The plan focuses on slashing the number of steps and belated involvement of the regulator in the planning and construction process, which cause uncertainty and delay the planning processes
The plan is expected to save money for citizens waiting to build their home, to shorten the construction time and to save on red tape
The Ministry estimates that as a result of this move, the waiting time for a building permit will be shortened by 81% and over 2,600,000 wait days, which are required for obtaining a building permit, will be eliminated each year. This move is expected to cut approximately 18 million Shekels from the direct annual bureaucratic costs resulting from the regulation in this area, and to save tens of millions of NIS in indirect costs
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Uri Ariel: “We continue our work to reduce bureaucracy and save the public’s time and money. This last year we have worked hard to reduce regulation and red tape for the public good and for the farmers. It is no coincidence that we were awarded a prize for reducing regulation. Now, on top of all this work, we are adding this substantial move, which will have a direct effect on each and every citizen of Israel. The move will substantially reduce the waiting time for a building permit, which will ultimately lead to lower housing prices, accelerated building and an increased supply of apartments for Israelis. It will save the public 18 million Shekel!”
Over 10,000 licenses are issued every year to fell and relocate trees. Thousands of expert opinions are issued as part of the planning and construction process regarding the impact of the proposed plan on the trees within the plan’s boundaries. As part of the government plan to reduce the regulatory burden, the forest commissioner in the Ministry of Agriculture presents an original plan for improving the interface between the regulator and the building developers, the contractors and the planning institutions by homogenizing the work of the local forest officials and the regulator in the Ministry of Agriculture. This will reduce the bureaucracy involved in obtaining a license to fell trees in order to push forward the building plans but not at the expense of the trees.
The current situation is that the forest official is involved in three different stages of the planning and building process, where each stage requires the license applicant to obtain professional work (at additional cost, which is rolled over to the consumer) and preparation of documents by an expert on trees, plus the waiting time for the response from the forest official. This will all change as the plan will be implemented: the plan will drastically cut the wait times for the regulator. This measure will prevent duplication of processes, will lead to significant savings of precious wait times which, for the most part, delay the building process, and will also enable filing objections within a timeframe that will enable changes and adaptation of the plan in case of a material, justified objection - already at the planning stage, rather than after the fact. this is a structural change, which will streamline and shorten the process. There is no real change here in the protection the trees have today. Neither does it in any way diminish the role of the forest officials as gatekeepers for the trees. They will continue to review every request to fell a tree.
Within the plan, the stages in which the regulator gets involved in the planning and building process have been combined to improve the quality of his involvement by focusing it on the most important milestones. The Ministry estimates that as a result of this move, the waiting time for a building permit will be shortened by 81% and over 2,600,000 wait days, which are required for obtaining a permit. This move is expected to cut approximately 18 million Shekels from the direct annual bureaucratic costs (direct costs only) resulting from the regulation in this area.
The reform consists of two main measures:
Filing of an expert opinion by the regulator, at the latest during the planning information stage - the authority to file the expert opinion will be exercised at the planning information stage only through the Available Licensing system (the regulator will not be involved in the subsequent planning process unless a request has been submitted to alter his opinion by the author of the request). This step will shorten the wait time for the regulator’s professional opinion and will provide clarity to the request author ahead of the detailed planning.
Additionally, all the stakeholders - the planning institutions, the forest official, the developers and the contractors will work through a unified, homogeneous licensing system where everything is transparent and accessible.
Cancellation of the need to submit an application for a license to fell a tree after obtaining the building permit and the opinion - since the forest official will be involved already at the request for planning information stage, rather than at later stages, he will be in a position to provide an opinion as to the the trees that can be felled, relocated or preserved, and he will also be able to issue further instructions (relocation specifications, alternative planting, sum of the preservation security payment, etc.). During the planning information stage the regulator will provide the author of the application, together with the expert opinion, a felling license, which will be delayed until the building permit is granted, and its validity will be extended to 3 years, similar to the building permit, as opposed to just two months today. This will ensure that trees do not get felled earlier than planned, even if the construction is scheduled to begin in a few years’ time, or if the plans to build are eventually cancelled.