The Planning Bill introduced in Parliament in November 2007 has been making rapid progress in recent months after rather a slow start. It completed the Committee stage in the House of Lords on 23 October and the Report Stage was dealt with on 6, 10 and 12 November. The Third Reading of the Bill has been set down for Tuesday 18 November. It is then expected to ping pong back and forth between the House of Commons and the House of Lords as amendments are debated. It is anticipated that the Bill will receive Royal Assent by the end of November.

When in force, the Bill will introduce a radical new system for approving major infrastructure of national importance, such as harbours, airports, power stations and waste facilities by way of a single authorisation. In addition, the Bill provides for the introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy, the aim of which is to raise money from developers to pay for infrastructure needed as a consequence of new developments. The Bill also makes other changes to the existing town and country planning regime.

We have prepared two updates on those parts of the Bill dealing with nationally significant infrastructure projects. Both are available on the Bircham Dyson Bell website. We will be producing a special bulletin on the Bill when it becomes an Act in due course.