We hosted the British Property Federation’s seminar on CIL reform at the end of 2015.  The new year offers a chance to address some of the unintended quirks of the Community Infrastructure Levy that have undermined the originally stated intention when adopting the CIL Regulations in 2010 of a “faster, fairer, more certain and transparent means of collecting developer contributions to infrastructure“.

Way of the future?

The Community Infrastructure Levy (“CIL”) was introduced in April 2010, with a promise of a ‘comprehensive review in 2015’. The Review was announced in late 2015 and will conclude in the in the Spring, with the expert group tasked to assess “the extent to which CIL does or can provide an effective mechanism for funding infrastructure, and to recommend changes that would improve its operation in support of the Government’s wider housing and growth objectives“.  Our commentary for Planning Magazine is here.

Better than the rest

The CIL emerged from Kate Barker’s Reviews of Housing Supply (2004) and Land Use Planning (2006). Quicker and more transparent approaches to infrastructure funding and delivery remain at least as important 10 years on. The fundamental objectives of CIL remain right:

  • using a part of the unearned increment on land value growth to deliver infrastructure to support planned growth;
  • underpinning the legitimacy of development.

The Review is therefore intended to refine CIL, not rub it out. It is flawed, but as noted at the BPF’s session, arguably the best alternative to other land value taxes – none of which can claim the same distinction of having lasted between two political terms. Improvement will take place, but the development industry needs to engage with the Review.

The call for representations closes on 15 January.