Levelling-up to ensure everyone can share in UK’s success

As mentioned in The Queen’s speech 2022, the purpose of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill is to “drive local growth, empowering local leaders to regenerate their areas, and ensuring everyone can share in the United Kingdom’s success” This wide-ranging Bill seeks to change the way powers can be devolved to Local Authorities and introduces reforms to the planning system.

One of the key reforms is the replacement of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment regime with a new system of environmental assessment Environmental Outcomes Reports (EORs). The Secretary of State would be able to make regulations to set “specified environmental outcomes” against which consents and plans will be assessed, and repeal/amend existing environmental assessment legislation. To direct development towards regeneration of brownfield sites, the Bill streamlines Compulsory Purchase Orders

(CPO) and grants the power to local authorities to use CPO for regeneration purposes to ”empower local decision making and improve transparency regarding local authorities’ power to acquire brownfield land compulsorily for regeneration in their area.” Another reform is the replacement of developer contributions with a new Infrastructure Levy charge on the value of property when it is sold by the developer and applied above a minimum threshold, with levy rates and thresholds being set locally by planning authorities.

Another new initiative is community land auctions whereby landowners will be able to submit their land into an allocation process as part of an emerging local plan, offering the local planning authority an option on the land at a price set by the landowner.

This Bill has now been sent to a Public Bill Committee which is expected to report to the House by Tuesday 20 September 2022.

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