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What would Brexit mean for planning?

Emma Williams HOW PlanningAs next month’s EU referendum approaches, much has been discussed and debated about the political and economic implications of a ‘no’ vote. But what would be the potential impact of leaving the union on the domestic planning system, asks Emma Williams.

The likely answer to this question from a development management perspective is ‘not significant’, as the UK has in place its own national planning system against which plan making and decision taking operates. However, there are a number of aspects and features associated with our EU membership which are not part of domestic statutory policy or legislation and are therefore controlled by EU law and regulation. As an independent state, there would be no obligation for the UK to comply with such regulations (which are directly enforceable within all member states) which could potentially result in fundamental changes that could impact upon planning at a national strategic level.

The planning system is to an extent interlinked with EU law which sets out the framework for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which is required for developments with potentially significant effects on the environment. These directives have helped to put environmental issues at the forefront of debate in decision making and, by setting rigorous standards, have contributed to the Government’s national policy objective of promoting and encouraging sustainable development. As many EU Directives have been transposed in to domestic law, Brexit would be unlikely to have a significant impact upon current environmental protection standards immediately; however, it could mean that some changes may be made to procedure and practice in the medium to long term. The predicted two-year transition between the referendum and Brexit would provide a ‘cooling off’ period during which any changes to procedure would be confirmed. However, this could interfere with the progress of the new EIA Regulations, which are due to come in to force in May 2017, as it is not clear whether there would be a moratorium on EU Directives passing into UK law during this cooling off period.

One area where it is difficult to foresee the benefits of a Brexit is the delivery of those major UK infrastructure projects which are currently heavily reliant on EU funding. At present, the UK benefits from EU funding towards projects such as HS2 and Crossrail. Although it is unclear how a Brexit would affect projects that have received, or expect to receive EU funding, it is probable that the UK would have to replace much, if not all of the project and infrastructure finance originating from the EU institutions. As the planning and subsequent CPO process for HS2 is now well underway, if the delivery of this major transport infrastructure were to slow down or halt due to funding withdrawal, there would likely be huge implications which would be felt at both local and national level.

One thing is clear, when it come to the UK’s future as an EU member and the implications of a Brexit for the UK planning system, ‘the only certainty is uncertainty’.

Emma Williams is a planner at HOW Planning in Manchester.

Your Comments

Looking forward to Elephant’s comments.

By Keezer

EH will still be here to protect Liverpool from being overdeveloped, especially around the crowded surrounds of the old desolated docks and empty decaying facades of buildings that are no longer required, yes rest assured no worries there brexit or not.
We can rely on them to keep us in our place.

By Man on bicycle

Ah cmon man on a bicycle
you sound frustrated but yknow development could happen and retain the old mills and warehouses – it will just cost you more – I presume you are a developer.

By Bob Dawson

Hi Bob, Not a developer, someone who is just frustrated at the actions and obstacles put in the way of projects and job creation schemes in Liverpool. EH seem to take an unhealthy interest in Liverpool, they seem very keen on us as opposed to other places. Are you involved with EH?
I am a sort of an unofficial Ambassador for Liverpool, I have arranged business contacts and city co-operation deals with other cities, that’s where my frustration comes from. Cheers MoB

By Man on bicycle

No I share your passion for the pool. But part of me thinks that the stifling is a good thing as I when I look at some of the great little places in Manchester which have been annihilated I feel torn and think how did they get away with doing that – its awful or they have ripped the heart out of it.

By Bob Dawson

And no definitely not an EH bod

By Bob Dawson

Great, My main irritance is concerning the old unused dock areas and places which are unfortunately beyond reasonable repair, Liverpool has some great little and big buildings and the vast majority of people I entertain in Liverpool from around the world are in awe of the place.
But some things need knocking down and new shoots of development need to take place.
Have a nice weekend!

By Man on bicycle

Surprisingly,I do not care either way about Brexit.If we leave,we will adapt.If we don’t we will carry on as now.It is a tedious topic.My one view on Europe is that I believe,it only really works for poor European countries.The places which get the worst deal,are the poorer parts of the rich countries,With Devolution why doesn’t Manchester make itself a Tax haven? You may think I have lost my mind,but why not? Manchester could be like Monaco is to France, A state within a state.Imagine the flow of money.Why has nobody thought of making a part of mainland Britain a Tax haven before?

By Elephant

‘the only certainty is uncertainty’. *slow clap*

By Bob Bobson

I see Keezer’s sarcasm went straight over your head Elephant. And the simple answer to why parts of England will not make themselves tax havens is because corporation tax and income tax is not devolved.

By Big Game Hunter

Income tax is very likely to be devolved to Scotland.So there is a possibility that Wales and other devolved places could follow.

By Elephant

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