Planning silk appointed to House of Lords

A leading planning KC has been appointed by the government to the House of Lords as a Conservative life peer, it has just been announced.

Charles Banner KC (credit: Keating Chambers)

Charles Banner KC of Keating Chambers, who was ranked seventh among the most highly-rated silks in Planning’s most recent Planning Law Survey, will become a new member of the House of Lords, Number 10 announced this evening.

Members of the House of Lords are appointed by the King on the advice of the prime minister.

According to a statement from the prime minister's office, Banner was one of eight nominations by the Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak that have been granted peerages, alongside four from the Labour Party and one from Plaid Cymru.

The statement describes Banner as a "barrister at Keating Chambers and interim chair of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee".

Banner was called to the Bar of England & Wales in 2004 and to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2010, and took silk in 2019 at the age of 38. He is the creator and, along with three other planning barristers, one of the co-hosts of the Have We Got Planning News For You webcast, which he says he will continue to present.

He is chair of statutory nature advisor the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, a non-executive director of the SAV Group, and a part-time justice of the Astana International Finance Centre Court. 

Speaking exclusively to Planning, Banner said: “It’s a huge responsibility and I will do everything in my ability to do it justice. 2024 is my 20th year in practice and I’m keen to spend the second 20 years of my career focused on giving something back in the public interest, building on my current role as chair of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

“I expect to start by focusing on the matters that through professional and/or personal experience are particularly close to my heart, such as nature conservation and recovery, the built environment, housing, infrastructure, justice and the constitution, and Ukraine.

“I hope that having a practising planning specialist in the House of Lords, who is at the coalface of planning applications and appeals on a week-in week-out basis, will help provide a valuable link between our sector and the legislature. 

“Decision-taking and policy-making are not abstract exercises – they operate in the real world and have real-world implications. I hope my real-world experience will help me be an advocate for high-quality laws, policies and decisions.”

According to a statement from Banner, he has previously held non-executive board roles at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the EU Fundamental Rights Agency.

Planning understands that Banner has in recent years advised the government on planning and environmental matters.

Last July, he was pictured sitting next to prime minister Rishi Sunak in a box at Lord’s Cricket Ground, watching the fourth day of the England versus Australia test match. 

He joined Keating Chambers in July 2020 to establish a new planning and environment practice at the chambers.

Tim Hellier, head of UK planning and zoning at law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, said: “Charlie is an innovator and someone who is held in the highest regard by lawyers, clients and planners alike.

“To have him elevated to the benches of the House of Lords is a vote of confidence in the planning and legal professions, and we are delighted an industry friend will now be able to have their voice heard in the complex and political world of planning.”

Also receiving a peerage is Conservative councillor James Jamieson, chair of the Local Government Association, a member of Central Bedfordshire Council and one of the members of a panel carrying out government-initiated review of the London Plan.