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Call for Evidence

Written submissions

The Committee invites interested individuals and organisations to submit written evidence by 14 April 2023. The Committee intends to take oral evidence between February and May and will publish its report later in the year.

The Government, Parliament and the courts have set out, through primary and secondary legislation, a number of environmental requirements for development of the built environment. This has resulted in a range of environmental protections for development in England which are largely administered through the planning system. Examples of such regulations include those on biodiversity net gain, nutrient neutrality, habitats and air quality. These national requirements, and the governance structures which manage them, are complex and evolving. There is limited empirical understanding of the impact these requirements are having on developers and promoters.

The Government summarises its environmental ambitions as to “become the first generation to leave [the] environment in a better state than we found it”. In January 2023 the Government published the Environmental Improvement Plan 2023, reiterating its commitment to achieving the ten goals set out in the Environment Plan 2025. The Government also has an objective of “significantly boosting the supply of homes” and to support the delivery of infrastructure projects.

This inquiry will assess the governance, the associated costs for developers and promoters, and the impact on the delivery of projects, of nationally defined environmental regulations in England. The Committee is not seeking to evaluate the merits of individual environmental regulations but rather how these are implemented through the planning system and the interactions between different environmental regulations. The Committee is aware of new requirements in the Environment Act 2021 and wishes to ensure that the implementation of these draws on lessons to date. The inquiry will not be exploring building regulations. It will not consider heritage sites, or specific land use allocations such as the green belt or areas of outstanding natural beauty. The Committee’s focus is on England, as most relevant matters are devolved in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

We are keen to hear from membership organisations, representative bodies, local authorities, businesses with an interest in the subject, think-tanks, non-governmental organisations, academics and other stakeholders about these issues.

Diversity comes in many forms and hearing a range of different perspectives means that Committees are better informed and can more effectively scrutinise public policy and legislation. We encourage anyone with experience or expertise of an issue under investigation to share their views with the Committee, in the full knowledge that they have value and are welcome. If you have difficulty submitting evidence online, please contact the Committee staff by email to or by telephoning 020 7219 3616.


The Committee seeks evidence in response to the following questions. It is not necessary to answer all the questions. Short submissions are preferred. A submission longer than six pages should include a one-page summary.

  1. What environmental regulations need to be considered when undertaking development? When during the development process are they most likely to be encountered?
  2. What is the single biggest challenge for developers and promoters in fulfilling environmental requirements? How could this be resolved?
  3. Are changes in environmental regulations governing development clearly communicated? Is sufficient support available to help developers and promoters fulfil their responsibilities?
  4. What are the costs of meeting environmental regulations for developers? How does this vary for types of developer or promoter and in different locations?
  5. Is there sufficient coherence between different environmental regulations? How could regulations be administered in a more systematic and coherent way?
  6. What impact do Government bodies such as the Environment Agency and Natural England have on planning and development decisions? How effectively do these bodies work together? How does the Environment Agency interact with development as both regulator and owner of land and other assets?
  7. What role does Natural England play in monitoring and implementing these regulations? How does Natural England’s involvement affect the delivery of new development?
  8. To what extent are the information needs of the planning system proportionate?
  9. How far do the key actors in implementing environmental regulations have sufficient resources to carry out their responsibilities?
  10. Are there further significant changes which would improve this system?

Detailed guidance on giving written evidence to select committees is available here.

This call for written evidence has now closed.

Go back to The impact of environmental regulations on development Inquiry