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LONDON-The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has called on the UK government to make key improvements to the planning system, ahead of the expected Planning Green Paper on for the future planning system. The RICS has called for a number of radical changes. It warned that the present system fails all round: it impedes environmental protection and hampers both the efficient functioning of business and the provision of housing and social needs.

RICS Policy Director Michael Chambers said: ‘There is a great deal of agreement on the problems that affect the current planning system – inconsistency, slowness, and an increasingly complex framework of plan-making and guidance.’

The main RICS recommendation is the abolition of the existing county structure plans and their replacement by a national spatial development strategy. This would identify requirements in transport infrastructure, energy, communications and housing .It also wants to see local plans changed to make them more relevant and up-to-date.

The RICS is also calling for a ‘fast track’ planning system which could allow local authorities to concentrate resources on larger development that can deliver economic and social benefits, in return for a higher fee. The organisation believes developers would be willing to pay more for their planning applications, provided the money is used to provide quicker and more consistent decisions.

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