ministers to work across Government to deliver that. When I was Secretary of State for Transport, I argued that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities should insert a requirement for a charging point in every house with off-street parking. I still believe that, but there is really no reason at all not to have solar panels on the roof of every property, whether or not it has parking space. It should be a central part of our future strategy, and I strongly urge Ministers to adopt it.

New clause 5, which I have personally pushed forward, is what I describe as “the hedgehog amendment”—I speak as the parliamentary species champion for the hedgehog—but it is much broader than that. It is about saying that it is simply wrong for a developer to be able to acquire a site and clear it without doing a proper holistic survey of the ecology on that site. It is absolutely vital that, as we are a Government who believe in strengthening biodiversity safeguards in this country, there should be tight rules for developers. They are obliged to do surveys for the presence of bats and newts, but there are a whole range of other vulnerable species that do not fall under that requirement. I want to see very clear legal rules that say, “You buy a site, you survey what is there. If you identify vulnerable species on the site, you have a duty of care to those vulnerable species to relocate them and provide alternative habitats.”

The Government have done good things on biodiversity net gain, but I want to see a situation where a vulnerable species on a site is not likely to be cleared away by a bulldozer. That does happen—there was an horrendous case in the west country recently. About 20 hedgehogs were killed by the reckless clearance of a site. We have all seen it in our constituencies. Developers do it to create the sense of, “Well, it’s a wasted site anyway. We cannot use it again, so you should give us consent to build houses on it.” My new clause provides a way to ensure that does not happen.

I want to pay tribute to the Minister. We have had some very constructive dialogue on this issue and I know she is pretty sympathetic to the aims I have put forward. What I ask of her today—I think she may have a clear sense of how we can go forward—is, in her closing remarks, to set a direction for the Government that will provide the actual protections I am seeking, which will reinforce the work we have already done to protect biodiversity and ensure the particular ability of developers to come in and clear a site is absolutely precluded in law. I wait with interest to hear what the Minister says in winding up. I praise her for what she has done so far on housing and on many other aspects to the Bill. I hope she will also be able to deal with this aspect, the biodiversity issue, in her remarks and as we go forward.

There are a number of amendments in my name, but given the time we have I will focus on housing, including existing stock and new stock. Let me start by talking about new stock.

New clause 44 and amendment 22, in my name, would give local authorities, particularly in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty such as my own in Cumbria, the power to enforce 100% affordability in new developments. I am fed up of developments in my community where we have to build, say, 100 houses to get 30 affordables. That is 70 homes that are fundamentally a waste of bricks. We are building homes for demand, but not for need. We have thousands of people on the council house waiting list. Homes will, of course, fly off the shelves for handsome prices in a place like Cumbria, but they are houses we do not need. They do not add to our infrastructure and in many ways they undermine it by becoming more holiday lets or second homes. Give us that power, as local communities.

I am extremely grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I want to be absolutely clear that home ownership does all kinds of things for building personal pride and communal satisfaction. I imagine he owns his own home. Does he want more people to own their own home, or does he want more people to rent?

I want more people to be able to have a home in the first place. In defending people’s right to have a second home, which we will come on to in a moment, we must remember that people’s right to a first home is even more important. The millions of people who have no home at all to call their own, and are desperately waiting on long waiting lists, are up against many people who have more than one home. That is an injustice that needs to be addressed. This particular set of amendments would give local authorities in communities such as Cumbria the ability to say to developers, “You may build here, but what you build must be sustainable, affordable and available for local people so there is a workforce and a local community.”

I want to move on to existing stock, and in particular to the comments made by the Minister earlier. My new clause 121 would make sure there is a separate planning category for short-term lets. That matters: because of the Government’s failure to scrap section 21 evictions, as they promised to do, over the past two years the long-term rented sector has collapsed. That has led to the expulsion of thousands of people from my community. There has been a 32% rise in holiday lets in just one year, and that is in the Lake district where there were already a huge number of them. Those houses are coming from local people evicted so their landlord can go to a short-term let, normally Airbnb, and therefore cash in, and there are no other places for those people to go and live so their kids are uprooted from the local school, and they have to give up their jobs and move many miles away, robbing our communities of life and of a workforce.

The hon. Gentleman and I share similar constituency issues: in North Norfolk I have huge numbers of second homes and holiday properties, too. I know he has tabled his own amendments, but the Government have a very sensible amendment as well; does he not agree that we should back their amendment to start addressing the issue of people being turfed out of their homes because a landlord can earn five, six or seven times more by changing from a monthly let to a weekly holiday rental with not as much security? The right thing to do is to back the Government and try and help on this matter.

I recently had a conversation with the Minister and am absolutely of the view that while Government amendment 119 does not go as far as mine, it is a step in the right direction. There is a sense of locking the stable door while the horses are well over the horizon—that is my great fear—but I will not seek to press my amendment to a Division, because I am going to trust the Government to do what they say they are going to do: to make sure there is a consultation and that they look at having new separate categories of planning use for short-term lets.

That matters in our communities where the workforce has been decimated because of the collapse of the long-term private rented sector into Airbnb. As a result, 63% of hospitality and tourism businesses in Cumbria are working below capacity; they are not meeting the demand that is there because there simply is not a workforce. We have over 30% of the beds in our hospitals in Cumbria blocked because there are not enough social care workers as there is nowhere for them to live, resulting in a gluing-up impact on our health service. There is an urgent need to take action, therefore. It should have been taken two years ago: the Government should have abolished section 21 evictions, as they promised, but it is better to do something now than not do it at all, so I am happy to accept Government amendment 119 and will not press mine. We will wait and see, and hold the Government to account to make sure they keep the promise they made.

We in the lakes and dales are proud to be a place that welcomes visitors and are proud of the fact that people choose to have holidays with us, and indeed have second homes. We must be very careful not to demonise people who we are delighted to welcome to come and visit us, but, as I alluded to earlier, if it is sometimes a battle between defending someone’s right to have a second home and defending families’ right to have a first, we must be on the side of the latter. We must be on the side of people in local communities who are squeezed out because of this. Some 20 million people visit the lakes every year, and we are proud that the tourism industry generates £3.5 billion in revenue for our local economy. We do not want to push people away, but we do want to secure the communities that underpin that economy.

That is why I will seek, with your permission, Mr Deputy Speaker, to move new clause 120 in my name, because the Government are not choosing to do anything adequate about second home ownership in this Bill. Over the last two years, 80% of all house sales in my communities have been into the second home market—people who buy a home and do not live in it. For instance, 50% of properties in Coniston are empty as second homes, as are 83% of properties in Elterwater. The impact on those communities and dozens of others around Cumbria is that we get lost communities. Without a full-time permanent population of sufficient size, communities lose their school, their pub, their bus service, their GP service, their post office, and the life of those communities. It is astonishing that despite being offered many opportunities in the Bill Committee and today the Government have not tackled this blight on our rural communities.

I plead with Conservative MPs, and particularly those in rural communities, to do the right thing by those communities and stand up for them by giving Cumbria and other parts of the country that are affected by second home ownership the right to control their housing stock. Give us that control and allow us to preserve the communities of the lakes, the dales and the rest of rural Britain. Please back new clause 120.

I thank the Minister for reaching out and having conversations with colleagues. The pace of housing development and the consequential pressure on access to public services is one of the most important, and certainly one of the most frequent, issues raised with me by constituents. Context is important. The people of Bedfordshire are not against new housing—indeed, in my constituency we are doing our fair share and a lot more besides, with three to five times the national average of growth—but what local people most want from the Bill is greater local control over the siting and type of new developments, an avoidance of growth that is too rapid and, most of all, improvements to public services such as GPs and school places before there are additional large-scale housing developments. I seek changes to the Bill to achieve those ends, although I recognise from what the Minister said that the Bill is making some progress on all of those fronts.

Amendment 75 seeks to close the loophole that developers use to get around delays in local plans to secure unwanted developments. Amendment 74 seeks to include specific goals regarding net zero, biodiversity, the circular economy and recycling in neighbourhood plans. New clause 87 seeks to provide specific assistance via regulation for listed buildings where there is a wish to insulate or make other changes to the properties consistent with net zero goals. Finally, amendment 76 seeks to implement the manifesto commitment of infrastructure first to improve access to local services.

On amendment 75, good people play by not just the letter but the spirit of the rules. Right after becoming the Member of Parliament for North East Bedfordshire, I was made aware of a loophole in planning law that was being exploited by developers to obtain permission for developments not wanted by local people while a local plan confirmation is in abeyance. The amendment seeks to close that loophole.

I tabled amendment 74 because I am very concerned that Parliament has set a legal requirement to achieve net zero without properly assessing the methodologies or potential costs to taxpayers and consumers for achieving it. I am concerned that the technologies that we need are still evolving and that lowering the overall cost may take action on a community level rather than an individual level through, for example, charging points for electric vehicles or decarbonising home heat. The amendment would require neighbourhood plans to include considerations of three issues important to our natural environment: achieving net zero, promoting and increasing local biodiversity and improving levels of recycling.

New clause 87 is on listed properties. At my local surgery sessions, I have met a number of residents who live in listed buildings and are really concerned that restrictions stop them from insulating their homes or making other changes that might be needed to comply with future legislation. The new clause would place a requirement on the Secretary of State to make regulations making it easier for owners of residential listed buildings to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings and, importantly, place requirements on Historic England to be supportive of such measures and efforts taken by residents.

Finally, amendment 76 is on the Conservative manifesto commitment. I was pleased to see our manifesto commitment to infrastructure first and to listen to what the Minister has said today and in earlier stages of the Bill about the progress that we are making. However, I want to be sure that there is sufficient progress, particularly with regard to the pressure on GP services and school places. I am hopeful that, in summing up, the Minister will talk further and in more detail about how measures in the Bill will deliver on the Conservative manifesto commitment for infrastructure first.

Through a combination of ensuring that we have local control over how housing is developed, a further, deeper commitment at a community level to understanding the practical changes that need to be made to achieve our net zero goals—things like equitable insulation for homes—and to achieve local transportation methods that are green and clean, there are great opportunities in the Bill. I look forward to hearing the Minister’s comments.

Order. Mike Amesbury will be the last speaker on a five-minute limit. I will indicate whether the new limit is to be four or three minutes as soon as he has finished.

I rise to speak to my amendments 97 and 98, to my new clause 111 and to other amendments that I support.

After 12 years of pursuing policies that have wrecked and hollowed out communities and deepened inequalities, this Tory Government now say that they are the ones to repair the damage and that the so-called levelling-up agenda is the way to do it. The Bill exposes levelling up as the empty promise that it is. It will not ensure that our planning system delivers for us, it will not provide the genuinely affordable housing we need, and it will not put investment and power back into communities and people’s pockets. In fact, the current Government are doing exactly the opposite.

I support several Labour Front-Bench amendments, including amendments 78 and 84 and new clause 98. This Parliament declared a climate emergency in 2019, so it is somewhat bizarre that, years later, mitigation and adaptation are not hardwired into our planning system. New clause 98, which would do just that, is welcome. As it stands, the Bill will create a power grab by the centre and by the Secretary of State, undermining the local plans and neighbourhood plans that Members across the House have spoken for so strongly in this debate, so I strongly support amendment 78. If we are to build communities with the right houses in the right places that are genuinely affordable, with essential infrastructure and beautiful green spaces, they must be sufficiently funded. That is not the case now, has not been the case for 12 years and will not be the case under the Bill, which is why I am backing amendment 84.

I turn to the amendments that I have tabled. Amendment 97, which is supported by the Local Government Association, would provide local authorities with the certainty that they need about how to administer the levy in relation to retrospective planning applications; the Bill does not currently make provision for that. Amendment 98 would ensure that all forms of provision delivered through section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, including affordable housing, are not lost but continue to be delivered by the levy. Otherwise, important schemes that do not come under the definition of infrastructure, but are currently delivered through section 106—including apprenticeships, skills development, supporting the local workforce and supporting young people into employment—may be omitted. New clause 111 would have the same effect as new clause 94: by removing the clauses of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 that relate to the sale of vacant higher-value local authority housing, it would hold the Government to a commitment that they made in the social housing Green Paper.

I also support amendment 2, which was tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow (Stella Creasy). Rightly, it would add childcare, either subsidised or free, to the definition of infrastructure. It is common sense, it is the right thing to do and I wholly support it.

My amendments and many others tabled by Members across the House seek to add some substance to a discredited and vacuous slogan: namely, “levelling up”. Over the past 12 years, communities such as mine have been hollowed out, with facilities from leisure centres to libraries closed down and our high streets boarded up. We need something radically different. In fact, what we need is a Labour Government who will empower our communities, genuinely power up our communities, and fill people’s pockets with the money and opportunities they deserve.

Alongside purpose, a sense of pride nourishes personal and communal togetherness; it builds social solidarity. Where we begin, live life and end it roots our days and shapes our dreams. Homes matter because having a place of one’s own to build a family’s future makes those dreams come true. Those who advocate housing targets clinically miss the point. Making homes of which people can feel proud is what public policy must make possible.

The Government’s decision to drop mandatory housing targets, under which local communities have been obliged to endure seemingly endless and unsustainable development, is therefore wise and welcome, if overdue. I have been pleased to play my part, alongside other sensible colleagues, in encouraging that sharp turn in thinking. I am delighted that local communities and the councils they elect will no longer have housing imposed upon them. They will be in sole charge of what is built and where. Never again will the imposition of top-down targets be a justification for developments that are out of scale or character with the prevailing built environment or the local landscape. We have bolted on to villages and towns throughout this kingdom unsuitable and unsustainable housing estates of catalogue-build, identikit houses that bear no relation to the local vernacular and are, frankly, a very poor legacy to pass on to generations to come.

All that we build should make us proud. Our inheritance is what our forefathers built for us, and our responsibility is just as great as theirs. Development should, wherever possible, be regenerative, and it should be incremental. Every hamlet could take a few extra houses; every village could take more; towns many more than that; and cities, of course, many thousands. When we understand that development can be incremental, people will cease to object to it in the way they do currently.

There are those who dismiss beauty—they are crass to do so, because people deserve the chance to live in lovely places, including less well-off people. Unfortunately, that is too often not the case. I welcome the Government’s decision to put beauty at the heart of the housing agenda by raising design standards and making sure that developers and local planners adhere to those standards. It is also important that communities have their say. When they are faced with a choice between the ubiquitous kind of bland, identikit housing that peppers too much of our country or well-designed homes, they will usually choose the latter.

There is, however, concern about the industrialisation of the countryside resulting from the Government’s relaxation of the moratorium on onshore wind. It is critical that topography, visual impact, the connection to sites of special historical interest, areas of outstanding natural beauty and sites of special scientific interest, and the connection of turbines to the grid, are all taken into account. Not only is this a dangerous energy policy—I do not have time to explore that—but it also risks spoiling much of the English landscape and ruining vistas that are cherished by local people. If we really believe in local consent for housing, we must follow through and believe in local consent for that kind of infrastructure development, too.

As I have said, all that we build should add to what is there. We will be judged as a Parliament, and indeed as a generation, by what we pass on to generations to come.

I will speak briefly to amendment 73 and new clause 83, which stand in my name.

As we all know, planning can be one of the most contentious issues in any community. Whether or not local communities are happy, there is nothing worse when permission has been granted than developers doing nothing at all with the site, only half completing it, or leaving it derelict for a number of years. The Government’s proposal in the Bill for completion notices is welcome, but it is still weighted in favour of faceless developers, not local communities, and gives developers too long to act. My amendment would ensure that planning permission can be withdrawn and building works removed, with the site being restored to its previous condition in a timely manner, shifting legislation in favour of local communities.

Despite levelling up being one of the Government’s flagship policies, they continue to struggle to define it and, consequently, how its success can be measured. The technical annex to the White Paper, which addresses how levelling up will be measured, says:

“Further work will be undertaken…to…refine these metrics.”

New clause 83 would help to do just that.

Legislating for a reporting mechanism that is linked to a revival in manufacturing would focus the efforts of this and any future Government on job and skills creation, and on promoting the UK as a manufacturing powerhouse once again. Parts of our economy have relied on the service sector for too long, with jobs that are often low paid and insecure, especially in coastal communities such as mine.

Coastal communities, towns and cities that were once the manufacturing hubs of the UK have seen a marked increase in low rates of economic growth over the past 12 years, leading to stagnation in productivity and living standards. That is felt most starkly in the north-east, where Hartlepool, Redcar, Cleveland, Darlington, Newcastle, South Tyneside and Sunderland have all seen decreased manufacturing output compared with 2010, and where the consequence has been a more than 50% decrease in apprenticeships across every single local authority.

In Committee, I withdrew my amendment in good faith after the Under-Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Dehenna Davison) advised me:

“There are already publicly available official statistics covering matters in the new clause, such as the number of manufacturing jobs by region.”––[Official Report, Levelling-up and Regeneration Public Bill Committee, 18 October 2022; c. 809.]

It has since been confirmed by the Library that this is not entirely correct, as not all the matters in my new clause are covered by available official statistics.

My amendment and new clause are straightforward, cost-neutral and meet the Bill’s aims. There is no reason why the Government should reject them again today.

I am delighted to have this opportunity to speak to new clause 3 on the compulsory installation of solar panels on all new residential properties. I have long held an interest in this topic, having questioned Ministers, written articles and held a Westminster Hall debate a number of years ago. Needless to say all were to no avail.

I wonder how much better many people’s energy bills would be had compulsory installation been introduced when I first proposed the idea. However, it is to the future we must look. House building and construction will clearly be significant in achieving the goal of a net-zero environment.

We must also be aware of the potential cost of trying to achieve net zero, and any policies therefore need to be innovative, practical and realistic so they do not damage our economy and individual finances. It is for this reason that I tabled my amendment. Quite simply, making solar panels compulsory in all new builds will create an immediate market. Whether 100,000 or 300,000 housing units are built each year, it will create a sizeable market that is, to some extent, guaranteed. With the knowledge of that certainty, businesses will undoubtedly rise to the challenge, set themselves up and invest. We would then see many businesses, up and down the country, installing solar panels. Repair and maintenance businesses would thrive, too.

With such a large market, and with competition, I anticipate that the cost of solar panels would continue its downward trajectory, ensuring that the cost of new houses does not rise disproportionately. There would also be a benefit to those seeking to install solar panels on their existing homes, as costs would drop and many more businesses would offer that opportunity. Most importantly, innovation would kick in and solar panels would become far more efficient and, I anticipate, more aesthetically pleasing. Why not have solar-panel tiles on every new build?

I was recently told that there is a five-year waiting list in Norfolk to have a thatched roof replaced—waiting lists may be shorter elsewhere. Of course, there are thatched new builds. Does new clause 3 cover thatched new builds? Would anyone who wanted to commission such a new build have to cover its thatched roof in solar panels?

That is an interesting one, to say the least. I would certainly leave businesses to be innovative in their approach to dealing with that.

I am aware that there is a lot of support for my proposal and I genuinely believe it is sensible and practical. However, I understand the Government’s perspective on a number of issues. I give them credit for their principled policy of moving housing towards zero-carbon-ready homes. As our energy provision changes, homes must be adaptable and ready for the introduction of new technologies and new supplies of energy.

I appreciate, although I do not wholly agree with, the Government’s view that they should remain technology neutral. I am not entirely convinced by that argument, as any housebuilder can do what they want in ensuring a property is zero-carbon-ready, as well as having to include solar panels. However, I acknowledge that the Government have increased the uplift in the energy efficiency standard, which should lead to 30% less CO2 emissions—something that must be welcomed as a further step forward.

I support the Government in their decision to look at solar permitted development rights, particularly with regard to commercial buildings; that decision has much to commend it and is a sensible development. I am still, of course, disappointed that the Government have still not accepted my amendment. Although I have had a Westminster Hall debate, written articles and asked questions on the topic, I genuinely feel there has not been enough debate and consideration of my amendment and its implications in this House.

I am grateful for the support from Conservative Back Benchers and indeed the support of Ministers, albeit privately. I am a little surprised that there has not been greater support from the Opposition, but that may be because the issues have not been as well publicised and debated as they should. There will, however, be an opportunity for further such debate in the other place when they consider this Bill. I would like to think that their lordships will look clearly and closely at the amendments tabled in this House but not divided on, which will include this amendment—I know there is genuine interest in it in the other place.

I will not push this amendment to a vote today, but should the other place, after further debate, conclude it is worth pursuing, I would certainly want this House to have an opportunity to express its views on the amendment, in whatever form it comes back to the House. I look forward to the Minister’s comments and observations and, very importantly, the debate that will be held by their lordships.

I rise to speak to the amendments in my name. First, new clause 13 would recognise that everyone has the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment and place a duty on public authorities to have regard to that right in decision making. Although simple in its drafting, I would argue that it could have a transformative effect in providing the legislative impetus for a significant expansion in accessible, nature-rich spaces, putting green space provision on the policy priority list. Such strong legislative underpinning would unlock support from central Government and investment from the private sector and wider civil society to meet green space creation and maintenance costs.

There is no real levelling up without levelling up access to nature. There is overwhelming evidence demonstrating the impact of access to nature on health and wellbeing—people living happier, healthier and longer lives—but sadly, this life-enhancing tonic is not distributed equally across the country. One in three people in England cannot access nature within a 15-minute walk of their home. That is a particular issue for disadvantaged communities, with some having little or no green space at all. People on low incomes are nearly twice as likely to live in a neighbourhood without nature-rich spaces as those on or above the average income.

During lockdown, when inequalities were laid bare, Natural England demonstrated that 73% of children from households with annual income below £17,000 spent less time outdoors, due to a lack of access to gardens and nearby public parks. New clause 13 would address those inequalities and spread the benefits of access to nature-rich spaces across all communities.

New clause 110 would require planning policy prepared by the Secretary of State to inform local plan making and planning decisions—as well as planning decisions themselves—to be consistent with the UK’s climate targets. This amendment gets to the heart of the UK’s broken planning system, which enables climate-wrecking developments such as the Cumbria coalmine or the Horse Hill oilfield to be approved without robust scrutiny against our binding carbon budget commitments. As Lord Deben told the Environmental Audit Committee, of which I am a member:

“We have a planning system that does not take adaptation or net zero into account.”

My new clause 110 would address that failing, and it would help to deliver the Climate Change Committee’s recommendation that the Government embed

“Net Zero alignment as a core requirement within the planning reforms”.

It is essential that the Bill provides consistent alignment of planning policy and development management with the UK’s climate targets. Without that, there is a real risk that we continue to see plans, policies and application decisions that are either weak on tackling climate change or even contradictory, allowing high-carbon development to continue. Indeed, recent research has found that, despite a climate duty having existed in relation to local plan making since 2008, there is little evidence of recently adopted plans including meaningful action to tackle climate change. Planning, legal and policy frameworks are too limited to give councils the confidence to put bolder policies in place. Yet more concerning are the rejections of strong climate policies by the Planning Inspectorate. Given the lifespan of buildings and infrastructure being constructed today, it is essential that this Bill not only ensures that planning supports the transition to net zero, but takes account of increasing climate impacts. Adaptation simply cannot continue to be the Cinderella of climate change. This new clause would ensure that our planning system is fit for the future, and I urge the Government to accept it.

Excessively high housing targets have been making it harder and harder for elected local councillors to turn down bad development proposals, even where these might be wholly inappropriate for the area and there is insufficient infrastructure to support the new homes proposed. This is leading to loss of greenfield land in rural areas and increasing pressure to urbanise the suburbs through the construction of high-rise blocks. That is a matter of acute concern to my constituents in Chipping Barnet—for example, in relation to the North London Business Park scheme, against which I will be speaking when it is considered by the planning committee in Barnet on Thursday.

This erosion of local control over planning is compounded by the obligation to produce what is known as a five-year land supply to show that an area has sufficient sites to meet the target. If this obligation is not met, the so-called tilted balance comes into force—in effect, a developer free-for-all, where there is not a blade a grass or a square foot of land that is not in danger of being concreted over. We cannot go on as we are. Of course, we need new homes, and prior to the pandemic home building had risen to levels as high as anything seen in the last 30 years, but they have to be the right homes in the right places, spread fairly between different areas and delivered in a sustainable way.

That was why I tabled new clause 21, which attracted the signatures of 60 Members of the House, but the Government have listened, and I thank the Minister and the Secretary of State for bringing forward significant concessions in response to that new clause. These confirm that centrally determined targets will be advisory, not mandatory. They will be a starting point and a guide, not an inevitable final answer. Where councils can show genuine constraints on the housing they can deliver, they will be permitted to set a lower target in their local plan—for example, if delivering the top-down number would require building at densities that would involve a significant change in the character of an area. It is most welcome that the Planning Inspectorate will have its wings clipped and will no longer be able to reject reasonable plans brought forward by councils. The five-year land supply obligation and the dreaded tilted balance will go for councils with up-to-date plans. The 20% buffer of the five-year land supply will also go, and new design codes will give councils more control over the type of development permitted in their area. This should rebalance the planning system to give local communities a stronger say in what is built in their neighbourhoods. It should also give councils greater capacity to protect the rural or suburban character of their areas.

This outcome is a reasonable compromise that will strengthen local input into the planning system and help prevent environmentally damaging overdevelopment from going ahead, but which will also support the continued delivery of new homes as part of wider efforts to get more people on to the housing ladder. I see what has happened as an illustration of good co-operation between the Front Bench and the Back Benches, and it is a victory for all of us who have been trying to do everything we can to safeguard our green and pleasant land and to protect the quality of life of the constituents we are privileged to represent.

I rise to speak to new clauses 104 to 109 and amendments 93, 95 and 96, which were tabled in my name. New clause 107 was tabled in my name and that of Members across the House, including my new hon. Friend the Member for City of Chester (Samantha Dixon). I thank the Government for listening in Committee and introducing new clause 119, but it is simply not enough and time is not on our side. New clause 107 would address the very challenges that communities such as mine face. I feel very emotional about this because I deal with cases day after day in which I see people turfed out of their home and turfed out of our city because people come in, extract that housing and extract wealth for their own profit and gain when people simply do not have anywhere to live. The Government’s new clause 119 will not resolve that issue.

My new clause 107 would enable local authorities to take the path that is right for them. If we are talking about levelling up and devolution, I struggle to understand why the Government need another consultation on this issue. They have already had a consultation, to which 4,000 people responded. It is clear to me that another consultation would delay action. In fact, the Secretary of State has said that the consultation would last until the summer. If that is the case, we will see another 6,409 homes flipped over into short-term holiday lets. A community such as mine cannot take any more. We already have 2,118 short-term holiday lets. We know where they are because they are advertised on websites, and we know the problems that they cause.

My new clause would enable local authorities to make the determinations that are necessary to license a scheme and control what is happening in housing development. I cannot see why any hon. Members would not support more powers for their local authority to take control of a local situation that no national solution will be able to resolve. Through that à la carte approach, local authorities could advance the means that they need to address the specifics of what is happening across rural, coastal and urban communities. Short-term lets have clearly taken hold in places across the world, especially in Europe, and particular measures have been put in to bring control to that market.

My new clause would enable local authorities to create control zones to determine that there should be no further growth in short-term holiday lets, to ensure that a licence was in place or to limit the number of such lets in an area. It would not restrain any local authority. An authority might want to grow its short-term holiday let environment, who knows? The new clause would certainly enable those people who are overridden by short-term holiday lets to get back control and make sure that housing went to the very people who needed it. Unfortunately, the Government have not supported that approach and want to talk further about it.

I am going to try another tack. I have tried a private Member’s Bill, spent six months in Committee, talked to seven different Ministers and sat through 27 Committee sittings. It feels like I have given six months of my life solidly to this. Would the Minister consider York to be a pilot for a licensing scheme so that we can put in the measures that will make a difference to my community and my constituents can at last have a house to live in?

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for York Central (Rachael Maskell). I served on the Bill Committee too. While many Members will think of politics in 2022 for other reasons, for me it will forever be the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill year. Given the size of the amendment paper in front of us, and the scale of issues that Members have, it is vital to get this Bill right to shape all our communities. Fundamentally, the Bill—or certainly its planning clauses—is about competing demands on land use. Until yesterday, I had my own amendment on the amendment paper on food security, but when I look through some of the amendments —new clause 73, new clause 101, new clause 123—many still speak to the importance of ensuring that we get the balance right when it comes to the competing demands for land.

I represent a rural and farming community of 335 square miles of rural north Buckinghamshire, where 90% of the landmass of the constituency is agricultural land. We are seeing solar farm applications coming about time and again and massive growth in house building and commercial property, but we have to think about food security, because if all this land is taken away for energy, housing and industrial units, there will not be any land left on which to grow food.

I am grateful to the Minister and all her predecessors over the past six months for engaging on this matter and for coming up with a proposal. It is why I was happy to withdraw my own amendments to ensure that the new NPPF for the first time ever explicitly referenced food security as a material concern within the planning process. I fear that is where the new clauses I mentioned a moment ago do not go far enough, because they just talk about the green belt, as opposed to open countryside and land used for food production.

For the last few moments of my speech, I will speak to amendment 2 and urge the Minister, when she replies to the debate, to perhaps clear up some of the earlier confusion, because I see no reason whatever why the infrastructure levy cannot be used to fund childcare and childcare facilities. If we are building housing estates and family homes—two, three, four, five-bed properties—funnily enough, not every child from the families who occupy those homes will be of school age. There will be a crying need for childcare and early years provision. Clearly the buildings that are not attached to schools will be an important part of that. I am not saying that the state should take over all childcare, but some ability—

Does my hon. Friend agree that, if we reference the 2019 Department for Education guidance that covers his point, it is completely explicit that early years is within the remit of section 106? Perhaps it would helpful if the Minister could be clear, as he asked, that the legislation owned by other Departments remains in place under this Bill.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend and agree entirely that those regulations make it clear. It is a shame that the shadow Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Wigan (Lisa Nandy), is not in her place, because she was a councillor with me in 2006 in Hammersmith and Fulham, where I, then charged with the community safety brief, used section 106 money in part to fund additional police officers in the town centres of that borough. There is precedent out there that we can use funds such as the predecessor to the infrastructure levy, to fund some level of revenue services. That is why I urge the Minister, when she sums up, to acknowledge that we can do that and be true localists, so that communities that determine that childcare provision is important are enabled to make those deals as part of their infrastructure levies.

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. This Bill introduces national development management policies, or NDMPs, which will have primacy over local development plans, meaning that those plans could be easily and rapidly rendered out of date by changes to national policies. My constituents who are campaigning to protect the green belt will be concerned about that, and I pay tribute to them and support their campaign.

The Bill states:

“If to any extent the development plan conflicts with a national development management policy, the conflict must be resolved in favour of the national development management policy”,

so local democratic processes for determining planning decisions could be seriously undermined. New clause 73 in my name would ensure that the Government cannot use NDMPs to allow housing to be built on green-belt land. It is remarkable that, despite the Bill introducing NDMPs, the Government have not set out what will be in their scope. Surely the Government would want to be clear about that before legislating for their introduction.

It is clear that, under the Conservatives, there has not been sufficient protection for the green belt. According to the Campaign to Protect Rural England, more than 42% of planning applications submitted for green-belt land in the 10 years to 2020 were granted, and importantly, the report also points out that there is sufficient brownfield land for more than 1 million homes.

Part 5 of the Bill replaces the current system of environmental impact assessments and strategic environmental assessments with a new environmental outcomes report regime. New clause 72 would require EOR regulations made under part 5 to be subject to the super-affirmative procedure to ensure a high level of scrutiny. EIAs and SEAs have been vital to the protection of sites of local, national and international environmental importance for decades. They set out and assess the impacts that developments may have on the environment, and help local authorities to decide on planning applications. It is a matter of extreme concern that a huge amount of detail—including information on which plans and projects EORs will apply to—is deferred to secondary legislation. In effect, the Bill gives a blank cheque to Ministers to change environmental protections in the planning system. The super-affirmative procedure should be used to provide much-needed greater parliamentary oversight.

The Bill currently states that, before making any EOR regulations that contain provision for what the specified environmental outcomes are to be, the Secretary of State must have regard to the current environmental improvement plan. This omits crucial considerations such as the preservation of the green belt, the protection of heritage and climate obligations, which should be central to any environmental assessment process. Amendment 63 addresses that omission. It is vital for the Secretary of State, as well as having regard to considerations such as protecting the green belt and meeting our climate obligations, to have regard to the protection of heritage when setting EOR regulations, because heritage and the historical character of the places where we live are immensely important.

The green belt is not safe in the hands of the Conservatives, and the Bill should be strengthened to provide much greater protections for it. People will not forgive politicians who concrete over the rural landscapes that they value so much. Nor can we trust this Government to protect the environment and address the climate emergency: that was made abundantly clear last week by the Secretary of State’s decision to grant permission for a new coal mine in Cumbria, a shocking decision which has attracted the attention, and the concern, of John Kerry, the United States climate envoy.

In 2019, the UK Parliament declared a climate and environment emergency. I call on the Government to accept new clauses 72 and 73 and amendment 63, which I believe would strengthen the Bill.

It is a pleasure to speak to new clause 12, which is tabled in my name and which would introduce new requirements to encourage the development of small brownfield sites. I thank colleagues on both sides of the House who have supported it. I do not propose to put it to a vote, because the Housing and Planning Minister—my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Lucy Frazer)—has indicated her interest in it and given assurances that it will be part of the Government’s future thinking.

We should all know the scale of the crisis that we are facing. In 2003, 59% of households led by someone aged between 25 and 34 owned their homes; by 2020, the figure had fallen to 47%. At this rate, we are destined to see the majority of people under 50 doomed to a life of permanent renting.

Because of increasing wage-to-house-price ratios, we are witnessing a steady fall in home ownership. In 2019, 65% of households in England owned their homes, a fall from 71% in 2003. The decline in home ownership has been especially pronounced in younger age groups: the number of homeowners aged between 25 and 34 has fallen from 59% to 41%. That puts more and more pressure on the private rented sector. Rental demand is up 142% when compared with the five-year average, while supply is down by 46%. Rents are soaring as a result.

We are having this debate later than was intended, largely owing to the issue of housing targets. They are not the preserve of the left or liberals; Sir Keith Joseph was attacking Labour for not having them in the early 1960s. And I take issue with the phrase “housing target”. This is not a target, but a minimum need. It is a gaping, strategic deficit, and a clear and present danger to economic growth.

There is a need to make tough decisions. It is time to lead and not to follow. Abolishing housing targets is an example of failing by following, and opening ourselves up to the accusation of acting for perceived short- term political gain. The best time to build a house was 20 years ago; the second best time is now. As a Conservative, I believe that one of the Government’s best attributes is their ability to indicate and signal to the markets, and in this case we must do all we can to let the markets know that it is time to build—and yes, to build beautifully too.

The national Government of this country nationalised land use via the Town and Country Planning Act 1947, which is still in force. Since 2001, the population of this country has increased by 8 million. That is on the national Government as well. The national Government cannot have nationalised land use and restrictions, and be responsible for such a massive population increase, and then turn round and say, “It’s localism, isn’t it?” It is not localism, and the dropping of targets is a very unfortunate step.

The Minister referred to environmental concerns relating to the planning process. It is remarkable, then, that there is no requirement to do an ecological survey of local wildlife—flora and fauna—before planning consent is considered, so I have proposed some amendments to new clause 5 to achieve that.

I was concerned about a planning proposal in my constituency for 1,500 houses on greenfield land, when there are still brownfield possibilities elsewhere, so I commissioned an ecological survey because the council and the planning authorities were not required to do so. It turns out that in that area there are 16 bird species on the red list and 11 mammal species protected under schedule 5 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which prohibits damage to their environment. How can it be that the planning system does not require an advance ecological survey?

I will not press my amendments to a vote. I simply want to raise the issue and give the Minister an opportunity to explain how she will enforce strict regulation of environmental protections, particularly in the light of the UN biodiversity conference in Canada, where the Secretary-General of the United Nations said that humanity is in danger of becoming a “weapon of mass extinction”. We have to protect species. I have 27 species on one site that is proposed to be destroyed.

The Minister said that the Government are moving to a brownfield-first option. I asked Ministers twice last week what firm commitments council planning officers can rely on in the Government’s attitude towards green belt incursions. That seems to be a major issue affecting Members on both sides of the House, so we are looking for a firm and clear commitment on that.

The Minister was asked earlier—although I am not sure the question was fully understood—what guidance she will give to planning inspectors who are currently considering local authority planning processes, given what she said in the House today and what is in the Bill. That is where we are with the application that I mentioned, which is so damaging. It is unwanted by any representative institution in the constituency and it is damaging to the environment. It is only for planners who like drawing clean lines on a map and greedy developers. It is not wanted, it will damage our environment and it should be stopped.

I rise to speak in support of Government new clause 119. The lack of the housing that people need to live, work and play a full part in our local community is not a new problem for Cornwall and Scilly, but it has certainly become acute during and following the covid pandemic. The demand for staycations, fuelled by stringent rules and tax changes, has caused massive numbers of long-let properties to switch to short lets to meet the demand for short breaks at the expense of those who need the security of a permanent home. We have more homes approved for building than families on our waiting list.

This Bill has a job of work to do, and I believe that, with this sensible new clause, which I and many others support, it can offer a framework that will see a shift for the better in how we deliver the homes our community needs. I am grateful for the way the Minister has engaged with us and listened to the concerns that I and colleagues have shared, including those who share the task of representing the Duchy of Cornwall.

Very early on, my Cornish colleagues and I pressed for consideration to be given to how we ensure that houses built to meet local need can enjoy protection so they stay that way. The Bill establishes a registration scheme for holiday rentals and a consultation on whether planning permission is required for new holiday rentals, especially in tourist hotspots. I very much hope that is progressed as quickly as possible to reassure my constituents that the Government and the Bill work for them. That will address a difficulty that many families face by curtailing the opportunity for a landlord to switch the home to a holiday let. I ask the Minister to consider including second homes in the consultation. With that measure in place, Cornwall Council and other local authorities can assess the housing need and choose to decline a change of use application, protecting the home for permanent residents.

I am glad that the Government have made the central plank of this legislation enabling the building of the right homes in the right places with the right infrastructure. Communities will heave a huge sigh of relief, as they have felt forced to accept housing that spoils the natural environment but that does little to meet the need in the area. It confirms the fact that when we empower a local community to fashion and design its own destiny, people step forward and give their time to meet the challenge and win the arguments. This will always be a more constructive method of addressing housing supply than the top-down, target-driven approach that we are subject to now. That approach has not worked, otherwise there would be no housing crisis in Cornwall and no need for much of this legislation.

The top-down housing targets undermine confidence, sap the energy of local volunteers and do nothing to deliver the homes that local people need. With this Bill, brownfield sites will take precedence over greenfield sites and local communities’ needs over top-down diktats, and there will be confidence that priority will be given to those who live, work and are enabled to play a part in their community.

I rise to speak to new clauses 20 and 40 and amendment 5, in my name. We all recognise that the UK has a housing crisis, with shortages of social, private rented and affordable housing, leaving many people in an insecure position. One problem is that that need often conflicts with concerns that local residents have about their own stretched public services. Amendment 5 would help to address local concerns by ensuring that the infrastructure levy is paid upfront before the point of occupation. Councils would be able to ensure that a local community could cope with the additional people moving in before they were there taking up school places and nursery places, rather than trying to solve the problem of service provision once it is too late.

The amendment would also enable councils to require financial bonds from developers to complete the basic infrastructure—roads, street lights and drainage—that is meant to be adopted, but often seems to be left undone. North Shropshire is plagued with unfinished road developments, and the amendment would allow those financial bonds to be put in place, which would avoid such situations.

I fear that the Bill misses the opportunity to ensure that, when we build new homes, we protect the environment. The Conservatives have allowed around 1 million new homes to be built since 2015, which are not as efficient as they would have been had the standards put in place under the coalition Government been retained. This is a missed environmental opportunity, and it means that homeowners are paying far more to heat their homes than they might otherwise have done. New clause 20 would bring forward the date of the future homes standard to January, which may be unrealistic in the circumstances, but I hope that the Minister will consider bringing it forward to save homebuyers money and to work towards our climate objectives.

New clause 40 would create a requirement to hold local referendums on fracking applications—to be paid for by the applicant—to protect communities from unwanted fossil fuel extraction. My constituents are unconvinced by the current moratorium given the flip-flopping this summer and the disastrous decision to give the go-ahead to a new coalmine last week.

Finally, I wish to mention the critical importance of the affordability of housing. We know, as many Members have discussed, that it is worse in some parts of the country than in others. The building of executive homes in the countryside will not help us deal with the problem of affordable housing. New clause 20 also enables local authorities to require new housing to be affordable and to define affordability in their area. It would also allow them to provide additional bus services so that people did not become reliant on cars.

In summary, I am worried about the things that are missing in the Bill, which we have discussed today, and I hope that the Minister will consider them. In my final few seconds, I apologise to the House for coughing and spluttering all the way through the debate.

It is an honour to follow the cougher and splutterer from North Shropshire. She did it very well; I did not notice her coughing and spluttering.

It is my pleasure to speak to amendment 3, which is in my name. The Bill is a landmark piece of legislation, which will go a long way to pushing the Government’s ambition to level up our country.

One area of particular significance to Milton Keynes North is affordable housing. I have long campaigned and advocated for the need to build more affordable homes, as that is the best way to bring down house prices and to help families get on the housing ladder. As of now, developers are incentivised to build the highest-value properties they can when they get the chance, and this only serves to exacerbate the problem, as the hon. Member for North Shropshire (Helen Morgan) illustrated in her speech just now. It is an issue in my constituency. Sprawling estates of executive homes have been built with no intention to meet the needs of my constituents. The housing crisis that we face in this country is unprecedented and requires vital intervention from the Government to address. Too few homes are being built, and the homes that are being built are becoming increasingly unaffordable. As a result, people never get on to the housing ladder. Affordable housing developers can provide beautiful homes for those who want to remain in their communities, and we need to work with them to ensure that they are supported in doing so.

On affordable housing, we could be doing much more right now to ensure that as many new homes are brought forward as possible. If we want to address the housing crisis directly, we must tackle the issue at source. That is why I tabled amendment 3, which would provide an exemption from the infrastructure levy for affordable housing as defined in annex 2 of the NPPF. We want to see more affordable housing built throughout the country, and I see the amendment as a simple, straightforward way of achieving that. It is a massive bit of legislation with a massive amendment paper, yet my amendment is just one and a half lines long, so I implore colleagues to add it to the Bill.

The Bill currently has no automatic exemption for housing from the infrastructure levy. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has indicated that such an exemption will apply in the regulations, but I think that it really should be in the Bill. This small tweak to the levy would make a great difference in the short term and pay real dividends in the long term.

I rise to speak to new clause 6, in my name, which seeks to ensure that publicly owned assets can be more easily retained for the public good when sold off. I thank the Minister for her time meeting me before today to discuss this. The new clause has been born out of a local campaign in my constituency but is of relevance to the whole country. Thousands of residents are calling for the former Teddington police station site to be sold to a local housing association and a GP surgery, which have put in a joint bid backed by the local council, The bid, if successful, would prioritise the needs of the local community by providing a much-needed new state-of-the-art facility for Park Road GP surgery and a number of social and affordable homes above it. Sadly, in this highly desirable location they cannot outbid private developers who will deliver yet more unneeded luxury flats with the bare minimum number of affordable units that they can get away with.

Having lobbied the Mayor of London and his deputy for policing and crime, I was told that their hands are tied by statute whereby they have to secure best value, which is defined as the best price available on the open market. The new clause has a simple aim to make the law clear and unequivocal, with a single schedule covering all relevant public bodies, from the NHS to police and fire services on the same terms, granting them permission to sell publicly owned land and buildings for below market value, up to a certain level, to bids that put the environmental, economic or social infrastructure needs of the community first.

Does the hon. Member recognise that Network Rail is trying to dispose of much of its estate and that the Department for Transport is saying that it must also get the highest level of capital receipt? That, too, could benefit from her proposal.

I could not agree more. I thank the hon. Lady for supporting my proposal today as well as in the Bill Committee.

The new clause would also update existing provisions in line with recent and rising land values. In boroughs such as Richmond upon Thames, where we have more than 5,000 people on the social housing waiting list, sites to build new homes are vanishingly scarce. My constituency casework is dominated by families in desperately overcrowded and unsuitable housing. I therefore believe that whenever a suitable site becomes available, particularly if it is publicly owned, it should be considered for social or affordable housing.

I am proud that Lib Dem-run Richmond Council is leading by example by ensuring that many of its own asset sales are prioritised for social housing, where appropriate. That comes at a cost for a cash-strapped council. Indeed, a concern has been raised with me, not least by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, about the impact that the new clause would have on its finances if it sold below market value. We could have a debate about whether it should be better funded in the first place so that it does not have to sell off sites at top dollar, because that is robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Crucially, the amendment would allow, and not force, public bodies to put local communities at the heart of their estates strategy. Whether it is the Metropolitan police selling off sites in Notting Hill, Barnet or Teddington, or Surrey police, which has sold off 20 properties in the last five years, all those sites could potentially be used for better public infrastructure and affordable housing that would benefit key workers, such as police officers and nurses, and young people in our constituencies.

Given that the Secretary of State said to me on Second Reading that we could have consensus on that policy point, I implore the Minister to work with me to take the amendment forward and get it on to the statute book, for the sake of communities across the country, such as Teddington, that desperately need new homes, GP surgeries and other community infrastructure.

I welcome the way in which Ministers have listened to the concerns of many of us on this side of the House and sought to improve the Bill, recognising in particular that planning is always local and it is vital that we have a locally led planning system, with local communities at its heart. I pay tribute in particular to my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers) and my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Bob Seely) for the huge amount of work that they have done on what was new clause 21.

On housing targets, I am pleased that local housing need is now acknowledged as the starting point, and that centrally determined housing targets are advisory and not mandatory. That, coupled with ending the obligation of the five-year land supply—which is actually six years when the 20% buffer zone is factored in—is a step in the right direction. I would just press the Minister on how much councils may be able to challenge and reduce their targets, because that will be important to many local areas, including mine. I really hope that the changes secured will start to help local communities feel that they have a meaningful part to play in the planning process. In Aldridge-Brownhills, our experience of being listened to or even engaged with during the consultation on the Black Country plan was woefully inadequate, but the plan is now, thankfully, defunct.

The measures in the Bill will see our communities start to be able to shape their towns and villages. I am also pleased that the Government will incentivise and enable development on brownfield sites first, not least because of the real difference that could make if we are serious about delivering. Fundamentally, we all know that we cannot justify building on the green belt, greenfield and green spaces when brownfield sites on high streets and in town centres are ready to be regenerated. Continuing to tilt the playing field in favour of brownfield first is a win-win.

I welcome the response on seeing what more can be done to unlock development on small sites, especially with respect to affordable housing, and the prioritising of brownfield land again. I well remember getting the keys to my first home, and I want the next generation of homeowners to be able to get on the property ladder like I did. We can be the regeneration generation. The Bill is now in a much better place to start moving us in that direction.

As ever, I will contribute to the debate from a highlands perspective. I hope that all hon. Members will one day visit my constituency and see Caithness and Sutherland. If visitors drive across Caithness in a north-westerly direction on a road called the Causewaymire, they will see abandoned houses to left and right. That is because for far too long depopulation was the curse of the highlands, and that is why we have so many people with highland surnames in Canada, in the Carolinas and in Virginia.

The advent of the nuclear facility in Dounreay halted and reversed that depopulation in the 1950s. The Labour Government in the 1960s established the Highlands and Islands Development Board, which in turn led to the fabrication of oil facilities at several yards in the highlands. That, too, helped to halt and reverse depopulation in the highlands, and it is why I got married and had children myself—I worked in one of those yards at the time.

My point is a fundamental one: we talk about the definition of infrastructure and, in my mind, it is about quality employment. If we do not have quality employment for the young generation for the future, the finest housing plan, however we put it together, will be undermined. It is no accident that, after Dounreay came to be, we saw house building on a very large scale in Caithness, around Wick and Thurso. When the yards at Nigg and Kishorn in Ross and Cromarty opened, we saw large-scale housing developments—private housing and social housing—in my home town of Tain, in Alness and in the village of Balintore. Without that part of infrastructure called employment, it ain’t going to work, folks, I am afraid.

That is why I go on quite a lot in this place about space launch in Caithness and, in particular, Sutherland—because it is about jobs. This is an unashamed sales pitch, Mr Deputy Speaker; I hope you will forgive me. I hope that His Majesty’s Government and the Scottish Government will look favourably on the bid to establish a green freeport on the Cromarty Firth. I must register my disappointment that there are no Members of the party that is running the Scottish Government here with us today, because I would have liked them to hear that message loud and clear.

I draw the House’s attention to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests: I am an unpaid vice-president of the Local Government Association. I place on the record my thanks to the Conservative Environment Network and the Royal Town Planning Institute for their assistance in formulating a number of the amendments that I tabled or signed.

I also thank the Government for the interest that they have shown in the issues highlighted in my amendments on wildbelt. There is a strong sense across parties that, in the way we approach regeneration, we must take account of the needs of wildlife as well as the need to provide green space around our towns and cities. Especially in areas where large-scale housing development may take place, it is incredibly important for local authorities and developers to identify sites that contribute to biodiversity.

I welcome the progress that we have made in respect of the greater degree of rigour around the planning process. It is clear that many local authorities face challenges in recruiting sufficient professional staff and in ensuring that, from both the developer perspective and a governmental perspective, we have the necessary strategy and oversight in place to ensure that our objectives are delivered.

I will focus on three areas that are especially important. We have heard a great deal about childcare, and I have made a number of interventions on the issue. Let me clarify that the reason I signed amendment 2 is that I am pretty clear that the guidance from the Department for Education—that is one of a number of a number of Departments that own guidance that is used in the planning process, another being the Home Office, which permits PCSOs and police services to be funded through section 106 agreements; those are owned by DLUHC as the Department responsible for local government but bring in other legislation—already allows for childcare to be considered. However, I would welcome confirmation from the Dispatch Box. I think the Minister noted that in her opening speech, but it would be helpful to have clarity.

Let me add my appreciation of the Government’s move on housing targets. The local authorities that serve my constituency have consistently delivered more housing than the targets that have come from any part of central Government or, indeed, the Mayor of London. It is clear that effective local leadership and a sense of ambition, particularly around regeneration, can deliver the homes that we need in this country.

Finally, let me place in the Government’s mind an issue that is very much on those of my constituents: the impact of ultra low emission zones. As we consider the impact of increased traffic on areas, I hope that, in due course, the Government will be minded to accept amendments that require the consent of the local authorities affected before such policies are introduced.

There is much to like and admire in this Bill. Mention has already been made of street votes, and I want to put on the record my thanks to the Government for including them, as that has been a personal crusade of mine and many others outside the House. I am delighted that street votes are firmly and squarely in the Bill.

I am also delighted to see design codes. We have heard about the importance of beauty and of local democracy, local input and local vernacular styles; design codes are an essential way of delivering that and it is very welcome to see them in the Bill.

I also echo the comments of a number of colleagues about what had been new clause 21, which I also signed, and which the Government have responded to positively in dealing with the tyranny of housing targets. The result is to everybody’s credit and very welcome.

However, there is a “but” at the end of that sentence, and it is to do with the concern that a number of Members, including the former Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland (Mr Clarke), mentioned about supply: our ability to build enough homes in future. Successive Governments of all political stripes have failed to deliver nearly enough homes over decades in this country, and I worry that this Bill fails to fix that fundamental underlying issue of inadequate supply. Street votes will help, but they will not be enough on their own, which is why I tabled new clause 88, and my thanks to the colleagues who have signed it already or spoken in support of it in this debate.

New clause 88 seeks to deal with the problem of under-supply by saying that anybody who owns a home in a town, city or urban area can redevelop it as of right, provided they follow the local design code, which the local council will by then have passed. That will lead to a dramatic increase in the amount of supply. On average, our towns and cities are about two storeys tall, so if the local design code effectively allows a townhouse revolution, which is what most of them will be, that will double the amount of home space available in our towns and cities in one go.

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is interesting that some of the most beautiful places in the world—Edinburgh, Cornish fishing villages, Paris or Berlin, where I lived—the normal height is four, five or perhaps six storeys without in any way over-dominating the scene?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right and that means we end up with gentle densification and beauty in the local style, creating spaces where people really want to live.

We will end up with a huge increase of supply from this townhouse revolution that I have described, and we will also end up with a bump-up in the value of existing homes, because we are creating brownfield sites and every existing home ends up with a small increase in value because of the hope value created. It is greener, because we are allowing people to live nearer where they work, protecting green fields and, as we heard earlier, using brownfield sites. It creates the beauty we have all been looking for. Most importantly, it retains local decision-making sovereignty. I therefore hope the Government will pick this up, take it forward and examine it carefully. It is in the spirit of street votes, but it is street votes on steroids, and I therefore commend it to the Minister and Government.

It is a great pleasure to speak in this debate under your chairmanship, Mr Deputy Speaker, even though you have restricted everyone to three minutes —I understand, of course, that you had no choice in the matter. I am also grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Weston-super-Mare (John Penrose). When I was discussing with him what to do about this problem, obviously I had crafted an immense amount of prose, but he said, “We will remove every alternate page and then deal with what is left,” which is sort of what I have done. I am also grateful to him for drawing new clause 88 to my attention, because I have seen much of the gentle densification he refers to in different cities on the continent. I have visited the Netherlands many times in my campaign for more custom and self-build, and he is right that it does work.

Does my hon. Friend agree that his proposals for a greater amount of custom and self-build will be another way of increasing supply, contributing to solving the problem I mentioned in my remarks just now?

I rise to speak to new clauses 115 and 112, both of which stand in my name. The purpose of these two new clauses is to amend the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015, which I should point out the Government themselves are now seeking to amend in Government new clause 68. I like new clause 68, but my own new clause 115 does a similar job and is even stronger and clearer. The Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act, which started life many years ago as my private Member’s Bill, places a statutory duty on local authorities to keep a register of persons who wish to acquire a serviced plot of land on which to bring forward their own self-build and custom house building projects.

A serviced plot of land is one where the services—the electricity, fresh water, drainage, broadband and so on—are already installed. Doubtless in the years to come that will also include an induction pad for an electric car, so that people do not have to plug them in. Serviced plots make things much easier: all the difficult bits are done. A self-build or custom house building project is one where the individual who will be the occupier of the home has the main input into the full design and layout. It does not include homes that are bought off plan or those where buyers simply have a say over the choice of carpets or tiles. Customers do not need to be involved in building the houses themselves. Indeed, the purpose of my new clause 112 is to recognise in law that most homes are built by building firms, businesses or companies, even in the case of individuals who wish to build a home and occupy it afterwards. The design factor is the most important one.

In the Housing and Planning Act 2016, the Government strengthened the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 by adding a further obligation that authorities must give enough suitable planning permissions to meet the demand on the register. In effect, this means that the greater the demand, the further the legal duty on the authority to provide more planning permissions is ratcheted up. So far, so good, and many ambitious councils have taken this to heart, including councils such as Cherwell, which is delivering large-scale projects such as Graven Hill; councils such as York, Durham and Plymouth, which are releasing council-owned land for serviced plots; councils such as Bristol, Central Bedfordshire, Cornwall, Plymouth, Shropshire, Stratford-on-Avon, Teignbridge and West Oxfordshire, which already have strong policy frameworks; and councils such as South Gloucestershire and Teignbridge, which employ dedicated custom and self-build officers to co-ordinate delivery.

But there is much more to do, and some councils are trying to thwart the aims of Parliament, either by counting every application as a self-build when it is not or by seeking to manipulate downwards the numbers on the registers by insisting on a local connection test, by charging a substantial fee or even by removing people’s names when they have not yet met their obligations to those registered individuals. My proposals would make it much more difficult for councils to behave in that way, and would substantially increase the likelihood that more supply will come forward, which is what we need if we are to create a world in which more people on ordinary incomes have the chance to bring forward their own schemes and have a dwelling of their own.

Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker.

I want to speak in favour of Government new clause 119, to which I am delighted to add my name. The campaign for a register for short-term Airbnb-style properties has been long in the making. Before I came to this place, when I was a member of Philippa Roe’s cabinet on Westminster Council, we successfully lobbied the Government of the time—the coalition Government—to secure a 90-day limit for lettings in London under the Deregulation Act 2015. Mr Deputy Speaker, I hope you will allow me to pay tribute to Philippa Roe, Baroness Couttie, who lost her battle against cancer yesterday. I pay tribute to the brilliant work she did as a councillor.

It should therefore come as no surprise that I welcome the substance of the Government’s new clause 119, which would require the Secretary of State to make provision for a registration scheme for short-term rental properties. Legislating for such a scheme, let alone understanding the scale of the problem across the country, has been hampered over the past decade by a distinct lack of evidence and data. With this in mind, I would like to stress the importance of subsection 3 of new clause 119, which will mean that the Secretary of State

“must consult the public before making the first regulations under this section.”

This is absolutely the right approach, in my opinion. Consultation will be fundamental, and we need time to review the data and make sure that we are doing this right.

I have a certain amount of sympathy with the hon. Member for York Central (Rachael Maskell). There are strong commonalities between the Government’s new clause 119 and new clause 107, and I know, having run a local authority, that we must allow councils the freedom to do what is best for their own area. Believe me, a one-size-fits-all approach will not work. To avoid over-legislating, it will be essential that we get this right before applying the standardised registration scheme to the to-do list of local authorities, primarily because not all local authorities need a registration scheme; for those where a scheme is necessary, it must differ according to regional trends in short-term letting. Westminster will be different from York, and requirements in York will be different from those in Cumbria and coastal communities.

I take this opportunity to thank the Minister, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Lucy Frazer), who has really listened and got this argument. I do ask, though, that we look at announcing a timescale for the first regulations to be brought forward, to allow local authorities to start planning now for the registration if it is coming later this year. I am delighted that the Department has accepted our arguments and has brought in new clause 119.

I rise to talk about targets but also, because of the shortness of time, to highlight the plight of my constituency, where targets have been on the tongues of all my constituents since I was elected to this House in 2015, predominantly because of the high level of housing needs being proposed across the unitary authority. Unfortunately, rather than being spread across the unitary authority, the majority of that proposed housing is within my constituency, particularly the Hoo peninsula, where there are many villages sandwiched between the Thames and the River Medway, surrounded by Ramsar sites and sites of special scientific interest and, of course, home to the nightingale.

As I said before, we also have Chatham docks—a thriving working port with business delivering major infrastructure for the UK. However, because of the council’s need to meet the high housing target, the docks are at risk of closure for the building of high-rise flats. We have done our part in my Rochester and Strood constituency on delivering homes; we have been delivering homes for the last decade and I am blessed with many new housing estates. My constituents want to understand how we can make sure we deliver the infrastructure to meet those high targets.

I have been pleased to support my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers), who has worked hard with Ministers. I am pleased with the engagement we have had with Ministers, but I would like the Minister to clarify some of the detail she mentioned in opening the debate around the NPPF consultation and, working with some of the information that has been put in that document around genuine constraints, how that would really affect constituencies such as mine that face very high targets and constituents who are incredibly concerned about infrastructure delivery and how it will affect their way of life.

In her summing-up speech, I wonder whether the Minister can give us more information about that and see how we can protect our villages going forward, while bringing on the new houses that we have been building and desperately want more of, ensuring that it is properly led and the community are happy with the development.

When I became the Member of Parliament for Meriden, three years ago to this day, I did so on the promise to do my utmost to protect our precious green belt. That is a promise I take seriously, and it is ever more important with the integrity of the green belt constantly coming under threat from development. In my constituency I have the Meriden Gap, the green lung of the west midlands, sandwiched between Birmingham and Coventry. It is a vital migratory throughway for wildlife in the United Kingdom—so much so that losing it would be catastrophic for wildlife across the country.

I stand by my constituents, who understand that, while we need more housing, we must do what we can to alleviate pressure on the green belt. Too often, I hear from constituents their dismay at the planning process. I am in no doubt that if we do not reform our planning system, we will disenfranchise whole communities and chip away at the very trust that people place in our democracy.

I am pleased that we are where we are today. Colleagues such as my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers) and my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Bob Seely) have campaigned for common-sense reforms, and the Government have listened, with the result that we can now see light at the end of the tunnel. I am pleased that the Government are focused on brownfield first, a policy that I have championed for many years. In the west midlands, we have enough brownfield to meet our housing needs. The reforms around land banking are similarly important: too often, my constituents are flabbergasted that more green belt is being eaten up by development, when we know that developers have land banked for future developments.

I particularly want to address the Planning Inspectorate. I welcome the NPPF consultation announced today. My borough council has put forward a local plan: it has been a really difficult process and my constituents have been asked to make significant sacrifices to meet the duty to co-operate. The local plan was reviewed by the inspectorate. One site in it would have had 2,000 homes, but the inspector said, “You can’t do it—you need to do something with about 500 houses.” One site would have had an existing school moved to a new building and rebuilt, but the inspectorate effectively said, “You can have the housing, but you don’t need the new school.” That is clearly not okay. If we are building homes, communities deserve the infrastructure to go with it. The interim findings were against the mood and desires of the community that I serve. The planning inspectorate is clearly not in touch with the people it is meant to serve.

I have a few questions for the Minister. Can she confirm whether removing the duty to co-operate will enable Solihull Council to review the local plan again? If it says it can build 2,000 homes on one site, will it be allowed to do so? When it says it needs a new school, will it be allowed one?

This is about more than planning. It is about the faith that our communities place in democracy. It is about their voice. It is about their knowing that when they express their will, it will be so.

I rise to support the Bill. I thank the Minister and her colleagues for engaging with Back-Bench colleagues on our concerns, particularly with regard to the way in which housing numbers are calculated.

New homes in my constituency really matter. We have built 150,000 in the past 50 years, at double the rate of the rest of the country, but because we have done the right thing, the formulaic approach ratcheting house building numbers up year on year and the complication of the five-year land supply have left Basingstoke—my constituency and my borough—building 1,400 houses a year, which is probably three times more than the need in our community. That is not sustainable. Councils must be allowed to vary the figure that comes out of the formula to take into account the local needs of the community. I have been making that case ever since I was elected; I am thankful that my council now has a leadership who are on the same page.

I am pleased to support the amendments tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers) and my near neighbour, my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Bob Seely). They have led the Government to agree that over-building can be just as much of a restriction on future house building as anything else. I am grateful for that recognition, as are my constituents.

New clause 123, which stands in the name of the hon. Member for Sheffield South East (Mr Betts), has echoes of the past. What got us into this situation in the first place was centrally led house building numbers. We cannot go back to that. I hope that he will decline to press his new clause, for fear that we will regress in that way.

The Government have agreed to make changes, but I urge the Minister to clarify one further thing, which my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Saqib Bhatti) has just mentioned: the role of the planning inspector. Planning inspectors are too often overriding local decision making and undermining local democracy. I hope that the Minister will take the time to reassure us that that will change. What guidance will be given to planning inspectors on the changes that have been announced to the calculations with regard to new homes?

My right hon. Friend mentions planning inspectors and how annoying they can be. Is she minded to suggest that perhaps we could do without planning inspectors? After all, we have local councils, local democracy and a call-in process through the Secretary of State. Why do we actually need an intermediate process?

My hon. Friend makes a very good point, but there needs to be a way of having arbitration when there are points of concern. I can understand that, but it has to be done with the starting point that local people know what is best for their community. I am shocked to hear what my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden has been experiencing with regard to schools.

Can the Minister reassure us that, if necessary, planning inspectors will be given direction on how to interpret the changes in calculations of new homes? Can we have more examples of genuine constraints? Can we make sure that the NHS’s capacity is taken into account? I am waiting for my new hospital to be built in north Hampshire, but it will not be finished until 2030. That would not have been taken into account in the housebuilding numbers that would have come out of the previous calculations and that rigid strategy. Will all those changes be put into the NPPF?

We need to ensure we have levelling up in housing, too. I do not want to see all the houses in this country being built in such a small area of the UK. They need to be built up and down the land.

I rise to address amendment 2. With 1.2 million vacancies, recruitment issues for businesses, some of the highest childcare costs in the world and a lack of choice for parents, it is right that we try to look at all forms of legislation to see if we can make improvements to childcare policies. I listened to the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Stella Creasy). I do not accept her criticism of the Minister and of what the Minister said. There are two separate issues. The first is whether infrastructure facilities for childcare are already included in the list that can be used for CIL and section 106 infrastructure spending. We heard from a number of Members that that is already available under DFE guidelines, and that councils can already build and spend in that way—it is a capital spend. The second issue is whether we can make changes to the regulations to include spending on revenue, effectively, so subsidising free childcare, or supporting childcare places. That needs a bit more work, but I note that the hon. Member for Walthamstow, who is not in her place, took straight to Twitter to suggest that the Government are not supportive of childcare or recognising that infrastructure matters. That is simply not the case, so I welcome the Minister providing some clarity on those issues.

More generally, the issue of housing targets, five-year land supply and the 20% buffer are constantly thrown back at my communities when we challenge building matters. Often, the Government are blamed even when it is a district council matter that is being challenged. We have an emerging local plan in Stroud. I welcome what the Minister said earlier to a colleague about the fact that we can look at a pause on a local plan. Certainly, the local council will need to do that.

I welcome the work being done in particular on compulsory purchase and derelict properties. We have a property in my patch called Tricorn House. It has been there for 20-odd years and it is a complete blight on the landscape. It was the site, sadly, of the tragic loss of a young life. The family are completely devastated and they have to look at the building every day. Nothing happens. Owners change and we are waiting. I will back any legislation that can help me to sort out Tricorn House.

It is the job of hon. Members to change and amend legislation to improve it. That does not mean we are rebels trying to take down the Government. Equally, my constituents are not nimbys because they care so deeply about their communities. They are the ones who spot when there is a great big gas pipe running through a site on which a council suddenly decides it wants to build. So let us stop the labelling, let us stop the nonsense and let us make the changes. I welcome what the Minister and her team are doing, and I thank them for it.

I rise to speak to new clause 119. I thank the Minister immensely for her engagement on this issue. Although she is the sixth Housing Minister I have spoken to about short-term holiday lets and second homes in my constituency, she is the first to deliver real change.

The issue in North Devon, like in many coastal communities, is acute. When I was elected to this place, Croyde was 64% second homes and short-term holiday lets. In North Devon, since the pandemic, we have lost 67% of our long-term rentals, and seen a 30% increase in property prices and a tripling of section 21 notices as people flip their long-term rentals into short-term holiday lets.

In Devon, we have worked hard to better understand what is driving some of these changes. Whereas before the pandemic we might have highlighted second homes as a particularly big issue, short-term holiday lets are now a major factor. I welcome the Minister’s changes and the caution with which they are being approached, because the unintended consequences of tinkering in this market and getting it wrong are often great.

It is not only in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities that we need changes to legislation, as the changes to landlord tax relief introduced in 2016, which came into effect in 2020, have had a monumental impact on this market. Although my work here may be nearly done, I am now lobbying other Ministers for changes to make sure we properly tackle this issue, which is multifaceted and spans many different Departments.

I congratulate my hon. Friend on doing a fantastic job on this issue. She has made a massive difference across the south-west. The important point is that we have to encourage long-term rental properties across the United Kingdom. We have done that by changing business rates, council tax and, now, registration.

My hon. Friend and I share many similar issues.

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Newton Abbot (Anne Marie Morris) for tabling the predecessor to new clauses 22 and 23. I am also one of the rebels who signed up to new clause 21. I take the opportunity to explain that I have no issue with building houses, but we have built ahead of target in my constituency, and what is the point when they are all empty and my local residents cannot move in? We need to build homes for local people so that they can live and work in the place they were born and brought up and where we have jobs for them. We have to end coastal ghost towns.

I thank the Minister again for her time. This is a big step forward.

I rise to speak in support of new clause 12, in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton South (Andrew Lewer), on small-site affordable housing.

The need for affordable housing, and indeed housing, across the country is very great. There is nothing like a cold snap and the crispness of fresh snow to bring front of mind people who are homeless on our streets, who have inadequate, cold housing or who need a home of their own. We also need to talk about the delivery of responsible and sustainable housing that is right for local areas, rather than simply stopping it. There is a group of people who do not have the voice of a property to object to a plan, and who do not have the voice of a community to call their home. We need to make sure they also have the homes they need.

On the delivery of affordable and other housing, I completely agree with the sentiment of moving away from nationally imposed housing targets and towards restoring stronger local accountability. Indeed, that is something for which I have long called, as set out in the 2015 Elphicke-House report. The standard method, otherwise known as the mutant algorithm introduced in 2018, has created an unhelpful backlash against house builders and developers without improving affordability in a meaningful statistical sense.

However, we must not throw the baby out with the bathwater, and I will look carefully at the consultation on the NPPF. I ask my right hon. and learned Friend the Housing Minister to consider what further steps may be taken to make sure our councils have greater responsibility for being housing enablers by bringing forward the housing needed in their areas.

As well as the financial, social and wellbeing costs for those who need homes, insufficient building has a very high economic cost to GDP. It is estimated that the house building industry generates over £40 billion of economic activity, including the delivery of £6.6 billion in affordable housing, while 100,000 fewer homes—that is not impossible in a sharp contraction or loss of confidence in the house building sector—could be a loss of £17 billion of economic activity and put 800,000 jobs at risk. So I ask my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister to consider accepting the sentiment behind new clause 12, and to ensure, as the Bill progresses and as the new NPPF is put forward for consultation, that the proper delivery of housing is at the forefront of her mind.

I want to build on my hon. Friend’s point about affordable housing. In my local authority area, more than 1,700 affordable homes have been built in the last four years, which is significantly higher than almost any other council in my county. It seems to me that the Government need to learn from those local authorities that are successfully delivering affordable housing, so that they can share that understanding more widely.

I thank my right hon. Friend for her comments, and she is absolutely right. Some local councils are over-delivering and overperforming, and some are underperforming. If we look at, for example, some areas of London, the Mayor’s plan for London is not delivering the homes that London needs, is not providing the densification and is not providing homes for people who live in London. Instead, that is getting exported to the home counties, to places such as Kent and Basingstoke. I completely agree that we need to look at making sure that the local plans and local delivery are appropriate, and that it is locally-led planning, but we also need to ensure that councils are responsible about meeting their housing needs. That balance must be there in the new NPPF because house building is not just a very important industry in terms of GDP. It is also the means by which we live better financial, better social and better connected lives in our community. It has a really important part to play.

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. It is a real pleasure to be called in this debate, especially with you in the Chair, because a lot of what I am going to say now is about when I was a councillor in your beautiful constituency of Epping Forest.

First, I thank my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers) and my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Bob Seely), who have done a substantial amount of work over close to two years now. I also thank those on the Front Bench for their proactive engagement to ensure that this legislation is in a fit state. I hope we will all be voting to support it in due course.

Prior to getting into this place, as I have said, I spent many years in local government. I ended up sitting on a planning committee for close to 17 years, during most of which I was chairing at both district and county council level, and I was holding the pen when the Essex design guide was adopted by Essex County Council. The point I want to make is that, while the public normally focus on housing, the local plan model is actually one that works. I have the scars of the regional development agencies, prior to local plans being introduced—actually by a Liberal Democrat Cabinet member at the time—back in 2011. The importance of this is that planning is one of those emotive issues that, if we get wrong, are a blight on our community for many years. I am sure I speak on behalf of the whole House when I say that we need to make sure we get this right.

I am fortunate enough to represent the beautiful constituency of South West Hertfordshire, which is approximately 80% green belt. While there is absolutely a demand for new homes, they do need to be the right type of homes. We have spoken about housing numbers before, but I want to focus on housing type. While we are blessed with a lot of medium to large-sized homes in my constituency, it is the first-time homeowners who inevitably will have to move out of my constituency to get on to the property ladder. As someone who bought their first home two years ago, the biggest and most frustrating issue I had in my constituency was trying to afford a home of a reasonable size. That was a challenge, even at my age and with what is the very well-paid job I do now.

I commend the Bill to the House. I hope that further engagement will happen, because I think this will be an evolution of the planning reform that we so desperately need in this place. I am conscious that I am before the Minister and the votes, so I am going to sit down now.

I know that colleagues across the House have dedicated a huge amount of time to getting the Bill to this point, and I thank them for their thoughtful contributions in Committee, in their engagement with me since I took office, and throughout today’s session, which I think has illustrated how important this piece of legislation is to the future of this country. It is further evidence of the commitment of Members across the House to finding solutions enabling us to build more homes in the right areas.

I thank my right hon. Friends the Members for Aldridge- Brownhills (Wendy Morton), for Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers) and for Basingstoke (Dame Maria Miller) and my hon. Friend the Member for Rochester and Strood (Kelly Tolhurst) for their points on the housing need allocation. I can confirm for my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke that planning inspectors will be instructed to ensure that they are more responsive to the needs of local communities, and we will review the soundness test. My hon. Friend the Member for North Devon (Selaine Saxby) was right to point out the need to ensure that local areas bring forward the housing we need.

I want to pay special tribute to a number of MPs, including my right hon. Friends the Members for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland (Mr Clarke) and for Tunbridge Wells (Greg Clark), who, during their time as Housing Secretary this year, both helped to expand and enhance the Bill, building on the work of the current Secretary of State and that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Robert Jenrick).

I would like to touch on the critique made by the those on the Opposition Benches about the infrastructure levy. That critique is wide of the mark and altogether misses the point of the levy. For too long, there has been too little incentive for developers to marry their developments to good-quality infrastructure and new affordable housing. That is going to change with the infrastructure levy, which is a huge upgrade on the status quo and will allow all English charging authorities to adopt a more coherent and streamlined approach. It will bring to an end one of the principal issues behind the current shortages of affordable homes: the unequal negotiating positions between under-resourced local planning authorities and deep-pocketed developers.

I am not going to give way; I will make substantial progress, because a lot of people have asked me questions. I want to give them commitments, and I will then be very happy to take interventions. I took all the interventions in opening the debate.

My hon. Friend the Member for Milton Keynes North (Ben Everitt) made an important point about exempting affordable housing from the infrastructure levy. I assure him that we intend for the full value of on-site affordable homes delivered by the levy to be offset by the total levy liability. That means that the affordable housing element of a development is not itself chargeable for the levy but that the scheme as a whole still contributes towards the infrastructure that may be needed to support it.

On infrastructure, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Richard Fuller) and the hon. Member for North Shropshire (Helen Morgan) spoke about paying money up front. The Bill already provides powers for levy regulations to make provision for payment on account and payment by instalment. It will also be possible for local authorities to borrow against future levy receipts. On top of all that, the infrastructure levy is a test-and-learn approach, so as we roll out it out going forward, we will improve it.

The shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Matthew Pennycook), raised points about the national development management policies. Those policies will cover the common issues already dealt with in national planning policy, such as green belt and areas at risk of flooding. That will reduce the burdens on local authorities by removing the need for those issues to be repeated in local plans.

I turn now from the infrastructure levy to issues relating to the environment. My hon. Friend the Member for South West Devon (Sir Gary Streeter) mentioned the Glover review. He will know that DEFRA is implementing several recommendations from that landscapes review and is also continuing to consider how best to implement others.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling) mentioned hedgehogs and vulnerable species. We have discussed that issue, and as he knows, we are already taking steps to protect vulnerable species and prevent the destruction of habitats prior to any survey taking place. The legislative framework for biodiversity net gain already includes provisions to address that. I am very grateful for the conversations we have had, because as a result of the points he has brought to my attention we intend to look further at how we can strengthen that, and we will consider it further in the Lords.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner (David Simmonds) made a number of valid points, and he was right to highlight the importance of wild belts. Our local nature recovery strategies are at the centre of the Government’s approach to driving nature’s recovery. The Environment Act 2021 already obliges responsible authorities to map sites that could be of particular importance for nature’s recovery. Local authorities must have regard to the sites identified and the reasons behind their identification. That duty applies to all their planning functions. We will continue to look at that issue as we enable the preparation of local nature recovery strategies, which will begin across England soon.

Local support underpins our approach to changing planning policy on onshore wind development in England. I thank my right hon. Friends the Members for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland and for South Holland and The Deepings (Sir John Hayes) for their thoughtful contributions on this matter. We will consult on onshore wind using a more localist approach, which will give local authorities more flexibility to respond to the views of their local communities.

We recognise that although some communities will want onshore wind, some may not. That is why important safeguards will be in place. Authorities will be able to identify appropriate locations for onshore wind that do not have a significant impact on precious visible amenity. Special consideration will have to be given to preserving the landscapes of, for example, the Somerset l evels, Romney Marsh and the magnificent fens of Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk.

Our valued landscapes—particularly national parks and areas of outstanding beauty—and important habitats such as sites of special scientific interest will continue to be protected. Councils will be in full control of what is developed within the local authority boundaries. A combination of robust national and local planning policies will ensure that communities are able to rebuff unwanted speculative development by appeal.