Five things you need to know about updated CIL guidance

Planning practice guidance (PPG) has been updated to reflect new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) regulations that came into force on 1 September. Here are five key things you need to know about the changes.

Funds: new CIL guidance published
Funds: new CIL guidance published

1. A section on ‘monitoring and reporting’ has been introduced. The CIL regulations now require local planning authorities to publish annual infrastructure funding statements, including information such as the amount of revenue raised from planning obligations and where it has been spent. Accordingly, planning consultant Gilian Macinnes says, the guidance places greater focus on the need for transparency. Neil Jones, planning partner at consultancy Rapleys, says: "Any measure that promotes the benefits of development should be welcomed. Too often the message in the public domain is about the about the negative impacts of development rather than the positive." A Planning analysis piece looking at this aspect of the changes can be read here. 

2. Councils are given autonomy over how they should consult when introducing a levy. The guidance states: "It is for charging authorities to decide how they wish to consult ... charging authorities are best placed to decide how to engage with their local communities and other relevant parties." Jones says: "It will be interesting to see how different authorities pick up on that. It might lead to more confusion if different authorities are taking different approaches to how they consult."

3. More detail has been provided on how indexation should be applied to section 73 applications, which amend an existing planning permission. Numerous scenarios are considered and advice given on how indexation of levy rates would affect the chargeable amount in each case. "They go into a lot of detail," said Macinnes, describing the new guidance as a "significant improvement" upon its previous iteration.

4. Guidance on spending CIL revenue has been revised. A section within the previous guidance stated that CIL revenue "should not be used to remedy pre-existing deficiencies in infrastructure provision unless those deficiencies will be made more severe by new development." The new guidance states: "Local authorities must spend the levy on infrastructure needed to support the development of their area, and they will decide what infrastructure is needed." Jones says: "That would seem to me to be widening the scope of what CIL tariffs can be used towards."

5. Authorities are explicitly advised that "charging authorities can use funds from both the levy and section 106 planning obligations to pay for the same piece of infrastructure". Macinnes says: "It’s now very clear you can use money from both pots." The guidance reflects changes to CIL regulations that lift a ban on pooling revenue from more than five planning obligations. Jones says: "It will enable infrastructure to be funded in a much more comprehensive and holistic way."

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