The Welsh Government has provided an interim response to the Law Commission’s recommendations on improving Planning Law in Wales.
The Law Commission report – Planning Law in Wales – was published in November 2018, and laid before Parliament and the National Assembly. In the report, we make a series of recommendations including the creation of a new Planning Code for Wales, which is comprehensive but simpler than the current system.
Julie James AC/AM, Minister for Housing and Local Government, who replied on behalf of the Welsh Government, has thanked the Law Commission for our “significant work and robust analysis”, which has established a “comprehensive evidence base to inform the report and to engage with a wide range of stakeholders”.
The focus of the letter from the Minister focuses on three key areas raised by the Commission, which are:
- the need to simplify and consolidate planning law
- the case for a planning code
- the scope of the initial consolidation exercise.
She notes that the Welsh Government has already started work on a major consolidation Bill, which is likely to replace all of the primary legislation relating to planning as it applies in Wales – including the whole of the TCPA 1990 and the Planning (Wales) Act 2015, and much of the Planning and Compensation Act 1991, the Planning and Compensation Act 2004 and the Planning Act 2008.
That Bill, expected to come before the Assembly early in the next term, will incorporate many of the reforms put forward in the Commission’s Final Report.
The Minister notes that “we are committed to developing accessible and thought-through legislation. As we begin to prepare the planning consolidation Bill for Wales, I am grateful to the Law Commission for its continued support and assistance in its delivery”.
Nicholas Paines, QC, Law Commissioner with responsibility for public law and the law in Wales, said:
“We are grateful to the Minister for Housing and Local Government for the interim response to our report. We look forward to continuing our involvement with the Welsh Government, to implement these recommendations and to improve the planning system in Wales.”
The formal response from the Welsh Government, due in November 2019, will respond to the 192 recommendations set out in Part 2 of the Law Commission’s report.