BDB Pitmans draft successful amendment to Levelling-up and Regeneration
BDB Pitmans have drafted a successful amendment to the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill on behalf of Baroness Hayman. Baroness Hayman introduced the amendment in a debate on the Bill which took place on 18 September 2023. The amendment was passed in the House of Lords by 138 votes to 130.
The Bill is entering its final stages before it is enacted. The Bill will have its Third Reading in the House of Lords on 21 September 2023 and amendments to it will then be considered by the House of Commons.
Amendment 282K overturns the government’s effective ‘ban’ on new onshore wind projects (in place since 2015 when David Cameron’s government removed large onshore wind power projects from the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime, introduced compulsory consultation for onshore wind planning applications and added restrictive planning policy) in order to create a ‘level playing field’ for such development.
The revisions contained in Amendment 282K reinstate onshore wind in the Planning Act 2008 policy framework, remove the compulsory consultation obligation and require planning policy to be amended to remove the existing restrictions, thus restoring onshore wind to considered on its merits in both town and country and national infrastructure planning. Planning policy restrictions on onshore wind were watered down very slightly on 5 September 2023 in response to a threatened rebellion on the Energy Bill, but this amendment goes much further.
Rated as ‘Tier 1’ by the Legal 500 for Infrastructure Planning, BDB Pitmans’ Planning, Infrastructure and Public Law team is one of the largest in the country, comprised of nearly 50 lawyers (including 10 partners). Partner, Parliamentary Agent and former Board Chair of the National Infrastructure Planning Association, Angus Walker, led on this project, supported by associate Aranya Tharumakunarajah.
Angus Walker concluded:
‘In the wake of the underwhelming amendment to the Energy Bill debated earlier this month, it was heartening to see Amendment 282K progress to the next stage in the parliamentary process. It was a pleasure to work with Baroness Hayman and we hope that this amendment marks a significant step towards restoring onshore wind’s place in the planning system and enabling further development in this area.’
Angus expands on this topic further in an entry taken from the Planning Act blog, published earlier this month.