Fire and rescue authorities becoming statutory consultees in the development management process - Law Society response
The Welsh government is consulting on a proposal for fire and rescue authorities (FRAs) to be statutory consultees at pre- and post-application stages of the planning process.
This will mean that for certain types of development:
- developers will be required to consult the fire and rescue authorities before submitting their application
- local planning authorities and the Welsh ministers will be required to consult them to inform their consideration and determination of the application
- the FRA will need to respond where the local planning authority (LPA) chooses to consult further on applications for approval, consent or agreement relating to a planning application on which it was initially consulted
The ability to implement the changes, and the basis for the proposals, need to be very carefully considered.
In making the FRA a statutory consultee, there's a requirement for it to engage in a process with which it may be unfamiliar, with strict response deadlines.
It's therefore important to make sure that the FRA is sufficiently resourced to deal with applications in an informed and timely manner.
One way to assist FRA resources may be to issue guidance on the nature of the responses/issues that the LPA will need to have from the FRA.
Targeted responses from the FRA will provide consistency and be of greater assistance to both the FRA and LPA, which have limited resources.
This will also assist in:
- preventing non-material planning considerations being given in the response
- saving time and resources dealing with public expectations that can arise from such objections/responses
This consultation closes on 23 October.