Wales planning news, July 2021


Wales planning news, July 2021

05 Jul 2021



Headline news


Natural Resources Wales advice to planning authorities for planning applications affecting phosphorus sensitive river Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has updated its guidance for planning authorities where applications affect phosphorus sensitive river Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). The new guidance has been published to provide advice for local planning authorities when assessing planning applications and when reviewing local development plans where proposals, policies, and allocations might have implications for nature conservation. The guidance advises that development proposals should be screened to determine whether developments, within a river SAC catchment and its tributaries, are likely to have a significant effect. NRW provides guidance on the implications for proposals connecting to public and private wastewater treatment works and gives advice on information needed to inform a Habitats Regulations appropriate assessment, including avoidance and mitigation measures. The new guidance also relates to proposals that require Prior Approval under the General Permitted Development Order (GDPO) with local planning authorities needing to consult with NRW through the process. If the proposed development to have a likely significant effect, the planning authority must carry out an appropriate assessment of the development.

Natural Resources Wales, Advice to planning authorities for planning applications affecting phosphorus sensitive river Special Areas of Conservation



Quote of the month


The UK Government is stepping up a gear in Wales. We are accelerating our support for local communities to help them recover from the pandemic, we are bringing the UK Government closer to Wales and we will lead Wales’ recovery into a green industrial revolution of jobs and growth

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart


Cardiff set 2024 new build net zero target

Cardiff Council’s Cabinet has been presented with an update to the emerging One Planet Cardiff Strategy in advance of its final publication later this year. The Cabinet update highlighted a new commitment that will see all local authority-procured developments achieve net zero emissions in new builds by 2024. The update also notes that the principle of all new development across the city becoming carbon neutral by 2030 will be underpinned by the Replacement Local Development Plan as the plan is prepared over the next 3.5 years. The emerging Strategy, which was first unveiled for consultation in October last year, intends that in the short term when deciding planning applications and applications for building regulation approval significant weight will be given to any development that can demonstrate significant potential sustainability and carbon benefits. Changes to Council-procured developments will require a greater emphasis on insulation, air tightness and using low carbon materials as well as a reduction in the use of fossil fuels so the use of renewable sources can be maximised. There is also an intention to offset any additional operational carbon through regulated schemes that target renewable and local schemes. In terms of the Council’s existing housing stock, Cardiff Council has proposed an “improvement programme” which will include measures aimed at making existing housing stock more energy efficient through external wall insulation and solar panels. The Programme will aim to improve the worst performing housing first and will run over a 10 year period with the ultimate aim of improving over 700 flats and houses.

Draft One Planet Cardiff Strategy Cabinet meeting: 20 May 2021, One Planet Cardiff – A Response to the climate emergency, key progress

Plan For Wales

The Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart has outlined the UK Government’s Plan for Wales and commented, “the UK Government is stepping up a gear in Wales”.
“We are accelerating our support for local communities to help them recover from the pandemic, we are bringing the UK Government closer to Wales and we will lead Wales’ recovery into a green industrial revolution of jobs and growth”.
The Plan includes a number of investment commitments for Wales. These include:
  • Investing £40 million in South Wales to help various industries achieve net zero emissions;
  • Millions of pounds in business and job creation in every area of Wales via the Growth Deals programme;
  • Moving more jobs in UK Government departments including the Home Office and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy to locations in Wales;
  • £5m available for the Holyhead Hydrogen Hub project;
  • Investing up to £30m, in the Global Centre of Rail Excellence and R&D facility in the Dulais Valley;
  • Launching Project Gigabit, a UK-wide £5bn connectivity programme to support the rollout of gigabit-capable broadband in the hardest to reach communities in Wales;
  • Investing in Wales’ transport infrastructure including a further £2.7m to upgrade the digital signalling capability on the Cambrian Line; and,
  • The delivery of the first-ever Freeport in Wales.

Office of the Secretary of State for Wales, Plan for Wales

20,000 new low carbon social homes

The Welsh Government has announced plans to construct 20,00 new low carbon social homes for the rental market as part of its ‘Programme for Government 2021-26’. The new commitment follows the Welsh Government creating a new climate change ministry in May 2021, led by the former Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James. Her responsibilities will continue to include planning. The Climate Change Minister has previously said that 20,000 new low carbon homes for social rent should be seen as a “floor” rather than a “target”. No targets for market housing or other forms of affordable housing have been set out in the Programme. The First Minister, Mark Drakeford, has committed to creating a “a “fairer, greener, stronger and ever more successful Wales”. For the first time, policy regarding transport, planning, housing and energy will be guided by the Welsh Government’s legally binding target of achieving net zero by 2050. Building safety has also been prioritised with a fire safety fund for existing buildings set to be introduced.

Welsh Government, Programme for Government 2021-2026Welsh Government, Press Release

New road projects placed on hold

The Welsh Government has ordered that three major road schemes be placed on hold while the Welsh Government carries out a review on controlling emissions in transport. The three schemes which have been placed on hold are the £300m Deeside “Red Route”, the £50m Llandeilo bypass, and the £135m Third Menai Crossing. The review was announced by newly appointed Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters who also said,
“We need a shift away from spending money on projects that encourage more people to drive and spend more money on maintaining our roads and investing in real alternatives that give people a meaningful choice.”
The review is expected to include how to shift spending towards existing road infrastructure rather than focusing on creating new roads. The Welsh government's new transport strategy ‘Llwybr Newydd’ has set out a target that transport emissions in Wales should be halved between 2020 and 2030 from six to three million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The pause in construction will not impact projects where work has already started on the ground. Terms of the review have not yet been published.

Welsh Government, Freeze on new roads projectsWelsh Government Transport Strategy, Llwybr Newydd



The Lichfields perspective

A clear commitment to delivering a range of investment and significant infrastructure projects in Wales is welcomed. It is vital that delivery gets underway promptly. The absence of reference to working with the Welsh Government in the press release is striking, however. To maximise the benefits for jobs and economic growth, all partners will need to work together.
Helen Ashby-Ridgway, Planning Director


Disclaimer: This publication has been written in general terms and cannot be relied on to cover specific situations. We recommend that you obtain professional advice before acting or refraining from acting on any of the contents of this publication. Lichfields accepts no duty of care or liability for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material in this publication. Lichfields is the trading name of Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners Limited. Registered in England, no.2778116