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Welsh Planning Bill

26th May, 2015

This month has seen the Welsh Assembly Government progress two significant pieces of new Welsh legislation.

The Welsh Planning Bill reached the final stage of its passage through the National Assembly for Wales. The Stage 4 debate took place on 19th May and has now entered the four week period of intimation (20 May – 16th June 2015).  In summary, the Bill seeks to create a more efficient and effective Planning system in Wales.  The Bill will:

  • Establish a new legal framework for the Welsh Ministers to prepare a national land use plan – the National Development Framework for Wales
  • Make provision for pre-application consultation and require local planning authorities to provide pre-application services
  • Planning Applications for National Significant Infrastructure Projects (e.g. Wind Farms generating more than 50MW of energy) to be made to the Welsh Ministers.
  • Allow Applicants for planning permission to apply to the Welsh Ministers for such permission where a local planning authority is deemed to be poorly performing.
  • Improve enforcement procedures to secure prompt action and provide for greater transparency and efficiency of the appeal process.

Further, detailed analysis will be provided by Aaron & Partners over the coming weeks.

The Environment (Wales) Bill was laid before the Assembly on 11th May and is currently at Stage 1.

The Bill provides a framework for managing Wales’ natural resources sustainably. The key provisions of the Bill include:

  • Promoting sustainable management of natural resources. This will be include the requirement for Welsh Ministers to adopt a National Natural Resources Policy and will require Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to introduce area statements setting out the challenges and opportunities for sustainable natural resources management at a local level; provide greater powers to NRW to enter into voluntary land management agreements and experimental schemes and strengthen existing duties on public authorities in regard to biodiversity.
  • A statutory target for cutting climate change emissions by at least 80 by 2050.
  • Extending Welsh Ministers’ powers so that they can set a charge for reusable bags (e.g. ‘bags for life’) in addition to the current charge on single-use carrier bags.
  • Increasing the amount of materials for recycling by requiring businesses and other waste producers (e.g. the public sector) to separate recyclable materials before collection and require separate collection by waste collectors of recyclable wastes.
  • Prohibiting the incineration of certain recyclable wastes.

For further information, please contact David Delaney, Head of Planning, on 01244 405538, email [email protected], or James Thomas, Planning Solicitor, on 01244 405404, email [email protected].

Ian McKinlock

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