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18/05/2016

Queen’s Speech 2016: Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill announced

Words: Laura Edgar

A bill aimed at speeding up the planning process and minimising delays has been announced in the 2016 Queen’s Speech today (18 May).

It also confirmed that there will be a Modern Transport Bill (see below).

The bills were among 21 announced by the Queen.

Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill

 

The Queen said in her speech: “To support the economic recovery, and to create jobs and more apprenticeships, legislation will be introduced to ensure Britain has the infrastructure that businesses need to grow.”

The bill aims to reform planning and give local communities more power and control to shape their area so that “we build more houses and give everyone who works hard the chance to buy their own home”.

The purpose of the bill, the government said, is to support its ambition to deliver one million new homes while at the same time “protecting those areas that we value most including the green belt”.

It should also deliver the homes and infrastructure the country needs and transform the way major infrastructure projects are planned for, helping the government to deliver it's manifesto pledge to "invest over £100 billion in our infrastructure over this Parliament".

According to the background notes for the speech, the bill would, among other things, include:

  • Measures to reform and speed up the planning process by minimising delays caused by pre-commencement planning conditions. It will ensure that the conditions are only imposed where they are “absolutely necessary”.

  • Streamlined processes supporting neighbourhoods to come together to agree plans that will decide where things get built in their local area.

  • Measures to make the compulsory purchase order process “clearer, fairer and faster” for all those involved.

  • A new statutory basis for the independent National Infrastructure Commission, to help invest in Britain’s long-term future. The commission would provide the government with “expert, independent” advice on infrastructure issues, setting out a “clear, strategic vision” on the future infrastructure needed to ensure the UK economy is fit for 2050.

  • Enabling the privatisation of Land Registry.

Most of the bill’s measures will apply across England and Wales, and the those relating to the National Infrastructure Commission will apply across the UK.

Modern Transport Bill

 

The Modern Transport Bill aims to put Britain at the forefront of the modern transport revolution in order to create new jobs and fuel economic growth around the country.

The Queen said: “My ministers will ensure the United Kingdom is at the forefront of technology for new forms of transport, including autonomous and electric vehicle.”

The purpose of the Modern Transport Bill, according to the government, is to cut red tape and put the “right framework in place to allow innovation to flourish”.

The bill will include:

  • Legislation to enable the future development of the UK’s first commercial spaceports.

  • New laws to make the UK ready to pioneer driverless cars.

Among its benefits, the briefing note states, are the reduction of congestion and quicker journeys for people and goods.

What else did the Queen say?

 

The government would, to “spread economic prosperity”, continue to support the development of a Northern Powerhouse while directly elected mayors in England would receive further powers, including those governing local bus services.

The “aspiration” and promotion of home ownership would be supported by the government through its commitment to build a million new homes.

The Queen also said: “My government will continue to work in cooperation with the devolved administrations to implement the extensive new powers in the Scotland Act and establish a strong and lasting devolution settlement in Wales. My government will work in Northern Ireland to secure further progress in implementing the Stormont House and Fresh Start agreements.”


Reaction to the Queen's Speech can be found here.

The full Queen’s Speech can be read here.

The briefing note can be found here (pdf).

Image credit | UK Parliament

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