The Infrastructure Act 2015

The Infrastructure Act 2015 (the Act), which includes a number of planning and planning-related measures, received royal assent on 12 February 2015. The aim of the Act is to encourage investment in Britain's infrastructure by removing delays and speeding up the delivery of infrastructure. The Act introduces a number of measures to achieve these aims.

Key changes which the Act introduces are:

Deemed Discharge of Certain Planning Conditions

The Act amends the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 by introducing a regime for the deemed discharge of certain planning conditions if a planning authority has not responded to an application within a certain time frame. The detail of how a deemed discharge will work in practice will be set out in secondary legislation but a deemed discharge will only apply to planning conditions which are attached to a planning permission when it is granted and which require the further approval of the local authority on matters of detail. Where not exempted and subject to following the correct procedure, a deemed discharge would mean that the condition would be deemed to be discharged where a decision has not been made on the application by the local planning authority within a prescribed time frame.

"Highways England"

The Act turns the Highways Agency into a government-owned company, Highways England, which will take over the responsibility for strategic roads from the Highways Agency. The Government has said that the new arms-length company will be more accountable to Parliament and to road users. Through the setting up of this Government owned subsidiary with its greater accountability to Parliament, the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that he expects to see "savings to the taxpayer of at least £2.6 billion over the next 10 years."

Other changes brought about by the Act include:

Mayoral Development Orders

The Act grants new powers to the Mayor of London to make development orders granting planning permission for development on specified sites within London. This is intended to enable greater collaboration between the boroughs of London and the Mayor, in particular on cross-border situations and thereby speeding up the planning process.

Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs)

The Act makes administrative changes to the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects by amending the Planning Act 2008. Examples of the changes made include reducing the number of inspectors required in a panel to decide NSIPs from three to two and a simpler procedure to make changes to approved Development Consent Orders.

Land Registry takes on Local Land Charges

Under the Act, the Land Registry will take over the responsibility for the registration of Local Land Charges from the local authorities. The Infrastructure Act will allow Land Registry to create a digitised Local Land Charges register that will improve access to data, standardise fees and improve turnaround times. It is expected that these new responsibilities for the Land Registry should speed up the conveyancing process.

Posted on: 20/04/2015

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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