Planning and Compulsory Purchase: What to look out for in Wales in 2022?

Overview of the upcoming changes to the planning and compulsory purchase regimes in Wales

13 January 2022

Introduction

The Welsh Government has recently announced a series of upcoming changes to the planning and compulsory purchase regimes in Wales. This article provides an overview of the key changes to look out for in 2022.

Cliciwch yma i ddarllen fersiwn Cymraeg o'r erthygl hon.

Planning Consolidation Bill

A planning consolidation bill is due to be introduced during the current Senedd term (i.e. before 2026) to deal with issues raised in the Law Commission’s 2018 report on planning law in Wales. The report recommended that a new planning code is created in Wales which is comprehensive but simpler.

A programme to improve the accessibility of Welsh law was subsequently published in September 2021 and included a commitment to bring the law on planning and the historic environment into single statutes.

The planning consolidation bill will bring together various provisions including from the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Planning Act 2008. The aim of the bill is to simplify and consolidate Welsh planning law into a single statute so there will be no change in the substance of provisions as they currently apply. However, there will be changes to the numbering of provisions that some people will be familiar with and relevant guidance will be updated to refer to the new numbering.

Compulsory Purchase in Wales

In March 2021, the Welsh Government published a summary of responses to its consultation on ‘Reforms to Compulsory Purchase Powers and Procedures’.

The consultation proposed to amend primary legislation to modernise the compulsory purchase statutory enabling powers and procedures in Wales, and secondary legislation to streamline the compulsory purchase inquiry and written representation procedures.

In light of the responses to the consultation, the Welsh Government endorsed changes to the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 Act and the publication of a compulsory purchase order (CPO) manual, aimed to provide guidance and best practice for the CPO regime in Wales. The CPO manual was first published on 23 March 2021.

More recently, on 6 December 2021, the Welsh Government published the CPO register of decisions. The CPO register includes details of the type of CPO, the compulsory purchase power used, the name of the acquiring authority and the title of the CPO amongst other pieces of information, dating back to 2012. However, the register does not include full copies of CPOs.

Changes to the CPO Landscape in 2022

The coming months will see the Welsh Government introduce further changes to the CPO landscape.

Both the Compulsory Purchase (Inquiries Procedure) (Wales) Rules 2010 and the Compulsory Purchase of Land (Written Representations Procedure) (National Assembly for Wales) Regulations 2004 will be replaced by a new set of CPO inquiry rules.

Some of the key changes will be:

  • statements of case are to be served within 10 weeks of the relevant date (currently a 6 week time period) where there is no public inquiry meeting; and
  • the current 5 week deadline for Welsh Ministers and the new Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) (who took over the functions of PINS Wales in October 2021) to give written notice of an inquiry will be extended by up to 3 weeks.

The CPO manual is also due to be replaced by a 2nd Edition which will provide updated guidance on CPO inquiry rules and the written representations procedures, alongside public sector equality duties impact assessments.

The 2nd edition will update best practice on entering into asset protection agreements with statutory undertakers, including e-mail addresses on statutory notices and executing general vesting declarations.

A new CPO circular is also expected in early 2022 which will include the updated CPO rules and references to the new edition of the CPO manual. It will also include updated contact details for PEDW.

In March 2022, the Welsh Government intends to hold a virtual event for local authorities on the CPO manual and its use and application in practice.

Analysis

Since devolution the planning and compulsory purchase regimes in Wales have gradually diverged from the position in England. This has led to a somewhat complex situation regarding the laws and guidance that apply in Wales. Recent and upcoming changes to planning and compulsory purchase legislation, rules and guidance in Wales are an attempt to clarify the position in Wales. Developers and local authorities in Wales should be aware of these changes as they may impact the consenting of projects in Wales.

How can Burges Salmon help?

We have extensive experience of Welsh planning and compulsory purchase matters and we regularly advise clients on how changes to the planning and compulsory purchase regime in Wales may affect projects.

If you have any queries about any of the matters in this article, please do not hesitate to contact Elizabeth Dunn.

 

Key contact

Elizabeth Dunn

Elizabeth Dunn Partner

  • Energy and Utilities
  • Infrastructure
  • Real Estate

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