The Welsh Government has provided a Detailed Response to the Law Commission’s recommendations for improving planning law in Wales, stating that it accepts the great majority of the suggested reforms, and confirming that they will form an input into the major consolidation Bill that will hopefully form an important part of the legislative programme in the next term of the Senedd.
The Law Commission Final Report – Planning Law in Wales – was published in November 2018, and laid before Parliament and the National Assembly. In the report, we made a series of detailed recommendations for technical reform to primary and secondary legislation and guidance, to be included in a new Planning Code for Wales. The result will be a dramatic simplification of the relevant law.
The Welsh Government has now set out its position on each of the 192 recommendations that were made in the report. It has accepted 61% of the recommendations, and will look to reform the law to enact the recommendations; and it has accepted a further 25% of the recommendations in principle, pending further consideration. It has only rejected 8% of the recommendations.
In relation to 14 of the recommendations (6%) – including those suggesting the unification of listed building consent with planning permission – the Welsh Government has identified a need for additional supporting evidence to inform a decision on whether to take forward the proposed policy change.
The Law Commission is continuing to work with the Welsh Government on the drafting of the new Bill, which will hopefully be introduced into the Senedd in the coming term.
In a written statement in the Senedd, Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government said:
“On behalf of the Welsh Government, I am placing my thanks to the Law Commission on record for the significant work undertaken and their cooperation with all stakeholders who have contributed towards the success of this review of planning law in Wales. I am also pleased that they will continue to work with us during the preparation of the Bill in order that we can all continue to benefit from their knowledge and experience in this area of law.”
Public Law Commissioner Nicholas Paines, QC said:
“We are grateful to the Minister for Housing and Local Government for her response to our report on Planning Law in Wales.
“We are delighted that the Welsh Government will be enacting the majority of our recommendations, which will simplify and consolidate planning legislation in Wales.
“We are pleased to support the Welsh Government in bringing forward a major Bill in the Senedd to implement these recommendations as soon as possible.”