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CIL review launched

Words: Laura Edgar
Consultation / Istock

A consultation into the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) has been launched by the review panel assigned to assess whether it does or can provide an effective mechanism for funding infrastructure.

The panel, which will be led and chaired by Liz Peace, former British Property Federation (BPF) chair, will also recommend changes that would “improve its operation in support of the government’s wider housing and growth objectives”, says the consultation document.

The government says it wants to make sure that local communities can raise funds to support the development of transport infrastructure, schools, health services and recreation facilities. The review forms part of the government’s continuing reforms to “streamline the planning system”.

Housing minister Brandon Lewis said: “Where communities benefit from development they are also more likely to support it, and the CIL has played a vital role in contributing to local infrastructure and creating that local support.

“As a government we want to build more homes, supported by people who live in the area and this review will look for new ways in which proposed development can benefit whole areas.”

The BPF has welcomed the review of CIL, which is a development tax used to fund local infrastructure.

Although the BPF supports the principle of CIL, the organisation believes a review is necessary because its application has become “overly burdensome and inefficient”.

The BPF suggest four key areas for reform to CIL.

  • Regular reviews of the process.

  • Strategic sites: CIL “simply does not work” for complex or large-scale strategic sites. A more site-specific approach to infrastructure funding and other contributions must be taken.

  • Clarity between CIL and s.106 agreements.

  • Integration of CIL with local plans.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the BPF said: “Many of our members cite CIL as one of the biggest bugbears of the planning system, and there are plenty of local authorities who would agree. While some would like to see it abolished altogether, we believe that with the right changes, CIL could be a useful tool for ensuring infrastructure delivery on development sites. The creation of this group is a step in the right direction, but it must not stop here. It is crucial that government [should] take any recommendations on board, and work with both public and private sectors to ensure that the regime really works in the future.”

Consultation responses will be accepted until 15 January, 2016.