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New regulations for Welsh local authority meetings should help planning

Words: Roger Milne
Virtual meeting / iStock-508060428

Regulations came into force in Wales this week that should make it easier for the planning system to carry on functioning.

Legislation currently places requirements on local authorities to meet in person in specified offices, to make many meetings open to the public and to enable the public to inspect documents related to the meetings, in some cases in the offices of local authorities.

This runs counter to the measures in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

The changes just announced – the Local Authorities (Coronavirus) (Meetings) (Wales) Regulations 2020 – make temporary provision for local authority meetings and for public and press access to these meetings during the pandemic.  

Local government minister Julie James explained: “They provide flexibility to enable local authorities to operate safely, effectively and lawfully, while retaining the principles of openness and accountability to the public. This includes enabling meetings to be conducted on the basis of full or partial remote attendance and by making provision about the electronic publishing of certain documents.”

These regulations apply widely and include principal councils and their executives, community councils and national park authorities across Wales.

Image credit | iStock