§ Mr. Ken Hargreaves
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what guidance he intends to give to farmers who experience difficulties in obtaining planning permission.
§ Mr. MacGregor
I am aware of concern in the farming community about the difficulties of getting planning permission, especially now that we are encouraging more diversification on farms.
The Government have already made it clear that planning authorities should adjust their policies to the changes in the orientation of agriculture which are taking place as a result of reform of the common agricultural policy. However, farmers must also play their part by developing a proper understanding of the planning system and presenting their planning applications clearly and convincingly.
To help farmers to develop their expertise. I have decided with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for the Environment and the Secretary of State for Wales to produce a farmers' guide to the planning system. This will encourage farmers:
- — to present their applications and plans effectively and with due regard for the character of their area;
- — to think about the impact of any development on others and to try and anticipate the planning
99 authority's concerns,
- — to emphasise the benefits, such as the number of jobs created; and
- — to discuss their ideas with planning officers, local councillors and their neighbours at an early stage and be ready to show some flexibility.
I hope the guide will be available before the end of the year.