The Infrastructure Act 2015
The Infrastructure Act 2015(the Act), which includes a number of planning and planning-relatedmeasures, received royal assent on 12 February 2015. The aim of theAct is to encourage investment in Britain's infrastructure byremoving delays and speeding up the delivery of infrastructure. TheAct introduces a number of measures to achieve theseaims.
Key changes which the Actintroduces are:
Deemed Discharge ofCertain Planning Conditions
The Act amends the Town andCountry Planning Act 1990 by introducing a regime for the deemeddischarge of certain planning conditions if a planning authorityhas not responded to an application within a certain time frame.The detail of how a deemed discharge will work in practice will beset out in secondary legislation but a deemed discharge will onlyapply to planning conditions which are attached to a planningpermission when it is granted and which require the furtherapproval of the local authority on matters of detail. Where notexempted and subject to following the correct procedure, a deemeddischarge would mean that the condition would be deemed to bedischarged where a decision has not been made on the application bythe local planning authority within a prescribed timeframe.
The Act turns the HighwaysAgency into a government-owned company, Highways England, whichwill take over the responsibility for strategic roads from theHighways Agency. The Government has said that the new arms-lengthcompany will be more accountable to Parliament and to road users.Through the setting up of this Government owned subsidiary with itsgreater accountability to Parliament, the Transport SecretaryPatrick McLoughlin said that he expects to see "savings to thetaxpayer of at least £2.6 billion over the next 10years."
Other changes brought about bythe Act include:
The Act grants new powers tothe Mayor of London to make development orders granting planningpermission for development on specified sites within London. Thisis intended to enable greater collaboration between the boroughs ofLondon and the Mayor, in particular on cross-border situations andthereby speeding up the planning process.
Nationally SignificantInfrastructure Projects (NSIPs)
The Act makes administrativechanges to the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects byamending the Planning Act 2008. Examples of the changes madeinclude reducing the number of inspectors required in a panel todecide NSIPs from three to two and a simpler procedure to makechanges to approved Development Consent Orders.
Land Registry takes onLocal Land Charges
Under the Act, the LandRegistry will take over the responsibility for the registration ofLocal Land Charges from the local authorities. The InfrastructureAct will allow Land Registry to create a digitised Local LandCharges register that will improve access to data, standardise feesand improve turnaround times. It is expected that these newresponsibilities for the Land Registry should speed up theconveyancing process.
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.