Law Commission says acceptance of majority of its recommendations by Welsh Government will see “dramatic simplification” of planning law

The Law Commission has hailed the Welsh Government’s acceptance of the majority of its proposed reforms to planning laws in Wales.

The law reform advisory body said it would lead to “a dramatic simplification in the relevant law”.

The Law Commission published its final report, Planning Law in Wales, in November 2018. This included recommendations for technical reform to primary and secondary legislation and guidance, to be included in a new Planning Code for Wales. 

Earlier this month the Welsh Government published its detailed response, which can be obtained here.

The Welsh Government said it had accepted 61% of the 192 recommendations, and would look to reform the law to enact the recommendations. It has also accepted a further 25% of the recommendations in principle, pending further consideration.  It has only rejected 8% of the recommendations.In relation to 14 of the recommendations (6%) – including those suggesting the unification of listed building consent with planning permission – the Welsh Government has identified a need for additional supporting evidence to inform a decision on whether to take forward the proposed policy change.

The Law Commission said it was continuing to work with the Welsh Government on the drafting of the new Bill, “which will hopefully be introduced into the Senedd in the coming term”.

In a written statement in the Senedd, Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government said: “On behalf of the Welsh Government, I am placing my thanks to the Law Commission on record for the significant work undertaken and their cooperation with all stakeholders who have contributed towards the success of this review of planning law in Wales.

"I am also pleased that they will continue to work with us during the preparation of the Bill in order that we can all continue to benefit from their knowledge and experience in this area of law.”

Public Law Commissioner Nicholas Paines QC said: “We are grateful to the Minister for Housing and Local Government for her response to our report on Planning Law in Wales.

“We are delighted that the Welsh Government will be enacting the majority of our recommendations, which will simplify and consolidate planning legislation in Wales.

“We are pleased to support the Welsh Government in bringing forward a major Bill in the Senedd to implement these recommendations as soon as possible.”

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