Hot off the press. What has Budget 2013 to say about planning.

More than we expected to be fair.

After last year’s hotly awaited NPPF we anticipated planning might get a bit of a breather.

So here’s a quick round-up…

The Government intends to take forward two Carbon Capture and Storage projects to the detailed planning and design stage.

The Government is set to introduce a new shale gas field allowance and extend the ring-fence expenditure supplement from six to ten years for shale gas projects to promote investment in this industry at an early stage of its development. 

Technical planning guidance on shale gas will be produced by July 2013 to provide clarity around planning for shale gas during the important exploration phase for the industry. As the shale gas industry develops the Government will ensure an effective planning system is in place and by the end of the year will produce guidance for the industry to ensure the planning system is properly aligned with the licensing regime and regulatory regimes principally: health and safety; and environmental protection. The Government will keep under review whether the largest shale gas projects should have the option to apply to the major infrastructure regime. 

Proposals will also be developed by summer 2013 to ensure that local communities will benefit from shale gas projects in their area. A new Boles Bung? 

On infrastructure, the Government will implement a series of reforms to effect a step change in its approach to delivery. Using the experience of delivering the Olympic and Paralympic Games and drawing on private sector best practice, these reforms include creating an enhanced central cadre of commercial infrastructure specialists in IUK who will be deployed into infrastructure projects across government, and the establishment by the summer of tough new Infrastructure Capacity Plans to drive forward progress in key government departments.

On Housing – Help to Buy: equity loan will be open for the next three years, providing £3.5 billion of investment in England, supporting up to 74,000 more home buyers as well as providing a boost to the construction sector.

The £200 million Build to Rent fund announced at Autumn Statement 2012 was significantly oversubscribed. Budget 2013 announces that this fund will be expanded to £1 billion to support the development of more homes in England. The fund will provide equity or loan finance to support the development finance stage of building new homes for private rent.

On affordable housing the existing affordable homes guarantee programme will be doubled, providing up to an additional £225 million to support a further 15,000 affordable homes starting in England by 2015.

And, finally, on planning reform:


  • publish significantly reduced planning guidance by this summer, in line with Lord Matthew Taylor’s recommendations, providing much needed simplicity and clarity. The Government will make greater use of information on prices to ensure that sufficient land is allocated to meet housing and employment need;
  • ask local areas to put in place bespoke pro-growth planning policies and delivery arrangements, as part of new Local Growth Deals, pursued in response to Lord Heseltine’s review, and through City Deals; and 45 National Planning Policy Framework, Department for Communities and Local Government, March 2012; and 
  • consult on allowing further flexibilities between use classes to support change of use from certain agricultural and retail uses to residential use to increase responsiveness within the planning system.

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