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ENGLISH HERITAGE AND ENVIRONMENT AGENCY SET NEW BENCHMARKS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A GREENER PLANNING PROCESS

E-planning sees carbon emissions reduced by 75%

The Environment Agency and English Heritage are leading the way in handling electronic planning consultations through the Planning Portal’s e-Consultation Hub.

Both Government agencies are committed to this, greener and more streamlined approach to the planning process having participated as key statutory consultees during the three-month trial of the Hub.

Piloted in Spring 2008 and launched in 2009 the e-Consultation Hub by the Planning Portal, and funded by Communities and Local Government, has been introduced to provide all the stakeholders in the planning process with the capability to manage the exchange of documents and comments relating to planning applications online.

Recent figures released by the Planning Portal have revealed that carbon emissions can be reduced by up to 75% when planning applications are made online.

Both the Environment Agency and English Heritage recognise the benefits of standardisation and streamlined handling of routine consultation available via electronic processes. They have now announced the e-consultation Hub as their preferred method of receiving electronic consultations.

Commenting on the organisation’s support for the e-Consultation Hub, Head of Planning at the Environment Agency, Simon Birch said:

“The Environment Agency is continually looking to improve the way in which we work and we are convinced that the Hub will bring long term efficiencies. Not only will it speed up the planning process, it will also reduce carbon emissions – making it a greener way of working. We look forward to working with both the Planning Portal and with Local Planning Authorities in implementing the Hub which is now our preferred method of consultation.”

Steven Bee, Director of Planning & Development from English Heritage sees e-consultation as part of their commitment to continuous improvement in the delivery of planning advice.

“The Hub provides vital consistency in the timely receipt of consultations. The email prompts have also been particularly helpful in assigning our experts to the numerous requests for advice. Electronic notification of decisions will also enable us to monitor systematically the outcome of development proposals affecting the most important aspects of the historic environment.”

The commitment of local authorities to retain an electronic archive of applications accessible via the Hub avoids unnecessary duplication in storing paper documents.

The Killian Pretty Review into the planning application process was published in 2008 and highlighted key recommendations to ensure its successful future development.

The review recommended continued Government investment into facilitating and encouraging improvements in the processing of applications, and sees the e-Consultation Hub as a critical component in achieving the objective.

Chris Kendall, Director of the Planning Portal said:

“As leading statutory consultees The Planning Portal considers English Heritage and the Environment Agency to be key to the success of the project and is therefore delighted that they have adopted the national Hub as their preferred method of consultation.

“The findings of the Killian Pretty Review have confirmed that e-Consultation is making the planning application process more efficient and effective for all involved, and the testimonies of both Government agencies provide an excellent indication that online processing is the future.

“Communities and Local Government and the Planning Portal are committed to taking the project forward to encourage further take-up of the Hub and to ensure that all local planning authorities are able to experience the full benefits of e-planning.

Email: lynette.evans@coi.gsi.gov.uk


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