This is entry number 34 of a blog on the implementation of the Planning Act 2008. Click here for a link to the whole blog.

The Planning Act 2008 received Royal Assent on 27 November 2008, but hardly any of it actually came into force on that date. As is common with Acts of Parliament, it is being brought into force in stages, and this is done by issuing a series of 'commencement orders', each of which sets out which parts of the Act are to come into force on a date mentioned in the order. This blog entry summarises the parts that have come into force already, those that will come into force tomorrow, and expected future commencements. Some Acts have never been commenced, such as the Easter Act 1928, but the Planning Act 2008 should all be in force come the 2010 general election.

Parts that have come into force already

The original Act sets out which provisions came into force on 27 November 2008, and also some that came into force on 27 January 2009. These are basically order-making powers.

Commencement order 1 (and savings) set out some provisions that came into force on 6 April 2009. This introduced the regime for National Policy Statements (NPSs), although none have yet been issued even now.

Commencement order 1 set out a couple of further provisions that came into force on 23 June 2009. That merely introduced a section that tidies up part of the existing planning regime and was not to do with the new system. Two commencement orders numbered 1, you may well ask? This comes from the system of numbering these things. Because the first one is Commencement (No. 1 and savings), the second one can be Commencement (No. 1) because we haven't had one with that exact title yet. Clearer now?

Parts that come into force tomorrow

Commencement order 2 set out a larger chunk of provisions that come into foce on 1 October 2009. This introduces the pre-application stage, allowing the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) to advise potential applicants, and allowing potential applicants to carry out the extensive consultation that is required before an application can be made.

Commencement order 3 looks like a bit of an afterthought. It also introduces provisions that come into force on 1 October 2009 applying things like the Freedom of Information Act to the IPC.

Future commencement

The remainder of the new authorisation regime is expected to come into force on 1 March 2010 (although some parts may come into force earlier), the day that the IPC is to start receiving applications.

Finally, the Community Infrastructure Levy, a separate part of the Act currently having its regulations consulted upon, is expected to come into force on 6 April 2010.