Keppie Massie has been appointed by Knowsley and West Lancashire councils to advise on their plans to introduce the Community Infrastructure Levy.
CIL is a controversial government move designed to enable local authorities in England and Wales to fund infrastructure and community work through a new tax on development.
Several house builders around the country have started challenges to CILs, claiming they are unfair and render developments unviable.
Cllr Martin Forshaw, West Lancashire's portfolio holder for planning, said: "Keppie Massie is providing fundamental advice to the council regarding the viability of introducing a CIL charge on new developments to fund infrastructure that could benefit the borough. The advice from this specialist company will be of great assistance to the Council in considering this important issue in these challenging economic times."
Ged Massie, partner at Keppie Massie, said: "Planning policy must strike the delicate balance between ensuring that the opportunities for public benefits are secured whilst not undermining the prospects for investment and development. This is particularly so in these difficult economic times, when it is so crucial to ensure that the conditions are right for economic growth."