Election Manifestos - What are the big promises in planning?

Election Manifestos - What are the big promises in planning?

Planning rules have seen a great deal of upheaval in the months leading into the General Election, but with a great deal of promises being made by the various political parties in their campaigns, how could it change going forward?

Thrings Planning Partner Fred Quartermain takes a look at the various pledges within the manifestos to see what is being proposed.


  • Protect the Green Belt from uncontrolled development with a focus on developing brownfield land in urban areas.
  • Abolish nutrient neutrality rules.
  • Require councils to set land aside for local and smaller builders and lifting Section 106 burdens on more smaller sites.
  • Enforce take-up of the new Infrastructure Levy to deliver the GP surgeries, roads and other local infrastructure needed to support homes.
  • Renewing the Affordable Homes Programme

Green Party

  • Transform the planning system to reduce the environmental of impact of new construction and ensure new developments come with access to public services and green spaces are protected.
  • Support the provision of good quality, affordable social housing and ensuring large scale development includes appropriate infrastructure.
  • Ensure designs for builds and home renovations meet standards needed to mitigate climate change, with all planning applications required to provide whole-life carbon and energy calculations.
  • Push for local decisions about planning to be informed by a land use planning policy framework that seeks to balance the likes of various needs, such as to meet the challenge of the climate emergency, protect nature, grow enough food, and provide homes and energy.
  • Enforce each area’s local plan to set viability levels for development with no subsequent developer negotiations.


  • Update the National Policy Planning Framework, including restoring mandatory housing targets.
  • Take a brownfield first approach, prioritising the development of previously used land wherever possible, and fast-tracking approval of urban brownfield sites.
  • Take a more strategic approach to greenbelt land designation and release to build more homes in the right places with the introduction of ‘golden rules’ to ensure development benefits communities and nature.
  • Introduce new mechanisms for cross-boundary strategic planning, requiring all Combined and Mayoral Authorities to strategically plan for housing growth in their areas.
  • Implement solutions to unlock the building of homes affected by nutrient neutrality without weakening environmental protections.

Lib Dem

  • Introduce a range of other ‘public money for public goods’ programmes, such as nature recovery, planting trees and protecting wildlife, contingent on farmers and land managers opting into an Environmental Land Management scheme.
  • Increase building of new homes to 380,000 a year across the UK, including 150,000 social homes a year, through new garden cities and community-led development of cities and towns.
  • Introduce ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ planning permission for developers who refuse to build.
  • Ensure that all development has appropriate infrastructure, services and amenities in place, integrating infrastructure and public service delivery into the planning process.
  • Create a new planning class for second homes and short-term let properties.


  • Reviewing the Planning system and introduce fast-track planning and tax incentives for new housing development of brownfield sites and infrastructure projects to boost businesses, especially in coastal regeneration areas, Wales, the North, and the Midlands.
  • Introduction of ‘loose fit planning’ policy for large residential developments with preapproved guidelines and developer requirements.
  • Change planning laws to support farm shops with zero business rates.

Fred Quartermain, Partner in the Thrings Planning and Environment team, said: “Planning is set to be a key factor in the drive for economic growth following the election, so it is unsurprising to see the major parties having all focused attention on it as part of their manifestos.

“Whilst there are some areas of consistency in aims, particularly in terms of increasing delivery of new homes, there are vastly different approaches in relation to how this will be done with some parties building on the changes that have been made in recent years and others targeting a different approach. 

“Regardless of the outcome on 4 July, we can expect planning and the environment to remain a hot topic in the next few years and it is important for those in the sector to stay alert to potential change.” 

Thrings’ Planning and Environment lawyers have extensive experience in navigating complex local and national planning policy legislation and has successfully supported commercial and residential applications through the approval and appeal processes. To find out more and for advice on your development proposals, including how to address enforcement notices, please get in touch.

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