6 November 2014

Mr Alun Davidson
Clerk, Environment and Sustainability Committee
National Assembly for Wales
Cardiff Bay CF99 1NA

Dear Mr Davidson

I am pleased to contribute to the Environment and Sustainability Committee’s scrutiny of the Planning Bill in my role as Commissioner for Sustainable Futures and Chair of the Climate Change Commission.

Planning is a critical function in respect of decisions that will impact on future generations, with many of our worse problems of today resulting from poor planning decisions of the past.

It will be no surprise that planning issues have featured in my role as Commissioner as the dominant factor in public engagement, whether it be large scale infrastructure, business development or community led development.  Much of the frustration has arisen from the slowness of process, mixed messages and lack of consistency in the application of Planning Policy Wales, which the Bill is intended to address. 

However I hope that the Committee may be able to pursue the following points in the scrutiny process:

1.    The alignment between the Goals and Principles of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill and the decision making processes for appropriate development

2.    The role of the Commissioner for Future Generations in respect of the planning process and the relationship with the proposed Planning Advisory and Improvement Service

3.    The future role of the Sustainable Development Indicators for the contribution of the planning system introduced by Welsh Government in the last 2 years

4.    The alignment of the various area based strategies, e.g. City Regions, Area Based Natural Resource Planning, Local Wellbeing Plans – with those proposed in the Bill

5.    The degree to which the proposals meet the criteria of the Aarhus convention (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/aarhus/) in respect to public rights with regard to the environmental impacts of decision making

6.    The role of community led Place Planning, which is now not referenced in the Bill, but holds significant potential


7.    The capacity of the planning system to address the current problems associated with the expansion of community scale renewable energy through prioritising community owned renewable energy schemes and giving greater recognition to the economic and social benefits arising from such schemes

I would be pleased to provide further evidence related to these points if required.

Best wishes

Yours sincerely

Peter Davies

Comisiynydd Datblygu Cynaliadwy / Commissioner for Sustainable Futures

Cadeirydd, Comisiwn Cymru ar y Newid yn yr Hinsawdd / Chair, Climate Change Commission for Wales