Cleaner domestic burning of solid fuels and wood

The CLA has responded to the government consultation on the cleaner burning of solid fuels, including coal and wet wood, by making the case for changes that work for both the environment and rural businesses and economies which are tied to solid fuel products.  The CLA has proposed that guidance and information are the most suitable tools for managing the burning of wood while ensuring overbearing compliance pressures do not put stress on rural businesses and households.  On coal, the CLA has agreed that an eventual phaseout of its use in domestic burning should be supported, but this should allow sufficient time for transition, provide informational support for those required to amend their behaviour and not present significant financial pressures on those who are fuel poor.

Principles of selection for listed buildings (England) - Heritage

This was a DCMS consultation of selected stakeholders (not a public consultation) on draft new advice on the principles used by DCMS and Historic England in the listed buildings.  This makes very few changes to the actual principles, and it generally improves on the previous advice.  This CLA response focuses on underlying issues, especially the need for a more effective appeal process when buildings are listed, and the need for a clearer explanation of what are (and are not) attached and curtilage structures.

Proposed scope and application of Natural England's SSSI byelaw-making powers

Natural England have existing powers to create bye-laws on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).  To date, no bye-laws have been created for a SSSI.  In this consultation Natural England present a model bye-law and the principles they will use when assessing whether and how a bye-law may be required.  The CLA emphasises that landowners and occupiers of SSSIs have existing lawful rights and that any bye-law must not limit those rights.  Natural England accept this in their proposed operational principles.

Where necessary and if applied with precision, the CLA agrees that bye-laws could be an important management tool for SSSIs.  If and when bye-laws are considered necessary, early and effective engagement with landowners will be essential.

Clean Air Strategy

The CLA sets out its response to the Government's Clean Air Strategy and the contribution agriculture can make to reducing ammonia emissions.  The response covers the CLA's view on new regulation and the role of a public goods based agricultural support system in meeting air quality targets.

Environmental Governance Consultation Paper Inquiry

The Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry into government's consultation on Environmental Governance and Principles, seeks views on whether the proposals are capable of meeting the long-term ambitions set out in the recent 25 Year Environment Plan.  The CLA has expressed its views that the new body risks adding complexity, cost and bureaucracy to the detriment of environmental delivery.  There has been little analysis of how existing bodies can work more effectively together and the CLA has questioned why there has not been any consideration of a more fundamental consolidation of environmental governance roles as a means to achieve a more effective and efficient government body.

Historic England Advice Note 1 Conservation Area designation and management - Heritage

Historic England is proposing a revision of its core advice note on conservation areas.  That is welcome and the new draft is a significant improvement on previous versions, but is still insufficiently clear about the benefits and disbenefits of designation, about involving owners and communities, and about the need for an explicit policy statement that conservation area designations is not intended to prevent change, that conservation areas are (or should be) living and working parts of urban and rural areas and economies, and that sympathetic change is desirable and essential where it ensures the viability and vitality of the area and buildings within it.

Draft revised National Planning Policy Framework

The CLA's response to the draft revised NPPF consultation approves of the positive elements contained in the new NPPF, which would help to boost rural communities.  However, the CLA raises the problem of the perception of the countryside and make suggestions for improving the NPPF to better meet the needs of rural businesses and communities.  The CLA has also expressed concerns over changes to planning policy for developer contributions.

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