Lords pass major reforms for regeneration and levelling up
Updated: Nov 15
The Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill, which is now in its final stage, forms the legislative underpinning for the Government's levelling-up agenda and has the stated aim of reducing economic, social and environmental disparities in different parts of the UK.
Over the last few months Peers have sought substantial improvements to the Bill on climate and nature that, if accepted by the Government, would also help reduce the cost of living, improve health and tackle regional inequalities.
Changes secured via votes in the Lords with support from across the parties included amendments that would:
Align our planning regime with our climate and environment targets, giving greater prioritisation to climate change across the decision-making progress at every level from national policy and local authority plans down to individual decisions by local planning officers. See further background in this article from New Statesman
Ensure a level playing field for onshore wind in planning terms compared with other renewable projects and to remove complex and unclear planning guidance. (NB these provisions would reverse the effective planning moratorium for onshore projects introduced by the Government in 2015; they go further than recent Government concessions to make more limited relaxations to onshore planning requirements by restoring a level playing field with other renewables projects)
Give a new duty on the Secretary of State to promote healthy homes and neighbourhoods
Improve protection for ancient woodland by requiring a consultation direction
Peers also rejected late-tabled Government amendments which proposed to weaken existing environmental protections around nutrient neutrality when new housing developments are built and where there could be an increase in pollution of waterways. You can see the debate in full HERE
Other amendments tabled which led to Government concessions ahead of votes included new regulations requiring protected landscape management plans to contribute to climate and environment targets and the strengthening of the legal links between local nature recovery strategies and local development plans.