UK: More Of Localism Act 2011 Comes Into Force

Last Updated: 18 January 2012
Article by Angus Walker

This is entry number 311, published on 16 January 2012, of a blog on the Planning Act 2008 infrastructure planning and authorisation regime. Click here for a link to the whole blog. If you would like to be notified when the blog is updated, with links sent by email, click here.

Today's entry reports on further provisions of the Localism Act coming into force.

The Localism Act received royal assent on 15 November. Some of its provisions came into force immediately and some were programmed to come into force two months after royal assent, i.e. yesterday. The rest comes into force at a time of the government's choosing. In fact there has been one such 'commencement order' already.

Although the direct changes to the Planning Act regime aren't expected to come into force until April, many of the Localism Act's provisions have indirect effects on infrastructure planning and so are worth reporting here.

[UPDATE: a second commencement order was made last week that brings some more provisions into force, including changes to the Planning Act regime. The non-Planning Act changes are included blow; the Planning Act changes will be reported in the next entry]

It is probably clearest to set out the provisions of the Act in a single list.

  • The provisions with '*' came into force on 15 November;
  • the provisions with '^' came into force on 3 December (via this commencement order) and
  • the provisions with '#' came into force yesterday.
  • Section 114 (on CIL) came into force all on its own on 16 November.

What, you don't want to read the whole list and work out what the important changes are? Fair enough: I have summarised them below.

  • ^section 8(2) (eligible parish councils eligible for general power of competence),
  • ^section 15 (power to transfer local public functions to permitted authorities),
  • #sections 16 to 18 (transfer and delegation of functions to certain authorities);
  • ^section 19 (procedure for orders under section 15),
  • ^section 20 (section 15 orders: order-making powers only),
  • ^#section 21 (governance of local authorities: part only),
  • ^#part of schedule 3 (amendments relating to local authority governance),
  • *section 23 (Changes to local authority governance in England: transitional provision etc),
  • #section 24 (timetables for changing electoral schemes);
  • #section 25 (predetermination of local authority decisions),
  • *paragraphs 57 and 58 of Schedule 4, and part of section 26 (amendments of existing standards provisions),
  • #part of section 36 (amendments following abolition of police authorities);
  • *section 37 (standards - transitional provision),
    #sections 38 to 43 (pay accountability; pay policy statements),
  • #section 44 (Commission for Local Administration providing other services),
  • #section 45 (repeal of duties relating to promotion of democracy),
  • #section 47 (schemes to encourage domestic waste reduction by payments and charges - i.e. the bin tax),
  • #section 68 (ballot for imposition and certain variations of a business rate supplement);
  • #section 69(1)-(7) so that billing authorities can make decisions and determinations;
  • ^section 69(8) (rates contributions regulations can be late in 2012),
  • #section 70 (small business relief);
  • #section 71 (cancellation of liability to backdated non-domestic rates),
  • ^sections 72-79 and schedules 5 to 7 (referendums on excessive council tax increases),
  • #section 80 (council tax revaluations in Wales),
  • *Chapter 2 of Part 5 (community right to challenge - order-making powers only),
  • *section 86 (community right to challenge - provision of advice and assistance),
  • *Chapter 3 of Part 5 (assets of community value - order-making powers only),
  • *sections 103 and 104 (advice and assistance in relation to land of community value in England and Wales),
  • *part of section 109 (abolition of regional strategies) and part of Schedule 8,
  • *section 110 (duty to co-operate in relation to planning of sustainable development),
  • #sections 111 to 113 (local development schemes; adoption and withdrawal of local development plan documents; local development: monitoring reports),
  • Section 114 (community infrastructure levy: approval of charging schedules),
  • #section 115 (use of community infrastructure levy);
  • *#sections 116 (neighbourhood planning), 121 and 124(consequential amendments - prescribed matters and order-making powers only) and Schedules 9 to 12,
  • *sections 117 to 120 (charges, collection, enforcement, financial assistance for neighbourhood planning),
  • *the provisions inserted by section 122 (consultation before applying for planning permission, provisions about development orders only),
  • #section 143 (applications for planning permission: local finance considerations),
  • *section 144 (application of Part 6 (Planning) to the Crown),
  • #part of sections 145 to 147 (allocation of housing accommodation);
  • #most of sections 150 to 153 (tenancy strategies);
  • #section 154 (flexible tenancies: order-making powers only);
  • #section 158 (secure and assured tenancies: transfer of tenancy - order-making powers only);
  • #section 165 (assured shorthold tenancies: order-making powers only);
  • *sections 168 to 175 (provisions relating to abolition of Housing Revenue Account, but not the abolition itself),
  • #section 176 (standards faciliting exchange of tenancies);
  • #section 177 (assisting tenants of social landlords to become home owners),
  • #part of section 178 (transfer from OTSL to HCA);
  • #section 183 and schedule 18 (abolition of home information packs),
  • #part of sections 186 and 187 (GLA's housing and regeneration functions);
  • #section 190 (transfer of property of HCA);
  • #part of section 191 (abolition of LDA);
  • #sections 194 and 195 (consequential provisions and amendments re housing in London);
  • #most of chapter 2 of part 8 (mayoral development corporations),
  • #sections 223 and 224 (delegation of functions by ministers to mayor);
  • #section 230 (sharing of administrative services by London authorities);
  • *section 233 (tax - order-making powers only) and Schedule 24,
  • *sections 234 (pre-commencement consultation), 235 (orders and regulations) and 236 (power to make further consequential amendments),
  • *sections 238 (financial provisions), 239 (extent), 240 (commencement) and 241 (short title), and
  • *#parts of Schedule 25, and the corresponding part of section 237 (repeals and revocations).

Summary of main provisions

One major provision came into force on 15 November, and I would say that another five came into force yesterday.

Duty to co-operate: this one came into force on 15 November. Local authorities have been obliged to co-operate when drawing up planning policies that affect more than one local authority area. Would this sort of thing still be able to happen?

Predetermination: this is the provision where councillors are supposedly freer to talk about issues before they decide them. I don't think it actually changes the law that much, if at all, but may change perceptions - at least until the courts tell somebody off for going too far.

Bin tax: the ability to have charging schemes for bin collections was never brought into force but now it cannot be brought into force.

Local finance considerations: one of the most controversial provisions in the Act. Financial incentives such as the New Homes Bonus are now 'material considerations' for deciding planning applications. Its provenance can be traced to this document.

Abolition of home information packs: speaks for itself.

Mayoral development corporations: these can now be created (in London). The only one expected is for the post-Olympics Olympic Park area.

There are still a lot more of the Localism Act's provisions still to come into force. A large number are expected to do so on 6 April.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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