The Queen's Speech setting on the Coalition administration's legislative programme for the final session of Parliament has promised an Infrastructure Bill which will include further changes to the planning regime.
The BIll will:
- amend the process for making changes to Development Consent Orders for nationally significant infrastructure projects;
- establish the Highways Agency as a Government-owned company;
- allow certain types of planning condition to be discharged upon application if a local planning authority has not notified the developer of their decision within a prescribed time period;
- permit land to be transferred directly from arm-length bodies to the Homes & Communities Agency;
- include measures which will make it easier to gain access to shale oil and gas reserves, including fracking activities;
- allow for the creation of an "allowable solutions scheme" to enable all new homes to be built to a zero carbon standard.
The Speech also promised:
- the introduction of secondary legislation allowing a locally supported garden city to be built in Ebbsfleet, backed by an Urban Development Corporation;
- measures to speed up the time taken for sites granted planning permission to be built, including reforming unwieldy procedures and conditions attached to existing planning permissions whilst protecting environmental safeguards;
- further amendments to secondary legislation "to further reform change of use rules to make it easier for empty and redundant buildings to be converted into productive use, supporting brownfield regeneration and increase the supply of new homes".
The Government will also introduce a draft bill to allow for the direct election of English National Park Authority members.
The Society awaits the detailed proposals and will comment further in due course.