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Home / News and Insights / Blogs / Planning Act 2008 / 745: Never mind the budget big DCO fee hikes proposed

Today’s entry reports on the budget and an increase to fees for Development Consent Order applications.

The budget

Yesterday saw the last (for a while, anyway) spring budget. There is little to say about infrastructure. Philip Hammond’s speech did not include the words ‘Brexit’ or ‘referendum’, although there was a passing reference to starting negotiations to exit the European Union.

The full budget document is here. No changes to planning law were proposed, just some money for transport in the north (£90 million), the midlands (£23 million) and for local authorities to tackle urban congestion (£690 million).

£270 million was allocated for research into projects such as driverless vehicles (in Mr Hammond’s only (funny) joke, he said that the party opposite knew all about that).

The headline is national insurance increases for the self-employed, but there were also announcements on ‘T-levels’, new technical equivalents to A-levels, and more devolution of powers to the Mayor of London including piloting new infrastructure investment methods.

DCO fees

But enough about the budget. Of more interest to those budgeting for a Development Consent Order (DCO) application, today sees the first increase in application fees since the regime began in 2010.

The purpose of the new fee arrangements is twofold: to allow, and then maintain, full cost recovery for the processing of DCOs by the Planning Inspectorate, and to introduce fees for two-person panels to allow two inspectors to be appointed.

The new fee regulations can be found here. Details of the changes to fees can be seen from the table below, although there will also be index-linked increases each year from now on. The increase is essentially 50% across the board.

The fees will apply to applications that have not been made by 6 April 2017.

TopicCurrent feeProposed feeIncrease
s52 request£1000£150050%
s53 request£1000£150050%
DCO and material change applications
Application fee£4500£675050%
Pre-exam fee
One inspector£13,000£19,50050%
Two inspectors-New
Three inspectors£30,000£45,00050%
Four inspectors£43,000£64,50050%
Five inspectors£43,000£64,50050%
Daily exam fee
One inspector£1230£184550%
Two inspectors-£2933New
Three inspectors£2680£268050%
Four inspectors£4080£612050%
Five inspectors£4080£612050%
Non-material change £6891£68910%

Thus the total fee for a three-inspector project that takes around six months (the exact figure will vary depending on which six months) will rise from £377,540 to £566,310, an increase of 50%. By my calculations the consumer price index has gone up by about 15.5% since March 2010, when the original fee regulations came into force, so this increase is more than three times the rate of inflation. Make of that what you will (a fuss, I expect).

In other news, the ‘housing in NSIPs’ provision will definitely come into force on 6 April, and the Glyn Rhonwy pumped storage project was granted consent yesterday. These will be the subject of the next blog, you wouldn’t want too much all at once.

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