A recent survey of all local authorities in England, by planning consultants Drivers Jonas, has found that more than 50% of authorities are unlikely to implement the Government’s proposals for the Community Infrastructure Levy.

The levy, which was included in the Planning Bill which received Royal Asset through the 2008 Planning Act last year, is set by authorities in accordance with infrastructure plans and makes a number of changes to existing development control and development plan arrangements.

Drivers Jonas’s survey found that:

  • More than 50% of the authorities interviewed said they had no current plans to introduce a levy
  • Only 22% of the authorities suggested that they would be implementing the levy either now or in the future. For some, the availability of money to implement it is a key factor. At least 10% of authorities said they will definitely not be implementing the levy
  • There is widespread confusion following the earlier changes in Planning Policy Statement 12 (PPS12) on how the levy may be incorporated into the policy frameworks, particularly now that many authorities are at more advanced stages of the local development framework process.

The levy is meant also to act as an optional tool for authorities to recoup money although there appears to be doubts from authorities over whether they should, or can, use this opportunity to introduce a charge to fund infrastructure associated with development.

Drivers Jonas said many authorities interviewed said that they are likely to continue to pool funds through the long-established s106 legal agreement process.

Authorities also queried whether affordable housing can be included in the levy. Mary-Jane O’Neill, director at Drivers Jonas, said that ‘generally authorities are confused and many have questioned whether the market is right for an additional tax’.

Further details regarding implementation of the levy and consultation on the regulations are expected in early 2009.