New Labour, new Planning Team

United Kingdom
All change at Westminster and Tower Hill

The 1st May saw not only a new Government sweeping to power but also the merger of Cameron Markby Hewitt and McKenna & Co.

The new Cameron McKenna Planning Team is able to offer an enhanced planning service, from the largest public inquiries to the smallest detail of legal interpretation. We expect that as the new administration gets into its stride significant changes in planning law and policy will begin to take effect, in addition to those which have been heralded in the Labour Party manifesto. We aim to keep you abreast of these changes.

This is the first Cameron McKenna Planning Bulletin since the merger. In it we take a brief look at recent and forthcoming developments in planning which we hope will be of interest to you

New Labour

  • Another merger. John Prescott, having been given overall control of both the Department of the Environment and the Department of Transport, has announced that the two will merge to form the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.
  • His team of seven ministers includes Richard Caborn, with responsibility for planning, Gavin Strong becomes the Transport Secretary and Michael Meacher takes an environmental portfolio. Chris Smith takes over as Heritage Secretary.
  • Although wholesale changes to the planning system are not anticipated, there are proposals in the Labour Party Manifesto for directly elected regional authorities as well as a new strategic authority for London, if demand is confirmed by referendum.
  • There will be a review of the current road building programme and there is talk of specific taxes to dissuade car use such as:

    -a congestion tax - paid by employers via business rates, possibly relating to company car parks

    -local road taxes - possibly involving direct charges for use of local roads

    -pollution taxes - in favour of smaller and more economical cars.

  • Rail privatisation will not be reversed but there is a manifesto pledge that the London Underground will not be privatised and a nation-wide transport strategy is promised