Planning Act 2008

The Planning Act 2008 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom intended to speed up the process for approving major new infrastructure projects such as airports, roads, harbours, energy facilities such as nuclear power and waste facilities. Along with the Climate Change Bill and the Energy Bill this bill was considered by the Brown administration to be one of the "three legislative pillars of the Government's strategy to secure long-term prosperity and quality of life for all".[2]

The Planning Act 2008[1]
Long titleAn Act to establish the Infrastructure Planning Commission and make provision about its functions; to make provision about, and about matters ancillary to, the authorisation of projects for the development of nationally significant infrastructure; to make provision about town and country planning; to make provision about the imposition of a Community Infrastructure Levy; and for connected purposes.
Citation2008 c 29
Royal assent26 November 2008
Status: Amended
History of passage through Parliament
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

Key aims

  • A new body, the Infrastructure Planning Commission would make the decisions
  • These decisions would be based on new national policy statements
  • Hearings and the decision-making process would be timetabled
  • The new regime would be used for major energy projects
  • The Secretary of State would not be able to have the final say on major infrastructure decisions
  • A new Community Infrastructure Levy on developments would finance infrastructure (money would be raised from developers to pay for the facilities needed as a consequence of new developments, such as schools, hospitals and sewage plants).
  • Planning appeals in relation to minor developments would be heard by a panel of local councillors and not by a planning inspector.[3]


Political parties


Labour introduced the Bill that became the Planning Act, although some 60 Labour members signed a Commons Motion opposing plans to set up an independent commission in May 2008.[4]


The Conservatives were opposed to the Infrastructure Planning Commission while in opposition and are now in the process of replacing it with part of the Planning Inspectorate via the Localism Bill, which is likely to be implemented in April 2012.

Prime Minister David Cameron said before the 2010 election that "This quango is going to be almost entirely divorced from the processes of democracy. That is wrong. People need a planning system in which they feel they have a say – both at national and local level. That is why this Bill is getting such widespread opposition from so many different quarters"[4]

The coalition government have, however, retained the concept of National Policy Statements, the authorisation regime and the Community Infrastructure Levy[5]

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats were also opposed the Infrastructure Planning Commission. Previously opposed to nuclear power, they are also granted the ability to vote against the nuclear power National Policy Statement when it comes before Parliament.

Environmental groups

Friends of the Earth say that the government must make Climate Change a central consideration in the decision-making process.[6]

In November 2007 major environmental groups described the Planning Bill as a 'Developer's charter'[7] and the head of planning at the RSPB expressed concern saying that although the minister claimed that the bill will help protect the environment that it was more likely to aid developers trying to push through major schemes with scant regard to wildlife and the countryside and could "fast track environmental harm".[8]

Trade unions and businesses

John Cridland, then Deputy Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry supported the bill saying that it was in the national interest and would facilitate the building of infrastructure that will help Britain protect its energy security, build renewable power sources to cut carbon, and invest for the future”.[9]

The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC)

The Infrastructure Planning Commission was formed on 1 October 2009 with a brief to oversee planning applications for major infrastructure projects (also known as nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs)) such as power stations, roads, railways and airports claiming to cut the time to make a decision from seven years to less than a year and saving the taxpayer £300 million per year.[10]

Applications for large energy and transport projects had to be made to the IPC from 1 March 2010, but by December 2010 only two applications had in fact been made, one of which the IPC refused to accept as inadequately prepared. Despite claims that the general public would be cut out of the authorisation process, over 1000 representations were made on the application that the IPC accepted.

Community Infrastructure Levy

The Community Infrastructure Levy is a form of planning gain tax, where a proportion of the increase in value on land as a result of planning permission is used to finance the supporting infrastructure, such as schools and will 'unlock housing growth'[11]


Localism Act 2011

The coalition government introduced the Localism Act 2011, that made changes to the regime under the Planning Act 2008. It will replace the Infrastructure Planning Commission with a Major Infrastructure Planning Unit of the Planning Inspectorate, and return decision-making to the Secretary of State. It will also allow the House of Commons to be able to veto National Policy Statements, and makes other changes to the Planning Act regime.

The Infrastructure Planning (Radioactive Waste Geological Disposal Facilities) Order 2015

Amends sections 14 and appends section 30A to the Planning Act 2008. It sets out rules for disposal of radioactive waste, and surveying the potential sites.[12]


  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title is authorised by section 242 of this Act.
  2. ^ "Planning Bill". Leader of the House of Commons. Archived from the original on 26 June 2008. Retrieved 8 November 2008.
  3. ^ "Planning Bill 2007-08". UK Parliament. Retrieved 8 November 2008.
  4. ^ a b Grice, Andrew; Russell, Ben (24 June 2008). "Not in our backyard! A Bill that threatens historic right to protest". The Independent. London. Retrieved 8 November 2008.
  5. ^ "Tories say they will back community infrastructure levy". Property Week. 29 September 2008. Retrieved 8 November 2008.
  6. ^ "Planning Bill must include climate duty". Friends of the Earth. Retrieved 8 November 2008.
  7. ^ Benjamin, Alison (6 November 2007). "Critics dismiss planning bill as 'developers' charter'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
  8. ^ "Planning bill could fast track environmental harm". RSPB. 7 November 2007. Retrieved 8 November 2008.
  9. ^ "CBI COMMENTS ON LORDS VOTE ON PLANNING BILL". Confederation of British Industry. 6 November 2008. Archived from the original on 12 November 2008. Retrieved 8 November 2008.
  10. ^ Ruddick, Graham (1 October 2009). "Business leaders back controversial Infrastructure Planning Commission". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
  11. ^ "Community Infrastructure Levy: Initial Impact Assessment". Communities and Local Government. Archived from the original on 30 June 2008. Retrieved 8 November 2008.
  12. ^ "The Infrastructure Planning (Radioactive Waste Geological Disposal Facilities) Order 2015". Retrieved 9 May 2015.

External links

British Energy Efficiency Federation

The British Energy Efficiency Federation (or BEEF) was founded in 1996 by the United Kingdom Government to provide a forum for consultation between existing industry associations in the energy sector.

Coal Authority

The Coal Authority is a non-departmental public body of the United Kingdom government.

Energy Institute

The Energy Institute (EI) is a UK chartered professional membership body.

Energy Retail Association

The Energy Retail Association (ERA) was a trade association which promoted the interests of electricity and gas retailers in the domestic market in Great Britain, formed in 2003. In April 2012 it merged with the Association of Electricity Producers and the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy to become Energy UK.


Expro (officially Expro International Group) is an international oil and gas service company, specializing in well flow management, headquartered in Reading, United Kingdom.

Franco-British Nuclear Forum

The first meeting of the Franco–British Nuclear Forum was held in Paris in November 2007, chaired by the Minister for Energy and the French Industry Minister. The working groups are focusing on specific areas for collaboration. A follow-up meeting on the issue in London was planned for March 2008,[1] but did not take place.[2]

Hardy Oil and Gas

Hardy Oil and Gas plc is a leading British-based oil and gas exploration and production business. It is headquartered in Aberdeen and is a former constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

John Wood Group

John Wood Group PLC is a multinational energy services company with headquarters in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Michael Pitt (civil servant)

Sir Michael Edward Pitt DL is chair of the Legal Services Board which is the oversight regulator for the legal sector in England and Wales.He was previously chair of the Infrastructure Planning Commission, which has the role of considering planning applications for national infrastructure projects under the Planning Act 2008, and was appointed Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate on 1 April 2011.Pitt graduated from University College London in 1970 with a first class honours degree in Civil Engineering. He has worked for the civil service, private sector and local government, with the majority of his career in County Council Technical Departments.

During 1990 he was appointed as Chief Executive of Cheshire County Council, and was Chief Executive of Kent County Council from 1997 to 2005.He was formerly the national President of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives.

In April 2006, Sir Michael was appointed as Chair of the South West Strategic Health Authority (known as NHS South West), which oversees the operation of the National Health Service in the South West of England. He held the post until mid-2009.On 8 August 2007 Sir Michael was appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to chair an independent review into the floods which affected parts of the United Kingdom in the summer of 2007. His final report was published in June 2008, and the government has since begun to implement his recommendations.He has held a range of other appointments including the chairmanship of the General Medical Council’s National Revalidation Programme Board, and chairing two companies (Solace Enterprises Ltd and Swindon Commercial Services) and providing consultancy advice to a variety of public sector organisations. He is also a trustee of a family mediation charity in Wiltshire, Mediation Plus.Pitt received a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in June 2005 for services to local government. In February 2009, he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Wiltshire.

New Electricity Trading Arrangements

New Electricity Trading Arrangements (NETA) is the system of market trading arrangements under which electricity is traded in the United Kingdom's wholesale electricity market as of 27 March 2001. The arrangements provided that parties could trade off their imbalances close to real time.

Opus Energy

Opus Energy Limited supplies gas and electricity to businesses across the United Kingdom. It purchases electricity from wind, solar, hydro, and anaerobic digestion generators, and provides support to develop energy-generating sites. It is headquartered in Northampton, United Kingdom with an additional office in Oxford.

Planning gain

Planning gains (or planning obligations) are ways that local authorities in the United Kingdom can secure additional public benefits from developers, during the granting of planning permission.Planning gains seek to capture some of the uplift in land value which is generated by the granting of planning permission, and can be used to ensure that commercially-viable development is not socially or environmentally unsustainable. They are used to fund the provision of public goods, including affordable housing, community infrastructure (such as libraries or parks), or environmental safeguards.

In England and Wales, such arrangements are negotiated between the developer and the local planning authority (LPA), and take place under the terms of Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. In Scotland the equivalent is a Section 75 planning obligation (Section 75 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997).

Regal Petroleum

Regal Petroleum plc is a petroleum company based in London with assets in Romania, Ukraine, Greece, and Egypt. It was founded by Frank Timiş in November 1996, and is listed on the London Alternative Investment Market.

Score Group plc

Score Group plc is an international engineering business based in Peterhead, Scotland.

Sunbury Research Centre

The Sunbury Research Centre -- also known as ICBT Sunbury -- is a main research institute of BP in north-east Surrey.

Town and country planning in the United Kingdom

Town and country planning in the United Kingdom is the part of English land law which concerns land use planning. Its goal is to ensure sustainable economic development and a better environment. Each country of the United Kingdom has its own planning system that is responsible for town and country planning devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.

UK Power Networks

UK Power Networks is a distribution network operator for electricity covering South East England, the East of England and London. It manages three licensed distribution networks (Eastern Power Networks PLC, South Eastern Power Networks PLC and London Power Networks PLC) which together cover an area of 30000 square kilometres and approximately eight million customers.

In 2014 UK Power Networks was awarded £25 million from the electricity regulator Ofgem's Low Carbon Networks Fund for the Low Carbon London project. In 2011 it was awarded £6.7 million by Ofgem for another project, Flexible Plug and Play, which is researching new ways, technical and commercial, to connect renewable energy to the distribution network in Cambridgeshire.

As well as the three distribution arms UK Power Networks also operates UK Power Networks Services Holdings Limited, which develops and maintains electrical networks for clients including London Underground, Heathrow and Stansted airports, Docklands Light Railway and Canary Wharf.


WesternGeco is a geophysical services company. It is headquartered in the Schlumberger House on the property of London Gatwick Airport in Crawley, West Sussex, in Greater London.

Western Power Distribution

Western Power Distribution is the trading identity of four electricity distribution companies - WPD South West (operating in South West England), WPD South Wales (operating in South Wales) and WPD Midlands (operating in East Midlands and West Midlands). All of the companies act as the distribution network operator for their respective regions, and are registered in Bristol, England. Western Power Distribution serves approximately 7.7 million customers over its combined distribution areas.

Western Power Distribution is a subsidiary of the American utility corporation PPL.

It should not be confused with WPD, a wind farm company in north-western Europe, or Western Power Corporation, an electricity distributor in Australia.

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