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Emerging legislation and written ministerial statement on planning and hospitality

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LEGISLATION AND MATTERS ARISING

Written Ministerial Statements

• Secretary of State for the MHCLG, Robert Jenrick gave a Written Ministerial Statement on Planning and Hospitality to extend some of the Permitted Development Rights including pavement licences to help high streets recover.

Emerging Legislation Government Bills

Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill 2019-20: amongst other things the Bill establishes the right to breathe clean air; requires the Secretary of State to achieve and maintain clean air in England and Wales; and to enhance the powers, duties and functions of the Environment Agency, the Committee on Climate Change, local authorities (including port authorities), the Civil Aviation Authority, Highways England, Historic England and Natural England in relation to air pollution. The Second Reading is still yet to be scheduled.

Environment Bill 2019-21: amongst other things the Bill aims to make provision about targets, plans and policies for improving the natural environment, for statements and reports about environmental protection, conservation covenants, and about air quality. The Government has reintroduced the Bill and has said that it demonstrates a ‘commitment to tackling climate change and to protecting and restoring our natural environment for future generations’. The Bill received its sixteenth to twentieth sessions in a Public Bill Committee. The Public Bill Committee voted against the proposed amendment to include heritage in the Environment Bill, noting there was recognition of the connection between the natural environment and heritage in the 25-Year Environment Plan. The Bill was due to have its report stage, but the government announced it will be delayed. It is expected to return early in the next Parliamentary session and become law by Autumn.

Private Members’ Bills

Climate and Ecology Bill 2019-21.    The Bill requires the Prime Minister to achieve climate and ecology objectives; to give the Secretary of State a duty to create and implement those objectives; to establish a Citizens’ Assembly; and to give duties to the Committee on Climate Change regarding the objectives and strategy. The Bill was presented to Parliament on 2 September. The date of its Second Reading in the House of Commons is yet to be announced.

Desecration of War Memorials Bill 2019-21. The Bill aims to create the offence of desecrating a war memorial. It was introduced to Parliament on 23 June under the Ten-Minute Rule. The Bill was withdrawn on 23 March 2021.

Planning (Proper Maintenance of Land) Bill 2019 – 21. The Bill makes provision for increased fines for failures to comply with a notice under section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Jonathan Gullis MP made positive reference to historic buildings and Historic England. It was introduced to Parliament under the Ten-Minute Rule. The date of its Second Reading in the House of Commons is yet to be announced.

COMMITTEES

Homes, Communities and Local Government Committee Permitted Development Rights Inquiry

The HCLG Committee has opened a call for evidence on permitted development rights. The aim of the inquiry is to examine the Government’s recent and proposed changes to permitted development rights in respect of large-scale development, commercial to residential conversions and change of use between different types of commercial and retail premises.

BEIS Select Committee Decarbonisation of Heat in Homes

• On the 16 March the BEIS Select Committee held the second session on decarbonisation of heat in homes. It heard that the Government should prioritise homes that are easier to decarbonise than others as the solutions were already available; decarbonising heat currently presented as a major project for consumers and this needed to be made easier and; the decarbonisation of heat in homes requires cross-industry thinking, which needs to be driven by the Government.

OTHER INITIATIVES

Levelling Up Fund

• The Government published the Levelling-Up Fund: prospectus on 3 March 2021.

§  The prospectus for the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund will “invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects, and cultural and heritage assets.” (Spring Budget Statement 2021, paragraph 59).

§  The first round of the Fund in 2021-22 will focus on three themes including “support for maintain and expanding the UK’s world leading portfolio of cultural and heritage assets.” (Levelling-Up: prospectus, paragraph 4.1). Community Renewal Fund

Build Back Better

• The Government published Build Back Better: Our Plan for Growth on 3 March 2021. This sets out the Government’s plans to support growth through investment in infrastructure, skills and innovation, the levelling up agenda, and enable transition to net zero.

Growing Back Better

• The Growing Back Better report was published by the Environment Audit Committee in February. The report is on how to grow back better after covid-19 to create a greener, healthier and more resilient economy. Recommendations include:

§  Front loading investment in energy efficiency, the circular economy, climate adaptation and mitigation.

§  VAT reductions to encourage energy efficiency, use of recycled materials and repair services.

CURRENT CONSULTATIONS

MHCLG launched a consultation on changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and a new draft National Model Design Code (NMDC). The consultation closed on 27 March 2021.   NORA has submitted its response.

• The Government is consulting on the Future of Building Standards – Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations. The consultation is seeking views on standards and draft guidance for conservation of fuel and power, ventilation and overheating. This is applicable for non-domestic buildings, dwellings and new residential buildings. The consultation closes on 13 April 2021.

HCLG Committee is inviting evidence for the Permitted Development Rights Inquiry. The call for evidence closes on 30 April 2021.  NORA will be submitting its views and members will receive details by a separate email.

• The consultation on Historic England’s draft Industrial Heritage Strategy is open and further details including how to respond can be found here. The consultation closes on 7 June 2021.


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