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The Budget 2018 - Impacts on Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Funding

Karen Jones

Partner Karen Jones, in our Planning & Environmental law team, looks at the impacts of this week's autumn Budget on planning, environment and infrastructure funding.

On 29 October 2018 the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, published the 2018 autumn Budget. Below is a summary of how it might affect planning, environment and infrastructure funding.

Environment

The Budget builds on the government’s recent focus on single-use plastic waste. More information on how the government intends to tackle such waste will be set out in its Resources and Waste Strategy which is due to be published later this year.

The Budget confirms that the government intends to impose a tax on the production or importation of plastic packaging unless it contains more than 30% recycled plastic from April 2020. The aim is to encourage manufacturers to “produce more sustainable packaging”

The population is becoming more aware of the environmental impact plastic is having on the planet and increasingly consumers are more committed to avoiding single-use plastic. The commitment by the government to identify a strategy for reducing such single-use plastic waste and the pledge to provide £20million towards research and development to encourage measures to reduce such waste will hopefully incentivise manufacturers to innovate new materials.

Infrastructure

Mr Hammond announced that the government will be committing to its largest ever investment in strategic roads by way of Roads Investments Strategy 2. The fund is expected to deliver £25.3 billion between 2020 and 2025 and will include funding for the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway. Highways England announced on 12 September 2018 its preferred option for the Oxford-Cambridge corridor.

Planning

The Budget repeats the government’s catchphrase of “fixing the broken housing market” and announces funding of £291million to “unlock 18,000 new homes in East London through improvements to the Docklands Light Railway” as well as additional funding for partnerships with nine housing associations in order to deliver over 13,000 homes and £75 million to St Modwen plc to fund infrastructure to provide for over 13,000 homes.

The Budget confirms that a full response to Sir Oliver Letwin’s review (more information on this review can be found here) will be published in February 2019.

A consultation has been launched in respect of introducing new permitted development rights which would allow upwards extensions above commercial and residential properties and allow commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes. This consultation also considers updating the Use Classes Order “to reflect our changing high streets and make them more resilient”. The consultation document can be found here and will run from 29 October 2018 to 14 January 2019.

The government has also announced that it intends to introduce a “simpler system of developer contributions”. The aim is to provide more certainty to local planning authorities and developers. This announcement follows a consultation held earlier this year.  Reforms will include amending the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 (as amended) to remove the current pooling restrictions on S106 Agreements limiting funding for the provision of the same infrastructure to a maximum of five planning obligations. Encouragingly the Government’s response to the consultation document recognises the “disproportionate impact of the penalties for failing to submit a Commencement Notice” (such as losing any granted self-build exemption) and therefore will look to address this issue. The Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations have been amended no less than 6 times already and it is clear from the consultation responses that more  needs  to be done to ensure that the government’s reasoning for introducing CIL (to make contributions fairer and more transparent) is met.

This blog article was produced with support from Kayleigh Chapman.

For more information or legal advice, please contact Karen Jones or a member of our team.

This article is intended for the use of clients and other interested parties. The information contained in it is believed to be correct at the date of publication, but it is necessarily of a brief and general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional advice.