Leveling and Regeneration Act 2023: UK Government planning and environmental reforms become law | Hogan Lovells




We reported on the key planning reforms proposed in the Bill when it was first published in May 2022 (see links in Related reading). Most of them have survived, such as streamlining local planning processes. Requirements for local governments to adopt design standards, changes in compensation due to compulsory orders, changes in heritage-related enforcement, etc.

It’s quite late, but there have been some notable changes.

  • The proposed introduction of a new infrastructure levy (replacing the community infrastructure levy) will not be mandatory for all local authorities, as originally proposed.
  • The Secretary of State’s obligation to give special consideration to climate change mitigation and adaptation when developing planning policy and guidance was limited only in relation to the new National Development Management Policy.


Environmental impact assessment

LURA sets the stage for the reform of the current (EU-derived) system for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment, which will instead reduce duplication and improve the identification and We provide an “Environmental Results Report” (EOR) designed to streamline the assessment process. The impact of plans and projects on the environment.

The Act authorizes the Secretary of State to establish EOR regulations that specify environmental outcomes for evaluating related plans and programs. Those results are subject to discussion.

There is limited detail in the legislation regarding the new EOR regime, but it is understood that, similar to EIAs, there are two categories of planning and development that require EORs. (1) Category 1 Consent. Evaluation in all situations. (2) Category 2 consent. Evaluation is required when the criteria set out in the regulations are met.

We also know that EOR must:

  • Measuring the anticipated environmental impacts of a plan or consent for environmental outcomes established by the Secretary of State.
  • Identify the impact of reasonable mitigation and compensation measures.and
  • Consider reasonable alternatives to planning and consent.

Regulations may amend, repeal or rescind relevant existing environmental legislation, but the Secretary of State will ensure that the regulations do not reduce the overall level of environmental protection and are consistent with the UK’s obligations under international law. You need to be satisfied with what you have. . The first public consultation on the approach to EOR was published earlier this year (ending on 9 June), but responses to this are still awaited.

Nutrient neutrality

The House of Lords has rejected the Government’s proposed amendment to scrap the requirement for new development to be nutrient neutral in sensitive catchment areas, so this requirement will remain in place, but the Government will announce further on the possibility of: He suggested that he was planning to take the next step.

What’s next?

Immediately after the Act, the government is expected to announce a long-awaited revised version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) based on the proposed changes in December, which will require local authorities to maintain a five-stage rolling disappears. Annual housing land supply if local plans are up to date.

However, significant changes to the law still rely on the issuance of new regulations and need to be supported by guidance. The number of public consultations is expected to increase, although many details have not yet been provided. More than 20,000 responses have been received to the December 2022 consultation on the NPPF revision, and responses are also awaited for more than a dozen planning-related consultations that have concluded since the beginning of the year.

The EOR provisions under the Act are a case in point. These are another example of post-Brexit differences between the UK and her EU, but the legislation actually lacks detail and enforcement relies on new regulations. The nature and scope of the EOR, and its ramifications, given that establishing a clear policy framework (and supporting guidance) is likely to take time and that a general election is likely to be held in 2024. It is unlikely that the points will materialize anytime soon.

Many EOR and other planning reforms are therefore likely to be accepted by successive ministers (or governments) who may take different approaches, and this is likely to depend on policy choices and priorities. High (Keir Starmer’s remarks at a recent party conference) ‘bulldozing’ plans through the planning system). However, when building bulldozers in the context of EOR, it is necessary to ensure that environmental protection is not reduced, as mentioned above.

Further analysis will be carried out in the future

This law is long and wide-ranging, and there are many details to analyze. Our planning team will follow up with a more detailed analysis of the planning changes resulting from the Act, and our public law team will also share further analysis of the interaction between changes to the environmental impact regime and the Remain EU Act 2023. It’s a schedule.

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