Exclusive - Welsh planning minister seeks power boost

The Welsh government should be granted control over areas of planning that remain under Westminster's jurisdiction, the Welsh planning minister has urged.

Speaking to Planning, John Griffiths said that powers over developer contributions and large energy projects should be handed to Cardiff.

Following a referendum in March, powers over most areas of planning were devolved to the Welsh government. However, applications for nationally significant infrastructure projects are still decided by the Bristol-based Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC).

After the IPC is absorbed into the Planning Inspectorate next April, the final decision on major infrastructure projects in Wales will be made by the cabinet in London.

Policy on developer contributions is also set in Westminster, meaning that the Welsh government has little influence over the Community Infrastructure Levy regime.

Griffiths said: "There should be a more coherent, simplified system that makes it clear that the Welsh government has responsibility.

"The case is very strong indeed and I would hope that the UK government would recognise that and take the necessary action. It's not happened to date, but we will continue to make the case and to press the case, and there is quite a strong consensus in Wales behind it."

On developer contributions he added: "With big infrastructure projects, it should be the Welsh government that is setting the strategy and the policy. It makes perfect sense because it's then a more coherent, integrated approach."

See Interview, p18.


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