On 6 April further provisions of the Planning Act 2008 are implemented under the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No 1 and Savings) Order 2009.

The more interesting provisions are:

  • Ss 5- 12 relating to National Policy Statements (NPSs). These are statements designated as such by the Secretary of State and may in particular:
    • set out, in relation to a specified description of development, the amount, type or size of development of that description which is appropriate nationally or for a specified area;
    • set out criteria to be applied in deciding whether a location is suitable (or potentially suitable) for a specified description of development;
    • set out the relative weight to be given to specified criteria;
    • identify one or more locations as suitable (or potentially suitable) or unsuitable for a specified description of development;
    • identify one or more statutory undertakers as appropriate persons to carry out a specified description of development; and
    • set out circumstances in which it is appropriate for a specified type of action to be taken to mitigate the impact of a specified description of development

NPSs must be the subject of consultation before designation and must be kept under review. They must also be the subject of a sustainability appraisal. (A sustainability appraisal is used to assess whether proposed plans and policies meet sustainable development objectives.)

  • S194 and Schedule 9. These provisions amend various Acts to deal with the difficulty caused by the Thames Water case in the implementation of s237 Town and Country Planning Act 1990, in relation to the power to override easements and other rights.

A new subsection is inserted into s 237 as follows:

"(1A) Subject to subsection (3), the use of any land in England which has been acquired or appropriated by a local authority for planning purposes (whether the use is by the local authority or by a person deriving title under them) is authorised by virtue of this section if it is in accordance with planning permission even if the use involves-

a. interference with an interest or right to which this section applies, or

b. a breach of a restriction as to the user of land arising by virtue of a contract."

The effect is that where a local planning authority (LPA) has acquired land either compulsorily or by agreement, certain rights and interests held by third parties can be overridden.

  • S196 – this inserts a new section 319A into the 1990 Act and places an obligation on the Secretary of State to determine the procedure by which certain planning proceedings (such as appeals) are to be determined. Previously the parties were able to request an inquiry, a hearing or written representations. This provision places the responsibility on the Secretary of State to determine the procedure.

The Secretary of State must publish criteria to be applied in making a determination under this provision.

  • Schedule 7. This contains amendments to the 1990 Act which extend the power of LPAs to decline to determine certain planning applications.