Planning Bill receives Royal Assent

Mark mark at
Thu Nov 27 15:56:54 GMT 2008

Planning Bill receives Royal Assent...

The Planning Bill has completed the legislative process after receiving
Royal Assent last night. (full article copied below).

...along with new environment and transport bills

A raft of other legislation that will impact on planning was passed last
night along with the Planning Bill.


Planning Bill receives Royal Assent...

by Michael Donnelly, PlanningResource, 27 November 2008

The Planning Bill has completed the legislative process after receiving
Royal Assent last night.

The government says the Planning Act 2008 will enable decisions on major
infrastructure projects in areas such as energy, aviation, road and rail
transport, water and waste to be taken much more speedily than under the
current system.

Under the Act ministers will set out National Policy Statements detailing
national infrastructure priorities and the decisions as to whether to
allow individual projects to go ahead will then be taken independently by
a new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC).

The government will set out a timetable to set-up the IPC and consult on
the detailed regulations and NPSs to implement the new system in the New

Communities secretary Hazel Blears said: "Now that the Planning Bill has
been given Royal Assent we can begin to create the faster, fairer planning
system we need to reduce our fossil fuel addiction and build up a new
generation of renewable energy infrastructure sources like wind power.
Many low carbon power sources will now get faster approval, and the
country could save £300m a year."

Planning Bill minister John Healey added: "The new Planning Act 2008 will
bring about real culture change for deciding the future needs of our
national infrastructure. Importantly it will also give the public three
chances to get their views on proposals across instead of one."

But countryside campaigners the CPRE expressed doubts about how well the
Bill will work in practice. Paul Miner, CPRE’s senior planning campaigner
commented: "We have monitored the Bill closely throughout its passage
through Parliament. Some of it is sensible. But we doubt that its
centrepiece – an expensive, unelected, unaccountable commission taking big
planning decisions – will work in practice.

"There is a grave danger that this new commission will be seen merely as a
promoter and a rubber stamp for highly damaging infrastructure projects
imposed without proper debate. It will be interesting to see who steps
forward to be a commissioner on this new body, given the challenges it

The government launched the recruitment process for the position of IPC
chairman in October. Shortlisting will take place early next year with
interviews in spring and appointment in early summer.

New environment and transport bills
by Susanna Gillman, PlanningResource, 27 November 2008

A raft of other legislation that will impact on planning was passed last
night along with the Planning Bill.

The Climate Change, Energy and Local Transport bills have also gained
Royal Assent.

The climate legislation makes the UK the first country in the world to
adopt legally-binding carbon emission targets.

Under the Climate Change Act, the government will have to adhere to five
year carbon budgets and will be required to provide annual reports on its
progress towards meeting the budgets.

Energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband said: "The UK is the first
country in the world to introduce a legally-binding framework to cut
greenhouse gas emissions.

“Setting the 80 per cent target was the easy part: now the work really
begins. Government, communities, businesses and individuals need to work
together to bring about change.

"The Energy and Planning Acts will be instrumental in reducing carbon
emissions, removing barriers to enable industry to invest in important new
infrastructure, and giving individuals and communities the incentive to
use energy more efficiently and generate their own heat and energy."

Meanwhile the Local Transport Act 2008 will help bring all modes of
transport together, by strengthening the role of the Passenger Transport
Authorities - to be renamed Integrated Transport Authorities (ITAs) - and
by enabling new ones to be established.

These will help major urban areas outside London to improve coordination
of the road network and public transport.

The existing six Passenger Transport Authorities will be renamed ITAs from
early in the new year. They will take on full responsibility for local
transport planning across their areas.

The Act also creates the opportunity for local areas to review their
existing arrangements, and to propose reforms including enhanced powers
and boundary changes.

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