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Welsh minister calls for tougher building regs backed by planning

Words: Roger Milne
Julie James / Welsh National Assembly

Planning minister Julie James this week promised that a next Labour administration would look at amending planning legislation to make sure that developers ‘build to the current building regulations and not the ones in existence at the time that planning consents started’.

Answering questions about planning and development issues during a plenary session of the Senedd Cymru, she told AMs: “We'd like to be working on that after the election. There is a large number of people who are interested in looking to see what can be done in that space.

“If we’re all back after the election, I’m sure we'll be able to put together a quick working group to be able to do that.”

James also revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic had frustrated moves to tighten the building regulations on such issues as space standards and green infrastructure.

“There were a whole range of things that we wanted to do and weren’t able to do, because of the pandemic, around building regulations, which enforce things like space standards, green infrastructure, parks, outside space and so on, which I’m sure any government that is in power after the upcoming elections will want to take forward.

“The vast majority of the work has been done already by officials, but we just couldn’t, because of the pandemic, bring it to fruition this side of the elections.

“So, I’m very keen that whoever is in power afterwards is able to take advantage of that.”

Earlier, the housing and local government minister voiced disappointment that moves to establish a separate Welsh planning inspectorate had been held up.

“Unfortunately, the pandemic has got in the way of us being able to do that, but I am very much looking forward to getting that plan back on track when we have a Welsh government immediately after the election,” insisted James.

Image credit | National Assembly for Wales