The Planning Bill Receives Royal Assent
The Planning Bill received its long awaited Royal Assent on 26 November 2008. The Planning Act 2008 (the Act) introduces the Government's new consent regime for approving major infrastructures projects of national importance. Through these reforms of the planning system it is hoped that the decision-making process will become more efficient, quicker and cheaper and long public inquiries will be avoided.
The Act contains provisions to establish the Infrastructure Planning Commission which will be tasked with deciding whether to grant all necessary consents for projects of national significance. National Policy Statements will be used to set out Government policy on such projects, with the hope that social, economic and environmental policies will be integrated. The Government has stated that this will be done by way of public consultation, engaging citizens and communities affected in the consultation process. To streamline the process, inquiries and decisions will be subject to strict statutory timetables.
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