Duty to Cooperate

8.1 The Duty

The Duty to Cooperate was created in the Localism Act 2011 and amends the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. It places a legal duty on Local Planning Authorities, County Councils in England, and public bodies to engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis to maximise the effectiveness of Local and Marine Plan preparation in the context of strategic cross boundary matters.

The Duty to Cooperate is not a duty to agree. However, Local Planning Authorities should make every effort to secure the necessary cooperation on strategic cross boundary matters before they submit their Local Plans for examination. Local Planning Authorities must demonstrate how they have complied with the duty at the independent examination of their Local Plans. If a Local Planning Authority cannot demonstrate that it has complied with the duty, then the Local Plan will not be able to proceed further in examination.

The Localism Act states that relevant bodies must ‘…engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis…’.

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8.2 How the Broads Authority meets the Duty

The Broads Authority meets the Duty to Cooperate in a number of ways (please note this list is not exhaustive, but gives a flavour of our activity):

  • Commissions joint evidence bases, e.g. the Norfolk Recreational Impact Study and the Norfolk Older Persons Strategy.
  • Regular officer level meetings, e.g. the Norfolk Strategic Planning Officers Group (attended by the Environment Agency), the Suffolk Planning Policy and Development Management Officers Group.
  • Quarterly meetings with Great Yarmouth Borough Council and East Suffolk District Council.
  • Production of Norfolk Strategic Planning Framework/Statement of Common Ground.
  • Quarterly Norfolk Duty to Cooperate Member Group meetings.
  • A member from each of the Authority’s constituent districts sits on the Broads Authority’s Planning Committee.
  • Individual meetings with the Planning Policy Teams of the Authority’s constituent districts.

The Authority therefore considers that it engages constructively and on an ongoing basis with relevant authorities. As the Local Plan progresses through the next stages of production, draft statements covering how the Authority has met the requirements of the Duty to Cooperate will be produced.

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8.3 Planning White Paper and Levelling Up Act

The Levelling up and Regeneration Act 2023 indicates that the Duty to Cooperate will be scrapped. No details as to what precisely will take its places have been provided at the time of writing.