UK: How To Keep Track Of Planning Act Regime Changes

Last Updated: 27 October 2013
Article by Angus Walker

Today's entry reports on the ever-changing landscape of Planning Act legislation, guidance and advice.

With news that two of the Planning Inspectorate's advice notes for the Planning Act regime have been updated - although they haven't reflected that in their own change log yet - here is the latest state of play and how to keep up to date.

To use the Planning Act regime accurately and effectively, there are three levels of documentation to pay attention to. First, there is legislation, which must be obeyed, then there is guidance from the Department for Communities and Local Government, which should normally be followed and finally, there is advice from the Planning Inspectorate, which it would also be a good idea to follow. Every piece of legislation, guidance and advice has been amended in the last 18 months, and more than half of it has been updated in the last 6 months.

Here is a table of the 32 documents you need to be aware of, plus three that have been revoked or withdrawn - one of each type, as it happens.

Type Name Latest Date
Legislation Planning Act 2008 Amended July 2013
Legislation Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009 Amended April 2013
Legislation Infrastructure Planning (Changes to, and Revocation of, Development Consent Orders) Regulations 2011 Amended April 2013
Legislation Infrastructure Planning (Compulsory Acquisition) Regulations 2010 Amended April 2013
Legislation Infrastructure Planning (Decisions) Regulations 2010 Amended April 2012
Legislation Infrastructure Planning (Examination Procedure) Rules 2010 Amended April 2012
Legislation Infrastructure Planning (Fees) Regulations 2010 Amended April 2013
Legislation Infrastructure Planning (Interested Parties) Regulations 2010 Amended April 2013
Legislation Infrastructure Planning (Miscellaneous Prescribed Provisions) Regulations 2010 Amended April 2013
Legislation Infrastructure Planning (Model Provisions) (England and Wales) Order 2009 Revoked April 2012
Legislation Infrastructure Planning (National Policy Statement Consultation) Regulations 2009 Amended April 2013
Guidance Application Form Guidance Amended June 2013
Guidance Associated Development Guidance Amended April 2013
Guidance Compulsory Purchase Guidance Amended September 2013
Guidance Costs Awards Guidance Amended July 2013
Guidance Examination Guidance Amended April 2013
Guidance Fees Guidance Amended June 2013
Guidance Local Authorities Guidance Withdrawn January 2013
Guidance Pre-application Guidance Amended January 2013
Advice Advice note one (Local Impact Reports) Amended April 2012
Advice Advice note two (Working Together on NSIPs) Amended April 2012
Advice Advice note three (EIA Consultation) Amended July 2013
Advice Advice note four (Section 52) Amended October 2013
Advice Advice note five (Section 53) Amended October 2013
Advice Advice note six (Application Documents) Amended June 2012
Advice Advice note seven (Screening and Scoping) Amended July 2013
Advice Advice note eight (How to Get Involved) Amended April 2012
Advice Advice note nine (Rochdale Envelope) Amended April 2012
Advice Advice note ten (Habitats) Amended August 2013
Advice Advice note eleven (Public Bodies) Amended April 2012
Advice Advice note twelve (Transboundary Effects) Amended April 2012
Advice Advice note thirteen (Preparing a DCO) Amended April 2012
Advice Advice note fourteen (Consultation Report) Amended April 2012
Advice Advice note fifteen (Advice Digest) Withdrawn April 2012
Advice Advice note sixteen (Preapplication Consultation) Amended April 2012

You will see that the two most recently updated advice notes are on sections 52 and 53. Those two sections are about forcing information from people about land interests, and compelling them to let you onto their land before getting a DCO - or even making an application - for surveys etc. Details of the changes have not been set out but the latest version of each advice note starts by saying that it 'includes revisions made in response to emerging best practice on projects'.

How to keep track of it all? A bit self-serving, but this is actually something that lawyers are quite good at. Most law firms subscribe to on-line resources that provide up to date versions of legislation and alerts to amendments, but of course those most immersed in the regime will be well aware of upcoming changes anyway. The guidance does not change so often and is easier to keep track of - the light touch review led to a second edition of each guidance note, and the 2014 review is likely to lead to a third of some or all of them. Finally, the PINS website maintains a change log of updates to advice notes, although this isn't always updated immediately.

It almost goes without saying that using out of date versions of any of the above increases the three main risks of time delays, cost increases and adverse decisions, so definitely something best avoided. This blog will keep you abreast of changes, but it is no substitute for your own paid-for legal advice.

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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