Painting Town Planning Red

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05 July 2024

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Written By : Duncan Field

For the first time in 14 years we now have a Labour Government.

Our highlights of the planning-related pledges in the Labour Manifesto are below and you can access our full manifesto review here.

So what should we be looking out for in the next few months?

The King’s Speech

Parliament will convene on Tuesday 9 July 2024.  A new Speaker will be elected and Members of Parliament will be sworn in. The State Opening of Parliament and The King’s Speech will be held on Wednesday 17 July 2024. It is likely that some or all of the following primary legislation will be included in the King’s Speech:

  • Additional New Towns legislation
  • Legislation to support deeper devolution including new devolved powers relating to transport, adult education and skills, housing and planning, and employment support, as well as provision for statutory Local Growth Plans
  • The promised Energy Independence Act which will establish the framework for future energy and climate policies, including the creation of Great British Energy
  • A new Energy Profits Levy Act to increase the rate and extend the period of the current levy
  • Rail reform legislation to bring forward proposals for Great British Railways
  • Bus services reform to clear the way for the creation of new municipal bus companies
  • Provision for further planning reform, including cross-boundary strategic planning, speeding up the system and compulsory purchase compensation
  • Provision for private rental reform and changes to right to buy for local authority and housing association tenants
  • Placing the proposed National Infrastructure and Service Transformation Authority on a statutory footing
  • Strengthening water regulation

Housing and Planning

Within days or weeks we should see an updated National Planning Policy Framework which restores mandatory housing targets, probably without consultation. This is likely to be accompanied by updates to National Planning Practice Guidance and one or more written ministerial statements (WMS).

Any WMS will likely signal the future changes to the NPPF which will require consultation, as well as future legislation, a statement of Government expectations and how the Government might utilise  existing legislative provisions including:

  • The need for local planning authorities to have up-to-date local plans and how intervention powers will be used
  • Options for addressing nutrient neutrality in areas where there are restrictions on new housing
  • Strengthening the presumption in favour of sustainable development
  • The approach to Green Belt including the introduction of policy support for development of lower quality ‘Grey Belt’ land
  • National policy support for laboratories, digital infrastructure, and gigafactories

Energy and Infrastructure

We can expect the new Government to make quick progress on the following:

  • Increased targets for renewable energy generation by 2030
  • The establishment of a new National Wealth Fund to support Government policies on clean energy and growth
  • A new Industrial Strategy with a strong focus on digital technology
  • A new Infrastructure Strategy setting out regional development priorities
  • The Warm Homes Plan rolling out proposals for energy efficiency
  • Introduction of Local Power Plans

So there is still time yet to enjoy the Euros, Wimbledon and the Olympics but after that, a busy period lies ahead for us all. However we all voted, let’s use our collective voice to make sure these changes in our sector are well-informed and make a positive impact on the ground.


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