Planning: a look forward to 2015

Planning: a look forward to 2015

Our panel of experts consider the cases, legislation and trends likely to affect planning lawyers and their clients in 2015 including in relation to infrastructure planning, compulsory purchase, planning agreements, and judicial review.

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The experts

Trevor Goode, head of the planning and public sector team, Ashurst

Robbie Owen, head of infrastructure planning and government affairs, Pinsent Masons

Michael Gallimore, partner, Hogan Lovells

Tim Hellier, head of planning, Berwin Leighton Paisner

What are the key cases and legislation for 2015?

Trevor Goode:

In infrastructure terms, High Speed 2 is clearly a hugely important and contentious Bill to watch over the coming 12 months. We will also get the Airports Commission report soon after the general election and hopefully an Airports National Policy Statement after that.The Infrastructure Bill—somewhat less about infrastructure than its title suggests—has become the next piece of sweep-up legislation and is likely to carry a range of minor reforms to both the mainstream planning and nationally significant infrastructure projects regimes. Its main thrust of converting the Highways Agency into a separate government-owned company is somewhat overshadowed by the plethora of other tweaks it proposes. From fracking rights to deemed approval of minor planning conditions, the devil is likely to be in the detail.

We are also expecting the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill—subject to what comes of the House of Lords amendments—to make significant change in the costs regime for most judicial review claims, which remains a heavy drag on major schemes. However, given the preponderance of environmental claims, those changes are unfortunately likely to be heavily curtailed by the Aarhus Convention protections, and so the almost risk-free environment for anti-development litigation will persist.

Robbie Owen: The key cases for 2015 in infrastructure planning will be the judicial reviews into the Secretary of State’s recent consents for the Thames Tideway Tunnel and the Able Marine Energy Park and the outcome of the Hinkley Point C judicial review.

In terms of legislation, 2015 w

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