Planning law in Wales to be simplified and modernised

The Law Commission, independent law reform adviser to the government, has announced a review of Welsh planning law.

Planning law in England and Wales is over-complicated and difficult to understand. It is still rooted in 1940s legislation and has developed in a piecemeal way ever since. It has not been consolidated for almost 25 years. Following devolution, the picture has become even more complicated in Wales. Some but not all recent English planning law applies in Wales, while some laws have been passed by the Welsh Government that are specific to Wales. The system is difficult for legal professionals and the public to understand and costly for individuals, communities, businesses and local planning authorities to use.

The Law Commission’s review will examine the problems with the current law, with a view to recommending a more simpler, clearer and easier-to-use system that reflects the needs of modern Wales.

Nicholas Paines QC, Law Commissioner with responsibility for public law said:

“Planning law in Wales is fragmented, obscure and not well-suited to the context of development and planning in a small country with its own needs.

“A simplified and modernised planning system for Wales will have the potential to promote economic growth, housing supply and protection of the environment, as well as increasing efficiency and reducing transaction costs. It can provide a basis for economic benefits to the people of Wales.”

The Law Commission is conducting the project as part of its new 12th Programme of Law Reform. It is the first time that a Law Commission programme has included projects devoted entirely to the law in Wales.
Notes for editors
1. The Law Commission is a non-political independent body, set up by Parliament in 1965 to keep all the law of England and Wales under review, and to recommend reform where it is needed.
2. For more details on this project and other projects in the new 12th Programme, visit
3. For all press queries please contact:
Phil Hodgson, Head of External Relations:  020 3334 3305
Jackie Samuel:  020 3334 3648